Who Wasn’t On Stage With Obama and Should Have Been?

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soros thinking.jpg
I’m not satisfied with the roster of economic personalities and thinkers we see Barack Obama mixing with.
I realize that there are a lot of players behind the scenes and those who walked out on stage (list below) are symbolic of clusters of other people and thinkers — though every time I see Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers in the same group, it reminds me of the UK and France on the P-5 at the UN Security Council. Do we really need two European members in the same permanent body? Do we really need both Rubin and Summers at every meeting with press availability?
Below I have provided the roster of names who stood on stage with President-elect Obama yesterday at his first post election press conference.
But some who were missing who Obama should build in — some are not now advisers and some are.
First of all, Jason Fuhrman and Austan Goolsbee are clearly going to be important parts of Obama’s economic team. Goolsbee is rumored to be the likely shoe-in for Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. He really should be on stage too given that possibility and his influence in Obama’s economic thinking. Fuhrman as well.
But beyond the obvious, I would like to see George Soros, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates on stage.
Soros not only predicted the global financial meltdown but wrote an entire book about it – and gave early warnings about needing to create new mechanisms to deal with credit default swaps — which he called a “Damocles sword” hanging over the head of the entire global financial system — earlier this year. Soros should be playing a bigger role in economic policy sculpting, and he shouldn’t be in the background.
We know that Buffet is talking with Obama. But I’d include Bill Gates who understands the importance of investing in high multiplier economic infrastructure as opposed to investments that yield few long term positive recurring results.
I’d like to see Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs, James Galbraith, Leo Hindery, Clyde Prestowitz, Charlene Barshefsky, C. Fred Bergsten, Adam Posen, Robert Kuttner, Robert Samuelson, Alan Murray, William Bonvillian, Doug & Heidi Rediker, Bernard Schwartz, Tom Gallagher, Sheila Bair, Sherle Schwenninger, and Kevin Phillips added to a discussion group on the economy. It would be far more diverse, less predictable, genuinely interesting and produce greater policy option possibilities than the quite “regal” group on stage.
Here is who made Obama’s cut yesterday. . .

William Daley – Chairman of the Midwest, JP Morgan Chase; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Commerce, 1997-2000
Robert Reich – University of California, Berkeley; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Labor, 1993-1997
Penny Pritzker – CEO, Classic Residence by Hyatt
Roger Ferguson – President and CEO, TIAA-CREF and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
Lawrence Summers – Harvard University; Managing Director, D.E. Shaw; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Treasury, 1999-2001
Anne Mulcahy – Chairman and CEO, Xerox
Richard Parsons – Chairman of the Board, Time Warner
Paul Volcker – Former Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve 1979-1987
Rahm Emanuel – United States Representative (IL-05)
President Elect Obama
Vice President Elect Biden
Jennifer Granholm – Governor, State of Michigan
Robert Rubin – Director and Senior Counselor, Citigroup; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Treasury, 1995-1999
David Bonior – Member House of Representatives (Michigan) 1977-2003
Laura Tyson – (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; Former Chairman, National Economic Council, 1995-1996; Former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisors, 1993-1995)
Antonio Villaraigosa – Mayor, City of Los Angeles
William Donaldson – Former Chairman of the SEC, 2003-2005
Eric Schmidt – Chairman and CEO, Google
Roel Campos – Former Commissioner of the SEC

– Steve Clemons
Update: Warren Buffett was involved in the meeting but on conference call.

Comments

58 comments on “Who Wasn’t On Stage With Obama and Should Have Been?

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  3. resveratrol supplements says:

    Personally, I see Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers in the same group, it reminds me of the UK and France on the P-5 at the UN Security Council.

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  6. Yukarıcaglar says:

    I understand Reich was there but was anyone who is actively associated with Labor Unions there?

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  15. james says:

    I think this is not a big issue.

