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Week in Preview: Turkey Week!

The highlight of this holiday-shortened week comes today at noon when President-elect Barack Obama unveils his economic team in Chicago.

The key players are already in place and word was out on Friday about the two biggest names: New York Fed head Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as the head of the National Economic Council.

So, why the public show then?

Because Obama knows that, heading into the long Thanksgiving weekend, Americans need some reassurance on the state and direction of the economy.

Consumer confidence continues to crater with the latest weekly ABC index showing the rating at -52, its lowest rating in the more than two decades the survey has been conducted. (The ABC consumer confidence index ranges from +100 to -100.)

And, a recent Gallup poll showed nearly six in ten Americans (58 percent) said the economy was the most important issue facing the country while another 19 percent named related economic issues like unemployment or inflation.

The announcement today then is better understood as a piece of political theatrics -- aimed at sending a clear signal to the American public that Obama is on top of the economic problem and putting the pieces in place to solve it.

If the just-concluded campaign is any indication, today's event will come off without a hitch. The campaign demonstrated that Obama and his advisers grasp the importance of visuals to the American people -- a concept no less important now that he has been elected the 44th president of the United States.

Ultimately, no matter how good the theater, Obama will have to produce results. But, in the short term, the goal of today's event is to make sure that when families gather around the dinner table -- or , in The Fix's case, the field hockey field -- they feel some level of comfort that the president-elect is on the economic case.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 24, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  FixCam  
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There are two things wrong, seriously wrong, with Obama today.


First, he urges action - OBAMA SHOULD BE THE ONE TAKING ACTION.


Second, his advisors are going to "monitor the situation" or "advise Obama on a daily basis"


The country needs Obama to be a great deal more PRO-ACTIVE - OBAMA NEEDS TO CALL BUSH, SIT DOWN WITH BUSH AND GET A JOINT ACTION PROGRAM TOGETHER RIGHT AWAY.


BI-PARTISAN ACTION RIGHT NOW IS WHAT IS CALLED FOR - THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT OBAMA CLAIMED HE WAS SO GOOD AT - OBAMA IS SITTING AROUND DOING VITUALLY NOTHING WHEN HE SHOULD BE DOING HIS POSTPARTISAN THING.

OH By the way, Obama did appoint a Social Secretary !!!!


not like anyone is uppity or anything like that............


The American people need bold leadership right now on the economy and what does the nation get?


A new social sectretary.

Congratulations America !!!!

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 24, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD _ Tell you what, go check the article I refer to in the NYT's."

Ok, post the link.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Milbrooks, I understand the argument, I just think it's specious. If I run a company exactly like the last guy ran it and that company goes bust, that's my fault, not the last guys?
National economies have the same lines of responsibility. You can implement the last guys policy, you can make a brand new one, but since you are the one to decide, you take responsibility no matter who's idea it originally was. As president, you're also the only one who can do something if the theory your basing your economic decisions on turns out to be fallacious. 'W' had the wheel in his hands when the bus went into the ditch, blaming the driver from the last shift begs the question, if it wasn't 'W's responsibility, how can it be the last guys? Poppi Bush was the last President to call supply side economics by it's appropriate tittle, Voodoo economics, but dang if he didn't dabble in it as well (and lost a re-election bid as a result).

I think your points about unemployment are accurate though, and I agree that a campaign has been going on for the last couple of administrations to doctor the economic numbers. You are equally correct that outside of the US, nobody pays the official inflation and unemployment rates any mind at all, they are entirely fabrications and are treated as such. I think that's a big reason why we're in the straights we're in now, if everybody is a liar, why would smart money get into the game?

Posted by: dijetlo | November 24, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

A little bit of honesty is called for here.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules
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Honestly, you could sue Massengil for trademark infringement.

Posted by: LABC | November 24, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Ok sure, Thanksgiving week after the general election is going to be a slow week for political news.

