The Dithering Society
LBJ gave the US the Great Society. He also gave us Vietnam, but let’s put that aside for the moment. A lot of the Great Society was really meant to co-opt radicalism, but some of what he did looks almost miraculous compared to what we have today. I would suggest we have today is the Dithering Society, except for the rapidity with which the administration responds the unmerited demands of finance.
Obama began with some vague ideas, sometimes even suggesting bold measures. Once in office, we got Clinton retreads, with a handful Goldman Sachs alumni placed in strategic positions.
So far we see few breaks with the loathsome Bush administration, either on the international or on the national front. Every time some Obama initiative seems to inconvenience them rich and powerful interest group, it is modified mostly to their satisfaction. All the while, the hammer falls on ordinary people.
One might at least expect competence, but even here disappointment awaits us. So far the bailout seems to suggest little improvement over the Paulson plan.
Even conservative economists recognize why bankrupt financial institutions should be allowed to go bankrupt. Instead, the Obama boys want to bail out the financial market by virtually guarantying hedge speculators who buy the bad debt.
There is one bailout bill waiting for some action. The Las Vegas casinos are hurting. I know: boo hoo. How could the government bail them out? They could lend me money to gamble. I will be obligated to share my winnings with the government, but they agree that I do not have to repay the loans if I lose. So, I would stand to gain a great deal with little risk.
How is my casino plan different from the present plan of creating a market for “legacy” [Isn’t that nicer than saying toxic] assets, other than that financial firms will have to put up a wee bit of their investment.
The best we can hope for from Obama would be to continue to embarrass himself with the obsequiousness toward rich and powerful in such a way as to spark a massive protest comparable to the 1960s. Let’s stop dithering. Any takers?