William Cohan's Economic Dream Team: Bowles - Spitzer - Reinhart

Tyler Durden's picture

With everyone convinced that it is only a matter of time before Larry Fink steps into the office about to be vacated by that walking 1040 disaster, Tim Geithner, thereby allowing the man who many say is the shadow king of Wall Street to define US policy for another 4 years (because Wall Street's complete dominance of US politics since JPMorgan's bailout of the US government is certainly not enough), there is still time to consider alternatives to a position that will make sure the only class to benefit from "four more years" are the uber wealthy (even as entitlement policies keep the uber poor at least content). Today, Bloomberg columnist William Cohan proposes his economic dream team, which far from perfect, will at least, superficially, assure that Wall Street won't come first and foremost when policy considerations are discussed. The names: Treasury Secretary: Erskine Bowles; SEC Chairman: Eliot Spitzer; National economic advisor: Carmen Reinhart.

From William Cohan:

President Obama, the time has come for you to do in your second term what many people hoped you would do in the first: Institute meaningful reform on Wall Street. An essential first step is to sweep out the remaining vestiges of the Rubin- Altman nexus. Bring in a new group of people who not only understand how Wall Street really works but also have dedicated much of their lives to changing it.

Who might some of those people be? For Treasury secretary, the best choice is Erskine Bowles, who has distinguished himself as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Although it is true that Bowles was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and thus rubbed elbows with Rubin and Altman, he isn’t in that Rubin orbit. He understands Wall Street -- he founded a small eponymous investment bank and a private-equity firm, Carousel Capital, and was a partner at private-equity giant Forstmann Little & Co. -- and did a fine job serving as president of the sprawling University of North Carolina system.

More important, he has spent the past year shaping his commission’s report -- despite Obama’s having ignored it -- into legislation that Congress can take up immediately to try to resolve the budget deficit and the looming fiscal cliff, the more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for next year. He has a proven record of bipartisanship, working well with Alan Simpson and the other Republicans on the commission. Appointing Bowles to Treasury would show that Obama is serious about getting the country’s fiscal house in order and finding a more productive relationship with Wall Street.

To address the vacuum of accountability on Wall Street, Obama should appoint former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as the new chairman of the SEC. I’m not joking. Having prosecuted Wall Street misdeeds as New York attorney general a decade ago, he knows where the bodies are buried and won’t be afraid to dig them up. As a cable-television host, he has proved to be the news media’s most aggressive and informed critic of Wall Street. The question, of course, is whether the president would nominate him and the Senate would confirm him given his humiliating fall from grace in a prostitution scandal. My reply: Is only Bill Clinton entitled to political resurrection?

To replace Sperling, who has had more lives in Washington than a Persian shorthair, Obama should recruit Carmen Reinhart, a highly respected Harvard economist with an up-from-nothing personal history that rivals the president’s own (her family fled Castro’s Cuba with little more than the clothes on their backs). That she has a keen understanding of how economies get into financial difficulty and how they get out of them -- she is the co-author, with Kenneth Rogoff, of the best-seller “This Time Is Different” -- is a huge plus. And she calls things as she sees them: Although usually considered to be on the right of the political spectrum, she was a strong detractor of Romney’s mathematically illiterate tax plan.

In his victory speech, Obama said, “You voted for action, not politics as usual.” It was similar to the refrain he used four years ago, before disappointing us with politics as usual. By choosing Bowles, Spitzer and Reinhart as the anchors of his new economic team, he could start proving that this time really is different.

Full article here.

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Vooter's picture

Keep the assholes in there--it'll help keep our collapse on a fast track....

GetZeeGold's picture



Good thing Spitzer isn't doing anything.....we need a new CIA director mucho pronto.

Spitzer's picture

Thanks for the support.

GetZeeGold's picture



Just cop us something from Air Force One.....and we're square.

JPM Hater001's picture

My gay mother asked me what I thought of Tuesday's election.

"I'm thrilled."


"Oh yeah, if we're going to run this puppy into a wall let's get a good head of steam going."

"You don't mean that."

"Mom, If we're going to collapse this we couldn't have picked a more competent candidate."

GetZeeGold's picture



Good thing grandma in Colorado is legally stoned into oblivion....at least she won't see it coming.

Gazooks's picture



she'll see it all


she won't care

GetZeeGold's picture



Going long twinkies.

JPM Hater001's picture

Headlines we should have seen

"Near homeless Colorado man buys Hostess route becomes overnight billionaire."

Seasmoke's picture

Client #9 is perfect for the SEC

GetZeeGold's picture



Wonder who that other 8 are that beat him out?

