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Where's the Leadership?   November 21st, 2008
Who's "skippering" the economy?       


More observations...

I said a week ago that Obama was avoiding addressing the economy. Then I said it again a few days ago. Basically Obama, for all his campaign rhetoric, has given the world pretty much no idea of what he's going to do about the economy when he takes office in January, and the world's economic powers are hesitant to do anything without knowing what Obama's going to do. Now the mainstream media is finally reporting the same thing.


As the United States writhes in a collapsing economy, analysts and observers are wondering: Who's skippering the ship?

President Bush has been noticeably absent from the machinations aimed at righting the nation's financial course. Analysts and key players differ over whether President-elect Barack Obama should get his economic team in place and take charge, or sit back and await his turn at the helm.

"Somebody has to speak up soon," said CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, explaining that he understands why Americans are growing anxious and yearning for direction and leadership.

"I think ... sort of the bottom feels like it is falling out for many people," said Gergen, who has advised four presidents. "They sense there's a total lack of leadership in Washington, that the White House is silent, the treasury secretary has been battered, the Federal Reserve can't speak up. These automakers come up to Capitol Hill and fail. And the president-elect is silent in Chicago."

Why isn't Obama saying anything? There is so much he could say that would give the economy confidence. He could have met with other leaders at the G-20 so the world could start coordinating a response. He could say that he isn't going to raise income or capital gains taxes. Or he could say that he's going to nationalize the auto industry. I obviously think the former would be better than the latter, but I think the biggest thing hurting the market right now is the fact that no-one knows what to expect in two months. Even foreign leaders of major economic powers don't know because Obama won't tell them. And the way things are going, we can't wait two months to decide what we're going to do.

Is Obama silent because he'd rather let the economy tank so he can be looked at all the more as the economy's savior in January? Or is he silent because he doesn't have a clue what to do?

Either option is worrisome.

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