Every so often, I think "Obama gets it"
by the mollusk, Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 07:05:23 AM EST
Bob Hebert has a nice piece in NYT today. It's a little on the sycophantic side for my tastes, but whatever. One part of the op-ed piece that really struck me was this passage from a conversation between Obama and Hebert:
When asked about the sharp drop in the stock markets after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced an expanded bank bailout plan last week, Mr. Obama replied:
"I am not planning based on a one-day market reaction. In fact, you can argue that a lot of the problems we're in have to do with everybody planning based on one-day market reactions, or three-month market reactions, and as a consequence nobody was taking the long view.
When was the last time we had a leader who spoke in these terms?
Also, from the NY Times today, the Dow is facing the possibility of dipping to it's lowest point in a decade. Not good. But not the end of the world either. Here's a quote from an asset fund manager to contrast to Obama's:
"The administration is great at floating the rumors, but we need concrete plans to back that up," said Ryan Larson, head equity trader at Voyageur Asset Management. "Without any further concreted details, the market's really left to wonder. And in this environment, they wonder the worst-case scenario."
The tone of this quote is so much closer to what I've come to expect from Washington - Republicans and Democrats alike. Everything is for today. Everything is a thinly-veiled attempt to transfer additional money or power into the hands of the financial sector.
The U.S. economy did not get to this point overnight and the resolution isn't going to come quickly either. This is about re-imagining America, it's economy, and the government's role in that economy. I'm not advocating for socialism here, but the Reagan-era "government is a bunch of douchebags" philosophy is changing. The overspent credit-addicted consumerist philosophy may also be changing.
The word "crisis" implies that there is great opportunity. Old ideas have become dislodged from their founding and it is possible to move these things, even a little. If we had a different kind of President right now, this could be very bad. We could further solidify the Dow closing-bell syndrome and allow incompetent bankers to continue to game the system indefinitely.
I think those days are numbered. I sense that the Wall streeters know this and hence the massive sell-off. People's savings will come back. The stock market will come back. Maybe next time it will be just a little more stable and a little more equitable.
Here's to hoping.