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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Johnson’

As I have been saying the solutions are there to bring our country back to strength.  One of them is reforming the tax code into a national sales tax called here Value Added Tax. Major economists have all told the government how fair this is, and how much more the government would bring in. The issue, no one at the political level wants to lead on this one. As always, lack of leadership.

Don

Does The U.S. Really Have A Fiscal Crisis?

By Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario, 24 February 2011

http://baselinescenario.com/2011/02/24/does-the-u-s-really-have-a-fiscal-crisis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BaselineScenario+%28The+Baseline+Scenario%29

The United States faces some serious medium-term fiscal issues, but by any standard measure it does not face an immediate fiscal crisis. Overindebted countries typically have a hard time financing themselves when the world becomes riskier – yet turmoil in the Middle East is pushing down the interest rates on US government debt. We are still seen as a safe haven.

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My post a couple of months ago about William Deresiewcz’s fantastic article “Solitude and Leadaership,” fits here:

“Note the adjectives: commonplace, ordinary, usual, common. There is nothing distinguished about this person. About the 10th time I read that passage, I realized it was a perfect description of the kind of person who tends to prosper in the bureaucratic environment. And the only reason I did is because it suddenly struck me that it was a perfect description of the head of the bureaucracy that I was part of, the chairman of my academic department—who had that exact same smile, like a shark, and that exact same ability to make you uneasy, like you were doing something wrong, only she wasn’t ever going to tell you what. Like the manager—and I’m sorry to say this, but like so many people you will meet as you negotiate the bureaucracy of the Army or for that matter of whatever institution you end up giving your talents to after the Army, whether it’s Microsoft or the World Bank or whatever—the head of my department had no genius for organizing or initiative or even order, no particular learning or intelligence, no distinguishing characteristics at all. Just the ability to keep the routine going, and beyond that, as Marlow says, her position had come to her—why?

That’s really the great mystery about bureaucracies. Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until it’s time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along. Being whatever other people want you to be, so that it finally comes to seem that, like the manager of the Central Station, you have nothing inside you at all. Not taking stupid risks like trying to change how things are done or question why they’re done. Just keeping the routine going.”

We are in a leadership crisis in this country.

Don

Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life

By Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario, 16 July 2010

In modern American life, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner stands out as amazingly resilient and remarkably lucky – despite presiding over or being deeply involved in a series of political debacles, he has gone from strength to strength.  After at least eight improbably bounce backs, he might seem unassailable.  But his latest mistake – blocking Elizabeth Warren from the heading the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – may well prove politically fatal.

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