America Needs to Know Obama’s Treasury Pickby Tim Manni
We’ve mentioned before that one of the most important things President-elect Barack Obama needs to do is instill confidence back into the American psyche. During these turbulent times that is no easy task — it won’t happen overnight, nor should America expect it to. That being said, Obama’s transition into the presidency is unlike any other. Although Obama has no presidential power until January, he must swiftly act and prepare now so that on Inauguration Day citizens will be confident and secure that our new commander in chief is ready to lead the change he has promised. Much of that starts with appointing a treasury secretary.
Despite the discussion of several possible candidates, Obama has yet to name his pick — could it be because no one wants the tremendous burdens the position carries with it? Numerous leaks out of Obama’s transition camp have revealed his likely choices for secretary of health and human services (Tom Daschle (S.D.)), head of the Department of Homeland Security (Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano), and the attorney general (Eric H. Holder Jr.) — none of which will have an immediate effect on quelling the current economic situation.
Obama supporters warned the transition to recovery may not happen as fast as many expect:
“This might be a long haul,” said Robert Reich, who was President Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor. “2009 is going to be a very hard year. Some economists say we won’t be out of this for two years, others are saying it may be three, or four, maybe five years.”
“We all have to be very careful about the expectations that we are putting on this man, our president-elect,” Reich said. “If we all assume it’s going to be the first 100 days, we’re going to be disappointed.”
Obama’s critics see his likely appointees, including the most recent discussion surrounding former Democratic-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the position of secretary of state, as steering farther from his “change” campaign.
The Obama camp has begun to involve itself in the latest bailout discussion regarding the American auto industry:
President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team is exploring a swift, prepackaged bankruptcy for automakers as a possible solution to the industry’s financial crisis, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Obama’s team has already contacted at least one bankruptcy- law firm to say that Daniel Tarullo, a professor at Georgetown University’s law school who heads Obama’s economic policy working group, would call to discuss the workings of a so-called prepack, according to this person.
Many experts expect Obama to nominate numerous cabinet members and other officials after the Thanksgiving holiday. President-elect Obama needs to reassure the American people that he and his team will take every step necessary to rebuild our country. Just as lawmakers have demanded an appropriate plan of action from the Big Three, Americans should demand a decisive plan of action from our president-elect — and that certainly starts with the appointment of a new treasury secretary.