Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, September 16th, 2008.


Palin Could Run America, but Not Hewlett Packard?

McCain-Palin, Obama-Biden

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, now an adviser to John McCain, says Sarah Palin lacks the experience to run Hewlett Packard. Michael D. Shear writes for The Trail:

Fiorina made the comments on the McGraw-Hill Show on St. Louis KTRS Radio, a statement that was first reported by Huffington Post.

During the final minute of the interview, the host asked: “Do you think she has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett Packard?”

“No, I don’t,” responded Fiorina. “But you know what? That’s not what she’s running for.”

There’s also a “McCain invented the Blackberry” story going around. This clearly is an attempt to get even for the phony “Al Gore invented the Internet” story the Right pushed awhile back.

Greg Sargent has the text of a speech Obama gave today. Really good. The economic crisis has suppressed the stupid “lipstick on a pig” distractions, for a time, anyway.

Update: McCain, Obama or Biden couldn’t run Hewlett Packard, either, Fiorina says. And Fiorina’s bio says she couldn’t run it, either. Must be a tough job.

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Bogeyman Regulations

conservatism, economy, McCain-Palin, Republican Party

John McCain is calling for a “9/11 Commission”-style probe of the financial crisis to find out what caused it, although he has already decided the blame resides with “the old-boy network and the corruption in Washington.” Meanwhile, his running mate Sarah Palin said “We are going to reform the way Wall Street does business and stop multi-million dollar payouts and golden parachutes to CEOs who break the public trust.”

Although the commission idea has a certain amount of retro charm, I don’t believe the causes of the financial crisis are any big mystery. And the “multi-million dollar payouts and golden parachutes to CEOs who break the public trust” are just a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself.

One factor the wingnuts cannot truthfully blame on the financial mess — which of course doesn’t mean they won’t do it — is excessive government regulation. The nondepository institutions like Lehman Brothers that are collapsing right now got government off their backs several years ago. In fact, that’s when the trouble started.

There’s a good background article by David Lightman at McClatchy Newspapers that explains what happened, and I urge you to read it all. In a nutshell, what happened was the Reagan Revolution and the fantasy that markets and securities can regulate themselves without government oversight.

This isn’t just a problem with “Wall Street.” The entire financial system is breaking down. Further, the rolling disaster we’re seeing now could not have happened had some critical New Deal regulatory programs been left in place. For example, Lightman explains how dismantling the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act led directly to what’s happening on Wall Street.

Lightman also says that President Clinton signed the Glass-Steagall “reform” into law, which is true. But the driving force behind getting rid of Glass-Steagall was then-Senator Phil Gramm, who is now Senator John McCain’s economic adviser and a co-chair of his presidential campaign.

The talk is that if McCain is elected, Gramm would be first in line to be treasury secretary.

The free market true believers remain in denial of what’s actually happening, which tells me they will not learn from experience, and there’s no point pretending they will. Our only recourse is to be sure they aren’t the ones making real policy.

Good Reads:

Sasha Abramsky
on McCain’s pathetic attempt to capture the Reagan magic.

In Candidates, 2 Approaches to Wall Street” reveals McCain’s bottomless hypocrisy.

On Wall St. as on Main St., a Problem of Denial.” Or, why smart executives make stupid choices.

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