Monday, March 23, 2009

All About Their Benjamins

I've a confession to make. Though I entered undergrad confident that History was going to be my major, I quietly wondered about adding Economics as a second major. I made it through Econ 101, but it's appeal as a subject was lost on me. My mind works differently.

Yet, I have a bad feeling about the two most prominent people in BHO's economic team, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. My gut reaction is that these two men were happy cheerleaders praising deregulation and "clever" schemes, as we were careening toward the edge of the abyss. My gut tells me that these men, like Jim Cramer of CNBC, recognize and endorse the two markets (see the John Stewart smackdown of Cramer and Wall Street here in three parts), and, like Frank Rich, I think that they are too closely tied to Wall Street and the mentality that led us to this point to police it in the best way.

The bottom line is that I do not trust them. I am not confident that these men have our best interests at heart. David Sirota makes the point more plain. Why are the rules different for Wall Street, when compared with Detroit or Main Street? Why not be consistent?

I have no idea if the stimulus, TARP or any other economic measure coming from the Obama administration will work; I am no soothsayer. I hope that they will. I'm no economist, just an historian. But frankly, I would feel much better if those two men were not advising BHO. And that's all I have to say about that (thanks "Forrest").

1 comment:

Scott said...

"...they are too closely tied to Wall Street and the mentality that led us to this point to police it in the best way.

I think that explains why even though Mr. Geithner knew well ahead of time about the AIG bonuses, he was so surprised by the public anger. It's the "mindset" that makes me wonder if he or Mr. Summers are capable of understanding what it's like to try to live on $30 or 40k per year.

So I share your misgivings about Geithner and Summers. Having said that, I DO believe that the man they currently work for DOES understand what it's like to live on less-than-Wall Street salaries. I believe that their boss appreciates their technical knowledge of finance and the market, but that HE will be the one who determines the goals of policy.

In some ways I think this is similar to President Obama's promise to "...listen to the Generals and take their advice on matters relating to what they need to accomplish their mission. But it will NOT be up to the Generals to determine the mission"