As limp excuses go, Bank of England governor Mervyn King's recognition that "with the benefit of hindsight" he might have done something to forestall the finance industry's collapse four years ago has all the consistency of a soggy lettuce.
By that reckoning, the bank could have dispensed with King's expensive services, replaced him with its lowliest junior cashier and saved £300,000 a year.
Yes, the junior might still have whistled as the banking sector imploded and the economy went to hell in a handcart, but he or she could have argued just as plausibly that, "with the benefit of hindsight" things could have been different.
Hindsight is not the issue. Throwing top salaries at King or his hero Alan Greenspan, who was as much a disaster at the US Federal Reserve, is justified by their supposed foresight to see impending financial choppiness before it develops into a tsunami.
They didn't. Indeed, they pooh-poohed early warnings that the boom years were being extended artificially on unsecured credit or borrowing on the strength of overvalued assets, especially in the north American property market.
Nor did they learn from the straws in the wind of a number of what they saw as isolated failures in the credit market.
They failed to warn that booming profits did not necessarily betoken a thriving economy, appearing to believe that capitalism's fundamental rule that periodic crises are endemic to the system had been disproven in line with former prime minister Gordon Brown's bizarre claim to have "ended boom and bust."
King now suggests that his ability to tackle the financial bubble before it popped had been impaired by Brown's removal in 1997 of Bank of England powers to regulate banks.
Former Bank of England monetary policy committee member David Blanchflower is surely correct to describe King as "disingenuous" in putting forward this defence.
The governor has never been slow to put in his twopenn'orth on issues, whether they fall within his purlieu or not, as his enthusiastic support for the conservative coalition government's "absolutely textbook response to the situation" exemplifies.
So Blanchflower's considered view that if King had "thought more regulation was important, he could've done something about it" must be accepted without question.
Despite his backing for coalition economic policy, King cannot pretend that it's been successful - but, as with the banking crisis, the blame lies elsewhere.
"If it had not been for the squeeze on real take-home pay being exacerbated by the rise in energy and food prices, then I think we would have seen some growth," he suggests unconvincingly, displaying his propensity to be taken unawares by foreseeable events that underlie the descent into double-dip recession.
He and the government may yet be further surprised by working-class refusal to abide by their discredited "textbook" approach to systemic crisis.
Next week's strike by tens of thousands of civil servants, lecturers, health staff, Ministry of Defence employees and members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary marks continued resistance to government efforts to make workers pay for a crisis they didn't cause.
Pensions, job losses and slashed services are the catalyst to these ongoing strikes in the public sector.
But the longer this goes on and the more deeply the textbook formula cuts into working people's living standards, the more necessary a diametrically opposed alternative to the profits-first orthodoxy of the bankers and their apologists becomes.