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the Vagrant Cafe - View Single Post - Time to Nationalize Banks?
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  #6  
Old 02.19.09, 2:26 am
kindred's Avatar
kindred kindred is offline
Stablizing like a Hegemon
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Age: 35
Posts: 4,386
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sure:

the stimulus bill was a piece of shit by almost any definition short of "anything is better than nothing" and contained very little actual stimulus, the much-anticipated Geithner "plan" was actually no plan at all (it amounted to "we're maybe gonna think about doing something about things at some point"), the mortgage bailout is ill-conceived and probably pointless, the protectionism coming from "Buy American" provisions and bailouts for GM workers in the US while GM workers in the EU are getting laid off is pissing off the rest of the world to the point that CHINA is screaming at the US to keep trade open. and let's not forget Geithner's China-bashing during his confirmation hearing.

it's not insignificant that Obama's first trip is to Canada and Hillary's is to the Far East: Obama's already pissed off a lot of finance ministers around the globe, including our most important trading partners, and they're trying to keep shit from spinning completely out of control. meanwhile, there has been literally no proposal for reforming/restructuring the financial regulatory system, no proposal for recapitalizing (or liquidating) the banks, no proposal for policy coordination with other countries, and Obama didn't even send a high-ranking official from his administration to Davos. without stability in the banking sector, the already-small potential positive effects of the stimulus bill will be greatly lessened (i.e. the multiplier will be lowered). meanwhile, the stimulus bill contained the largest earmark in the history of the world, which will be used to build a coal gasification plant in illinois that has pissed off environmentalists. Fed policy is in limbo, waiting to see what the Treasury is gonna do, and the Treasury has no idea what it's going to do. the entire thing is a clusterfuck so far, and i honestly can't believe that Summers and Romer are pleased about the way economic policy has taken shape.

what is really needed is sectoral adjustment, and there is no indication that obama understands that fact or is willing to deal with it. most of his proposals are designed to prop up the old system rather than ease the transition to a new one. his approach to the Big 3 so far confirms this. in fact, there doesn't even seem to be any sort of unified plan from the obama camp. his advisors are hardly speaking in public about the plans, and when they do they say things like "the president believes" rather than "we are doing this because the empirical evidence says...". the difference may seem a bit subtle, but it's powerful.

the best defense i've seen of any Obama policy by an economist, including those who really like him like Krugman and DeLong, is that the stimulus plan is better than doing nothing at all but that it is nowhere near a good plan. it doesn't take any sort of graduate education to realize that that isn't high praise. and many more economists are outright opposed to Obama's plans than those who are even moderately enthusiastic about them.

kind of funny that you mention that it's "too early" to judge how good these policies are. i seem to remember our last president saying the same thing a bunch of times.

-wkw
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