Finally, Putting Country First
Editor’s Note: As the United States faces a severe financial crisis, many of the key players in politics, business and the media continue to act out their tiresome roles to the detriment of the nation.
In this guest essay, former Democratic congressional aide Brent Budowsky warns of the dangers from this unpatriotic approach:
We Americans have our backs against the financial wall. We are in a war against fear, greed and corruption of the marketplace.
Banks receive billions while they hoard money and grant bonuses. Some who caused this problem now profit from it. Others refuse to do their part to end it.
Like it does for most Americans, this makes me mad as hell. We should not take it anymore. We can win this war.
The media must do their part. Republicans should respect the last election. The President should tear down the vacancy sign at the Treasury Department, draft the best minds in the nation, and work with Republicans for six-month emergency recess appointments that would dramatically lift our confidence, markets and spirits.
CNBC and all media should fully disclose when any guest or source who talks down America has a financial interest in the failure of America.
There are some good people at CNBC. But with shows titled “Fast Money” and “Mad Money,” after years of being a megaphone for hyping the housing bubble and promoting rampant speculation, CNBC and other media failed as journalists and became partners in the hyper-speculations that have so damaged the nation.
There is nothing wrong with short-selling. But it is wrong to promote false fears. It is wrong to spread false rumors. It is wrong for media to give a megaphone for those preaching doom without clearly disclosing when those who predict the failure of America seek to profit from it.
Republicans should stop acting as though they want our President to fail and appearing as though they are predicting or expecting our economy to fail. The election is over. The voters have spoken.
The President should bring the best minds of the nation to the halls of government. We are at war against economic demons that plague us. We should act like it.
Few in Washington supported Barack Obama for President as early, strongly and faithfully as I have. I supported him yesterday. I support him today. I will support him tomorrow. But candor and clarity compel me to write: There is no excuse at this moment in history for so many major jobs at the Treasury Department to remain unfilled.
We have turned our nominating and confirmation process into a Roman circus. We chase away good people. Others refuse to serve. Let’s say: Not here. Not now. Not in this crisis.
I propose a solution as our nation faces the moral equivalent of war. The President can name individuals of unquestioned stature to six-month positions as deputy Treasury secretaries. Congress can agree to special recess appointments. …
I suggest: Warren Buffett for deputy secretary for finance and Al Gore as deputy for autos, energy and venture capital to create the next great jobs wave, and former Republican Sen. John Danforth of Missouri for international finance as the world approaches the most important world finance summit since Bretton Woods.
If 18-year-old heroes can give their lives for our country in Iraq, these gentlemen should be asked what they can do for our country, and do it.
I guarantee: This would mobilize the nation, rally consumer and market confidence, and be the D-Day moment in this war we must win.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Rep. Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House. He can be read in The Hill newspaper, where he is a columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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