Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vote for the smart banker, Obama, not the dumb banker, McCain

Let's see now. Lehman Bros. is imploding, Merrill Lynch just dropped itself on Bank of America's doorstep and AIG is teetering toward collapse.

Back in 1999, my anger at Clinton further deepened when he gleefully signed the Republican-sponsored bill (led by then Republican Senator Phil Gramm, who remains a prominent adviser to McCain) that repealed most of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and de-regulated the banking and financial industries. I thought at the time, no way, this is crazy. Have we learned nothing from the 1920s? (See my earlier post regarding the Vanity Fair article concerning the collapse of Bear Stearns). When the tech bubble busted a year or so later, in late 2000, I worried the nation might go into a deep recession, but the land bubble was inflated with the help of the odious Alan Greenspan, which simply put off the run on financial institutions that had lent money to so many failed dot coms.

I then thought the land bubble would bust by 2003. I was obviously off by three years, but bust it has. And now, these major financial institutions are drowning at a time when our current president has no understanding regarding nation building or nation sustaining--unlike FDR or even TR, and certainly not Alexander Hamilton, who each instinctively understood how to build or rebuild institutions and nations.

My only hope is that Obama finds his inner FDR if he can become president--even with his Chicago School of capitalist advisers, Clinton's top financial mind, Robert Rubin* and Reagan's monetarist, Paul Volcker. It is also well known that Warren Buffett, who I deeply admire, is supporting Obama, too.

David Brooks, the conservative NY Times columnist recently admitted, "the Republicans are intellectually unfit to govern right now..." And, as I have said before, anyone who thinks Obama is a left wing radical is simply deluded. Still, I pray Obama defeats McCain and finds his inner FDR...

* Rubin is a prominent member of the Brookings Institution's The Hamilton Project, which means he at least understands there is a need for our government to help restructure our economy to compete with a unified western Europe, China, India and a still functioning Japan.

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