May 06, 2009
The public relations campaign packaging the bank stress tests is kicking into high gear and our professional information managers are really hitting their stride. They face, of course, a classic spin problem: you need to get the information out there, but you don't want to be too definitive on the first day or soon after--if you're easy on the banks, that looks bad; if you're tough on the banks, that might be dangerous. The best way to handle this is by jamming your own signal--which they are starting to do in brilliant fashion. To the WSJ you leak that BoA needs to raise a great deal of capit
Great Moments In Pr
Sometimes you gotta wonder about the Pakistani president: Mr. Zardari’s presentation, however, left some members [of the House Foreign Affairs Committee] confused and disappointed, according to a person who attended the meeting. He said little about how the Pakistani government planned to regain momentum in the fight against the militants. And when he asked for financial assistance, he likened it to the government’s bailout of the troubled insurance giant, American International Group. [emphasis added] Yeah, that'll go over great with their constituents.
Obama's First Humanitarian Crisis
Mark Leon Goldberg is a senior correspondent for the American Prospect and writes UN Dispatch. Over the past four months an estimated 6,500 ethnic-Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka have died at the hands of their own government. Tens of thousands more have been injured. Unlike humanitarian crises in places like Darfur, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this outbreak of violence occurred almost entirely during President Obama's first 100 days. It is the first man-made humanitarian crisis of the Obama era.
May 05, 2009
Beat The Clock
Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Blog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. During the fifth and last of the White House Regional Forums on Health Reform, held in Los Angeles several weeks ago, domestic policy advisor Melody Barnes didn't provide much detail about the substance of health reform. But she did provide a timeline.
Most of the smart people I know who have opinions about our leaky corporate tax code say we should lower the overall rate (now at 35) in exchange for sealing up all the holes that make it so leaky. I tend to agree with them, but it's obviously easier said than done. That is, the effective tax a lot of big companies face is really, really low. So to get them to go along with your grand bargain, you'd have to push the non-leaky tax rate down pretty low, too, which seems like it would cost you a lot in revenue from smaller companies less able to game the corporate tax code.
Saletan Responds: Ok, Let's Try This
William Saletan has responded to my comment on his discomfort with No Child Left Behind data being tabulated by race. I get where he's coming from. He makes many valid points.
Daily Affirmations 5/5
1. Nate Silver puzzles over Tim Pawlenty's willingness to continue backing Norm Coleman even as his own popularity dwindles, in a blue state: Arguably, in fact, the Franken affair is already impairing Pawlenty's political fortunes. According to polling from SurveyUSA, Pawlenty's popularity has suffered significantly since the November election, and he now has a net-negative approval rating, with 50 percent of Minnesotans disapproving of his performance and 46 percent approving.
Dept. Of Not Credible Rhetoric
From the Times piece on Obama's plan to close loopholes multinational corporations use to avoid taxes on income they earn abroad: The changes, if enacted, would take effect in 2011, when administration officials presume the economy will have recovered from the recession. But business groups were quick to condemn the White House for proposing tax increases amid a global downturn. “This plan will reduce the ability of U.S. companies to compete in foreign markets, which will not only reduce jobs, but will also cripple economic growth here in the United States.
What Treasury Needs Is A Distraction
The bank stress tests are beginning to create a perception problem, but not--as you might think--for banks. Rather the issue is top level Administration officials' own optics (spin jargon for how we think about our rulers). At one level, the government's approach to banks--delay doing anything until the economy stabilizes--is working out nicely. This is the counterpart of the macroeconomic Summers Strategy and in principle it is brilliant.
Dinner With The Nobel Laureates
Well, this is encouraging, both as a window onto Obama's style, and because these guys have a lot of smart things to say. From Newsweek's Evan Thomas: Mindful of his predecessor, Barack Obama seems to be trying harder to make sure he hears all sides. On the night of April 27, for instance, the president invited to the White House some of his administration's sharpest critics on the economy, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz.