Brad DeLong: Use Reconciliation to get a second stimulus through Congress in the fall of 2009. Expand the PPIP to do $3 trillion of quantitative easing through the Treasury Department. Have a real HAMP to refinance mortgages. Use Fannie and Freddie to (temporarily) nationalize mortgage finance, refinance mortgages, and rebalance the housing market. Announce that a weaker dollar is in America’s interest. Nominate a Fed Chair who takes the Fed’s dual mandate seriously and pursues policies to stabilize the growth of nominal GDP.
Appoint Fed governors who take the Fed’s dual mandate seriously and support policies to stabilize the growth of nominal GDP. Take equity in the banks in January-March of 2009 and keep them from lobbying against financial reform. Use Reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bank. Use TARP money as a mezzanine tranche to fund large-scale additional aid to states and localities to reduce their fiscal contractions. I think Ezra is simply wrong. There were a large number of things that Obama could have done—there are even things he could do now, if he wanted to.