The president-elect

Last Friday, Barack Obama gave his first press conference as president-elect. Although the sign attached to his podium revealed more than a little anticipation of his future role âÄî it read âÄúOffice of the President-electâÄù âÄî he discussed the issue that will no doubt characterize the early part of his tenure: the economy. In his own words, âÄúImmediately after I become president, I’m going to confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families and restore growth and prosperity.âÄù Unfortunately, thereâÄôs a snag. From the press conference: âÄúThe United States has only one government and one president at a time, and until Jan. 20 of next year, that government is the current administration. I have spoken to President Bush. I appreciate his commitment to [keep] us fully informed.âÄù While this sounds reasonable, simply being kept informed is not adequate support for the incoming executive. What markets need right now is consistency and the abrupt transfer of power on Jan. 20 âÄî even if that transfer of power has been âÄúwell informedâÄù âÄî is a path that will aggravate an already volatile market. Now that the elections are over, the parties should work together, and hereâÄôs how it should be done: Bring Obama into the White House and let him work alongside the current administration. Instead of faxing him an update of conversations that took place the week before, let him take part. Give him a front-row seat to the agreements and plans that the Bush administration has laid out. By all means, the Bush administration would still steer the ship of state. But when itâÄôs time to relinquish the helm, letâÄôs make the transition smooth. Or would they rather phone it in?