Obama didn’t cause crises, but his reactions aren’t wise

From Brian Bloom

(Regarding Dick Morris’s column, “It’s Obama spreading panic,” Feb. 25.) The issues we are facing have nothing whatever to do with President Obama. He is merely reacting to crises, the seeds of which were sown by Tricky Dick Nixon when he closed the gold window. Since then the U.S. has gotten itself deeper and deeper into debt as its politicians hitched their trolleys to the pork barrel-toting vintage car that was fueled by the ever-growing ocean of paper dollars.

The last straw was when former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan refused to allow the U.S. to go into recession in the 1990s and was knighted for his efforts. In hindsight, this man’s policies undermined the entire world’s economy in that they were the ultimate cause of the various financial bubbles that are now bursting. For example, the size of the derivatives market — ultimately facilitated by the Fed’s loose money policies — is now in excess of a quadrillion dollars.

Obama has been on deck for maybe 30 minutes and all we know about him to date is that he is a good orator and his kids make their own beds. The reality is that he is trying to prop up various collapsing, overleveraged legacy organizations that have passed their use-by date and which, like GM, have become commercial zombies because they were allowed to keep drinking from the credit punch bowl even though their blood-alcohol levels were trending toward 100 percent. He is using Keynesian and Monetarist policies when he should be relying on the guidance of the Austrian school of economics and let the markets do what they have to do.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to un-ring the bell.

Tea Gardens, New South Wales, Australia

Locke much more
than China expert

From Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will, as you note, be an excellent Commerce Secretary, complemented by the fact that he is an expert in China, as well as trade policy. Yet there is more. Gary, my longtime friend, has much to offer.

In addition to his substantive expertise, Gary is a trailblazer in the Asian-American community. He has a nuanced understanding of the cultural and linguistic diversity throughout our country, which would be critical not only for overseeing the International Trade Administration, but also domestic agencies, like the Census Bureau and the Minority Business Development Agency.

That is why the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), which I chair, unanimously endorsed his nomination. We look forward to working with him, as he and the President commit their energies to an accurate decennial census that counts all of our hard-to-count communities.

We are deeply proud of Gary’s contributions. It is clear that President Obama is committed to building a bright team to restore hope and opportunity in our country. I urge my colleagues in the  Senate to swiftly confirm this nomination.


Partying bankers
risk public trust

From Denny Freidenrich,
First Strategies, LLC

Given the state of the economy, I understand why Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and other members of Congress are concerned about Northern Trust’s sponsorship of a golf tournament and lavish parties (article, “Dems rip into hard-partying bailed-out bank,” Feb. 24).

Back in mid-January, the bank said in a prepared statement, “The investment by the U.S. Treasury (of $1.58 billion in TARP funds) will contribute to Northern Trust’s already strong capital base relative to regulatory guidelines and the industry. Northern Trust will use this capital to continue to support high-quality loan growth, benefiting consumers and institutions.”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with Northern Trust using bank funds per se to underwrite the recent events in Los Angeles. My guess is the decision to become the title sponsor was made months before the bank accepted the original bailout funds.

Even if the bank’s explanation of the story is on the level, lawmakers and the public should rightfully remain skeptical. Unless and until Northern Trust clears its name, look for people to call it Northern “Don’t” Trust. Obviously, that is an etching no corporate sponsor would ever want on its winner’s trophy.

Laguna Beach, Calif.

Pelosi vs. Obama

From Wes Pedersen

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are voicing opposition to President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. It seems clear they have not yet grasped the simple facts that Mr. Obama, sans their help, won the election, and that the public already has pretty much had it up to here with the Pelosi-led “opposition party.”

Chevy Chase, Md.