I’ll start by saying that George W. Bush‘s last 4 years were atrocious too and that at least half of this mess was caused by the GOP to begin with. Partisans can feel free to stay the hell off my site and let me get a few common sense points across.
TRB isn’t a political blog, but unfortunately, issues number 1,2 and 3 in this country are Jobs, Wall Street Reform and then the Economy. Therefore, I will take a moment to help clear up a few things for the young administration so that we can move the recovery into the 2nd inning.
Barack, I didn’t vote for you because I am not an organized labor beneficiary or a dopey college kid.
But I think you really do care about fixing this country and I’m rooting for you to succeed, so below are a few thoughts from a pragmatist who makes his living based on his own efforts and has spent the past year documenting every single twist and turn of this farce you call a recovery.
You can save your presidency thusly:
1. Stay off TV unless you have something to say. Town Hall meetings are for campaigning, not for a sitting president to surround himself with grinning, starstruck idiots who ask pre-approved questions about nothing. Stop acting like a clown who appears on television on command and for hours at a time – you’re the POTUS! Regain your dignity and add a bit of gravitas to your appearances and they will again start to mean something.
2. Volcker must be reinstalled as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Yesterday. He’s the guy for the job, you are lucky to have access to him. I’m telling you, beg him if need be. Trust me, Barack.
3. Please get Buffett or Professor Shilling or someone to explain to you the difference between securitization and trading. One almost blew up the world, the other provides the liquidity to save it. Every time you open your mouth about punishing traders or taxing traders or restricting traders you sound like a complete neophyte with a dyslexic understanding of what went wrong or how finance works to begin with. Brush up on this stuff, the finance sector is far from monolithic.
4. Quick rule of thumb for your inevitable second stimulus plan: Education, Health Care and Infrastructure have nothing to do with stimulus whatsoever. You can try to stretch and twist and talk about people being put back to work on these Utopian projects but it’s a lie. Stimulus means getting people to spend money right this second. Now. Not in 3 years when construction begins on a monorail or when they graduate from ITT. Stimulus is not restructuring or reeducating the workforce, it is getting people to buy and do things they are putting off due to lack of funds today.
5. Stop talking about small business plans and just cut taxes already. For half of what has already been wasted, you could’ve given the millions of small business owners in this country a 2 year tax holiday which would have allowed for job retention and creation, business expansion, greater velocity of spending and an affirmation of the fact that capitalism is not the past but the future. Don’t talk about it, be about it. The government has hired enough people, now let us take over.
6. The Volcker Rule stunt was retarded. Yes, we know you needed to take another public whack at the ol’ Fat Cat Pinata after your humiliation in Massachusetts, but you have to have a fully-formed set of directives before you scare the hell out of Wall Street like that. In many ways, uncertainty is worse than bad news, as it cannot be fully discounted. We have no idea what the hell this law will do or whom it will affect. The stock market’s rally last year is pretty much the only bright spot in the nation, don’t screw that up with amateurish proclamations also.
That’s enough for you to digest for now. I talk to hundreds of business owners, executives and thoughtful, caring Americans every single week. Heed these items and you will make an immediate comeback, I promise.
Hopefully my blog will make its way onto Rahm’s approved reading list so that you can see this.
Joshua M Brown
New York City
January 22nd 2010