President Barack Obama’s “Escape Artists”
At a time when President Barack Obama seems to have handled relatively well diverse foreign policy challenges, many inherited from his predecessor, his handling of the economic policy and the Wall Street have remained a big question mark. Obama’s continuing reliance on U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and kowtowing to the bankers, makes one wonder whether the President has learned his lessons.
All eyes are now on Noam Scheiber’s blockbuster book on the Obama economic team. Here’s a sneak preview of his forthcoming book The Escape Artists: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the Recovery. Noam Scheiber is a senior editor at The New Republic and Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Excerpts: “Obama was finally shedding the caution of his first three years in office. Even before the deficit negotiations collapsed, he’d begun criticizing Republicans for their aversion to ‘shared sacrifice.’ He gave an impassioned speech about economic inequality and vowed to ensure that millionaires paid their fair share in taxes. ‘It is wrong for Warren Buffett’s secretary to pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett,’ he famously said.
“For voters contemplating whether he deserves a second term, the question is less and less one of policy or even worldview than of basic disposition. Throughout his political career, Obama has displayed an uncanny knack for responding to existential threats. He sharpened his message against Hillary Clinton in late November 2007, just in time to salvage the Iowa caucuses and block her coronation. He condemned his longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, just before Wright’s racialist comments could doom his presidential hopes. Once in office, Obama led two last-minute counteroffensives to save health care reform. But, in every case, the adjustments didn’t come until the crisis was already at hand. His initial approach was too passive and too accommodating, and he stuck with it far too long.
“Given the booby traps that await the next president—Iranian nukes, global financial turmoil—this habit seems dangerously risky. Sooner or later, Obama may encounter a crisis that can’t be reversed at the eleventh hour. Is Obama’s newfound boldness on the economy yet another last-minute course-correction? Or has he finally learned a deeper lesson? More than just a presidency may hinge on the answer.”
For the complete article published in The New Republic please see here…
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