In today’s column in the NY Times, Tom Friedman writes:
I’m worried. We’ve just elected a talented young president with many good instincts about how to propel our country forward, extend health care to more people, make our tax code fairer and launch a green industrial revolution. But do you know what I fear? I fear that his whole first term could be eaten by Citigroup, A.I.G., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and the whole housing/subprime credit bubble we inflated these past 20 years.
Mr. Friedman’s fears are warranted, but he’s a native of the Twin Cities (where this blog originates), and he’s too imbued with “Minnesota nice” to mention that “our talented young president” with all of the above named good instincts took office with no relevant experience for the job. Yes, that’s right. Americans elected a totally inexperienced president to lead us out of a global financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats from Russia, North Korea, and Iran - not to mention continuous flare-ups between Israel and Palestine.
You remember the excuses for this insanity given by Mr. Obama’s infatuated supporters:
- Dick Cheney had a lot of experience and look where that got us.
By that logic, no operation in either the government or private sector should hereafter review an applicant’s resume before hiring him or her. The only qualification required would be a charismatic personality that promises to bring people together, e.g., congressional Democrats and Republicans who voted on the stimulus package.
- Obama’s background is similar to Abraham Lincoln’s; therefore, Obama must be a genius with similar leadership skills.
Need I even address that one?
Friedman continues to express his concerns about the financial crisis:
I hope my fears are exaggerated. But ask yourself this: Why couldn’t former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson solve this problem? And why does it seem as though his successor, Tim Geithner, won’t even look us in the eye and spell out his strategy? Is it because they don’t get it? No. It is because they know — like Roy Scheider in the movie “Jaws,” when he first saw the great white shark — that “we’re gonna need a bigger boat,” and they’re too afraid to tell us just how big.
Friedman summarizes the Obama team’s approach:
At the moment, the Obama team seems to prefer a gradual attempt to nurse these sick banks back to health with repeated blood transfusions — $30 billion more to A.I.G. today, another $40 billion to Citigroup tomorrow. And Lord only knows how much Bank of America will need after its weekend fling with Merrill Lynch has left it with Toxic Asset Disease. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury seem to be trying to give these banks enough capital to survive the next two years, as they de-leverage and de-risk their portfolios — and then hope for the best.
Our Twin Cities born columnist concludes:
For now, though, the banks still threaten to consume the Obama presidency. Indeed, I’m sorry to report that if you just type two letters into Google — “b-a” — the first thing that comes up is not Barack Obama. It’s “Bank of America.” Barack Obama is third.
Like I said above, Friedman’s got too much “Minnesota Nice” to speak the blunt truth: America elected an amateur to do a professional’s job.