Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Barack Obama is Smarter Than Me

When Barack Obama, while campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination, criticized the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (mostly by Republicans but signed by President Clinton in 1999) I thought "Nah, that's not really all that big a deal." I was wrong. Way wrong. It was a big freakin' deal and almost plunged the world into the worst depression since the Great Depression.

Then, he decided (against my judgment) to not nationalize any banks and instead do that weird quasi-nationalization-with-labor-union-partners that he did with GM.

And, er, well... it seems to be working.

Now let's be clear here, it's very very unusual for me to be wrong in making political analysis and predictions. When I'm wrong, it's a big deal and it makes me go back and say "why did I make that mistake?"

The last time I was wrong was because I was arguing with my eldest brother that the "management" in the United States Post Office were not "not members of the bargaining unit" in the Post Office, but that they were merely not in the same bargaining unit as other postal employees. I was wrong about that for two reasons: 1. I was incorrect in interpreting the National Labor Relations Act as applying to managers at all. It does not. Indeed, it explicitly does not protect "management" employees as having any union organizing rights at all and: 2. The NLRA does not really apply to USPS employees. Those employees are actually under some other act (Railroads and Post Office Act? or something -- I'm too lazy to look it up) and, according to my brother the National Labor Relations Board does have some jurisdiction in USPS matters but only in some instances (and of course that would only be since the time Nixon signed the Act which has a name I no longer remember). And yes, it does get more complicated because the USPS used to be a government entity, making the employees government employees, but now they're not, but they are, but they're not.

But back to Obama. Firstly, the cost of the bank bailout is actually 60% of what we thought it was. That's very interesting. And, if the stimulus plan is really working, then, well, I guess we didn't need to nationalize the banks. Still, Paulson could have had some "strings attached" to the money we gave 'em.
Oh look over there, there's a Save the Cat Wiki. And chinchillas... in party hats!

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