Sunday, March 27, 2005


Is our New York Times learning?

Okay, this is now boring. I'm starting to get tired of repeating myself.
Who's Minding the Store?

Don't be fooled by the location of the United States Treasury, right next door to the White House. The department has suffered a steady diminution of prestige and influence during the Bush administration, starting with the unceremonious firing of its first Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, less than two years into the job, in part for suggesting that deficits do, in fact, matter.

Things have been downhill ever since. Last December, Republican power brokers made no bones about wanting to oust the current Treasury secretary, John Snow, only to find that the administration couldn't entice anyone better to take the job. Of course, it is always difficult to lure people with Hamiltonian intellect, expertise and reputation away from the private sector. But Mr. Bush has a particularly hard time doing so.

The reason in large measure is that from the start of his administration, tax policy and economic policy - the purview of the Treasury - have been handmaids to politics and ideology emanating from the White House. Without the clear-cut opportunity to drive policy making, the best and the brightest aren't exactly clamoring for jobs at Treasury. And Mr. Snow is still in his post, reprising his first-term performance as cheerleader for Mr. Bush's tax cuts in his current role as salesperson for Mr. Bush's misbegotten plan to privatize Social Security.


To attract the people the Treasury needs, the White House must assure the best candidates that they will exercise true power and influence. The administration must also work in good faith, and with all due speed, to reach consensus with the Senate on its Treasury nominees, which would streamline the confirmation process and, in so doing, begin to restore the Treasury to its vital place and function.
I find it almost impossible to believe (even in the face of this kind of apparently irrefutable evidence) that the Times still doesn't get it! The Bush Administration does not want "the best candidates." The Bush Administration does want tax policy and economic policy - and everything else - to be "handmaids to politics and ideology." This is all they care about, and you'd think the Times would have figured this out by now.

As I said, I'm getting sick and tired of repeating myself. Come on, Times, I've admonished you over and over again about Beck's Axiom:> "Anyone George W. Bush appoints for his second term (or who is appointed by someone appointed by Bush for his second term) will be worse than the person being replaced."

I suppose, given that anyone they would appoint would be crap, it's probably for the best that they don't actually appoint any replacements.

But my general point remains: Urging George Bush to do anything decent and competent is empty words and a vain wind. Wise up, Times. Nobody's listening! Stop waiting for the White House to pay attention. They're laughing at you. Talk to the people - tell them the truth - lead the charge. At least that may actually change some minds.
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