Politics, not economics to blame for poor U.S. financial state

Marketplace Staff Sep 12, 2011

Politics, not economics to blame for poor U.S. financial state

Marketplace Staff Sep 12, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: And the push continues in the Obama administration to find a way for the economy to create more jobs. The president will send his plan to Congress today. The pressure to create jobs of course is coming from all directions, though, just like the calls to reduce the debt by cutting spending.

And the fevered pitch, says Fortune magazine’s Allan Sloan, is helping the economy
tank even more. Morning Allan.

Allan Sloan: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So 9 plus percent unemployment, growth that’s almost to a crawl — and yet, you say economics is not the root of the problem. Why?

Sloan: Politics are making the economic problems much worse than they have to be. We’ve got what amounts to economic paralysis in Washington. And as a bonus, this debate — in which fanatics on the one hand and incompetence on the other are participating — almost got this country to default on its debts. And that whole thing is still destabilizing the world financial system.

Chiotakis: Alright, but can you really blame politicians completely, Allan? I mean, the crisis came from the mortgage mess and the credit crisis and the banking collapse — all of that, right?

Sloan: Right. But I’m not blaming politicians for the original problem.

Chiotakis: Yeah.

Sloan: What I’m blaming them for now is the continuing problem, the lack of confidence, and the sense I get — for the first time in 40 something years of writing about this stuff — that there is not a grown-up in power in Washington. And when stuff hits the fan, which I suspect it will, we’re going to have to really hope that someone saves us, because the politicians sure aren’t going to do it.

Chiotakis: Do you think it’s going to get worse, Allan? We’ve got what promises to be a pretty contentious battle for this Republican nomination, and the 2012 general election coming up itself. So, does it get better? Does it get worse?

Sloan: I think it gets worse until after the election. And maybe, after the election, whoever’s in power will come to their senses and do the obvious things which have been talked about endlessly, and begin to fix this problem. But I really do not look forward to this campaign — I’ve just resigned the Republican party. I’m hoping to start the grown-up party — are you willing to sign up Steve?

Chiotakis: I love being a grown-up, grown-ups are great!

Sloan: So I hear.

Chiotakis: Fortune magazine’s Allan Sloan. Allan, great to have you back.

Sloan: My pleasure, Steve.

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