Off to the Races!
June 08, 2010
Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.
Beating the Street
May 05, 2010
Shortly after nine on a Monday morning in late April, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler filed into a meeting room with nine senior aides. The aesthetic was what you might call “bureaucratic drab”—fluorescent lights, beige carpeting, American flag—and the mostly middle-aged men did not seem out of place. Their suits ranged from gray to charcoal and the complexions were varying degrees of pasty.
Was I Unfair To Frank Luntz?
April 28, 2010
My TRB column on Frank Luntz has raised the hackles of National Review's Kevin D. Williamson, who has an incredulous response entitled, "Yes, Jonathan Chait, It's a Bailout Bill." I should first note that my column was primarily about Luntz, and only secondarily about Luntz's bizarre notion that financial reform would cause bailouts. Bailouts, of course, are essentially the current default policy. We had a huge bailout in large part because there was no regulation or process to avoid them.
April 28, 2010
Washington—Maybe the next time someone calls Barack Obama a socialist, the president shouldn't issue a denial. He might instead urge his accuser to read the hearing transcript of this week's congressional testimony from the Goldman Sachs guys in their beautiful suits. Capitalism has not taken a hit like this since Mr.
Two Financial Must-Reads
April 23, 2010
[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] First, if you missed this Wall Street Journal op-ed by CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler this week, you should really check it out. It's one of the most lucid cases for regulating derivatives that I've read this last year or so. (The CFTC is the primary federal regulator overseeing derivatives--at least, the minority of derivatives that are actually regulated today. Which is the whole problem...).
April 23, 2010
WASHINGTON—The genius of American conservatives over the last 30 years has been their understanding that the most effective way to change the country is to change the terms of our political debate. On issue after issue, they have done just that. Sensible regulation was cast as a dangerous quest for government control. Modest measures to alleviate poverty became schemes to lock the poor into "dependency." Advocates of social insurance were condemned as socialists.
April 20, 2010
Some two dozen executives from large corporations will be descending on Capitol Hill today to make the case against over-regulating derivatives. The “fly-in” is being organized in part by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce through a group called the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users, according to the Chamber’s Ryan McKee. Many corporations use derivatives to hedge against fluctuations in the price of their inputs—for example, an airline might sign a contract to lock in future fuel prices, thereby passing the risk along to someone else.
Blanche Lincoln Turns On Her Corporate Masters
April 14, 2010
I've expressed some skepticism that Blanche Lincoln is the sort of Democrat who should face a liberal primary challenge, given that she represents an overwhelmingly conservative state and votes for health care reform. But the primary challenge sure seems to be paying dividends. After initially favoring derivatives, Lincoln has gone full populist: The proposal by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, is sending shudders through Wall Street. For nearly two decades, five U.S. banks -- J.P.
April 07, 2010
The most important thing Obama can do to clean up the financial mess.
Bringing the Heat
April 05, 2010
This is a tale of two bills—a tale that illuminates how policy-making may unfold under the most progressive administration, and the most Democratic Congress, in a generation. And it’s not a tale with an especially happy ending. The target of both bills is carbon. From early on, President Obama has indicated that climate and energy legislation would come second in his administrative batting order, only after health care reform. (Originally, he thought that would mean last fall, but health care was like a hitter who fouled off pitch after pitch.