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It's dictatorship if you use violence to impose your will. That's certainly one option, but it's not a very Western one.

And there's no reason why you can't impose your will for the benefit of the weak and disenfranchised. Chavez is a bruiser and an unsavoury character, but this seems to be an interest of his, at least in part.

As for finance - of course finance is more politically successful than the electorate, precisely because the corporates and Wall St have been able to force their will on everyone else, in spite of popular sentiment.

Obama could have changed this. It would have taken immense courage, but he could potentially have enacted provisions that would either have neutered Wall St, or - more subtly and most likely more effectively - moved the focus back to small business and direct community/government funding relationships, bypassing Wall St altogether, and then delivering a knock-out once the industry was marginalised.

Obama could have left Goldman Sachs to rot, and put the TARP money directly into the economy, or into smaller banks. It would have been dramatic, messy, risky and challenging, but it wouldn't have been impossible - even with a paid-for legislature.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 08:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TGB
Obama could have changed this. It would have taken immense courage, but he could potentially have enacted provisions that would either have neutered Wall St, or - more subtly and most likely more effectively - moved the focus back to small business and direct community/government funding relationships, bypassing Wall St altogether, and then delivering a knock-out once the industry was marginalised.

Obama could have left Goldman Sachs to rot, and put the TARP money directly into the economy, or into smaller banks. It would have been dramatic, messy, risky and challenging, but it wouldn't have been impossible - even with a paid-for legislature.


EXACTLY! Had he started on Jan 21 and moved vigorously I doubt that the Dow would have dropped more than another thou below its March lows but GS, JPM, Citi, WF, BofA, AIG would be dismembered and the hit would have been to those who caused the mess, including foreign banks and the governments who indulged them by allowing CDSs on junk to suffice for reserve capital. Valuations of "assets" would have been marked to some believable reality, unpayable debt would have been written down and the basis for a real recovery would  be in place by now, whereas what we have now is a bogus recovery courtesy of the Fed, the Treasury and the regulators and the manipulation of markets by the TBTFs. It is great for the executives of the TBTFs but a disaster for everyone else.

Had Obama slaughtered the TBTFs he would be a folk hero of mythic porportions, would almost be assured increased majorities in the House and Senate and re-election in '12. By defending the status quo he is sinking in quicksand. He might not be looking to further his career, but he damn well better be concerned with his position in history. His only real accomplishments to date are to be the first black president, to insure the survival of a predatory financial sector for another year and to push through a revision of health care that is so flawed that it may further damage the economy.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 11:14:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't think that Obama had control of the levers of power in a way that enabled him to take such radical action so precipitately.

And I hate to say this, ARG, but at best it would just have kicked the can down the road. It may have cut the debt burden, but it would have done nothing to redistribute wealth (ie productive assets) and nothing to make the population more creditworthy. The system is terminally fucked IMHO whichever way you look at it. Nothing deficit-based works in the medium and long term.

What we will shortly see is that all of the remedies prescribed by these voodoo economists fail. And they must be seen to fail. No-one may be able to say to Obama - as they would do when the action that you recommend fails, too - that it's because voodoo economics was not tried.

I think that in the next few months we will definitively see the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one.

This will be Obama's challenge, and opportunity.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 02:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...I really don't think that Obama had control of the levers of power in a way that enabled him to take such radical action so precipitately.

And I hate to say this, ARG, but at best it would just have kicked the can down the road. It may have cut the debt burden, but it would have done nothing to redistribute wealth...


The Secretary of the Treasury is his appointee and, had he chosen a better one, things could have gone differently. He might not have accomplished wealth redistribution FROM financial elites, but he could have stopped pointless continuing wealth distribution TO these same elites and he could have demanded that they cease all lobbying and provide massive returns to the public if they survive.

How much could have been done may be open to argument. That he did NOTHING to reform the system during the biggest crisis in 80 years is not open to argument.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 05:00:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All Obama HAS done is to kick the can down the road and undermine his own legitimacy. Bush would have had no problem seizing the authority do do what ever he wanted but he was clueless and chose to let Paulson do whatever he wanted in the interest of GS.

I think that in the next few months we will definitively see the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one.

I too am anticipating another big down leg.  The current situation is so unstable it is almost certain to blow. If Obama then steps up and does the right thing, I will be happy to applaud him at that time. But I expect that he will only take the minimum actions that he can and will do everything to protect the very institutions that have to be destroyed in order for the economy to survive. I am fucking sick and tired of waiting for Obama.  It is turning into Wating for Godot.

 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 05:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
I expect that he will only take the minimum actions that he can and will do everything to protect the very institutions that have to be destroyed in order for the economy to survive.

I don't think it's necessary to destroy the old to create the new. In fact, I think that the new is already beginning to create itself in the most extraordinary way.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 07:15:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We" didn't quite give Obama enough power, with failing to get sixty solid votes on progressive issues. He's not a dictator, he's an executive. He has a veto, but the bills have to get to him to sign.

The sheer power of the lobbies arrayed against him is impressive. It may not impress Obama, but it impresses those who still have to get elected in 2010 and 2012.

It's a chicken and egg problem. Obama says vote for my progressive bills and my coattails will carry you to victory. But right now it's a t-shirt. And politicians are notoriously uninterested in promises and hope because their job is lying and hope.

Donate to Wikipedia!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 08:31:55 PM EST
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