Obama’s To-Do List: Fix Economy First or Do Everything Obama’s Way?

As for what policies I’d drop from the to-do list because of the crisis, at this point I’d have to say all of them. For years, I’ve been reading alarmed commentators like Martin Wolf of The Financial Times and thinking them a bit on the outer edge of pessimistic thought. Now I am not so sure. Now I think this economic crisis could be like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Big-name economists are talking seriously about another depression.

In that context, I don’t think we can do anything but fixate on this. That is, I think the president should spend 50 percent of his time on the banking crisis, 25 percent of his time on getting our allies to coordinate with a global stimulus package and 25 percent of his time beginning work on a second round of stimulus. He’s taking his eye off the ball if he spends hours every day working on health care, education and energy. Worse, he adds uncertainty into the market.

If by summer the crisis has passed, then he should go back to the long-term stuff. But the world is too uncertain just now. If the economy collapses, history will judge him very harshly for having a budget process that is on an entirely separate track from his crisis-response process.

By David Brooks:
http://theconversation.blogs.nyti
mes.com/2009/03/11/obamas-t
o-do-list/

*******************
Gail Collins:

Remember when the early Clinton administration got trapped by its own little economic crisis and James Carville grouched that if there was reincarnation, he wanted to be reborn as the bond market because then “you can intimidate everybody”?

I think I want to come back as a moderate Republican. A club so exclusive it could hold a meeting in a Capitol elevator. But these days, nothing moves unless they’re happy. Stimulus packages hang on two senators from one of the most underpopulated states in the nation {Maine].

By Gail Collins, The New York Times:
http://theconversation.blogs.nyti
mes.com/2009/03/11/obamas-to
-do-list/

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