Is reality infiltrating the Treasury Department?

It’s nice to have a Treasury Secretary who’s prepared to face the facts about environmental protection, but the important question is whether he’s prepared to face fiscal reality, and to rub Dumbya’s nose in it.

Much to the dismay of the wingnuts, Bush’s choice for Treasury Secretary turns out to have reality-based views of environmental problems. But Henry Paulson isn’t going to be running EPA. So the big question is whether he’s prepared to pursue a reality-based set of fiscal policies, and whether he will have the clout to do so. Offhand, it seems pretty unlikely that Bush has suddenly decided that bankrupting the government is a bad idea, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Footnote: And of course the President got Paulson’s tenure off to a good Bushoid start by lying about the recruitment process. Bush told the press on May 25 that John Snow “has not talked to me about resignation.” That was five days after Bush had offered the Treasury job to Paulson. When his lips are moving …

Hat tip: Think Progress, which notes that Tony Snow virtually admitted that the President had deceived the public (“I mean, it was very carefully worded”) and justified it on the grounds that it was important not to spook the markets. What ever happened to, “No comment”? Or, if that wouldn’t work, how about “I’ve seen the same rumors you have. John Snow is a great Treasury Secretary. Next question”?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Is reality infiltrating the Treasury Department?”

  1. The "lying" isn't really worthy of comment. It's a common political fiction and allowed Snow to depart with a bit more dignity. I acknowledge that the White House did a lot to undermine his dignity in the previous 18 months, but really, in the scheme of things, this is very very small beer.

  2. "Much to the dismay of the wingnuts, Bush's choice for Treasury Secretary turns out to have reality-based views of environmental problems."
    So did Paul O'Neill, as you know if you read the Ron Suskind book.

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