Bush is probably royally p*ssed off at Obama. There's a ranch at Crawford that had brush that needs cleared, bike trails that need to be rode, etc. Instead Obama seems to be h*ll-bent on working through his - giving press conferences, announcing cabinet posts - making Bush stuck in Washington with nothing to do but knock-around inside the oval office. Booorring.

Posted by: DonJasper | November 24, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD _ Tell you what, go check the article I refer to in the NYT's. CHeck their numbers. Then, check the DOL number of people in the workforce. Okay? Got it? Then, do some simple math -- 20,000,000 / 100,000,000 = .2 .... 20%. Okay? Now, read the fine print in the article, so the 20,000,000 likely only catches half of those out of work. .2 + .2 = .4 = 40%. Got it? QED, *real* genuine unemployment in this country is somewhere between 20% and 40% right this minute. Indeed, if we used he European method for calculating unemployment, it would be 40% right now. 50%? Given another 12 months of free trade or, if Obama actually does expand the H1-B visa program and displace another 3 million U.S. workers, 50% is a piece of cake, a dead certainty. Now, the government's "official" unemployment figure is 6.5%. It might be 7.5% by this time next week, but it isn't anywhere near the real number. Instead of "believing" in some fantasy being peddled by one politician or another, I suggest you read and use the brains God gave you to think.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 24, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"When Obama completes his conversion to free trade, you might just see unemployment hitting 50%."

Um, yeah. 50% I'm wondering if there is any country that's even close to 50%.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Other Clinton boondoggles - ending trade tariff's, which provided around 25% of federal revenues, which pushed that tax burden onto the middle class, ending duties and fees for products and services that are produced by U.S. companies overseas, giving tax breaks to companies that outsourced jobs, factories and other production facilities, removing restrictions on the export of critical technologies, giving H1-B workers clearances to work on Defense Department contracts (which led to the theft of all manner of military secrets), etc. Clinton-Bush, Bush-Clinton, they are the same, and, now, we have Clinton-Bush-Obama, three peas in a pod.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 24, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

dijetlo - Actually, the poster was correct. Bill Clinton began this free trade fiasco. Under him the H1-B visa passed (the L-1 was an education visa, but the late and unlamented Senator Smith changed it to a guest worker visa under Bush). Likewise, it was under Clinton that the government began inventing numbers to make unemployment appear better than it really is. The economic numbers published by the government are complete fiction and almost every "insider" knows it. For example, the NYT's, yesterday, published an article containing an astounding bit of information - more than 20 million people are using various federal programs to look for work. Now, these are unemployed people and, moreover, only about half of those looking for jobs use those programs. Now, we have a population of about 300 million. ABout 1/3 of those are seniors or retirees. ABout 1/3 are too young to work, full time students, disabled, in prison, etc. The upshot is, we have a total workforce of about 100 million, at best. So...the numbers, the actual raw numbers, show an unemployment rate of between 20% and 35%. That is higher than the highest unemployment numbers during the Great Depression and it is expected to get worse, a lot worse. When Obama completes his conversion to free trade, you might just see unemployment hitting 50%.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 24, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

A GOVERNMENT-GENERATED ECONOMIC CRISIS?

Could government "targeting" of American citizens outside the bounds of the judicial system be one of the root causes of the Wall Street financial meltdown that threatens to devastate the global economy?

Victims of so-called "organized gang stalking" claim that federal and local government agencies involved in intelligence, law enforcement, and revenue collection have established a network of secret programs aimed at destroying the financial well-being of "targeted" individuals -- who are denied due process of law as their financial resources are systematically expropriated.

These programs allegedly involve the interception of mail; surveillance, interception and alteration of telecommunications, including telephone and internet communications; fabrication of bank, credit card, mortgage and billing statements; surreptitious manipulation of personal and business bank and mortgage accounts.

Victims of this alleged "extrajudicial targeting" report being inundated with offers of "easy credit" from banks, mortgage companies and credit card issuers -- even if their financial situation does not warrant the extension of generous lines of credit.

In effect, victims say, a secret parallel system of transaction processing has been established for persons targeted by government agencies. They allege that the goal is to destroy their capacity to earn a living and to support themselves and their families.

