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Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Travis Waldron, Think Progress, January 9, 2012: What You Need To Know About Jack Lew, Obama’s Treasury Nominee

    Jack Lew, President Obama's chief of staff, is a sharp budget negotiator and was a key figure in crafting the deal that averted a government shutdown in 2011 when Republicans threatened to not raise the debt ceiling. That experience will be put to the test again in February...assuming Republicans do not hold up or block his nomination. He also helped draft Obama's America's Jobs Act and used taxes on the wealthy to pay for it. However, that Act was not approved in Congress.

    He is a big defender of Medicaid. However, in the 1980s he also "worked on former Speaker Tip O’Neill’s (D) staff when Democrats agreed to raise the Social Security retirement age in the 1980s, and he has supported similar changes to Medicare."

    He is less strong in financial regulation...certainly not as strong as Geithner on banking and bank regulations...but okay.

    Overall not a big star with name recognition...except that his crazy signature seems to have captured as much attention as his credentials.

    With Jack Lew and the other nominations it appears President Obama is going with more "think-a-likes" as he is readying himself for battles with the Tea Party Republicans in his second term. Maybe less "nice guy."
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Dallas, TX
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    I'm not happy about the pick. This is a regression from Geithner.

    He was OMB director under Clinton during the Surplus era, which was immediately proceeded by the 2000-2001 recession with the collapse in domestic savings.

    He has said that deregulation was not to blame for the financial crisis. Meanwhile, the investment-hedge fund unit at Citi that he oversaw ended up losing 20 billion dollars, largely from bets on opaque financial instruments in support of Citi's off balance sheet vehicles.

    He has backed Obama on the "Grand Bargain" and further deficit reduction.

    So, another "very serious person" who does not understand basic accounting, banking, and finance, or anything he is supposedly an expert on.

    More blind leading the blind.

    And another "Democrat" following the Republicans in their depravity.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    And right on cue, here's Bill Black today at New Economics Perspectives: Jacob Lew: Another brick in the Wall Street on the Potomac

    Closing paragraph:

    "Progressives need to understand that the Grand Betrayal is not inevitable. What the administration and Boehner are attempting to inflict on the Nation is indefensibly self-destructive. Medicine realized over a century ago that bleeding patients constituted medical malpractice. We have known for at least 75 years that austerity in response to a recession or the Great Depression constitutes economic malpractice. The ironic aspect of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party is that they are terrible at finance. Wall Street on the Potomac combines the worst aspects of finance and politics. It is crony capitalism – anti-American style."

    Time to retake the Democratic party for Democrats who have actual Democratic party values.

    Obama could have set the stage for a revival of the Democratic party along these lines. He chose otherwise, even with nothing left to lose.

    We need to get rid of these lawyers in favor of economists who know what they are talking about.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    CBB --

    Well I'm not into applying an MMT purity test to any of Obama's nominations. If that were the case, probably there would not be anyone left inside Washington to fit the job. Looking at the current political environment in trying to get anything passed through the Tea Birchers in the House...you know the austerity hawks, Obama needs a strong negotiator. And Jack Lew fits that bill nicely. Boehner hates negotiating with him because Lew is too smart for him and other Republicans...period.

    When Jeff Sessions comes out and says, "Jack Lew must never be secretary of treasury," then that means that Jack Lew has my support.

    From Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian, January 10, 2012: Jack Lew nomination hits snag as Republican vows 'aggressive' opposition

    "The Republicans want cuts in welfare programmes but the Obama administration wants to protect key elements, such as healthcare for the elderly, Medicare, and for the poor, Medicaid, and would rather cut defence spending. The Obama administration also wants tax revenue raising measures included in the mix.

    "With this in mind, Obama said of Lew: "Maybe most importantly, as the son of a Polish immigrant, a man of deep and devout faith, Jack knows that every number on the page, every dollar we budget, every decision we make, has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation, our values, the values that says everyone gets a fair shot at opportunity and says we expect all of us to fulfill our obligations as citizens in return."

    "Obama added: "Jack has my complete trust … So I hope the senate will confirm him as quickly as possible.""


    The more I have learned about Jacob (Jack) Lew, the more I see him as a good fit for the job. I just wish that Obama could have chosen a woman or minority instead.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Schmidt, we are old friends on this website. So don't get mad at me for this.

    The Republicans will oppose anyone Obama nominates. Do you support "anyone" for Treasury secretary?

    Lew is a terrible pick and it will give the Republicans ammo to run as populists opposing Wall Street cronyism. We know that's bullshit, but their base doesn't.

    Democrats have got to stop being afraid of doing the right thing.

    And remember, Obama has proposed SSI cuts via chained CPI.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I don't know a lot about Lew but I have heard that he's unliked by the republicans because he was tough to negotiate with. It was stated in a way that he took no crap from the repub's and they didn't want him negotiating the fiscal cliff subject. I realize there's not much to negotiate as head of the treasury.
    Funny side note is he will have his signature on dollar bills and not one letter in his signature is legible. Just looks like loops and squiggly lines.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Carlitos Wrote: Schmidt, we are old friends on this website. So don't get mad at me for this.

    The Republicans will oppose anyone Obama nominates. Do you support "anyone" for Treasury secretary?

    Lew is a terrible pick and it will give the Republicans ammo to run as populists opposing Wall Street cronyism. We know that's bullshit, but their base doesn't.

    Democrats have got to stop being afraid of doing the right thing.

    And remember, Obama has proposed SSI cuts via chained CPI.
    CBB --

    I will never get mad at you for what you write or your views. You have changed my views on macroeconomics, and I thank you for that. I admire your passion about educating people on MMT despite the tremendous challenge. However, as an old fart, I tend to look more at the practical reality of the immediate mud slinging political climate and what it takes to overcome a hostile House of Representatives, many of which HATE Obama so much they would run the country into the ditch if they thought it would hurt him. So Obama needs tough people to negotiate with these people. He wasn't successful himself with Boehner at yearend so he sent in Joe Biden. And now with the debt ceiling, budget and sequester all coming within a month of each other he needs really tough negotiators. Jack Lew is the man for that job.

    Certainly there are other people that ideologically might be better for the long term. However, if you are to eliminate anyone with banking experience as being tainted, then your pool of candidates shrinks. Ditto for Wall Street financial firms other than banking. So in browsing the internet of likely candidates I didn't find any that I felt would be better than Lew.

    Paul Krugman has spent his entire lives in academia and therefore would not have the knowledge of Congress and experience in how to get something pushed through.

    Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is mentioned, but part of his resume is a partner at Goldman Sachs.

    Sheila Bair, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, is a Republican, but she also played a prominent role in the bail-out of Citigroup.

    John Reed, former co-chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc, would also be tainted by his Citigroup experience.

    There are a few other names, but when you look at the balance of their experience and knowledge, some might be suited for a back seat advisory position, but for someone to put on the front lines of the battle, you need a heavy weight...and someone that Obama trusts. You don't want to hand the ball to an unproven candidate in these critical months ahead. And in that regard, we also need a "Senator Barney Frank" to help us through the maize.

    Keep pushing though. Do you have alternatives to suggest?
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Dallas, TX
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    Democrats believe the Republican lie that the budget needs to balanced.

    To do so, Democrats believe in progressive taxation, which gives Republicans something to run against.

    Republicans believe in cutting government and drowning Uncle Sam in the bathtub, which gives Democrats something to run against.

    See the problem here?

    Anyways, here's Bill Black on Democracy Now explaining the opposition to Lew (link).