March 19, 2009

Now, About That Other Bailout...
12:00 AM

If you've followed the debate over the auto industry, then you know a key factor in assisting the Big Three was their relationship with suppliers. Some are big, some are small, nearly all are in trouble.

March 18, 2009

Mad Men
12:00 AM

Before last week, few of us had ever heard of Rick Santelli--despite Santelli's best efforts--and fewer still had any particular affection for him. Santelli is a CNBC TV personality whose most distinctive assets are a near- continuous state of agitation and a Billy Mays-like ability to project his voice, drowning out other shouting heads with ease. His persona is meant to make you pay attention to him, not to love him.

Up a Very Steep Hill
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Although Barack Obama has had plenty of domestic fights with Republicans over everything from earmarks to his stimulus plan, when it comes to his foreign policy, partisan politics have been relatively quiet. No longer. A cadre of Senate Republicans are now trying to bring down Obama’s pick for ambassador to Iraq, Chris Hill, But because the GOP is less interested in how Hill might handle Iraq than in venting grievances about his personality, and his role directing the Bush administration's North Korea policy, their surprise offensive appears to be stalling. Obama will get his choice.

Regulate, Baby, Regulate
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As the United States faces its biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Barack Obama and his team have been looking to Franklin Delano Roosevelt for help. The influence so far is obvious: The stimulus measure passed by Congress in February includes money for building infrastructure, strengthening unemployment insurance, and helping state governments--all reminiscent of FDR's New Deal. It is now necessary for Obama to take the model one step further.

Making the Grade

Randi Weingarten, the notoriously feisty president of the second-largest national teachers’ union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), received a hero’s welcome at the National Press Club last November.

The TNR Roundtable Part 11: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?
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Click here to read Part 10: An on-the-ground reaction to the ICC arrest warrant.Click here for links to each part of the conversation.From: Eric ReevesTo: Alex de Waal, Richard Just, Andrew Natsios, Elizabeth Rubin, Alan WolfeAlex de Waal says in his most recent post that he wishes to "steer the debate back" to Obama administration policy; but despite declaring previously that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Southern Sudanese self-determination referendum should be the administration's "single priority" for Sudan, he addresses none of the points I made in my first post about th

Negotiated Bonuses...not Bonuses At All
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The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary defines "bonus" as "unsought or unexpected extra benefit."  This is the definition in the 1991 edition.  Well, it couldn't be further from reality today.  Bonuses are now negotiated like salaries and stock options.  On one corporate board on which I sit I found that senior executives were ripshit that they had gotten the lush premiums they'd received last year when they almost made the company's projected numbers.  But this year, like with nearly all public firms, they didn't come close.  Now, downgrades in profits and actual losses were altogether co

They Were Against It Before They Were For It
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This week, Republican leaders have leapt to join the populist outcry against the bonuses that ailing insurance giant AIG has awarded its executives. But such rants against executive earnings mark a remarkable about-face for the right flank of the party, which condemned President Obama's decision to set limits on executive pay just last month. "I really don't want the government to take over these businesses and start telling them everything about what they can do." Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told ABC News in February, when asked about Obama's proposed limits on executive compensation.

Revising Those Budget Numbers...
12:00 AM

Noteworthy scoop from The Wall Street Journal: Back in February, it turns out, White House economic adviser Jason Furman was telling Senate staffers that the administration's cap-and-trade proposal would probably a lot more revenue than was projected in the budget. Like, up to $1.9 trillion over ten years instead of $646 billion. That basically means the White House is expecting the cap to be a lot more stringent than the budget intimated.

Orszag: We (still) Won't Rule Out Reconciliation
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  Budget director Peter Orszag made clear on Tuesday that the administration still won't rule out the use of reconciliation to pass legislation, should Republicans in the Senate try to filibuster health care reform or any other major initiatives. Reconciliaton, for those not familiar with the term, is the process for deliberating the budget in the Senate. Time and amendments are limited, which means filibusters won't work. Instead of sixty votes, the requirement for overcoming a filibuster, legislation can pass with just fifty.