Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama and Change

Senator Obama did a call this morning with some of his key economic advisors including Paul Volcker, Bob Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Laura Tyson about the state of the financial markets. They discussed what to expect from financial markets today and over the course of this week, how these events would impact the overall economy, and what steps should be taken to address the problems in our financial markets and economy more broadly.

Um, ok. We've got a crisis in the financial markets, so let's call on the manufacturers of this mess to find out what to do next. Sheesh.

The only person missing from this list of advisors is Alan Greenspan. I don’t want to generalize about these advisors, but I think that Democrats, and the Obama campaign, would be wise to make a distinction in their mind between neo-liberal and liberal economics. The ‘90s were the heyday of neo-liberal economics, which attempted some accomodation with the conservative laissez-faire variety. And part of that accomodation consisted in opposing new government regulations of the financial industry and attempting to remove old ones like Glass-Steagall. Under Bob Rubin, the Clinton Treasury Department took the lead.

And btw, McCain is right. While this is a crisis in the financial markets, the overall economy is still growing, despite liberal chanting of "recession" like an unceasing 4/4 string ostinato in D minor. That's a fact. The financial market meltdown is cause for concern, yes, but silly and dishonest to twist McCain's statements on the economy while relying on the old guard that engineered this mess for advice.