The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When will people learn?

I'm reading praise for new Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I have no reason to disagree with Ezra or, certainly, Prof. DeLong about his qualifications. But for Brad to say
Is this the beginning of the change for the Bush administration? Henry Paulson is not somebody who is going to passively watch economic policy made by political operatives in the White House. This could be very good news
is simply nuts, and goes against his oft-repeated (and never disproved) rule:
The Bush administration is not only worse than you imagine even after taking account of the fact that it is worse than you imagine, it is worse than you can conceivably imagine
Meanwhile, over at TAPPED, Ezra Klein gives reason to hope:
Paulson is -- believe it or not -- a serious, competent guy.... Better yet, he retains a reputation of his own, has long ties to the private sector, and has plenty of money in the bank. In other words, the administration needs him, he doesn't need them, and both sides know it.
Which is great, except that that description perfectly fit Paul O'Neill as well. Indeed, O'Neill's nomination was the first bright news I heard in that awful late fall of 2000. As CEO of Alcoa, he built a beautiful, green, and egalitarian HQ here in Pittsburgh, and he was widely viewed as the best sort of corporate leader. Yet not only did they ignore him, but they also found a way to silence him after his book came out. Like Paulson, O'Neill even had a pretty good green track record (given that he ran an extractive industry corp). Didn't make a lick of difference.


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