JPM Hater001's picture

Well, there was Lisa and Babette, I see Cha cha and pinky...

SpeakerFTD's picture

But do you recall?  The most famous blowjob of all?

JPM Hater001's picture

Admit it, you know he's going to throw epic parties.

Blow and billions for everyone.  Comes in little gift bags as you arrive.

Steve in Greensboro's picture

I'd be very surprised if Bowles or Carmen Reinhart took any job offer from Ogabe, given the certainty of disaster in his second term (making his first term disasters look benign by comparison).  Spitzer on the other hand has shown he is willing to insert himself with enthusiasm, even gusto, into any sort of nasty situation.

williambanzai7's picture

It is a sad commentary that there is only one lawyer in the country who actually gets what the SEC is supposed to do and he is tarnished.

There may be others who know theoretically, but they are all on the payroll. The only other choice is to appoint someone like Judge Rakoff.

Schneiderman has been a disappointment.

Mary Schapiro is a double edged nightmare, not just a dingbat, a dingbat on the payroll.

wardawg12's picture

Since we're dreamin...how bout Bill Black at SEC?

Vegamma's picture

Good call Wardawg! (sorry, didn't see your comment before I posted below)

williambanzai7's picture

Forgot about him. He's another great choice.

Kobe Beef's picture

I dream of Ron Paul, Treasury Secretary.

Vooter's picture

"It is a sad commentary that there is only one lawyer in the country who actually gets what the SEC is supposed to do and he is tarnished."

It's only sad if you hold some kind of bizarre hope for this piece-of-shit country. I don't...

bigbwana's picture

The uber wealthy owe it all to the Illuminati. Fortunately for us, the Illuminati are owned by the Reptillians. Even more fortunate, for us, the Retillians are no match for the Galactic Federation, who crushed their evil plans fpr a NWO. Yippee! Spread the fantastic news!

MiniCooper's picture

I would like to see Sheila Bear and Meredith Whitney in there too.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

 a FINK at the top that's just ironic.

Vegamma's picture

Bill Black, Bill Black, Bill Black

Oh, they don't want anyone to do what's best for Main Street? Never mind...

MsCreant's picture

Not trickle up economics, you know, where J6P does well, has a little extra to spend on some business person's good idea, and then some smart, hard working, talented, folks start getting rich and expand their business, hiring more, paying more...None of that!

All the manufacturing jobs are going away. Forever growth is not possible unless we get off the planet. Meanwhile, I do believe everyone who wants to be could be employed if we stopped intervening the economy to death.

Shermanium's picture

I'm all for Reinhart but Legatus won't like it

nofluer's picture

"Carmen Reinhart: Recovery is 'right on track' ...

With Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, she wrote the book on the history of debt crises, 2009's This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly....

With a résumé that includes Wall Street (she was chief economist at Bear Stearns), policy (the International Monetary Fund),...

It's too early to tighten the budget given that the economy is less than robust and employment conditions remain far from desirable. Extending unemployment benefits and extending the stimulus package was something we needed to do, even though both work toward making the deficit bigger. You've gotta do what you've gotta do. But we don't seem to have an exit strategy, and that's really worrisome....

There isn't a lot of convincing evidence that you can simply grow your way out of this kind of debt. The answer is usually a combination of fiscal austerity, debt restructuring, or a more subtle type of restructuring like we did after World War II: financial repression.

You clamp down and regulate the financial system so that interest rates remain low. [True, low interest rates helped get us into this mess, but] low rates also let you finance your debts and deficit more cheaply. Whenever there's a lot of debt, there will be a desire to keep debt-servicing costs down....



“Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God.”-ThomasJefferson's picture

More possibilities:

EPA Director: Al Gore

Secretary of State: Bill Clinton

Press Secretary: Chris Matthews

CIA Director: Richie Daley

Attorney General:Stick with the status quo and keep the position vacated.

SEC Chairman:  Anyone Jamie D. and Lloyd can agree on.

Winston Churchill's picture

I'm expecting exactly those picks by Obummer.

The corrupt,leading the inept ,leading the dumb.

What could possibly go wrong ?

More popcorn time.

Coldfire's picture

As if Cohan's choice of central planning commissars mattered. What part of "the US federal government is broke" doesn't this oily-mouthed cretin understand?

JohnF's picture


What part of "the US federal government is broke" doesn't this oily-mouthed cretin understand?

End Quote

Let me fix that spelling for you:

What part of "the US feral government is broke" doesn't this oily-mouthed cretin understand?


Now, that's much better. Explains it much better... 

Totentänzerlied's picture

Is this a fucking joke?