    Reply

  16. Dubai says:

    I think this reconcern was being able to distinguish betc. but I agree on the post above.. definitely

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    “It’s quite ironic really, but these people have somehow deluded
    themselves into thinking that as long as they purchase locally
    grown organic food, drive hybrid luxury cars and listen to NPR
    that they are doing something to help working folks.
    They comprise a new urban haute bourgeoisie that can best be
    compared to the courtiers at Versailles.”
    When applied to individuals, this may sometimes be unfair, but
    basically, WigWag, I think your description is accurate. Screw
    them. They can afford to be politically correct on any level.

    Reply

  18. Alan MacDonald says:

    William Greider
    David Korten
    and even Francis Fukuyama

    Reply

  19. John in PDX says:

    When I first saw the list of notables on stage I thought, given the importance of labor and the fact that workers’ taxes will finance the government spending needed to stimulate the economy, “Is there no labor economist who can represent the working people of America?”

    Reply

  20. Sweetness says:

    How about…You Went The Wrong Ole King Louey?

    Reply

  21. WigWag says:

    “Dig around in the Allan Sherman oeuvre–you might strike gold.”
    Camp Granada?
    My Zelda?

    Reply

  22. Sweetness says:

    Wig…I hear ya. I don’t agree with ya, but I hear ya.
    But here’s the thing: It’s good for YOUR soul to admit when the
    other guy is right -:)
    Dig around in the Allan Sherman oeuvre–you might strike gold.

    Reply

  23. seo test says:

    I agree to nthe questions above..

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  24. David says:

    I second the truth’s nomination.

    Reply

  25. WigWag says:

    Sweetness, you say “If anything, they drive
    Priuses and eat organic food because they think they’re helping the planet and cutting down on health care expenses.”
    No I don’t think so. I think the Prius, the locally grown organic food, the fine white wine and the expensive coffee is merely a manifestation of commodity fetishism in its most modern form. This group of elitists is as obsessed with false needs as country club Republicans are. If Marx or Marcuse could get a peak at these folks they wouldn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
    And Sweetness, you say “Second paragraph, ha, ha, ha!” You don’t like me comparing the new urban haute bourgeoisie to courtiers at Versailles? Perhaps you would prefer the terms we would have used for them back in the day; mensheviks or the rotten fruit of capitalistic society.
    And as for your question “Don’t know if Obama will be joining them for shots and beer or
    joining in a chorus of that old song “Hardworking White People,” what I’m looking for is a verse or two of Solidarity Forever or even better, the chorus to the Internationale.
    That would be nice, don’t you think?

    Reply

  26. thetruth says:

    Paul Krugman. Paul Krugman. Paul Krugman.
    He is an economist who has consistently been right about the economy, and has the written record to prove it.
    Paul Krugman should be Secretary of the Treasury. Or Fed chief. Or both. Enough with letting conservatives and their never-ending parade of failure off the hook, by granting them the plum spots and high profile positions.
    Economists like Krugman have been correct. Conservatives economists have been wrong. Stop rewarding failure.

    Reply

  27. Sweetness says:

    Wig writes: “It’s quite ironic really, but these people have
    somehow deluded themselves into thinking that as long as they
    purchase locally grown organic food, drive hybrid luxury cars
    and listen to NPR that they are doing something to help working
    folks.
    They comprise a new urban haute bourgeoisie that can best be
    compared to the courtiers at Versailles.
    They now own the Democratic Party lock, stock and barrel.
    That’s why truly progressive reform will never happen and it’s
    why working people should not expect that their lives will get
    appreciably better any time soon.”
    To which I say, C’mon Wig! Your first paragraph is simply smear;
    no content. What does it even mean? If anything, they drive
    Priuses and eat organic food because they think they’re helping
    the planet and cutting down on health care expenses. I guess if
    you help the planet, you also help working people.
    Second paragraph, ha, ha, ha!
    Third paragraph: The only reason they own the Democratic
    party, if they do, is because working people abandoned the
    party to vote for Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Of course, the “any
    time soon” add on is a thinly veiled swipe at Obama. But as
    you’ve been clear to point out elsewhere, Obama is pulling
    heavily from the Clinton Admin., so working people can expect
    to do as well with Obama as they did with Clinton.
    Don’t know if Obama will be joining them for shots and beer or
    joining in a chorus of that old song “Hardworking White People,”
    but otherwise, I think he can be expected to at least try to do as
    well as Bill did. And maybe he’ll do better if he spends both
    terms working instead of chasing interns around his office and
    fending off bullshit impeachment trials.