TO CONTINUE...
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/targeting-u-s-citizens-govt-agencies-root-cause-wall-street-financial-crisis
OR
members.nowpublic.com/scrivener


Posted by: scrivener50 | November 24, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I challenge your assertion about who is responsible for the economic mess - THE SNOWBALL OF THE CLINTON ECONOMIC DISASTER has its roots in the 1990s - no one has been able to set the economy straight since the Clinton administration took all sorts of money from Wall Street, China and Indonesia and set this disaster in motion.
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Wow!!! Denial is not just a river in Africa
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that invasion was a DIRECT RESULT OF THE FAILURE OF 8 YEARS OF CLINTON MIDDLE EASTERN POLICY.
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Bill Clinton invaded Iraq?
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AND Hillary stacked the State Department with affirmative action appointees who never ever did the job.
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and Hillary hired Condi and Colin....

In sum I can only reiterate...Wow. It seems their is no mountain of male bovine excrement too tall for our Republican brethren to climb....
In closing, I liked you better when you were blaming Carter for everything Reagan screwed up.

Posted by: dijetlo | November 24, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"Harvard University President Lawrence Summers suggested that innate genetic differences limit women’s ability to succeed in technical subjects like math and science. Further, he argued that the highest faculty positions at elite colleges and universities require more time, energy, and commitment than women - who are considered the primary caretakers of family - are able to give. In sum, Summers’ offered the impression that while discrimination might play a role in thwarting women’s advances in the math and science arena, genetic makeup and rigid societal roles might largely impact women’s success."

No. He said these things MAY be a factor.

Again.

They MAY be a factor.

For the truly braindead morons.

They MAY be a factor.

He didn't offer any definitive answers. He threw out some hypotheses, some far fetched and some politically incorrect. That's a good thing. I WANT a mind like that working on our toughest challenges.

Again, for the idiots.

They MAY be a factor.

I'm shaking my head in exasperation. This is really ridiculous.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

from AAUW press release: for those "waiting"

n comments to the National Bureau of Economic Research on January 14, 2005, Harvard University President Lawrence Summers suggested that innate genetic differences limit women’s ability to succeed in technical subjects like math and science. Further, he argued that the highest faculty positions at elite colleges and universities require more time, energy, and commitment than women - who are considered the primary caretakers of family - are able to give. In sum, Summers’ offered the impression that while discrimination might play a role in thwarting women’s advances in the math and science arena, genetic makeup and rigid societal roles might largely impact women’s success.
On January 19, 2005, Summers issued an apology for his comments, stating that during the course of this debate he has come to realize “the very real barriers faced by women pursuing scientific and other academic careers.” He also commented that, “While in recent years there have been some strides forward in attracting more women into the front ranks of science, the progress overall has been frustratingly uneven and slow. Spurring greater progress is a critical challenge.”

Posted by: OrlandoNan | November 24, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

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wpost4112


I challenge your assertion about who is responsible for the economic mess - THE SNOWBALL OF THE CLINTON ECONOMIC DISASTER has its roots in the 1990s - no one has been able to set the economy straight since the Clinton administration took all sorts of money from Wall Street, China and Indonesia and set this diaster in motion.


Let me be clear: Any student of economics knows that economic policies take years and years to affect the actual economy of a nation.


Many times, the economic policies of one President do not take hold until the next President's term.

The Clinton administration is the one which took all the money from Wall Street and then repealed the Glass-Steagall Act.


The Clinton administration deregulated Wall Street.


The Clinton administration allowed the internet bubble to get out of control and unleashed the SNOWBALL OF THE CLINTON ECONOMIC DISASTER.

If you review the testimony of Greenspan before Congress, they were allowing the banks to push the boundaries in the mortgage business in order to cushion the effects of the internet bust.


THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THIS MESS HAS ITS DIRECT ROOTS IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION - THE SAME BUNCH OF PEOPLE OBAMA IS APPOINTING NOW.

