What to do When the Bailout Fails

David Schweickart
Tikkun Magazine
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dear President Obama,

We have never met, although we are neighbors of sorts. I live a couple of blocks from your Hyde Park home. We vote at the same polling place, Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School.

My daughter Karen has met you. She took two classes from you when she was in law school at the University of Chicago. My granddaughter Lauryn has met you, too-although she doesn’t remember the occasion. Karen brought her to class one day, shortly after her birth. Karen and Lauryn both attended your inauguration, ticketless but with much enthusiasm. I wasn’t there, but I share their enthusiasm.

Which is why I am writing you this letter. You have somehow, against all odds, become president. You are in position to do things that few others on this planet are in position to do.

This is not a letter you’ll want to show to your economic advisers anytime soon, certainly not to Paul Volcker or Robert Rubin or Larry Summers. They would find it crazy and/or hopelessly utopian, probably both. But if the policies they propose are implemented yet fail-as I fear they will-you might want to think about some of the things I’ll be saying here. I’m proposing, if you will, a backup plan