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    “There’s an awful lot of corporate and think tank/university influence there and zilch for consumers, unions, working people etc. why does no one in the American talking class notice or comment on this?”
    Great question, Michael72. The answer is pretty simple. What you call the “American talking class” is one component of what can best be categotized as Whole Foods Nation; that is the chattering classes, the intellectual elite, tenured faculty and their fauxgressive fellow travelers in the army infantry of latte sippers simply hate working class and poor people. They have as much disdain for people who do real work for a living as the wealthy do.
    It’s quite ironic really, but these people have somehow deluded themselves into thinking that as long as they purchase locally grown organic food, drive hybrid luxury cars and listen to NPR that they are doing something to help working folks.
    They comprise a new urban haute bourgeoisie that can best be compared to the courtiers at Versailles.
    They now own the Democratic Party lock, stock and barrel. That’s why truly progressive reform will never happen and it’s why working people should not expect that their lives will get appreciably better any time soon.

    Reply

  29. Michael72 says:

    you know for a guy a bunch of people who talk an awful lot of rhetoric about the middle class the working class the poor etc etc, there isn’t one single representative in obama’s line up who is a representative of any union or consumer group in the whole country. now why is that?
    there’s an awful lot of corporate and think tank/university influence there and zilch for consumers, unions, working people etc. why does no one in the american talking class notice or comment on this?

    Reply

  30. rich says:

    James Clyburn was asked about Rahm Emanuel as CoS on Press the Meat this morning.
    Clyburn said the danger was not being able distinguish between governing and managing, but that he thought Emanuel would do a good job.
    So the concerns I posted weren’t imaginary. Emanuel is capable of doing a good job, and though a strong democrat is an establishment one. He’ll need to mind and maintain the distinction between making and administering policy and making sure colleagues with that responsiblity can make and administer policy effectively.
    I think this reconcern was being able to distinguish betc

    Reply

  31. DavidT says:

    WigWag,
    Your Bill Gates comment was hysterical and on target.
    Also thanks for the Larry Summers comments. I don’t know who would make the best Secretary of Treasury (its another battle between experience and freshness) but I do think, in spite of his rough edges, that he has been unfairly maligned. On the other hand I feel that your comments re: the new Harvard president may be a bit unfair.

    Reply

  32. rich says:

    One thing I’ve been trying to get at here, perhaps badly, is summarized by Frank Rich:
    “So let’s be blunt. Almost every assumption about America that was taken as a given by our political culture on Tuesday morning was proved wrong by Tuesday night.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/opinion/09rich.html?ref=opinion
    This isn’t limited to political analysis of upcoming elections: the point applies systemically and extends to the administrative and interpretive articulation of policy. That process tends to fritter away the basic laws and concepts that made this country so politically effective, and misinterpreting meaning and relationships until those foundational and supreme laws are wholly eviscerated.
    The misunderstanding of the relationship between the Bill of Rights and public safety is one case. The notion that a state secrecy that cloaks violations of American law somehow contributes to national security is another. Ultimately, the compulsion to deny our basic structure of governance, to refuse to practice abroad what we preach at home, to eliminate domestic liberties and responsive governance—excused too often by specious judicial interpretation that borders on buffoonery (I refer you to the “Bong Hits for Jesus Decision”)—that’s what’s cost us our birthright. That’s what’s damaged our national security. That’s what’s put a target on America’s back. That’s what’s allowed our leaders to be blinded to dangers of all sorts. That’s what’s led to these multiple crises. Upholding the Constitution does not involve eviscerating it.
    Obviously the subject is nuanced—but the interpreted tension between different Constitutional elements often inverts the obviously controlling nature of the relationship. Rights are by definition more absolutist than not. Else, why would they be termed ‘rights’ or ‘liberties’—or need to be? Why ground and assign the Power to Declare War in the Legislative branch unless the whole point is to deny one man in the Executive that power, and ensure that considered public debate deliver war-making decisions that back a just cause, and not misadventures that endanger our national security? Pretending resolutions or special situations can weasel through the process is the coward’s way out: it turns the American system upside down, at enormous cost and blowback, and cannot be justified.

