November 24, 2008 [LINK / comment]
With nearly two months to go before his inauguration, President-elect Obama made his first live television address to the nation today, formally announcing his economic nominees and laying out his plans to rescue the economy. The nomination of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary was leaked prematurely on Friday, we now know. As of today, it's official. Larry Summers (the Treasury Secretary during the last year of the Clinton administration) will be chief of the National Economic Council, and Christina Romer will be the chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Romer is an economics professor at Berkeley, specializing in the Great Depression. See CNN.com. [These high-profile public appearances] may seem presumptuous of Obama, but the financial markets have already "discounted" the Bush administration, and Obama's words carry more weight than those of the sitting president right now.
In his address, Obama was vague on exactly what steps he would take or what his guiding philosophy would be. He did make one thing very clear, however: His economic stimulus package will lead to an even greater Federal budget deficit, which has already soared under the "conservative" Bush administration. Since neither party takes fiscal discipline seriously right now, why not "go for it"? Just as AIG, CitiBank, and perhaps GM are "too big to fail," we can safely assume that creditor nations such as Communist China (!) will bail us out by lending money when it's needed. Right?
Here's an idea on how to help the economy: Abolish the National Economic Council! It was created by President Clinton as a way to highlight the importance of economic issues in his government, that is, making it on par with the National Security Council. No one can really explain what it does any differently than the Council of Economic Advisers, so why waste taxpayers' money by duplicating those functions?
With all the talk about religious extremists in the Middle East (and the Republican Party), it's nice to get an offbeat, satiric perspective on things. Take a look at The Onion; hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.