June 17, 2009
Plan of Attack
In early May, White House Counsel Greg Craig circulated a memo inside the West Wing. Part of a series of memos on protocol, it explained how to deal with writers researching books and articles on the White House.
The Liberal Response
I am a statist in many ways and in many areas. I believe that government has an important role to play in the economy, in health care, in protecting the environment, and certainly in foreign policy. But reading about the mass demonstrations in Iran, my first thought isn’t about what the U.S. government should do or what President Obama should say. It is about what the rest of us should do and say. We boast of our lively civil society, and those of us on the liberal left call ourselves internationalists.
Jonathan Chait: Carrie Prejean and the definitive case for gay marriage.
How To Fix Securitization
Yesterday, I wrote approvingly of the administration's plan to force loan originators to hold onto some of the risks they create via the mortgage securitization process. But Paul Krugman, channeling Princeton colleague Hyun Song Shin, makes the good point that big banks did hold onto plenty of risk during the subprime crisis. In fact, most of their problems stemmed from this tactic. Here is Shin: ...in reality, securitisation worked to concentrate risks in the banking sector. In a paper published this week (Shin 2009)), I argue that there was a simple reason for this.
Is it important to make health care legislation bipartisan? You can't answer that question without knowing what bipartisan health care would look like. And thanks to a quartet of former senators, we now have some idea. Sort of. For the last year, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell have been working to hammer out a common health reform vision through what's called the Bipartisan Policy Center. (Mitchell dropped out when he joined the administration.) Assisting them in this effort were two of the top health policy minds from each party, Mark McClellan and Chris Jennings.
Among the 28 people Obama appointed to the President's Commission on White House Fellows (which basically functions as the program's selection committee) is, from the White House Press Office's announcement: Maya Soetoro-Ng, PhD. has taught and developed Humanities curriculum in public and private schools in New York and Hawaii for fifteen years. She also taught Multicultural Education and Educational Theory at the University of Hawaii's College of Education. In 2007 and 2008, she campaigned across more than a dozen states for her brother, President Barack Obama.
There are three views on who exactly is behind financial regulatory reform package that has just been presented. Each view has distinct implications for political dynamics going forward. The first view is that Tim Geithner and Larry Summers have genuinely become radical reformers. They see the error of the ways they pursued during the 1990s--both in terms of financial deregulation for the United States and in their advice to other countries, particularly through the capital market liberalization policies urged upon the IMF. They now seek to put globalized finance back in its box and will pursu
A Military Coup In Iran?
Jon Chait is pessemistic about the government actually being overthrown in Iran. "For a revolution to succeed, it generally needs one of two things to happen: Either it needs its own weapons, or it needs mass defections by the state security force," he writes. But as Iran specialist Abbas Milani argues in a piece on our site today, there is an armed faction in Iran that has a stake in this fight: When people defied Khamenei's orders by gathering en masse on Monday, the regime's armor of invincibility--so central to the regime's authoritarian control--was cracked.
Yesterday I riffed on why the Obama administration decided to develop its financial market reform package internally rather than let Congress take the lead and weigh in later in the process, something they've done in other contexts. But if the financial reform package represented a break with Obama's style in one respect, it seems to have epitomized it in another. Remember how, during the campaign, Obama said he'd invite just about everyone with an opinion on health care to hash out the details? “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table,” Obama said in Virginia in August.
The Left's Laffer Curve?
Megan McArdle says there is "a growing frustration among reputable conservative economists that the promises of health care cost control have turned into the Laffer Curve of the left: a way to pretend that their favored policies don't have any costs." As something of a student of the Laffer Curve, I find the comparison preposterous. First, health care reformers are committed to finding offsetting tax hikes or spending cuts for every dollar of costs for expanded coverage. On top of that, they hope that cost-control measures can reduce rising health care costs.