Two interviews yesterday and two today deserve your attention.
First, Representative John Campbell spent a quarter century in the car business before selling his many dealerships and going first to the California legislature and then to the Congress. Campbell’s a member of the House’s Financial Services Committee and the Joint Economic Committee, and he brings a CPA’s skepticism to various spending proposals.
I spent most of an hour yesterday discussing the GM/Chrysler situation with Campbell, and the transcript of that interview is here. As Lawrence Summers goes about fashioning a recommendation for the president on the proposed additional assistance to the car companies, he ought to spend a lot of time with Campbell. There isn’t anyone else on the Hill with as much real world experience with the business as Campbell, or anyone with as much affection for it, but it is an affection rooted in realism about the radical change sweeping the industry here and abroad.
While Democrats and the MSM ought to be paying close attention to Campbell when it comes to the car companies, the GOP ought to study Bill Kristol’s cautions concerning their next steps. Republicans were absolutely correct to oppose the stimulus-that-wasn’t-a-stimulus, but if the president brings forward balanced and useful legislation on the financial system and home mortgages, they ought to get behind it, not obstruct it. The key to bipartisanship is non-partisanship in the legislation. If the president’s proposals are genuinely aimed at continuing the stabilization of the banking system and at securing the return of a healthy housing market, the GOP ought to join in crafting and passing the measures. I will have real estate developer Peter Gooding on today’s program to discuss the residential and commercial real estate markets today. On the one hand, one of Gooding’s projects, LVRanchEstates.com, is thriving after he aggressively adjusted its prices to reflect the downturn in real estate. But his workout business which specializes in the commercial sector is booming because there are so many distressed commercial assets on the books of banks. A weak real estate sector could go either direction in a hurry, and the GOP ought to be encouraging the president to do smart things in a hurry to make sure the direction is recovery.
Today we are going to cover chapter four on the economics of globalization, which is an optimistic embrace of the world’s new economic order. The triumph of “the American system” doesn’t make the pain of a recession any less stinging or the shock of unemployment any less profound, but it should confirm what the Fed noted yesterday in its longer term economic forecast –the world, including the U.S., is poised for enormous economic growth accompanied by the gradual extension of freedom in the wake of rising prosperity.
If the United States leads, that is. A very big if.
The transcript of today’s conversation with Barnett will be posted here later. The podcast will be here, as are yesterday’s podcasts of the conversations with Campbell and Kristol.
Carol Platt Liebau will fill in for me tomorrow while I part company with a root canal, and blogging will resume when the anesthetic wears off.