If you want to "blame Bush" (which is all liberals have done for years), then one should be honest and say the the Bush administration was unable to clean up the MASSIVE SNOWBALL OF THE CLINTON ECONOMIC DISASTER.

Also you fail to blame the Federal Reserve which is an independent agency. You appear to want to blame Bush without sayint anything about the failings of the Federal Reserve, all the way back to the mid 1990s.

These people who only want to point a finger at Bush when he was only indirectly responsible - and CLINTON'S POLICIES ARE DIRECTLY THE CAUSE.

Unbelievable.

AND the Iraqi war - Bill Clinton should have had Saddam under control way before the situation was so bad we had to invade - that invasion was a DIRECT RESULT OF THE FAILURE OF 8 YEARS OF CLINTON MIDDLE EASTERN POLICY.


Clinton cut back our intelligence services in the Middle East until we were practically blind in the region.


AND Hillary stacked the State Department with affirmative action appointees who never ever did the job.


The State Department was a COMPLETE MESS under Bill Clinton.


A little bit of honesty is called for here.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 24, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I have to say we need the best economic brain for an economic job.

Fluff and gossip and stupid statements about other issues that are not economic are the issues we weighed our choices on over the last 8 years...

that is what got us here.

Obama is clearly showing that he gets what the country needs.

...and Chris I would argue that the "theater" is part of the solution... it's not THE solution as we have seen for 8 years...

but Paulson's mistakes include his inability to have the theater of reassurance.

Posted by: klondike2 | November 24, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama's move indicates that he has absolutely no confidence in Bush, Paulson or Bernanke to pull the country out of its current economic black hole enough in two months for the president-elect to lay low and merely cooperate. Citi's bailout was the last straw for Obama and his team.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | November 24, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse


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To the poster at 7:38 and 7:39


You fail to take into account how many democrats voted FOR the Iraq war.


AND this "lie" that you keep on harping on.

Bill Clinton is the one who is one tape saying that "Saddam had weapons of mass destruction."


Bush never said that.

All the western intelligence agencies believed that Saddam had CHEMICAL WEAPONS WHICH ARE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

Somehow, you TWIST that into a personal lie on the part of President Bush.


AND you go around for years saying Bush lied, Bush lied.


Well did Bill Clinton also lie? Why don't you focus in on Bill Clinton?

Why don't you focus in on all the democrats in Congress who voted for the war???


YOU make it appear as though the democrats in Congress have no personal responsiblity - that they were innocent victims of the Bush administration.


Well the democrats in Congress ARE ADULTS - THE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN VOTES FOR THE IRAQI WAR.

Stop blaming Bush WHEN BOTH PARTIES RUSHED INTO THE IRAQI WAR.

NOW I return to my original point: those who are asking for partisan unity now are the same people who REFUSED to give us partisan unity during the DARKEST DAYS when we were at war.

What a sick bunch of people.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 24, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Amazing how some people would rather the country enter a full depression rather than see the best minds solve the economic problems left to us by Bush and his cronies.


Posted by: wpost4112 | November 24, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

If the Fix were a dog and it had the 37th and O affliction, we would say this dog has the mange. Get well, Fix.

Posted by: optimyst | November 24, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ddawd.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 24, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

http://www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/2005/nber.html

There is Summers' "sexist" speech write there.

Someone go and copy and paste the blatantly sexist lines from it.

I'll wait.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

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Obama is a do-nothing - everyone in the country is telling him to get up and act now - we do not need another press conference from him in which all his people look scared. (see picture in previous Fix posting)

There is no change.


There is no change. What is different? The voters voted for something DIFFERENT FROM BUSH, DIFFERENT FROM CLINTON.


HOW HARD IS THAT?


The Clinton people got us into this mess by allowing the internet bubble to emerge - which led to the mortgage bubble - no one has stopped the SNOWBALL OF THE CLINTON ECONOMIC DISASTER.


Clinton is the one who repealed the Glass-Steagall Act - Clinton and the DNC took vast amounts of money from Wall Street to make this happen


Clinton is the one who DEREGULATED WALL STREET.


