Obama’s First Failure

I am mostly a fan of Fareed Zarkaria, a foreign-affairs oriented journalist with his own show on CNN and columns in Newsweek. He’s also written a new book, The Post-American World, which I have not read.  While I don’t agree with him all of the time, I do find him insightful once you discount some of his left-leaning bias (which I share).

Why do I say liberal bias?  A few weeks ago, he uttered a line that literally made me spit my juice at the TV.  Zakaria implored viewers not to worry about the economic crisis because GOVERNMENTS ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN MARKETS AND GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD ARE THROWING EVERYTHING AT THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CRISIS. Hence, no need to worry.  Normally, such a glaringly idiotic statement would lead me to write off the pundit altogether but I am inclined to give Zakaria the benefit of the doubt and conclude that, like John McCain, the economy is not his strong suit and both men should stick to politics.

Since Obama’s election, the markets have been in a near non-stop nosedive.  I doubt the market has such coherence as to punish Obama for his views toward taxes, which have been well-known for some time now.  But people were pushing for Obama to take the economic crisis seriously and probably the strongest message he could have sent was quickly picking a respectable Treasury Secretary.

Some of the names mentioned are well-known figures like Lawrence Summers, Tim Geitner and dark horses like Paul Volcker and Warren Buffett; seemingly, vetting these public figures would not take long. Apparently, Obama would rather take his sweet time, what he calls “deliberate haste.”  Unlike much of the world, the markets do not make time for him.  Perhaps Obama, like Zakaria, thinks that the government(s) have the ability to conquer markets and if so, his education will be quick and harsh while his presidency will be nasty, brutish and short.

Secretary Paulson has been noted as not wanting to implement programs that would only be reversed by his successor, as he views it as extremely wasteful.  Paulson is on my TV now talking about the modified TARP program and his appointed successor should have been on-stage with him.

Message to President-elect Obama:  the time for preening is over.  The campaign is completed and now is the time for action, not Jan 2009.  As markets drift down toward October’s low, Obama and his handlers should consider that markets act as much on sentiment as fundamentals.  Support levels, once broken, become resistance. Confidence, once shattered, is extremely difficult to regain and President-elect Obama, by his silence, is squandering whatever goodwill was garnered with his election, presumably because “we only have one President at a time.”

It’s only the sequel to the Great Depression — people will forgive Obama for taking assertive action.  They will not forgive him for considering his image before country.

5 Responses to “Obama’s First Failure”

  1. Trig Palin Says:

    Paulson is a criminal and needs to be prosecuted by the next administration.

  2. The Enlightened American » O Barack, Where Art Thou? Says:

    [...] Obama’s First Failure [...]

  3. the new guy Says:

    Have you ever being put in a positon where you are replacing a person in an important position and the change will not take place for a few weeks or months? You see a lot of opportunities but have no authority to change things, or to influence change during those few weeks or months.
    Should you not be critizising the new president after he is in office and has the authority to make changes?

  4. Davy Bui Says:

    I think events bear out my criticism. You’ll notice that he did not make any announcements regarding his economic team until the day after the markets breached the October lows. He announced Tim Geithner and markets jump 500-600 points or whatever and eventually rebound 20% or so after he announces Summers, Volcker et al.

    Obviously, he did have the influence to affect psychology. Best to have done this before the markets breached the Oct lows and preserved some suspense about those lows. Perhaps he would have only been postponing the inevitable but in markets where psychology rules above all else, preventing the breach could have been useful.

    As they say, a day late and a (trillion) dollar(s) short.

  5. The Enlightened American » CNBC’s Propoganda Says:

    [...] supported Obama during the election but regular readers may recall that I haven’t had a nice thing to say about him since. His actions since he’s taken [...]

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