Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Obama's Picks

There is a certain amount of discomfort with President Elect Obama's selections for major positions in his administration. Robert Scheer argues, in his latest article, that his economic team's track record is less than promising, given their involvement in Citigroup's meltdown.
As opposed to the far tougher deal negotiated on the bailout of AIG, the arrangement with Citigroup leaves the executives, including Rubin, who brought Citigroup to the brink of ruin, still in charge. Nor is there any guarantee of the value of the mortgage bundles that taxpayers will be guaranteeing. That is because, as candidate Obama clearly stated in his major economics address back in March, the deregulation pushed though during the Clinton years ended transparency in banking.

Why then has he appointed the very people responsible for this disaster to now make it all better?
It's a good question. Is Obama going to be a status quo guy, who talks a good game but sells out the base at every opportunity? Probably. It worked for Clinton after all, and it'll presumably work for him.

Joe Conason, big Clinton defender, has a more hopeful assessment in his latest article, however. He argues that as long as Obama is in charge, these centrists will have to toe his line.
Indeed, Mr. Obama has steadfastly refused to scale back his platform of spending initiatives, from infrastructure to health care, despite all the tut-tutting commentary. Instead, even as he rolled out his team, he pledged a very substantial spending increase during the first two years of his term as the only means to prevent the recession from plunging into something far worse.

And his appointees will implement the Obama program, not only because that is what he tells them to do but because that is what they have come to believe is best for the country.
I'd like to believe in Mr. Conason, and until Obama is actually in the Oval Office, I suppose there's no reason not to.

No comments: