Liz Gilbert said of Italy, "In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, only artistic excellence is incorruptible." I have pondered her insight for weeks. I keep asking myself the essential question. Is the US headed the way of Italy?
After two years of governing a country locked in economic misery, you'd hope that Obama and his economic team would've learned that what matters isn't the economic team's resume or what "signals are sent" to Wall Street.
Questionable behavior became commonplace in innumerable corners of the financial industry over the past 20 years. And at key moments, it was an outsider like Elizabeth Warren who had the common-sense perspective to cry foul.
During his tenure as Obama's top economic adviser, Summers has continued the Bush policy of throwing money at Wall Street without getting anything in return by way of a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures.
Given Obama's hemming and hawing about appointing Warren, it's not far-fetched to think that history could repeat itself. Another woman trying to break the old guard's economic chokehold could be shown the door.
President Obama gained credibility through sacking Gen. Stanley McChrystal for making untoward remarks. Why not sack Summers and Geithner for untoward policies that have inflicted such misery on the general public?
"Financial Reform" will be a boom for people in the payday loan business. There will be many new customers who need bank-like services. It's almost like Congress implemented a plan of "Reverse Robin Hood."
Opposing extending unemployment benefits will do nothing to put people back to work. What it will do is create a more difficult situation for thousands of families hit hardest by the economic crisis and cut off a powerful channel for spurring economic growth.
My city feels like a crime scene, and the criminals are fleeing the scene. I'm not talking about the kids who burned cop cars on Saturday. I'm talking about the heads of state who smashed social safety nets and burned good jobs.