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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 17, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 17, 2021   Strategic Political Economy “You lost. Stop acting like you won” [White Hot Harlots (lyman alpha blob), via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21] “The abortion issue has been lost. I cannot fathom any plausible near or medium-term scenario in which the actually existing American left mounts a successfu […]
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Lindsey Graham would consider nationalizing banks; Barack Obama dithers about preserving capitalist culture

Yesterday, the new U.S. President played basketball and then watched the NBA all-star game with a friend. He’s been enjoying a vacation in Chicago, seemingly unconcerned that we are in the midst of a financial crisis the like of which we haven’t seen since the 1930s.

Not everyone is so relaxed and carefree. Yesterday Nouriel Roubini wrote in the Washington Post that “We’re all Swedes now,” arguing that the US banking system is on the ropes and the only solution is nationalization. But Barack Obama insists we just can’t do that because we are Americans–or something like that.

“Obviously Sweden has a different set of cultures in terms of how the government relates to markets and, and America’s different. And we want to retain a strong sense of that private capital fulfilling the core — core investment needs of this country,” he says. “And so, what we’ve tried to do is to apply some of the tough love that’s going to be necessary, but do it in a way that’s also recognizing we’ve got big private capital markets and, and ultimately that’s going to be the key to getting credit flowing again. ”

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Friday: {{Gasp!}} Judd Gregg is a REAL Republican??

img_0239Not a fake Democrat, like Obama, but a REAL Republican?

“I’m a fiscal conservative, as everybody knows, a fairly strong one,” Mr. Gregg told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol. “And it just became clear to me that it would be very difficult, day in and day out, to serve in this cabinet or any cabinet.”

He actually believes in that rugged individualism, small government (unless when big government is necessary to help your golfing buds), social conservatism crap.  Oh, and he didn’t like the politicization of the census idea that Obama’s crew is floating.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t like it either.  The idea that we may be stuck with Chicago style gerrymandering makes my skin crawl.  So, can we assume that Obama’s *next* pick for Commerce secretary will be on board with tinkering with the census?

Call me a stickler but shouldn’t Commerce and Labor have secretaries already?

But the political fallout is left to the White House, which now has a string of appointees who have stepped aside over vetting problems, unpaid taxes or philosophical differences with Mr. Obama. Since the president took office last month, not a week has passed without the White House responding to a personnel crisis.

Mr. Gregg said he alerted Mr. Obama to his decision “several days ago,” but administration officials said the senator’s withdrawal had taken them off guard.

The White House sought to contain the political fallout, issuing a terse statement and pointing out that Mr. Gregg had said he would “support, embrace and move forward with the president’s agenda.”

I mean, we are living through one of the greatest economic catastrophes in our nation’s history.  It just seems to me that these departments are very important.  And what about HHS?  Did we find someone for that position yet?  At least the Bushies had their kleptocrats all lined up when they took office.  They were dead serious about commencing the business of f%&^ing things up.  Obama and his crew are still celebrating a victory.  And celebrating.  Put the damn champagne flutes down already and govern.  Enough with the bipartisan gimmicks.

“I am going to keep working at this,” said Mr. Obama, adding that the American people were “desperate” for Democrats and Republicans to work together.”

Uh, no.  David Broder and his Villager pals want mushy, indistinct bipartisanship or they will make your job hard.  The American people want government that works.  That requires a political philosophy.  Hey, DNC, do you think we could actually get a DEMOCRAT to run on our party’s ticket next time?  Just sayin’.

“It has become apparent during this process,” Mr. Gregg said, “that this will not work for me, as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the census, there are irresolvable conflicts for me.”

“We are functioning,” he added, “from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”

Yep.

In other news:

  • David Sirota is a fine writer.  Unfortunately, he is temporarily insane.  Note to David: Stop digging.
  • Paul Krugman is eating harshmellows this morning in Failure to Rise.  No wonder economics is called the Dismal Science. He’s also sounding critical of the Obama Administration’s lackluster response to this crisis, which can only mean one thing- Paul is a racist.  Will someone please send him his complimentary white sheet and “So, you’ve decided to become a racist?” Welcome package?
  • Nouriel Roubini lays out the steps for making the banking system solvent again.  There is a continuum from footing the bill for the banks, and sticking taxpayers for the whole damn thing, to nationalizing the banks and forcing the bankers and shareholders to take a loss.  Roubini is advocating the latter because at this stage of the game, that’s where we’re headed if we want to keep the crisis from spreading.  Guess which approach on the continuum Obama wants to take?  Trick question!  Nobody really knows.  He wants a public/private investment scheme.  It’s probably some post partisan yada-yada-yada.  If it’s neither Democratic or Republican, it must be good because it pisses everyone off equally.   Right?
  • Don’t miss the Planet Money podcasts I mentioned yesterday if you want to understand what’s going on with finance and the banking industry.  They’re easy to understand and jargon free.  They break concepts down to bite sized pieces so that everyone gets it.  Before long, you’ll be slinging “tranches” and “haircuts” like Paul Krugman.  Er, without the tenure and the Nobel Prize.  But seriously, folks, knowledge is power and the sooner we know what’s really going on, the harder it will be for Obama and his banker buddies to snooker us.  We don’t want them to yank our chains and distract us.  We want to be able to follow the money.  So, download the podcasts and learn about this nauseating money stuff even if you think you’re going to hate it. (You won’t, trust me)  It’s well worth the effort.  You can start here at This American Life’s episode on The New Boss.  Skip to Act III: Fifteen Trillion Dollar Dismal Science Experiment, which is the background of the Japanese lost decade, which we seem hellbent on repeating.  Then, follow it up with more of Adam Posen’s explanation of the Japanese model and bank nationalization in Get Tougher, Please.  Then go to Alex Blumberg, Adam Davidson and Caitlin Kennedy’s skit on How to Save a Bank. These guys are doing the work of angels breaking down the incomprehensible for the rest of us.  Great job!  Send them some bloggy mojo.