    Reply

  33. Jason Townsend says:

    This is largely a comment on a side issue – I
    certainly would have liked to see Krugman and/or
    Roubini given some sort of a symbolic nod.
    The P-5 comment. Doesn’t it strike you as a bit
    of a reflexive, Cold War-informed bit of snark, at
    this point? France and Britain are both the
    equals – superiors, in many respects – of Russia
    economically. Loud noise-making and penny-ante
    Khrushchevism aside, they’re also nowadays in the
    same league as great powers.
    Everyone can agree the permanent membership is an
    arbitrary historical artifact, but framing it in
    terms of “two European members” – by implication,
    those darn French – takes a good point and makes
    it sound like offhanded superpower chauvinism.
    If the P5 were reformed it would still have France
    and Britain, it’ll just have every other country
    of the same stature as well. Simply taking out
    France or Britain and tacking on an Asian great
    power or something would be ludicrous; why
    Britain, and not Germany or France? Why the new
    country (India?) and not everyone else in the same
    league?

    Reply

  34. Brian Lee says:

    It’s really important that everyone who holds senior positions in the Obama administration able to influence economic and foreign policy understands how intertwined these are these days – and how important it is that the US give strong leadership on international economic cooperation, including the sort of things the G20 have been talking about this weekend, and presumably will be in focus at the global economic summit next weekend. Anyone trying to learn from history – such as the efforts lots of us are making to learn from the experience and thinking of the economist Keynes – should understand this. If not, try reading biographies of Keynes by Skidelsky or Moggridge, or Markwell’s book on Keynes and international economic/political relations. I have come to think that both Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner do understand this – I hope I am right, and that anyone else in contention does as well.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    President-Elect Obama is going about choosing his team in a very methodical way. We’re lucky that he seems to place a higher premium on the experience of the people he selects to work for him, than the American public did in selecting the person they chose to work for them.
    Upon reflection, I think Larry Summers would be the best choice for Secretary of the Treasury. His selection would reassure Wall Street and he is, after all, one of the few people in the United States with actual experience helping the government maneuver through financial crises (the Mexico Crisis in 1994 and the Asian Crisis of 1998). And as an added benefit, think how entertaining it will be to watch the paroxysms of mock outrage that a Summers selection will cause through the ranks of tenured faculty at universities all over America, especially Harvard.
    I say mock outrage because the faux scandal that got Summers fired as President of Harvard was not really about what he said. His comment about the role of women in the sciences was not nearly as outrageous as was claimed at the time. Go back and read his actual words. His comment was mischaracterized by a faculty anxious to rid themselves of a Harvard President who wanted to reform an institution desperately in need of reforming. Summers wanted to modify Harvard’s budgeting procedures, he wanted to clean up the process of awarding tenure and heaven forbid, he actually wanted to make tenured faculty work a little harder. Accustomed as they are to having teaching assistants, post docs, research associates and junior faculty do all the work, the Harvard Faculty was thrilled with the opportunity to attack Summers not on what he said but on what they pretended he said. After all, Summers was a threat to tenured faculty everywhere. The idea that this pampered, decadent group of scholars might actually have to work more than a few hours a week, while novel, was an anathema to them.
    The end result is that Summers was fired, and the lunatics in Cambridge, MA have been running the asylum ever since. And the new President of Harvard (Drew Gilpin Faust); well she’s the least impressive Harvard President since, lets say. 1636. Which is a shame because there are many terrific female university Presidents including Shirley Tilghman of Princeton, Ruth Simmons of Brown and Susan Hockfield of cross town rival, MIT.
    Of course, if Obama selects Summers, I may be disappointed. There might be no spontaneous spasms of outrage at all. Did you see Obama’s press conference with his economic team this past Friday (Steve Clemons has a photograph of it one post down)? Is it just me or is the scene reminiscent of Da Vinci’s Last Supper? Yes they’re all standing instead of sitting and there is no table, but there’s the President-Elect positioned in the center of a slightly larger number of apostles than in the original. And yes, Summers was in the group.
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Obama’s supporters at Harvard and elsewhere conclude that Dr. Summers has been cleansed of his sins by his mere proximity to their new messiah. If so, a Summers selection won’t be entertaining but it will still be wise.

