Friday, November 28, 2008

November 28, 2008

     Presidential candidates talked a lot during the campaign about being experienced, ready to take charge "on day one."  But as we are being reminded these days, our system doesn't work that way.  Inauguration Day comes more than two months after the election.  Barack Obama can talk about how he's going to fix the economy, but he can't do anything until January 20th.
     Most parliamentary systems work differently.  In Britain, if the ruling Labour Party were to lose a vote of confidence, the opposition Conservatives would have a chance to form a government.  If they had the votes, they'd be in charge right away.  If they had to bargain with the third party Liberals, it might take longer but it would still be pretty quick.
     Do we lose things by our long delay?  Well, not if the country is peaceful and prosperous, but this year, yes, we probably do.  Obama's made a lot of proposals for how he'd fix the economy, has appointed an economic team of heavy hitters, but right now they're powerless.  Power is almost two months off.
     President Bush wants to fix the economy too, of course, but he has less power as his time in office wanes.  The Democrats gained seats in both the House and Senate and are likely to say, let's wait and give Barack a chance.   
     Will all this many any actual difference?  I have no idea.  I am not sure exactly how we got so deeply into this mess--dumb loans, sure, but is that all?  And I certainly don't claim to now how to make things better.  Economics was never my best subject in school.
     Obama sounds as if he just might know.  But we'll have to wait until January to find out.  

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