There is a theme developing among Op-ed writers this week.  It is that Washington, led by our President, is not taking our economic crisis seriously enough.  I alluded to it in a posting yesterday in which I cited and quoted from a David Brook’s column entitled Taking A Depression Seriously.  Today appear three more columns devoted to the subject.  There is Thomas L. Friedman’s This Is Not A Test.  This Is Not A Test in the New York Times.  It is joined by Andrew S. Grove’s Mr. President, Time to Rein In The Chaos and Steven Pearlstein’s It’ll Take More Than Money to Fix This Crisis, both in the Washington Post.

All three of the pieces today are well worth reading.  The Friedman piece takes the administration to task for failing to act as if this is the crisis it is.  In particular he notes the administration’s failure to fill appointments faster and to tackle some difficult political issues.  Republicans aren’t left out of his criticism, and rightfully not. 

The Pearlstein piece argues that “[t]here is still way too much business as usual going on in Washington, on Wall Street and in the media.”  He is especially critical of Congress for its three-day workweeks and earmark-filled spending bills.  Republicans, with “their stubborn opposition to any increase in government spending in the face of a severe downturn”, are not spared.  He calls the irresponsible Republican stance “the economic equivalent of bloodletting”.

The final piece, however, is the most interesting of all.  The author, Andrew S. Grove, is the former chief executive of Intel Corporation and currently both continues to advise the corporation and teach strategy at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.  He confesses to having found himself “wringing my hands, not over the goals President Obama has set but over the ineffectual ways the administration has pursued them.”  Here’s an excerpt wherein he explains a lesson he’s learned from the business world:

I have found that to succeed, an organization must travel through two phases: first, a period of chaotic experimentation in which intense discussion is allowed, even encouraged, by those in charge. In time, when the chaos becomes unbearable, the leadership reins in chaos with a firm hand. The first phase serves to expose the needs and options, the potential and pitfalls. The organization and its leaders learn a lot going through this phase. But frustration also builds, and eventually the cry is heard: Make a decision — any decision — but make it now. The time comes for the leadership to end the chaos and commit to a path.    

Grove goes on to argue that this time has come for the administration in dealing with the economy.  “Until the administration does this, we should not embark on attempting to fix another major part of the economy.”  I could not agree more.  I’ve been arguing for weeks that President Obama is doing too much, too soon, too fast.  There is no issue facing the country more serious than the present economic crisis.  It must be solved.  Nothing matters more.  Yet we are launching into a set of initiatives on almost everything.  I am in agreement with Mr. Grove and the other commentators: fix the economy and then move on to other things.