Krugman to Democrats: do you want Phil Gramm to have Paulson's new powers?

Posted on September 25, 2008

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There seems to be an unspoken rule in politics that the Republicans have broken at least a couple of times over the course of the Bush Administration – don’t create precedents and new powers that you don’t want used against you when you next fall out of power. The failed idea of a permanent GOP majority was probably the reason for the Republicans’ crossing of this particular line, but nonetheless it’s useful to remind all politicians every once in a while that you really don’t want to give your ideological opponents tools they can use against you.

This morning I stumbled across a blog post Paul Krugmam made to his Conscience of a Liberal NYTimes blog on Tuesday. In it he says that he’s been pointing out to liberals that Paulson’s dictatorial powers could well fall to Phil Gramm, John McCain’s unofficial economic adviser, in a little over four months. In case you don’t know why this should be downright terrifying, Phil Gramm was responsible for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 that eliminated Depression-era laws requiring that banking, insurance, and brokerage activities be kept separate. In other words, it’s some of Phil Gramm’s work in the Senate that’s responsible for today’s financial meltdown.

Krugman also pointed that, were Obama to win, he could come up with an liberal economic name to run the Treasury that would scare the hell out of Republicans – “Paul Krugman.”

I can think of many far worse names to head up the Treasury Department. Henry Paulson comes immediately to mind.

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