March 12, 2009

Beware the "neo-bams"

Opportunity in crisis; a noble sentiment meant to restore confidence and a belief in American exceptionalism? Not so much. I highly recommend "The Future of Capitalism" multimedia series at www.FT.com. It's a distinctly European view of the crisis - with European-style social(ist) solutions - but substantive none-the-less.Chrystia Freeland's piece on the opportunity progressive Democrats see in all that's happening is a must-read. It's a theme more and more commentators are taking up. President Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton have all said the downturn affords them an opening to push through agenda items that otherwise wouldn't have a chance in hell. Hypocritical to say the least. President Bush's supposed exploitation of 9/11 had political opponents red-faced with rage. All in the name of a neo-con plot to trample our civil rights and invade sovereign nations for oil. I can't say I ever had jack-booted thugs break in my door. But I am seeing much more tangible and direct effects of the current President's plans reflected in my 401(k) statements, and in the market's daily wrap-up.

I caught heat last week for saying Obama's already failed, he just doesn't know it yet. Many readers rightly asked how I could be so confident (arrogant) just 50 days in. The president's "all-in" strategy of TARP II combined with the budget he just signed made it easy. He's taking on health care, energy and public education; none of which got us into this situation, but which he now claims must be fixed in order to get us out. David Gergen rightly notes that just one of these initiatives is large enough to derail a presidency, as health care almost did Bill Clinton. Trying all three during a historic bear market? Good luck. The President's focus is straying from what should be his utmost priority, fixing the economy. If his "opportunity" includes sacrificing baby boomer retirement by slowing the ability to re-accumulate assets in exchange for his longer-term progressive policy initiatives, then like Limbaugh, I hope he fails.


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