Someone to talk to.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading today that three more members of President Obama’s economic team are being nominated to their posts. David S. Cohen is being nominated for the position of assistant Treasury secretary, terrorist financing; Alan Krueger for the position of assistant Treasury secretary, economic policy; and finally Kim Wallace has been nominated to serve as assistant Treasury secretary, legislative affairs. Interestingly enough, these three nominations (requiring Senate approval) come right after two other nominees withdrew their names from consideration.

One must wonder just how good a job the President’s economic team can possibly do when most of its members have yet to be nominated. The stimulus and the budget have to be enacted by someone. We aren’t all expecting Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to do all the work themselves are we? The problem is that all the someones who aren’t Geithner and Summers aren’t in place yet. What exactly was the transition team doing from November to January? (Did they go to Hawaii with the President-Elect?) It isn’t like they didn’t know there was an economic crisis going on. Indeed, it seems as though lots of lip service was paid to the economic crisis being job one for the new administration but little was done to make sure that all the cogs in the bureaucratic wheels were greased and ready to get the engine running.

In normal circumstances one might be willing to give the new administration a pass on having all these under secretaries and assistant secretaries ready to go. But as the administration is fond of pointing out we’re not in normal circumstances. Indeed, just last week the President’s Chief of Staff was boasting about how one has to make the most of a crisis to push through legislation that you wouldn’t usually get through. If this is such a big crisis, we can’t give the President a pass on the economic team. Sure we can still give the Administration a pass on not having nominated a assistant Secretary of Education for eraser clapping and whiteboard cleaning; but not having a Deputy Treasury Secretary for Domestic Finance is more than a little troubling.

What makes the dearth of deputy, assistant, and under-secretaries of the Treasury very disturbing for your Maximum Leader is the date of April 2.

What is going on on April 2? The G20 Summit in London that’s what. On April 2 all the leaders of all the nations that move the world economy are going to go to London to finalize agreements on what the hell we’re all gonna do about the world economy. Notice that all these agreements and understandings and communiques are going to be finalized during the summit that begins on April 2. The summit isn’t where these agreements, understandings and communiques are going to be negotiated. When the big-wigs get together it is all “Howdy, how ya doin’?” and “Hail Fellow well met.” There is some spit and polish on the final language. There is some “i” dotting and “t” crossing. But all the substance of those agreements, understandings and communiques are being worked out right now.

Yup. Junior Finance Ministers, Assistant Exchequer officials and assistant secretaries of the Treasury are meeting on the phone, in London, around Europe - whereever really trying to hash out a global approach to the greatest economic crisis to have hit the world in over 20 years (and possibly since the Great Depression - although your Maximum Leader still thinks we haven’t gotten as bad as 1982 yet… Yet…). The Brits are working overtime to make sure the summit is successful. Heck… They are inviting business leaders from around the world to help prepare for the summit.

Have you started to wonder what your Maximum Leader is wondering? He is wondering just whom exactly is voicing the position of the United States in all these run-up-to-the-main-event-events?

Let us assume that Mysty Helmgruber, the perky intern from California who worked ’round-the-clock in Eureka to insure Barack Obama got elected, is not sitting down across from the South Korean Deputy Finance Minister for Banking attempting to articulate the President’s plan for stabilizing the global credit market. Who is sitting at that table articulating the plan? (Assuming there is a plan for stabilizing the global credit market. Color your Maximum Leader doubtful on that count.)

If there are US negotiators (and your Maximum Leader earnestly hopes that there are) then they are likely very senior-level career bureaucrats. While these people are likely very knowledgeable in their fields, they are not policy makers. If they aren’t policy makers then what bloody good is their input going to be? Nothing they say will carry an weight whatsoever because they aren’t (as George W. Bush put it) “the deciders.” They are the “carry-outers.”

So in the face of a deep and worsening economic crisis the United States of America finds itself with little or no voice in the largest gathering of nations that might actually be in a position to do something useful.

Your Maximum Leader is feeling very hopey-changey right now.

Carry on.

2 Comments »
Mrs. Peperium said:

Per Obama’s transitional economic team: Gov. Jennifer Granholm was on it. It was said she got the nod because of her good relationship with the UAW. Obama himself on election day was placing get-out-the-vote phone calls at UAW headquarters in Indianapolis.

Granholm is not a serious economic person. Look at what how well she has handled Michigan’s economic crisis/recession (we’re in year 6 now) and you will see that it is not too far off from how the Obama Administration is handling the crisis the entire country is now experiencing. The metro Detroit area has unemployment as 11.2%. And we’ve yet to realize the latest rounds (3,400 white collar-forgotten blue collar number)) of announced lay-offs from GM. Granholm has been on the radio over the weekend saying she is against GM going bankrupt…because of the Union contracts…it doesn’t matter to her the company doesn’t function and to keep going will require billions of taxpayers $.

It doesn’t matter to her that more than 50 thousand people have left Michigan while she’s been governor. No what matters to her is that Michael Moore has purchased an empty GM lot/plant/thingummy and is making it a movie studio. Granholm claims this studio which Moore says will employ 3000 people full-time is part of Michigan’s turn around plan. A movie studio in a Union run town. This means, economically is will cost the same to shoot in Detroit as L.A. Tell me, if you’ve got a movie to shoot, and your choices are L.A or Detroit….where are you going to shoot it?

What I do enjoy though is how this venture is going to make or break Moore as a business man. He’s going to have to become an healthcare provider (and he likes the Cuba model), he’s going to have to carry a huge insurance policy to protect himself, his assets, and the studio plus he’s going to have to go out and get new business to come to a town regularly if he wants to keep this venture actually a going concern. A town that is not known for the perks L.A,. has as far a warm climate, great hotels, restaurants, not to mention the reality a very small pool of local acting, voice, musical, editing etal talent.

Oh, and the local car companies will not be the help to Moore’s venture they once could have been as they’ve slashed their ad budgets by about 75% since Michael Moore rose to the national scene with his hit piece, I mean, Oscar-winning documentary, Roger & Me. That Oscar-winning documentary helped to turn the minds of the American people against the Americans car companies plus gave the UAW 20 more years to beat up on the evil executives in the Front Office without having to retool their own business model/thug practices to the fact GM etal were in the business, in the first place, to make cars at a profit.



WitNit said:

ML, the wife and I are going to Italy again for the entire month of May.

Milan, Como (9 days), Venice (3 days), Tuscany, Rome (8 days).

Need a pic?



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