    Reply

  36. Mr.Murder says:

    Can recall Soros applauding from the audience during Carter’s speech for his re-election bid as an incumbent.
    Since that time he’s become nukular thanks to constant right wing mischaracterizations.
    Where’s Joe Duh Plumber?

    Reply

  37. David says:

    George Soros is the best global economic thinker I know anything about, has the most impressive track record regarding insightful analysis, and is an absolute top level economic advisor for anybody who wants to meet head on and seek solutions to the global economic debacle. His books are absolutely essential reading.

    Reply

  38. Don J says:

    We can only hope we will not return to the beginning of this terrible economic loop by having to endure Larry Summers in the cabinet. As Democrats, we having been trying very hard to forget it was Clinton and Summers who, with finality, brought down Glass-Stegall and initiated the mixing of classic banking and the gambling instincts of “investment” bankers. It is time to move forward with someone new, not a failed retred.

    Reply

  39. TonyForesta says:

    America should NOT move from a bubbles-r-us economy to a
    bailouts-r-us economy. Failing businesses or industries – in free
    markets – should fail. The Fed printing money and funnelling it
    to the offshore accounts of the predator class, .5% of the
    population, is pernicious, unsound economic policy, and conduct
    unbecoming! The US auto industry would not be in the dire
    position the sector is now, had they provided better products and
    services. They failed. Bailing them out only perpetuates the
    disaster. In free markets, new more inventive competitors would
    acquire worthy assets of the former “Big 3″, and better products
    would reach consumers.
    The shades on Wall Street already thugged us for trillions of the
    peoples dollars – no sence throwing more conjured money at
    failing companies.

    Reply

  40. Joseph says:

    The government bail out plan for the auto industry should stipulate to
    incorporate an accelerated version of both the legislation by Rep.Rahm
    Emanuel, Sen. James Inhofe, and the Pickens Plan regarding natural
    gas use.

    Reply

  41. Tony Foresta says:

    Excellent post. The lists of illustrious names in the conference
    and out provides the kind of broad perspective and expertise
    lacking in the singlemindedness of the bushgov, and an
    assembly of talented economic advisors focused more on sound
    policies, and less on speculation.
    The ponzi scheme that Soros detailed in the $62trillion Credit
    Default Market is fast unwinding. Regulation, less speculative
    financial instraments, and a return to asset based lending
    policies are the only means to curb the speculative machinations
    of the predator class.
    Thanks for keeping us informed and Obama honest.

    Reply

  42. jamzo says:

    the panel behind obama was symbolic
    like the verizon commercial where the large crowd of verizon employees is shown behind the spokesperson to assure customers and potential customers of strong and reliable network verizon puts behind them
    while a few of the panelees were being rewarded for service to obama most were there to reassure the public of powerful network behind obama
    i am sure he will introduce new names and faces as he goes forward

    Reply

  43. Judy says:

    I understand Reich was there but was anyone who is actively associated with Labor Unions there?

