Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Erskine 'Catfood' Bowles For Treasury Secretary? Seriously?

Paul Krugman, in "Deficit Hawks and Hypocrites":
A large white cat menaces Erskine Bowles,
possibly seeking catfood
I don’t know how seriously to take the buzz about appointing Erskine Bowles to replace Timothy Geithner. But in case there’s any reality to it, let’s recall his record. Mr. Bowles, like others in the deficit-scold community, has indulged in scare tactics, warning of an imminent fiscal crisis that keeps not coming. Meanwhile, the report he co-wrote was supposed to be focused on deficit reduction — yet, true to form, it called for lower rather than higher tax rates, and as a “guiding principle” no less. Appointing him, or anyone like him, would be both a bad idea and a slap in the face to the people who returned President Obama to office.
Erskine Bowles (wiki) is a board member at GM and Morgan Stanley. In August he spoke in praise of Paul Ryan and in particular of the latter's "serious budget." I cannot think of a more archetypal representative of The 1%... or a worse choice for Treasury secretary. Appointing him to that post would be a sharp stick in the eye of everyone less conservative... more economically sane... than Newt Gingrich.

Krugman quotes the late great John Maynard Keynes: “The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity.” The deficit scolds with their one-track minds would be only too happy to give us more austerity, packed full and running over... just what we don't need as we begin to claw our way out of the Great Recession. Obama must be strongly discouraged from appointing any of them to anything. Their way has been tried; their way has failed. It is time for them to leave.

Full disclosure: I have some money invested through Morgan Stanley, from back in the days 30+ years ago when they had the only broker in Houston specializing in "socially responsible investing." I kept my conscience clear about what I was invested in, but I didn't make much money. A shoebox would have served me better. Oh well.

Corrected: I inadvertently substituted a link from a different Krugman post.

Corrected: I substituted "Newt Gingrich" for "Genghis Khan" as an archetypal radical conservative. May be better; may not be...

Afterthought: speaking of an "austerity bomb," look at Europe's unemployment. Jeebus!

Update 11/16: Bowles has said he will not serve as Treasury Secretary.


  1. The lesser evil advances. Erskine Bowles? J'F'ing C!

    1. Not necessarily, karmanot. If all Washington rumors were to be believed, Rmoney would be president in January, because it was certainly rumored before Tuesday night. But Obama won, and I presume the 'publicans are not quite ready to perpetrate a violent overthrow yet.

      TPTB may have released the Bowles rumor in an attempt to pressure Obama to appoint Bowles. That would be a particularly Republican kind of thing to do, but I don't know; maybe Obama really is contemplating Bowles as SecTreas. Petitions and letters may help influence Obama.

  2. Replies
    1. Mad, catfood would become a reality for many seniors and poor people if Bowles took office. But the election is past, and Obama can and will do what he wants now.



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