GOP nitwit John Boehner almost never has anything useful to contribute to the national discussion. But his suggestion that Obama fires his economic team is probably the smartest thing he has ever said. Admittedly, Boehner’s solution is to find even stupider economists to undo the very modest reforms Obama’s pro Wall St advisors have done, but you have to give him credit for getting it half right.
Tim Geithner and Larry Summers have zero credibility when it comes to financial regulation, and Obama’s insistence on having the same people who wrecked the economy put it back together again has been one of the most confounding aspects of his presidency. While Obama almost certainly recognizes the serious flaws in the economic philosophy espoused by Geithner and Summers, his fear of having serious reformers take over the crucial task of regulating Wall St has the potential to backfire later on. Should the half baked regulatory reforms lead to another crash, it will give ammunition to people like Boehner who can claim that Obama’s ‘socialist’ policies are not working.
This is akin to what the Tory government has done in Britain – blaming the Left for the financial crisis and ignoring the fact that it was their own free market philosophy that did the damage.
While the Labour government tried to implement a serious Keynesian response to the crisis, they were too late and gave up too much ground to the Tories. Obama still has time to enact a serious Leftist agenda, the fruits of which will be seen relatively quickly (at least in time for 2012). So yes, take Boehner’s advice and fire Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. Just replace them with serious reformers like Elizabeth Warren and Paul Volcker.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.