    Reply

  44. Linda says:

    I pretty much agree with questions above. There are going to be councils, committees, task forces enough to find a place for everybody mentioned above.
    It’s nice to have a big tent for a lot of good ideas to get the economy moving again—and for that matter for all issues.
    And it will be nicer yet when the President-Elect can just do a press conference himself without a cast of dozens or thousands behind him.

    Reply

  45. Dan says:

    I’m not sure what Bill Gates brings to the table. Has he published anything insightful on the current economic crisis? I’m not aware of anything. I can’t see how anyone associated with Vista can reassure Americans that he has the answer to our economic problems.

    Reply

  46. questions says:

    Dumb question in passing — what sized stage ould hold all of those people? How many people can attend a meeting and still be called a meeting instead of a lecture? Discussion requires smaller groups, stage presentation (and it was STAGED) requires something less than a cast of thousands.

    Reply

  47. WigWag says:

    I’d be delighted to see George Soros on the Obama economic team and even though I frequently disagree with Soros, he would also be a great addition to Obama’s foreign policy team (as a behind the scenes player, not in a formal role).
    I’d also love to see a prominent role for Joe Stieglitz. His service as World Bank President was extraordinary and his willingness to take on the IMF when it advocated repressive economic terms for developing nations was impressive. Please President-Elect Obama, give us more Joe Stieglitz! And Jeffrey Sachs and Joe Stieglitz working together on development issues could literally be world-changing. Obama couldn’t do better than bring these two guys on board.
    James Galbraith is a great idea. His father was a genius and he’s terrific. Anyone who hasn’t read his recent book should. It’s smart and extremely well written. It explains alot.
    But I think several of Steve’s recommendations are suspect. Although Warren Buffet is avuncular and he seems like a progressive thinker, what do we really know about him beyond the brand that he has created for himself? With his investments in GE (which is a finance company as much as it is a manufacturing company) and Goldman Sachs, and his likely role as a purchaser of AIG assets, he is far too conflicted to play an active role in advising Obama. If anyone else had the degree of conflict of interest Buffet has, they wouldn’t even be considered for a role in advising the government on financial policy.
    Bill Gates? Doesn’t Obama already have high tech expertise on his team from Eric Schmidt? Wouldn’t Americans be better off if Bill Gates used his considerable talents to figure out how to fix Windows-Vista so millions of people world wide didn’t have their computers crash several times weekly?
    C. Fred Bergstein? Steve’s always worrying that Obama will select too many Clinton retreads. Well, Bergstein is a Carter Administration retread and while I don’t want to sound paranoid, he’s a former prominent member of the Trilateral Commission and was a close advisor and protégé of David Rockefeller. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, but does Obama really need his advice?
    Bernard Schwartz? Is this the same Bernie Schwartz who was the CEO of Loral Space Sciences? If it is, my recollection is that he barely escaped indictment in the late 1990s for having Loral illegally transfer secret technology to the Chinese without the appropriate licenses. It’s funny that Steve is worried about Obama I=Clinton 3. After all Bernard Schwartz was, and is, extremely close to the Clintons and has been a major bundler for them for years.
    Sheila Baer? Wow, Sheila’s got quite a publicity machine going for her. A few good appearances on CNBC and everyone thinks she’s ready for prime time. Her performance during the Wachovia sale to Citibank/Wells Fargo was truly clueless. She needs to be retired not promoted.
    Finally, I think Paul Krugman is fantastic. But he was a big Obama critic during the nominating fight so I doubt that Obama will select him for anything. As good as he is, he probably serves a more important role as a columnist and blogger for the NY Times. Who better to keep an Obama Administration honest on economic policy? He probably plays a more important role in his jobs at Princeton and as a member of the third estate than he would as an administration advisor.
    And besides, if Krugman left the NY Times, there would hardly be any reason to buy it at all.

