Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama, Volcker, and fiscal responsibility

The Wall Street Journal has a story today on the central role that former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker is playing in Sen. Obama's campaign. The excellent financial blogger Barry Ritholtz comments on the relationship here.

My initial thought on Volcker's role in the Obama campaign is -- good, very very good. I feel this way because, in a broad sense, it is fiscal and monetary irresponsibility that has led to the current crisis. Therefore, I can't shake the feeling that Chairman Volcker -- a well-known fiscal and monetary conservative -- might be exactly who the country needs driving our economic decisions. At the very least, I am glad to see that Sen. Obama will be advised by the most famous fiscal conservative in the land. If history is any guide, Chairman Volcker will advise Sen. Obama not to sell the future for a quick fix in the present. His role in the Obama campaign -- and, presumably, in an Obama administration -- means that Sen. Obama's focus is not on selling our soul to inflate growth in the short-term, but on creating conditions for stable, socially-valuable growth in the medium- and long-terms.

Contrary to what his critics and proponents variously see in him, I continue to see in Sen. Obama a sober, conservative, centrist-pragmatist. This is exactly the opposite of what we've seen in President Bush and what we are led to believe about Sen. McCain. I am an admirer of Sen. McCain -- and have been since 1999 -- but he has failed to read the writing on the post-Bush wall. In terms of facing up to reality, Sen. Obama has beat him, fair and square.

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