One rat staying on the sinking ship
With the announced resignation of White House economic advisor Larry Summers, three of the four legs of Obama’s economic stool (double-entendre most certainly intended) are now gone. With the departure of Summers, preceded by Peter Orszag and Christina Romer, the only rat not yet fleeing the sinking ship is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the tax cheat in charge of our nation’s money and taxes.
The left is making noises about being pleased that Summers is leaving, causing one to wonder whether Obama will choose a member of his Marxist echo chamber to give him the sort of advice that even the notoriously socialist Swedish are now moving consistently away from.
How much could Obama learn from the current (and likely to be continuing) Swedish Prime Minister with some economic-electoral history like this (from article above)?:
Reinfeldt and his Alliance ended Social Democratic hegemony four years ago on a platform of lower taxation and trimmed welfare benefits After winning the chancellery, his coalition struck a blow against the traditionally powerful trade unions by eliminating the income tax deduction of membership dues. Members left in droves.
He then lowered personal income taxation and eliminated the inheritance tax while also cutting unemployment benefits…
The Alliance also succeeded in carrying out a wave of privatizations, selling off the state’s shares in a number of companies, including Vin & Sprit, the makers of the famed Absolut vodka brand. The state pharmacy monopoly ended as well. And the management of a number of schools, old age homes and daycare centres was picked up by private interests.
In addition, tax breaks were extended to middle class homeowners choosing to renovate, and a tax incentive system was introduced to encourage the hiring of home help.
Wow, these are the Swedish! While here in the “capitalist” US, we have Obama fighting hard to raise taxes, reinstate the inheritance tax, buoy union membership at the expense of basic justice (by trying to eliminate the secret ballot), and causing the government to take massive stakes in banks, auto companies, and insurers while attacking small business with the economic blunderbuss of ObamaCare.
Summers and Romer, while too far left, are nevertheless real economists who have some sense of the way the world really works. Orszag is barely better than a political hack, but it’s not really his fault as he was taught at Princeton by ivory tower liberal academics, including the increasingly incoherent Joseph Stiglitz. (Orszag and Stiglitz wrote a paper in 2002 about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which offered this stunning bit of analysis: “…on the basis of historical experience, the risk to the government from a potential default on GSE debt is effectively zero.")
Last-rat-standing Tim Geithner is about as worthless as a political functionary can be. He’s never had a private sector job and understands shockingly little about how the economy and capitalism work; at least that’s the only conclusion I can reach by his redistributionist rhetoric which, even though his boss supports it, is worse than any of the already departed rats. As befits a man who’s never had a private sector job, Geithner was and is the least competent senior member of Obama’s economic team. He can’t operate TurboTax, can’t keep the government from giving out tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to pay bonuses called for in private contracts while apparently trying to hide that information from the public.
How typical for the Obama Administration to be left with the least competent advisor. The smart ones have been smart enough to leave before they can be tagged as the people who were the real puppet-masters behind Obama’s disastrous socialist/fascist economic approach. Obama is wearing it now. The only good news for Obama is that he can try to blame Geithner. Given Geithner’s weak position, made much weaker by the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the dictator of the economic Nanny State, my prediction is that persistently high unemployment will lead Obama to throw Geithner under the bus, offering him blame and a pink slip by the end of 2011. Or, if Geithner feels that coming, he’ll resign before it does – the last rat off the sinking ship. Given his resume, even if full of incompetence, Geithner can certainly get a high-paying private sector job as a glorified lobbyist now (except perhaps at a tax software company as his incompetence is clearly too much for such a taxing job.) Getting out of “public service” would be the greatest possible service Tim Geither could offer the public.
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