Kristol, Krugman: Obama Soft on Bankers

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Brief bios: William Kristol is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative thinker, a defender of Bush foreign policy and founding editor of The Weekly Standard. Paul Krugman is a leftist economist who writes for The New York Times. The two, it goes without saying, are not natural allies.

Yet they can agree on at least one thing: Obama is letting big bankers off too easily. Both are aghast at the president's nonchalance about the JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs CEO bonuses. "Oh. My. God." writes an excitable Krugman, as Obama continues to fall short of liberal expectations. "These bank executives," he explains, "are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state." Thus, "at the very least, you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening."

"I agree with Paul Krugman," announces Kristol, not mincing words. "If Obama's idea of moving to the middle politically is to embrace Wall Street's too-big-to-fail banks, he's crazy." Here's why:

Usually Republicans are the party of Big Business and Democrats of Big Government, and the public's hostility to both more or less evens the politics out. But if Obama now becomes the spokesman for Big Government intrusiveness and the apologist for Big Business irresponsibility all at once--good luck with that.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.