    Reply

  48. Dave Huntsman says:

    If I had to pick only a handful of his advisors, Soros would be at the
    top of the list, followed by Volcker. But Rubins and Summers – am
    I the only one bothered by these two? Rubin is in the same
    category as Paulson: one of the architects and beneficiaries of the
    mess we are in now.

    Reply

  49. FaceOnMars says:

    Steve,
    I suppose it’s one of my pet issues, but I’m not sure I’d necessarily trust someone in Bill Gates’ position to offer a non-partial perspective on what I believe to be a critical issue in net neutrality.
    I can’t overstate the importance of keeping the playing field level via regulation with respect to maintaining a broad spectrum of (independent) content readily accessible to all Americans. I’m typically for smaller government and less regulation, but we’ve seen how capitalism run amok in certain sectors (i.e. credit) can lead to big problems. So, why not ANTICIPATE and mitigate some of the logical consequences of allowing an unregulated non-neutral internet going “astray”?
    Yes, there are truly new, innovative, and productive media rich networked applications at our fingertips & the system can be rigged to speed up the process to develop our telecom infrastructure a bit faster; however, we must ask ourselves at what cost? I suppose the answer depends upon one’s perspective.
    If you or your organization currently enjoy being a big fish under the status quo, then you’ll surely look to maintain your perch on top by stacking the deck; this goes for big business as well as the politically entrenched.
    I find it interesting to hear the banter these days regarding the “fairness of the media” … yet we have more outlets at this time than any point in our nation’s history. If we deep six net neutrality, I can almost guarantee you we’ll see a contraction of available outlets to a much more homogeneous set of options to the average individual. The political influence of a more limited set of media outlets will be much greater & will be more easily manipulated vs. a landscape of wide diversity and independent journalism.
    While I happen to think the political ramifications are the most frightening, I do believe innovation on the economic front will also be stifled to a large extent.
    FOM

    Reply

  50. Tiparillo says:

    Like it or not, the Right has been successful in demonizing Mr.
    Soros to the point where despite the experience and expertise he
    would bring, it would be imprudent politically to have him on
    stage. Its naive to think otherwise.

    Reply

  51. daCascadian says:

    I will remind the readers, as did Mr. Obama yesterday, that he is not yet president and won`t be for a couple of more months. Between now and noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20th George Bush IS president and he & his team are the ones with the power to actually do something. While I understand the affect that naming certain folks to positions (possibly) sends, in a way, messages as to what decisions are likely to be made we should all remember that we are in VERY different times and this situation is likely to bring forth very different behaviors; one can only hope that is so.
    I`m more than willing to sit back and let Mr. Obama move in his own direction and decide when he feels comfortable doing so. Any other attitude is juvenile.
    Relax and let the man do his job his way. “We the people…” trusted him enough to vote for him so who are you to get in the way ?
    The planet holds its` breath.
    [yet another captcha instance where the system had no idea what was being displayed - fix it; this is the second attempt]
    “…These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman…” – Thomas Paine

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  52. JohnH says:

    Roubini definitely should have been there. He’s been providing extremely detailed, accurate accounts of what is going to happen. The biggest criticism against him is that his timing has been off–pretty thin criticism by people who got it all wrong.
    http://blogs.ft.com/wolfforum/2008/02/americas-economy-risks-mother-of-all-meltdowns/
    Dean Baker should also be there:
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/dean-baker-s-op-eds/
    He is not afraid to speak truth to power and propose that address two problems at once–in this case, using economic stimulus to address the healthcare problem.
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/president-obama-s-path-to-greatness:-health-care-as-stimulus/

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  53. JohnH says:

