Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tankwoman EconomicsI'm all for putting experienced people in the top jobs of government. It is certainly a breath of fresh air to see the best and the brightest stepping up to fill the most important roles in the Administration, especially in this time of uncertainty. But it's almost beginning to look like a re-run of the Clinton years, with all of the familiar faces. Don't get me wrong, the Clinton years were paradise compared to the terror of the Bush/Cheney regime. We were growing economically, we were not at war, but this isn't 1993, the world has changed in many serious and frightening ways. We are a much weaker nation, and the world has grown more dangerous.
Our economy is probably the weakest it's been since the Great Depression. We have thrown a few trillion dollars at the problem in the last six months, we have lowered interest rates nearly to zero, yet we've only seen a tiny bit of recovery in the markets, and the unemployment rate grows every week. Obama's picks for his economic team, are really troublesome, since the Clinton alumnus, Robert Rubin, may have actually been responsible for creating the crisis we are in at the present.
The president-elect’s choices for his top economic advisers — Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary, Lawrence H. Summers as senior White House economics adviser and Peter R. Orszag as budget director — are past protégés of Mr. Rubin, who held two of those jobs under President Bill Clinton. Even the headhunters for Mr. Obama have Rubin ties: Michael Froman, Mr. Rubin’s chief of staff in the Treasury Department who followed him to Citigroup, and James S. Rubin, Mr. Rubin’s son.
The thing is, if you look at where Citigroup is today, hat in hand, begging for a bail-out just like a lot of other major players, don't we want someone else in charge of the economy? I mean isn't there someone from a bank that is not in danger of going under? And here, the guys who were the architects of de-regulation under Bill Clinton, these are the guys that will save the economy?
It may just be that there is no hope for this economy, and that these guys who have cost the investors of their financial institution billions, are actually the smartest guys in the nation. And Obama, who I personally think is one of the smartest guys on the planet, wants to solve the financial crisis by borrowing more money (from China I guess) and use it to re-build our roads and bridges, and put people to work. Which is great for our creditors, when the Chinese come to repossess Ohio and New York, they'll have lots of nice roads to drive on, and the bridges will not fall under them.
It's all a nice idea, but the country needs real and immediate and radical change.
Instead of bailing out the worthless financial institutions, and the auto industry, why don't we just take over them? Use the billions we've handed to these banks, and force them to lend to Detroit, and then force Detroit to make decent electric cars, and then open new factories to build efficient fast rail systems, and forget about the roads and bridges? Don't give these useless wankers anymore taxpayer money, just let them go under, and buy them for a song. We wouldn't have to borrow anymore money, we'd have the capital needed to start a manufacturing base that this country desperately needs, and why re-build the roads, when the age of driving will soon be over?
Of course, it's all probably very illegal, but with the new powers of the Presidency created by the Bush Administration, who rally cares?
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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