Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The last person I want to see in Washington at this time John McCain. We already have more economic stupidity than we can handle.

He has not been on the Senate Finance Committee. He is not now a member of that committee. His colleagues do not accord him a position indicating their trust of his expertise in economics. Why then does he claim his particular services are so desperately needed to solve the financial crisis that he can blow off a debate that until quite recently he was demanding? The posturing old fart has been clumsily trying to sow doubts about whether Obama is ready to lead and yet, McCain signals loud and clear he is not even ready to debate. As Josh Marshall and a few other veterans of unblinkered commentary point out, all McCain can add to the proceedings is politicizing at a moment when political polarizing would be most damaging.

The guru of deregulation of the financial markets, a man often cited as a key architect of the financial environment in which commodity speculators can double the price of oil in a year or top-10 investment banks can basically write their own rules about how secure their "securities" need to Phil Gramm. Gramm is the architect of legislation that has enabled the explosion of government debt since the Reagan administration. This is the man that John McCain relies on for explanations and advice on all matters economic. And McCain's campaign refuse to deny that Gramm would be appointed Secretary of the Treasury if McCain should win the election. Now is that the kind of proven incompetence we need meddling with this supposedly dire crisis? Wasn't this guy saying the fundamentals of the economy were sound just two or three weeks ago? Has he got a f__king clue?

You want clues? What source do you trust for opinions about financial probity and acumen?
The Wall Street Journal says that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street."... [and that is George Will quoting WSJ...who are McCain's friends if these are his detractors?]
Every writer the Asia Times cares to publish regarding US finances sees no value in the programs McCain flips back and forth on but Muhammad Cohen is particularly blunt in saying so. Askari and Krichene think Paulson and Bernanke overstate the trouble in the credit supply. Martin Hutchinson gives a history lesson showing the long term confidence erosion that accreted from short term bailouts...and warns us beware of "financially illiterate" presidents. Hutchinson has been keeping track of all the bailouts: Bernanke is 0 for 5 at this point. Kevin Phillips, the very valuable apostate Republican now churning out book after debunking book about Republican embraces of errant politics, has an even longer list than Hutchinson. In the International Herald Tribune, Sorkin provides a thorough and informative criticism of Paulson's wildly deficient plan.

Robert Reich on the other hand shows how Paulson and Bernanke have understated the problem by omitting other bad debt on the banks books that will get its turn to swell as foreclosures have: they are low-balling us.

Which deregulation did the damage? What institutions should come firmly under control and scrutiny of the government and tax payers who are asked to make up for their shoddy version of due diligence in lending? Here is a clue from Time writer Justin Fox that its not the "usual suspects" whose names now stream across across the bottom of your CNN news shows. I found the Fox article linked by Brad DeLong who backs the article with an interesting chart showing just who poured bad loans into the magic washing machine of derivative debt instruments and when.

As you can see, there is much to know, lots to learn before one could claim any useful expertise: I was looking forward to the debate as a way to hear what cogent solution McCain has and how he can make clear to voters what that crowd of published experts have not...I have not linked even 1% of the news and opinion on the emergency that Mr Bernake and Mr Paulson just discovered. Since the functional members of congress have by now largely completed the negotiations and since his colleagues don't rank him a great resource in their work on the economy wouldn't it have been smarter for McCain to use the pulpit he already had waiting in tomorrow's scheduled debate? From there, he could lay out his impressive and persuasive and powerfully informed and reasoned plans...that would surely persuade voters to call their representatives and demand the "McCain plan".

Let me put aside my sarcasm and just wonder: what will the world think of us if we elect this disaster of a man to run our country?

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