Friday, February 13, 2009

Bonobo on Obama

below i have copied an interesting take on Obama and the banking crisis. by the way, have you read george soros' sobering piece on the huffington post? it really makes me think "depression." and it also makes me think Obama has too many wall street old timers around him to think boldly.

"Obama is the wrong man at the right time.

This is the right time for direct government intervention. People have lost confidence in market mechanisms, and, once burned, are twice shy about returning their money to the old system. They will only reinvest (in significant numbers) in something that is clearly distinct, such as a central bank making direct loans.

Obama is the wrong man because, for both personal and philosophical reasons, he is a devoted incrementalist. As a black man raised in a foreign land, he is the quintessential Outsider, and he is very conscious of it. Thus he surrounds himself with Insiders, and is very cautious about sudden moves that might spook old folks. This is reinforced by his observation of the failures of Radical Change during the Bush years, and, like many others, has concluded that Radical Change itself (rather than the type and execution) was at fault.

He models himself on Lincoln, forgetting that Lincoln"s first years were failures, in great part because he was trying not to depart too drastically from the old system. Obama may come to the same personal evolution that Lincoln eventually did, but if he is as slow about it, the intervening years may be similarly painful for the rest of the country.

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