Mitt Romney, Jon Chait, and I: Reunited
June 07, 2012
Mitt Romney weighed in yesterday with another riff on my book that bears a bit of scrutiny. Here’s what he said: A book that was written in a way that’s apparently pro-President Obama, was written by a guy named Noam Scheiber and in this book he says that there was a discussion about the fact that Obamacare would slow down the economic recovery in this country and they knew that before they passed it. But they concluded that we would all forget how long the recovery took once it had happened, so they decided to go ahead.
Bill Clinton: Not *That* Off-Message
June 06, 2012
Republicans have worked themselves into quite a state of giddiness over comments by Bill Clinton (last night) and Larry Summers (this morning) that seem to favor extending all the Bush tax cuts when they expire on January 1. As Mitch McConnell told reporters today, “Bill Clinton’s remarks, and then Larry Summers remarks—it’s pretty obvious that the economy needs the certainty of the extension of the current tax rates for at least a year.” Uh, no, it’s not. Even if you take literally Clinton’s and Summers’s imprecise musings, it’s hard to see how you get from their statements to McConnell’s.
If you happen to have turned on cable this last month or so, you’re aware that Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, faces a recall election tomorrow against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The Lousy Jobs Number & Obama's Original Sin
June 01, 2012
Oy. Coming on top of new GDP numbers showing a mere 1.9 percent uptick in the first quarter, today’s jobs report is a real bummer. The headline number speaks for itself—an anemic 69,000 jobs, or about half what economists were expecting (though how they set those expectations remains a bit of a mystery). But the internal numbers were even worse.
Your Tax Dollars At Work, Wall St. Edition
May 31, 2012
When we last left Morgan Stanley, the company was taking all manner of abuse for botching the biggest IPO of the millennium. Alas, that turns out to be the least of its problems. Far more pressing is the fact that Moody’s may be on the verge of massively downgrading Morgan Stanley’s bond rating, which could cost the company billions of dollars (perhaps tens of billions) in collateral and increased borrowing costs. Then yesterday’s Financial Times brought even worse news.
Conservatives and Fundraising: A Psychoanalysis
May 30, 2012
If you read enough coverage like today’s Politico piece on how much conservative groups plan to spend in 2012, you quickly realize the Obama campaign faces a deep psychological problem in addition to a financial one. The Politico headline is that outside groups will spend $1 billion on top of the billion or so Mitt Romney and the RNC will have at their disposal.
Reading Dan Gross’s new book, Better, Stronger, Faster, was a strange experience for me. Gross’s account of America’s recovery from the worst financial crisis 80 years is relentlessly upbeat (not to mention terrifically engaging—the guy’s prose really moves). Having written my own, decidedly less sanguine, book, I was curious to see the evidence Gross used to justify his optimism. But it turns out his data points mostly overlap with mine: We have similar takes on the effectiveness of the government’s response to the crisis and the recession that followed.
Should Romney Go Left on Wall Street?
May 25, 2012
When JP Morgan announced its $2 billion trading loss a few weeks back, a handful of smart conservatives saw an opportunity for Romney to get to Obama’s left: Call for an end to too-big-to-fail. As AEI’s James Pethokoukis put it: In one fell swoop, Romney would undercut the charge that he’s a creature of Wall Street and the financial superelite. And given how many hedge fund managers and other investment pros dislike the mega-banks, Romney probably wouldn’t even take a fundraising hit.
Why Neither Side is Bringing the Nasty
May 24, 2012
I’m on record claiming that Team Obama is playing a tougher form of bean bag this time around than in 2008. But, even so, I agree with Jon Chait that this election won’t really be that nasty. I just think so for different reasons. Chait argues that it’s all about elites. As he puts it: The socially liberal, economically conservative sensibilities of the party elites are working in tandem to hold back Republicans from attacking Obama on cultural grounds, and to at least complicate Obama’s populist attacks on Romney’s business career. I’m not sure I agree, at least on the right.
Yet Another Problem With JP Morgan
May 23, 2012
Since news broke about JP Morgan’s multi-billion dollar black eye a few weeks back, we’ve pretty thoroughly rehearsed the arguments against too big to fail and too big to manage, both of which apply to JP Morgan even more obviously now than they did beforehand. This morning, a former administration official well-versed in these matters suggested another indication of JP Morgan’s excessive girth: too big to hedge.