Comments on Obama’s lost opportunity

Hi from Nairobi Kenya

Last week I communicated my disappointment that President Obama had lost the moral high ground by standing by several appointees to his cabinet who have violated tax laws and my relief that he acknowledge that he had goofed. Here are some interesting comments from some of you.

Warren

You are giving them too much credit.

RWR (Richard Rahn, Great Falls, VA)

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Dear Warren,

He may have confessed to screwing up, but he still didn’t withdraw the nomination of Geitner. 

And now he’s limiting compensation to $500,000 for execs.  This reminds me of the notorious $1 million limit on tax-deductible exec pay in the early 1990s, which caused the crazy stock option boom (unintended consequences). 

There’s no free lunch.

Best wishes, AEIOU,

Mark (Skousen, Freedom Fest, Los Vegas)

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Warren:

I like the idea of the Rangel Rule for other Americans … a loophole for the ordinary.

Bill (Crosbie, Canadian Foreign Ministry, Ottawa)

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This was said AFTER the Secreatry of Treasury was confirmed WITH tax issues.

Donna (Wiesner-Keene, Alexandria, VA)

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Enjoy the warm breezes.

I agree and share the outrage and dismay at public figures — in the financial world, so they have to know better–assuming they are above the tax laws, while we the sheep dutifully calculate our pittance and pay up.  Obama (and the Pope, in his sphere)  need to listen up.  Regards,

Dorothy (McManus, Alexandria, Va)

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Warren:
I have a bit different take on it.  The indiscretions were minor in my opinion, but Obama made such a thing during the campaign about style and process (change you can count on; doing things differently in DC; no lobbyists in government) he has now been caught on his own campaign rhetoric.  When substance should matter ("Hey! I really need him for the health agenda"), he has no choice but to dump Daschle because he told people to watch the style and process, not the substance, of his administration.  So…we’re watching.
Jim (Kolbe, former U.S. Representative from Arizona)

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I am a fan of President Obama but, frankly, it’s a bit creepy to have a Secretary of the Treasury who’s a tax cheat.  TOM (Lauria, Arlington, VA)

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Yes, a pity that he had to do that within the first few days of his administration.  After all he has to rely on his advisors to check things out for him who obviously let him down.  Great that he still accepted responsibility instead of passing the buck to his juniors.  I trust the American public will see that.

I see your "retirement" is a busy one….

Cheers, Sam (Alfreds, Victoria, Australia)

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Warren,

Geithner and Daschle were trapped in a sudden tectonic cultural perception shift, Daschle with greater negative impact.  This was accurately and hilariously identified by David Brooks in his excellent op-ed item in the Feb. 3 New York Times.  q.v.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/opinion/03brooks.html

I was watching Lehrer’s News Hour a week or so ago, and some Wall Street type seemed perplexed about the massive bonuses provided to high level employees of various failing banks and financial houses.  "It’s been done that way for years," he said (or words to that effect), thus revealing the cluelessness of the malefactors of great wealth.  As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, "They have forgotten nothing and learned nothing."  The same is true, I might add, of the Democrat Caucus in the House.  They are permanently stuck, like a fly in amber, in about 1978.

Enjoy the Caymans — it’s utterly frigid here.  Dinner when you return?

Tom (Neale, Washington, DC)

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Warren,

I too was pleased with Obama’s mea culpa, and the limousine liberal’s withdraw – but wonder why he was first so willing to fall into the typical cover-up and fight mode.

I also think this salary cap is a bunch of smoke and mirrors nonsense.

All in all, the groundwork is being laid for quite the ambitious administration. 

Rob (Teir, Houston, Texas)

"I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability."

-Oscar Wilde

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Hi Cayman Warren,
you have probably seen the enormous assault on health care "reform" by the Obama administration.
Do something, please …
And hope to see you in DC or Paris before long.
Very best, J. (Jacob Arfwedson, Paris, France)

About wcoats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 2003 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My most recent book is One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.
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