Thursday, January 21, 2010

Will the Administration's Fight with Banks Help the Democrats

The White House, which is showing its political astuteness, is reacting to populist anger by adopting populist policies.  The target: banks.  An early move was a tax on big banks.  The latest move is to restrict the size and types of risks that the big banks can take.  The question is whether this is going to work.
I'm generally skeptical.  As a political matter, I think this is the right move.  I'm still generally of the view that the Administration needs to move away from healthcare.  But the pivot from healthcare must be toward the economy and explicitly so.  My skepticism about the banks is that move is both transparent and too subtle.  Do Americans really care about the size of the banks.  Do they appreciate the nuance of the policy proposal?  I don't know.  Moreover, does this not look like overt pandering?

I'd rather see a jobs bill. But Rome was not built in one day.

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