Ever walk into a Starbucks and see a bunch of people sitting there debating textbook theories and solving all the world’s problems over a mocha java? If so, then you’ve visited a University of Starbucks campus.
These are precisely the kind of people who have gotten America into the current economic mess. That’s because when there’s a serious problem to deal with, their instinct is to theorize and philosophize. If their corduroys were on fire, they would sit there pondering the nature and deeper meaning of the flames.
Now, the sophisticated intelligentsia of Team Grande Venti – which means something like “large” and “bucket size” in Starbucks-Italian, but I prefer the French version of “grand” meaning “big”, and “vent” meaning “wind” - are about to set up campus in Obama’s White House to advise him on economic issues.
Let’s take a look at some of the players:
The head of New York’s Federal Reserve, Tim Geithner, described by the NY Daily News as a “veteran Treasury insider”, will become Treasury Secretary. Geithner wants “more regulation and oversight”, apparently forgetting that if there was any of that to be done, it has been his job all along as a “veteran Treasury insider”. Fail.
Barry O’Media has appointed another retread from the Clinton administration - all of whom I like to qualify in the new “Change Administration” as “leftover change”. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers will play a key role on Team Grande Venti. Summers has barely ventured outside of academia and Harvard. When he did, it was as Chief Economist at the World Bank, where he signed off on a memo musing about such pressing world banking issues as exporting pollution to third world countries.
How do you even do that? Via FedEx? Apparently so. According to the memo: “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.” Summers later called the whole thing “satire”, which makes total sense considering how often people confuse the World Bank with the Colbert Report. I believe the last time I went to a comedy show in NYC, the comedian confessed that he gets most of his material from the World Bank.
UC Berkeley economics professor, Christina Romer, rounds out Team Grande Venti as head of the Council of Economic Advisors. She studied the Great Depression.
That’s nice. But where is the person on this team who has LIVED through their own personal great depression? Preferably someone who used the backseat of his car as a bed, and dined on bread and ketchup. How about having at least one self-made person on this team who created success and fortune from scratch – an economic MacGyver? That’s the person with the answers.