(p. A15) . . . , the new administration needs to be clearer on its long-run goals and policies. Mr. Obama deserves time to lay out his longer-term agenda, but he must reassure those who would put capital at risk that we are not headed toward a European-style social welfare state. Will he push for financial reform with better intelligence, the centerpiece being that any firm that is or could quickly become too big to fail must be subject to real-time capital adequacy and risk disclosure and monitoring? Or will he just push for more punitive regulation?
Mr. Obama has pledged to go through the budget and shut down ineffective programs, but how much shorter is his list than mine or yours? Is he capable of a “Nixon goes to China” on Social Security, as President Bill Clinton once hoped to do? Or will he push for tax reform and simplification with a broader base and lower rates?
One thing is certain: Investors, workers and employers need to have a sense of where tax, spending and regulatory policy are headed, or they will postpone decisions and further weaken the economy.
For the full commentary, see:
MICHAEL BOSKIN. “OPINION; Investors Want Clarity Before They Take Risks.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., JANUARY 23, 2009): A15.
(Note: ellipsis added.)