Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where are you headed, Mr. President?...

I live in the woods and today a steady rain was sloshing and melting the snow outside.  Yet, through all that dripping water, I could hear the laughter and cheers from Wall Street, from David Koch’s NYC penthouse, and even from the U.S.Chamber of Commerce way down in D.C., as they heard about Obama’s latest turn to the right.  This time its all about deregulation.  (Does that ring a familiar Milton Friedman-esque bell?)
This is how the Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery phrased it: [Here]
President Obama on Tuesday ordered every federal agency to conduct a systematic review of existing regulations, a concerted effort to banish red tape at a time when the administration is eager to promote economic growth and to repair its fractured relations with the business community.
With a new executive order and two presidential memorandums, Obama laid out a regulatory strategy that aims to walk the fine line between protecting public health and safety and freeing business to pursue profits. Many of its principles are already in use, senior administration officials said. But the formal order puts agencies across the government on notice that, when making new rules, they must avoid "unreasonable burdens on business," as Obama put it in an op-ed in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.
The noisy cheering that I heard today was from Thomas Donohue, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President, and House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor.  Both said, in effect, this is a good first step, but we must go much, much further.  More.  More.  More...
It is interesting that this executive order was not placed on the first page of the NYTimes, but was buried in the Business Day section [Here] where it certainly could belong, but the importance of the story deserved more attention.  However, one gets the feeling that The Times editors were miffed that the Wall Street Journal got the first nod. [Here]
I am sure that there should be second and third critical examinations at all government regulations, but I’d rather the initiative come from intelligent consumer-oriented folks like Elizabeth Warren rather than ambitious, headline-grabbers like Darrell Issa.  (For an interesting Issa profile, read Ryan Lizza’s “Don’t Look Back” in the January 24, 2011 New Yorker.)
Obama’s tone today is the antithesis of F.D.R.'s when Roosevelt said this in October 1936 just before the general election in his bid for a second term. [The emphasis is mine.] 
They (business interests) had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.
It is clear that Barack Obama is on a different tack than F.D.R. ever took.  Maybe Obama took the wrong book with him on his Hawaiian vacation.  Instead of a biography of Reagan, he should have taken one of FDR.  What about James MacGregor Burns, The Lion and the Fox (1870-1940)?  That would surely safely guide him through a possible second term. [Here
The question is: will Obama know to “come about” when he sails too far to the right???
Hard Alee, Mr. President!... 

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