Big Economic Questions and Small Donors
By John Amick
At a news conference yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama introduced his core group of economic advisers to the country, if not the world. Now questions turn to the judgment of these officials, and precisely how they plan to halt what some see as "American declinism"? Some are unsure these mostly Clinton-era thinkers, like future Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, will transform the country's economic slide. Others are avowed pessimists, but still see chance for hope in the new team. Obama reiterated his plan for a new stimlus package, though it is unlikely to gain traction while President Bush is in office, further advancing the nation's favorite game of "Who's the President Anyway?"
Obama and Bush are simpatico on the rescue of Citigroup though the strategy is a bit uncertain at this point. Complicating matters: A massive bailout of Citigroup could make things worse. Nevertheless, the news caused the Dow Jones to jump nearly 400 points. So what can we expect today? Current Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will unveil a plan to use part of the $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds to help "fund new loans packaged into securities for sale to investors."
But what about Congress's role in abating the current financial crisis? Is there a new New Deal in the works among Democratic ranks? We've already seen the Obama-FDR comparisons done to excess. The Democrats may have their hands full just dealing with one another, much less the economy.
And finally, in tying up loose ends left from the election, a report from the Campaign Finance Institute says claims that Obama radically altered election-year small-donor fundraising are a misnomer. Though Obama attracted many new electoral participants, the report shows that President Bush received a similar percentage of contributions from small-dollar donors in 2004. And in naming longtime Joe Biden-aide Ted Kaufman as the replacement for Biden in the U.S. Senate, Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner certainly disturbed many local pols.
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