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Dan Erwin

Intriguing post. I have no doubt but that companies and entrepreneurs will have major input into the recovery. However, from my perspective, I'll go with a McKinsey advisor, Matt Miller, who argues that only government can save business. Business instinctively loathes the idea that it needs government to step up; but it does.

The notion that only business is needed to bring recovery is a dead idea.

Jay Shepherd

Dan, do you actually have an argument for why "only government can save business," other than you heard it from some guy at McKinsey? If you have some thought-out rationale for your statist solution, post it and I'll put it up here and we can have a discussion. "McKinsey says so" is not an argument.

Wally Bock

I read this post differently than Dan. For me the core was that there will be a recovery and it's a good idea to be ready for it.

Dan Erwin

By no stretch of the imagination do I think of a McKinsey guy as evidence. Instead, I think it's amusing that a highly capitalist org has rolled over on the issue of gov't involvement.

The rationale is are some examples in bits and pieces. I believe that the notion that financial markets can regulate themselves has been laid to rest. I was appalled at Greenspan's idiocy regarding business regulation--an idiocy which he has since admitted.

Soaring health care and pensions have become an unsustainable drag on business competitiveness. Corporate abandonment of these costs will leave millions of people vulnerable, and I'm not interested in a revolt. So, the old answers don't add up.

Though it cuts against traditional ways of corporate thinking, it will be necessary for government to pick up more of the social welfare burden. What intelligent alternative remains?

The caricature of socialism stinks and is wrongheaded. That line is generally taken by Republican partisans who fear that any expansion of government's role helps the Democrats and hurts them.

I can hear the groans from some exec suites. First the Wall Street Bailout, now this. My point is that it's not necessarily a bad thing.

The key to making this transition successful it to have government ramp up its role in health care and pensions in economically rational ways that don't bring the feared downsides.

The example is right in front of our noses: the mortgage interest deduction. Uncle Sam promotes home ownership with this subsidy w/o telling people what kind of house they need to buy, how many rooms, etc. This kind of voucher approach to services--through which gov't makes subsidies available to those who need them and helps set up the market so it meets public goals can apply in lots of situations.

That's just a start, but since I work with senior execs at some of the leading companies in the country--check my client list--I have entre to the inner sanctum...where they are nearly all saying gov't is going to have to assist us with health care and pension problems. So cool your jets.

Jay Shepherd

Three hundred fifty-four words and I still can't find an argument for why "only government can save business." Maybe you left it in the inner sanctum. Thanks for your contribution, though.

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