Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Obama’s Top Priorities

By: Inoljt,

Below is a list of what, in my view, the most important to-dos on the president’s lengthy to-do list are.

Of course I could be a smart aleck and just put –




But that would be both unintellectual and too crude a way to make a point. Nevertheless – and quite coincidentally – all of the priorities listed below do link to the economy in some way or other. Here they are:

1. Fix the subprime mess.

2. Reform the banking industry.

3. Cut health care costs.

More analysis below the fold.

1. Fix the subprime mess. The subprime mortgage crisis was the forerunner of the current recession. Although the latter has and does draw far more attention, the subprime crisis hasn’t magically disappeared just because nobody reports on it anymore. It’s the reason banks still have balance sheets in the red. The danger – which goes mostly unmentioned nowadays – is that the U.S. is headed for a Japan-style “lost decade.” Administrations may pile on stimulus after stimulus, but if they don’t address the fundamental poison – the housing market – then growth will remain constrained.

The goverment has unveiled several plans to help the subprime market. The jury’s still out on their effectiveness.

2. Reform the banking industry. The widely accepted consensus is that Wall Street’s wild, uncontrolled culture was a major catalyst of the current crisis. More stringent regulation, nearly everybody agrees, is urgently needed.

So it is with great alarm that I read reports (e.g. enormous profits at Goldman Sachs, new bonuses handed out to AIG) of Wall Street going back to the “good old days,” whose practices were responsible for the worst recession in the past half century. The administration’s outline for reform was critiqued as too mild to the bankers; more broadly, it seems to view Wall Street as a friend and ally rather than as a foe.

3. Cut health care costs. While the above two priorities are aimed at the here and now, rapidly rising health care costs are the greatest long-term crisis facing this nation; everybody agrees on this. The retirement of the Baby Boomer generation and the tension on Medicare and Medicaid may bankrupt this country if not stopped.