CLINTON IS THE ONE WHO TOOK VAST AMOUNTS OF MONEY FROM CHINA AND INDONESIA -


Foreign Money?? Sound familar? Foreign money went into Obama's campaign.

We have serious serious problems in this country - the democratic party has shown that it can be bought and paid for with foreign money


WAKE UP AMERICA


WAKE UP AMERICA


WAKE UP AMERICA


WAKE UP AMERICA


WAKE UP AMERICA.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 24, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I wish we could move the inauguration to the first week of December. That would inspire more confidence. Besides, I am getting bored with nothing to argue about.

Posted by: corridorg4 | November 24, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Orlando Nan, Summers' suggestion that statistics that reflect a male advantage in math could reflect nature or nurture was a technically neutral one. It was not politically correct, and the man is being placed in a position where his expertise is useful but he will be shielded from his foot-in-mouth disease by being behind the WH curtain.
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BHO is not the Prez, and all he can do is send signals, now. However, Jim Baker offered a possible path to more confidence building in the interregnum on MTP yesterday.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 24, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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Chris:

This country does not need an economic team - the nation needs an ECONOMIC PLAN AND ACTION.


Are they joking with another worthless press conference designed to stroke everyone's ego?


Obama needs to put together an ECONOMIC PLAN NOW - he needs to get down to the White House - merge to the existing economic team at the White House with his own people (al la post-partisan) -

THEN GO DOWN TO CAPITOL HILL AND WORK WITH BOTH PARTIES (as Obama said he was so skilled at)

AND GET AN ECONOMIC PROGRAM UP AND RUNNING RIGHT AWAY.

THAT IS LEADERSHIP.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 24, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Mr Fix, I wish you were on his economic team- you would be great I know it!

Posted by: rupertornelius | November 24, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama's announcement of a economic team might help calm the public, but until he actually assumes office, I'm not sure how much this will help...

There are too many contrasting thoughts and actions coming from Washington now. Don't bail out the auto makers but let's bail out Citigroup etc. Until there is a cohesive plan of action, consumer confidence will continue to crater...

Posted by: RickJ | November 24, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Bumbling sexist pig Larry Summers ushered to the halls of power by the change president? Whose values does this reinforce? Summers, drummed out of the presidency of Harvard after stepping in it with women and African-American faculty, just gets to be openly misogynistic? How nice.
Think if he had said that "blacks" or "Jews" were inherently unfit for advanced science and math careers? Would his remarks be dismissed so lightly? Would he be appearing with this president as part of the solution to a massive crisis, supposedly to reassure us? He'd be lucky to be teaching community college if he'd said the things about a minority group or religion that he's said, and restated, about women.
Male writers quickly blow past this history of Summers', which is well-documented. How sad, and what a setback for women, that those who openly taunt their intelligence, academic rigor and willingness to work hard are accepted in the inner sanctum of the new White House.
This is not change I can believe in. I am shocked and worried about the open season now declared on women, and also about the embrace of women-haters by a president whose own career was greatly enhanced by the benefit of the doubt.
This mostly-male admin., as it comes together, is a real affront to women. No, he can't. Be this blind to women, and to those who openly discriminate against them. A dreary jump back in progress for this wonderful country. There were dozens of other choices to be made here, though perhaps Robert Rubin continues his insistence on 'mentoring' this caveman. Get a clue, Bob.
And shame on you, Barack Obama.

Posted by: OrlandoNan | November 24, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

CC -- It's Monday morning, and this is old news. And you needn't worry about the unveiling of the economic team being mere theatre -- pundits have been calling for Obama TO DO SOMETHING for the past week or so. Remember the vacuum with Bush AWOL and Obama stating there is only one president at a time? Maybe you need a vacation to get a fresh approach to the news. Now that the elections are over, you seem to grasping at straws instead of doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing.

Posted by: marmac5 | November 24, 2008 6:54 AM | Report abuse

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