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It's big picture day in Washington as the administration prepares plans to overhaul both the financial regulation system and the war in Afghanistan. A campaign juggernaut fires up its engines to defend President Obama's budget as he shifts his attention to two crucial summits next week. Obama scores a 45 on the Change-o-Meter.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced today that Obama will press for increased regulation of the global financial system when he travels to London next week for the G20 summit. Setting a good example at home, the administration announced an ambitious proposal to ratchet up oversight of domestic financial institutions, including hedge funds and insurers like AIG, in hopes of erecting better levees against future economic maelstroms. The 'Meter approves, if only out of self-interest in not making stratospheric bailouts a once-a-decade thing: 25 points.
Speaking of huge, intractable problems, a plan for Afghanistan—details of which will emerge soon—would have the United States take "unabashed ownership" of the war effort there, as the Washington Post put it today. The plan includes a major increase in American civilian officials and shifting responsibilities for American allies, many of whom are drawing down their commitment of combat troops in the region. The 'Meter is mostly just pleased that there's a coherent plan for the eight-year-old war effort and awards 15 points for that fact as details continue to emerge. Expect to hear much more as Obama heads to a NATO summit after the G20 meeting.
Meanwhile, the gargantuan organization of supporters—and, more important, their 13 million e-mail addresses—that the Obama organization compiled during the campaign is being reconjured on behalf of Obama's budget proposal. While there is some fear that this Obamamaniac hydra could end up bullying through his agenda with a massive write-your-congressman campaign, for now the 'Meter is heartened to learn that 13 million people are aware that there's a budget bill in the first place and awards five points—which it will retract the moment an overeager Obama volunteer calls its cell phone.
There's a lot to cover, so we want to hear your thoughts on what the Change-o-Meter should be taking into account. No detail is too small or wonky. E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.