May 28, 2012

MBA VS. JD:

Obama's Unfair Shot (Niall Ferguson, May 28, 2012, Daily Beast)

First, this isn't France. Bashing finance worked well for Fran├žois Hollande in the recent presidential elections there. But the same tactic makes even some Democrats uncomfortable here (like Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, ex-congressman Harold Ford Jr., and former "auto czar" Steve Rattner).

Second, Obama is nearing the end of his first term as president, unlike Roosevelt in 1933, who was just starting out. He and his party have already passed a massive piece of financial regulation, the 2,319-page Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank, for short). And guess what? It's garbage. Despite requiring regulators to create 243 new rules, conduct 67 studies (to see if the rules are actually necessary), and issue 22 periodic reports, it somehow manages to miss the real causes of the crisis. A mass of ambiguous, contradictory complexity, its sole result will be to generate jobs for lawyers advising compliance departments.

Third, far from putting the nation on track for recovery, the president's Fair Shot is sending us over a fiscal cliff. Last week the Congressional Budget Office issued a stark warning that if Washington allows the Bush tax cuts to expire and the preprogrammed spending cuts (code-named sequestration) to go ahead, the economy will contract by 1.3 percent in the first half of 2013. And remember: the reason is that President Obama cynically canned the eminently sensible recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission.

Yes, I know it's shocking. Before Mitt Romney entered politics, he started up and successfully ran a private-equity shop. He turned money-losing companies around, partly by firing surplus employees. Before Barack Obama entered politics, he was a community organizer, then a lawyer. The firm where he worked in the 1990s specialized in civil-rights litigation and neighborhood economic development. Visit Chicago to see how well that went.

The president wants this election to be the White House vs. Wall Street. But if it's really Harvard Business School vs. Harvard Law School, I'll take the M.B.A. over the J.D. every time.

Posted by at May 28, 2012 9:10 AM
  

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