They ran such a supremely pragmatic and logical campaign that the way the administration is now handling this banking crisis continues to baffle. While they have touted a new era of openness -- literally opening the doors of the White House to the public on the day of the inauguration -- they suddenly clam up when a dream team of the most-respected economists in the nation point out glaring and seemingly avoidable flaws in their bank rescue package.
The campaign bragged that it was winning the White House from the bottom up, from the people to Washington. Why now espouse a plan to rescue our economy from the oligarchs on down? From hedge funds and private equity to the rest of us?
Even if you thought it might work (or might be the only thing Congress would approve so you pre-compromised with yourself), it makes little political sense. If the outside experts are right and the plan turns out to be too complicated, opaque and indirect to get money moving again the failure will sink the chances of passing ambitious social packages like health care reform.
However if it does work then Summers' $5.2 million pay day for working one day a week last year will look like lunch money compared to the tax-payer supported profits Wall Street will devour for managing the toxic assets.
And we regular folks are gonna be mightily pissed.
An idea that would mitigate the coming popular rage was floated by Ronald O'Hanley in the Times last week. A Wall Street insider himself his idea was to let we, the rabble, buy in on the toxic assets. Like War Bond during WWII the rest of us could both help our nation out of this rut and maybe make enough profit to start spending again (I personally have my eye on a WaveRunner once this Recession ends). Even if we didn't get in on the plan ourselves, knowing that we could have will blunt our anger at the barons who did.
David Axelrod is a brilliant tactician He must know better. He needs to jump up and down on some desks until they fix this leak in the most-promising ship of state this nation has seen since Kennedy's.