Friedman on Obama's 'Rooseveltian Experiment'

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By Ben Cohen

Tom Friedman thinks Obama is replicating FDR's approach to the economic crisis - the implementation of several different strategies and a willingness to try different things:

When you total up all the emergency economic policies that Mr. Obama

has now put in place — a nearly $800 billion stimulus, mortgage relief,

a private-public program for buying up toxic assets and a huge capital

injection into the banking system by the Federal Reserve to lower

interest rates and expand credit — they constitute one big experiment. Together,

these policies — call them Obama Rescue Phase I — represent a huge bet

that the administration can confine this economic crisis to a really

nasty recession, the sort of thing that might constitute a long chapter

in an economic history and not a 21st-century Depression that would

trigger a whole bookshelf on the theme of: “How Barack Obama Won an

Election and Lost an Economy.”

My sense is that Obama is being far too cautious with his treatment of Wall St, and has wasted political capital he could have used to nationalize the banks and take the country in a truly different direction. While he is adopting an FDR approach, he shouldn't expect FDR results if the experiments aren't bold enough.