Dear Mr. President:
You must feel the weight of the entire free world on your shoulders, and I do not envy or minimize the difficulty of the mission you have before you. Notwithstanding the heroic efforts by you and your administration thus far, and with all due respect to you and your office, it seems painfully obvious that a timely and robust economic recovery will require more focused, hands-on and non-partisan leadership from you.
First, your administration should set a priority to solving our most immediate problems in the critical path of recovery before undertaking any long range economic planning. The banking crisis should have your complete and undivided attention, and is at the root of housing foreclosures, unemployment and our broader recession. Amending mark-to-market accounting rules and reinstating stock uptick rules would be a good place to start and doing so could realistically strengthen and stabilize the financial system. Current mark-to-market rules distort true market value and provide an unrealistic value assessment of bank assets. Re-instated uptick rules will thwart the senseless, relentless short selling that serves no useful purpose but to panic investors and drive otherwise viable companies out of business. Amending both rules should not be viewed as expedient solutions to our banking problem, as they make long run sense for improving our financial system.
You want to capitalize on your popularity by pushing through your entire long-term agenda right now. It seems obvious to me that energy independence, healthcare reform, and education reform cannot take place unless and until we fix banking, housing and the general economy. Also, your “drink from a fire hose” approach has been received as somewhat reckless and appears that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. It’s difficult for us to swallow too. Also, you must be aware that if you are successful in solving our global banking problem, you will become an international hero and perhaps the most popular political leader in modern history. With such an achievement, your broader agenda would likely pass during your likely second term in office.
Second, America needs you to personally steer us through this mess. Save your energy and forego the unnecessary travel and superficial speaking engagements. You need to demonstrate that you have your hands around our nation’s critical issues and need to speak specifically and convincingly about their resolution. Delegating authority to Congress to draft and expediently pass trillion dollar legislation that could profoundly and irrevocably change our lives does not instill a lot of confidence that you are in charge of the process or fully appreciate its importance.
Third, you should resist implementing politically expedient policies that will likely hinder the rescue our economy. Dispense with the politics-as-usual you promised during your campaign. Your trusted advisors can tell you that massive and wasteful government spending, especially for gratuitous earmark projects, is an ineffective method of reversing an economic recession. Raising taxes on small business, the investments of the rich, and on energy (from a cap and trade policy) won’t help either. Use the tremendous political capital you possess to do what you know is right and told us you would do in your campaign. You’re a popular President in the “honeymoon” period of your administration. A more judicious approach to spending and a truly fiscally responsible posture would go a long way toward rebuilding confidence in our government and our economy.
Widespread confidence in you and your policies will be required to restore America’s prosperity.