Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ron Paul for Treasury?


"Ron Paul for Treasury?

November 19, 2008

Ok, I'm just blue-skying here, but "what if" Prez-Elect Obama were to ask Ron Paul to act as Treasury Secretary?

Some thoughts:

--He's a Republican. Not only that, but he's a Republican primary candidate who the rest of the contenders basically hated, mostly for his repeated statements about where the economy was headed (which pretty much were dead on). You've got a win-win for the Obama camp: "Across the aisle" with a guy who's been beaten up by the rest of the Republican establishment. Talking about having your cake and eating it too: Obama would be able to use the terms "Uniter" without becoming a caricature while lobbing a grenade into the middle of the RNC.

--He's a policy guy, not a banker. This is important because Paul wouldn't have any "former associates" in the banking industry to cover for, sympathize with, or protect. Paulson, on the other hand, can't escape the whiff of insider-ism in everything he's doing. Questions like "Why isn't the bailout being used as originally planned?" and "Why can't we get a clear picture of who's getting the money and who's being turned down?" may have a reasonable answer, but the overall tone of Cover-Your-Buddy's-Ass can't be ignored.

Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that the purpose of a senior executive-type was not to make every decision that came into the office, but to set and adjust policy. Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like Paulson has been up to his elbows in the decisions about who get's what and who doesn't. In my humble opinion, Paulson has asked for carte-blanche for himself and has been using it. Perhaps his exerience is helpful, but having the top Treasury guy make all the decisions would explain why suddenly he's having to justify past decisions instead of publishing the standards and reporting on how it did or did not work.

--He's a Republican. This is worth repeating for a different reason. If the Obama administration is going to get anything they want done (or do anything without screwing up the situation worse) they need something other than another member of the choir. I would like to believe that a Ron Paul Treasury department would not only tell the President he had no clothes, but how to get clothes for the best price and how long it would take to pay them off.

--Convergent ideas. Iraq War: Obama against; Paul against. Economic disaster looming: Obama warned; Paul warned. Fix Bush/Cheney damage to foreign relations: Obama for, Paul for.

I know, I know...this isn't a political site. However, I would argue two things. First, politics affects economics, and economics affect politics. It doesn't matter if you (personally) blame the banking industry, international relations, government oversite (or lack thereof), or the Iraq War. Almost every possible cause of the economic downturn has a political aspect, usually in why an action was or wasn't taken.

The second thing is that using the "fantasy football" method to discuss Paul as Treasury Secretary is a good way to start analyzing whoever Obama does pick.

So let's have it. The good, bad, and ugly on why (not) Ron Paul for Treasury.