July 08, 2009

Bank Shot
12:00 AM

Congress's attempts to deal with the housing crisis this spring created surprising rifts within the financial industry, particularly between big banks and investors (at hedge funds and elsewhere).

Like Harry And Louise, Except Dumber
12:00 AM

I noted yesterday that the banks are planning a "Harry and Louise"-style ad campaign to roll back Obama's proposal for a consumer financial products regulator. Today Tim Fernholz had a nice piece up at the Prospect about the coming fight over the agency--and the administration's determination to win. In the piece, Tim recounts this particularly asinine exchange at the first hearing on the subject in the House: At the same hearing, Rep.

If Not Bernanke, Then Who?
12:00 AM

The Journal just posted a piece about the White House thought process as it weighs whether or not to reappoint Ben Bernanke. The piece had this to say about the leading candidates to replace him if the decision is "not" (besides Larry Summers, who's widely presumed to be the frontrunner): Before making a decision later this year, the White House also is expected to look at other economists, including Roger Ferguson and Alan Blinder, former Fed vice chairmen; Janet Yellen, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank; and Christina Romer, chairman of Mr.

A Moneyball Approach To Health Reform
12:00 AM

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access WeBlog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. Yesterday, we had yet another health reform/CBO moment, when a published report indicated that the Congressional Budget Office had scored the House proposal at $1.5 trillion dollars.

How Much Of The Stimulus Has Actually Been Implemented?
12:00 AM

It's pretty common these days to point out that only about 10 percent of the stimulus has been implemented so far (I've done it myself), making a second round politically difficult to justify even if we know the first will almost certainly be insufficient. But while that 10 percent figure is technically accurate (give or take), the economic research team at Goldman Sachs argues that, as a practical matter, we've already felt about 40 percent of the benefits.

Tnrtv: Why Sotomayor Didn't Spark A Culture War
12:00 AM

Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation and fellow of the New Politics Institute, argues that the public's unwavering support for the president's Supreme Court nominee provides evidence that issues like affirmative action and gay rights don't fire up nearly as many conservatives as they used to. --Ben Eisler Check out the latest on TNRtv: Scheiber: Why Concerns Over the Federal Deficit Shouldn't Stop Another Stimulus Stent: Why Germany Is The Key To Obama's New Russia Policy Kauffmann: Why Film Is Distinct From Every Other Art

Is Harry Reid Being Helpful?
12:00 AM

As my colleauge Jonathan Chait notes over on the Plank, Senate Majority Harry Reid sent a message to Finance Chairman Max Baucus on Tuesday: Enough with the playing nice. Baucus has been trying for weeks to craft a version of health care reform that could attract Republican support, but the prospects for that have looked increasingly shaky. Ranking minority member Charles Grassley has made it pretty clear he won't support a bill with a price tag above $1 trillion.

July 07, 2009

Good Enough, Smart Enough
12:00 AM

A full six months after the freshman class of senators was sworn in to the 111th Congress, Al Franken is now joining its ranks. Partly because of the circumstances--an election decided by 312 votes out of 2.9 million ballots cast, a protracted legal battle--and partly because of Franken’s own background and fame (or notoriety), he will receive a bewildering degree of attention and media scrutiny.

Mcnamara's Other Legacy
12:00 AM

As one would expect, coverage of Robert McNamara's death has focused on his management of the Vietnam war and his later reappraisal of its necessity, but the former secretary of defense left an equally important--and far more positive--legacy regarding U.S. nuclear policy. When McNamara joined the Kennedy administration in 1961, American nuclear "strategy" called for launching the entire nuclear arsenal--nearly 3,500 weapons--at the communist bloc if the Soviets made any move against Western Europe. This approach had severe flaws.

An Object Lesson In The Virtues Of Tough Talk
12:00 AM

The fact that key Democrats and the hospital industry have reached an agreement over cutting Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals is interesting. The way the two sides reached that agreement is also interesting. According to my friends at Kaiser Health News, who first broke this story, the discussions began when the White House proposed even larger cuts: Hospitals, which have been hit hard by the recession, have been objecting to President Barack Obama's proposals to slash federal payments to hospitals by more than $220 billion over 10 years.