Obama Needs a Capitalist


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What will be President Obama’s crucial decision for the new year? It should be his choice for a top economic adviser; ideally someone who understands the world of business. With good economic news still merely a ripple in a sea of troubles, the selected adviser will have to deal with the 9.8 percent tidal wave of unemployment and the $14 trillion debt tsunami. And throw in global trade, as well.

Obama’s pick to replace outgoing director of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, will signal the direction of his economic agenda at least until the 2012 election. Public polling has shown rising concerns about both short and long-term economic problems.

Choosing former Clinton administration figures to fill important offices has become almost automatic for Obama. That places Roger Altman, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton, near the top of the speculators’ list. Also, Altman is a deficit hawk and an investment banker. Whoops, maybe his Wall Street connection makes Altman off-limits to an administration that has kicked Wall Street in the pants at every chance possible, while happily accepting campaign cash in the past.

Another well-known former Clinton man is Gene Sperling, National Economic Adviser to Clinton and now special counsel to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He is also on the staff of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he serves as Senior Fellow for Economic Policy.

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, is articulate in his TV appearances and has the administration spin down pat. But because he’s now an insider, he would not fit the notion of bringing in a fresh face from outside of Washington. Also, Goolsbee was chosen to replace Christina Romer, who left to return to teaching at the University of California at Berkeley.

Obama could turn to academia, calling out a scholar such as Yale President Richard Levin. But since his recent meetings with business executives have been at least civil, compared with his past bashing of industry leaders, Obama might—just might–find a prominent economist from the business world. The president met for four hours on Dec. 16 with 20 key business executives at the Blair House across from the White House. White House officials, according to a New York Times story “were projecting an image of a president seeking to work hand in hand with corporate America,” (rather than hand in pocket). Attendees included Kenneth Chenault, chief executive of Federal Express, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.

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  • scum

    Kicked Wall Street at every opportunity?? Are your freaking serious? Republican CEO's flew to Washington desperate for handouts, and they got it. The stock market which had tanked under Greenspan/Bush has risen dramatically. What we have now is greater centralization than ever as smaller banks are closed and the 'too big to fails' rule the roost. Obama as a socialist? Preposterous, ideological garbage. Get over it and tell the truth for once…

  • davarino

    Hehehe its funny watching reality chash in on the lefties.

  • Reason_For_Life

    Obama needs a capitalist? For what? To blame the depression on?

    If you're thinking that an Art Laffer or a Walter Williams could become an adviser to Obama then you are obviously under the influence of controlled substances.

    Obama will pull someone from academia with a penchant for writing unintelligible papers in obscure journals. No one will be able to decipher the jargon laden verbiage in his writings. Then, the Republicans will approve the choice and the new adviser will call for another "stimulus".

    The Republicans will feign shock at the proposed spending and demand that the administration cut the stimulus dollars. The final bill will spend more money than originally proposed and put the economy into a tailspin.

    In November 2012 Obama will run against Mitt Romney on the platform that the Republicans deepened the recession by not spending enough money. Romney will reply that it wasn't the amount of spending, it was where the money was spent that was the real problem.

    Obama will win re-election by an unprecedented 65% in one of the smallest turnouts in electoral history as conservatives and libertarians boycott the elections and move to remote areas of Texas and New Zealand in search of freedom. Obama's victory enables him to retake the House and implement an economic "final solution".

    • Seek

      This might make for a good John Galt fantasy, but let's hope for everyone's sake that it doesn't come true. I'll take Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in a heartbeat.

      • Reason_For_Life

        People said the same thing about Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey as well as George W Bush over Al Gore.

        It didn't turn out well. Each Republican did things no Democrat would have dared to do.

        • coyote3

          Well, you are not given us very good choices with Humphrey and/or Gore, in the first place. That said, Nixon and Bush, were two of the biggest lefties we have ever had in the White House.

  • USMCSniper

    capitalism is blamed for the ills of government intervention–and then even more government intervention is proposed as the cure. The Great Depression? Despite massive evidence that the Federal Reserve’s and other government policies were responsible for the crash and the inability of the economy to recover, it was laissez-faire that was blamed. Consequently, in the aftermath, the government’s power over the economy was not curtailed but dramatically expanded. Or what about the energy crisis of the 1970s? Despite compelling evidence that it was brought on by monetary inflation exacerbated by the abandonment of the remnants of the gold standard, and made worse by prices controls, “greedy” oil companies were blamed. The prescribed “solution” was for the government to exert even more control. It’s time to stop blaming capitalism for the sins of government intervention, and give true laissez-faire a chance. Now that would be a change we could believe in. But don't ecpect it under Obama

  • jgreene

    It's pretty pathetic that Obama really doesn't know ANYONE he can "tap" from his friends or acquaintances who know anything about business or capitalism. He does know a bunch of folks who the words to the "Internationale".

  • Guest

    Only a pathetic 7% of obama's cabinet have ANY private sector experience. By comparison, before obama, the lowest percentage of cabinet appointees was with JFK at 28%. Obama will not appoint any capitalist as he utterly detests capitalism and is doing everything he can to destroy it.

  • leeman

    Kenneth Chenault is misidentified in the article as chief executive of Federal Express. He's CEO of American Express.

  • Wesley69

    Obama is a Radical Socialist and will always be that. He has no faith in the marketplace, but he will use it to get reelected. Lenin, in Communist USSR, when War Communism was alienating peasants and workers developed the New Economic Plan which called for a degree of Capitalism. Once the Communists were firmly in charge, the NEP was ended and Central Planning took off with a vengence. Obama knows history better than most. Besides the Executive Agencies like the EPA & the FCC are doing the heavy lifting now that Congress won't be. Obama's transformation continues, but at a slower pace.

  • dave

    "business leaders sank millions into the midterm election to defeat Democrats," "If the President has any hope of a truce with industry in time for his reelection campaign,"
    A fine statement you make about our democracy when you openly admit the capitalists can simply buy their elections. Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper if we just let the Plutocrats decide without bothering with elections.

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