George Washington’s Blog | Saturday, March 21, 2009
Nobel economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz slammed Obama’s economic policy this week.
At every stage, Geithner et al have made it clear that they still have faith in the people who created the financial crisis — that they believe that all we have is a liquidity crisis that can be undone with a bit of financial engineering, that “governments do a bad job of running banks” (as opposed, presumably, to the wonderful job the private bankers have done), that financial bailouts and guarantees should come with no strings attached.
This was bad analysis, bad policy, and terrible politics. This administration, elected on the promise of change, has already managed, in an astonishingly short time, to create the impression that it’s owned by the wheeler-dealers.
Stiglitz said the Obama administration has failed to address the structural and regulatory flaws at the heart of the financial crisis that stand in the way of economic recovery and that Obama has confused saving the bankers and saving the banks. He also said:
We got cheated, to put it bluntly. What we don’t know is that—whether we will continue to get cheated. And that’s really at the core of much of what we’re talking about. Are we going to continue to get cheated?…
Do American taxpayers want to be bailing out institutions abroad? That’s a question we ought to be debating….
The fact that there was so much campaign contributions from the financial sector at least raises the concern [that the Obama administration is throwing money at the bankers because of their campaign contributions].
And Nobel economist Myron Scholes has slammed the business-as-usual approach of the Obama administration to credit default swaps:
The “solution is really to blow up or burn the OTC market, the CDSs and swaps and structured products, and let us start over,” he said, referring to credit-default swaps and other complex securities that are traded off exchanges. “One way to do that, through the auspices of regulators or the banking commissioners, is to try to close all contracts at mid-market prices.”