What the Obama Administration and the nation need to get on the right track in economic policy was on display on Friday night in the guest lineup on Real Time with Bill Maher.
The signal fault -- politically as well as economically -- of the Obama Administration so far has been the President's failure to make a clean break with the crew of Wall Street pirates who sank the economy while making off with all the loot themselves.
The time is overdue for Mr. Obama to sack the gold men with ties to Goldman Sachs and replace them with people who will bring honesty and fairness to the nation's financial "services" sector.
President Obama needs to reprise Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1936 campaign, in which he warned of the dangers of "organized money," "business and financial monopoly, speculation, [and] reckless banking."
A good start would be to replace Larry Summers and Tim Geithner with two of Bill Maher's guests on the opening show of his new season: Elizabeth Warren and Eliot Spitzer. No one else in American public life over the past year has shown as clear an understanding of the causes of and solutions for the economic crisis as have Warren and Spitzer.
Sure, a Senate confirmation hearing for Spitzer as Treasury Secretary would be a circus, but the vote would make clear to the American people whether their senators are more concerned about past sexual misdeeds or current financial misdeeds. One would hope that the public cares a lot more about stopping the sale of the American people to "service," without their consent, the financial interests than about an individual's history of having been a paying customer of people who sell their services.
Historian Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College. A 25th anniversary edition of his classic book, The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941, with a comprehensive new introduction comparing circumstances then and now, has just been published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.
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