The Ballad of Chuck Schumer
June 19, 2012
In the ongoing melodrama between Democrats and Wall Street, few characters are more compelling than Chuck Schumer. New York’s senior senator has a well-cultivated reputation as the financial world’s top wing man in Washington, at least among Democrats. But since he also hopes to lead his august chamber one day, he’s charted a more ecumenical path of late.
Not So Fast on Obama's Speech
June 15, 2012
The verdict on Obama's Cleveland speech is in, and it's not pretty.
Simmer Down, Jamie Dimon
June 13, 2012
I didn't watch Jamie Dimon's Senate testimony today, but from the Times live blog it looked like this was the most dramatic moment: Mr. Dimon gets testy for the first time in the hearing. "I think you are misinformed," he told Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, who said JPMorgan was saved by government bailouts in 2008. "You're factually wrong," Mr.
*Of Course* Doing Health Care Slowed the Recovery
June 12, 2012
Last week Mitt Romney inadvertently kicked up a debate in the blogosphere over whether health care reform had hurt the recovery. Since he did it by citing my recent book, I felt compelled to explain how he hacked up my argument: My point was that the time and resources spent on health care reform made it harder to get more stimulus, not, as Romney suggested, that the health care bill directly hurt the economy.
The Grilling Congress Should Give Jamie Dimon
June 11, 2012
When Jamie Dimon testifies in the Senate on Wednesday about JP Morgan’s $3 billion trading loss, the focus will almost certainly be on the speculative aspect of the trade. After all, the financial reform bill Congress passed in 2010—specifically, the provision known as the Volcker Rule—was supposed to stop banks from making risky bets with their own money, at least if they benefit from government support.
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.