    Roubini definitely should have been there. He’s been providing extremely detailed, accurate accounts of what is going to happen. The biggest criticism against him is that his timing has been off–pretty thin criticism by people who got it all wrong.
    http://blogs.ft.com/wolfforum/2008/02/americas-economy-risks-mother-of-all-meltdowns/
    Dean Baker should also be there:
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/dean-baker-s-op-eds/
    He is not afraid to speak truth to power and propose that address two problems at once–in this case, using economic stimulus to address the healthcare problem.
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/president-obama-s-path-to-greatness:-health-care-as-stimulus/

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  54. DavidT says:

    Steve,
    There will always be second-guessing as who to have and not have in these meetings. But I think before one assesses the membership of the meetings it might be wise to explain what they’re for.
    I would suggest they’re largely intended to reassure the country that the economy is priority #1 and Obama’s consulting the individuals who appear to the public as most reassuring about getting things back on track. Whether you like Summers or Rubin, they are after all former Secretaries of the Treasury during a time of tremendous economic growth.
    In fact your point that his chief economic advisors are not members of this group makes this point in an of itself.
    Its true as you point out in an earlier post that what matters is policy not personality. But here you seem to be more concerned with personality than policy. What policies are not represented among this group if they are there more than for reassurance?

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  55. Dan Kervick says:

    Add to the list Robert Pollin and these guys:
    http://www.peri.umass.edu/
    Obama seems to be making a sort of show here about the openness of the process. I believe he is trying to make a point about some of the ways in which his administration will contrast with the Bush administration in terms of *process*. Before the press conference, his office actually sent out a seating chart that showed where the people in the advisory group were seated during their meeting earlier in the day. Then the advisers all appeared publicly with him on stage, other than Buffet who had conferenced into the meeting.
    The contrast with Cheney’s energy group couldn’t me more obvious. Nor could it be more obvious that Obama doesn’t want us to *miss* this openness. As a result of this openness, we out here on the blogs and around the water coolers get to debate who these people are, and their relative merits or weaknesses as economists, policy-makers, etc. We can also weigh-in as Steve is doing now on who else should be included in the discussion.
    Steve’s list is great by the way. I don’t know everyone on the list, but Krugman, Stiglitz, Sachs, Galbraith, Prestowitz, Kuttner, Schwenninger, and Phillips are all folks whose voices should be heard right now. Kuttner wrote a whole book on what Obama should be doing, as did John Talbott. I hope Obama has read them.
    Openness and broad public participation in government – democracy from the bottom up – were a cornerstone of Obama’s campaign. I get the impression that a lot of people think that such talk was just a bunch of fluffy and abstract rhetoric. But I think Obama has some very definite ideas here about process innovations he wants to implement in the way we go about the business of making important public choices. He continues to emphasize the these decisions should be deliberate and “thought through”, and that important factors or alternatives should not be missed as a result of closed, narrow, secretive and self-reinforcing decision processes. His critiques of the Bush administration has always gone beyond his objections to the decisions they made, and includes objections to the *way* they made these decisions. According to Obama’s way of looking at things, bad decisions are born in a bad process.
    That said, Obama appears to be under enormous pressure to calm panicky markets in the US and abroad, and send some signals to global policy-makers, business leaders and investors about the direction he is going to take. Apparently many would like that signal to come in the form of a rapid announcement of an economic team. So I think the point of yesterday’s events was in part just to make a sort of economic “show of force” to convey to interested and anxious observers that the economic crisis is now Job One, and that he is moving with all deliberate haste to address the problem, and has a team in place to advise him on the issue. On the other hand, I was reassured that Obama signaled he would not be rushed into making a bad decision.
    But I’m thinking that the group we saw yesterday just *can’t* be the entire roster of advisers Obama is relying on. As Steve notes, Austan Goolsbee wasn’t even there, and yet he has been a leading economic adviser to Obama all along. There was also a general absence of academic economists, with the emphasis on business leaders and former practical economic policy-makers.

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