Politics

February 03, 2009

Depression Economics
12:00 AM

If you want to take a break from the cabinet psychodrama, and read a good piece on the current downturn, I recommend Jamie Galbraith's contribution to a National Journal symposium on deficits. Jamie doesn't dismiss the administration's stimulus program--he calls it a "good start"--but he thinks that it, and the administration's expected intervention in the financial system, will prove wanting.

Daschle Out
12:00 AM

As you may have heard by now, Tom Daschle just withdrew his nomination to be Secretary of Heatlh and Human Services.  It's not clear to me yet whether that means he's also stepping down as director of health care reform at the White House--or what this means for the future of health care reform. But I'm trying to learn more and will report back when I do. Update: He's stepping down from both posts. Via the Washington Post: Daschle had been appointed to two posts -- both the HHS Secretary and the health care czar, with an office at the White House.

Kill The Daschle Nomination
12:00 AM

Jon, your Tom Daschle defense over on The Treatment ("I think [Daschle] is trustworthy, based on what I know," you concluded) makes perfect sense -- if the Daschle affair were taking place in a vacuum, or a period of prosperity. But it isn't. And the way that his behavior, even if unintentional, feathers in with the year's narrative of a cast of bumbling, gee-I-didn't-know-what-I-was-doing-was-hurtful business execs destroying the economy makes his nomination a huge P.R. disaster. He may be blameless before St.

The Bad News For Daschle
12:00 AM

Leo Hindery is becoming a bigger part of the Daschle story after this Politico report that Daschle lobbied Obama to tap Hindery for a prominent post--namely Commerce Secretary of U.S. Trade Rep--in his administration. (A side note: Has there ever been this much intrigue surrounding the Commerce job?) Why is this bad news for Daschle?

February 02, 2009

The Limits of Bipartisanship
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--The coming week will test the strength of President Obama and the Democrats: Will they lose their nerve, or will they face down a rapidly forming conventional wisdom that will allow them to claim "victory" only if their economic stimulus package passes with substantial Republican support?Up to now, Obama has handled his own public image with the same dexterity he showed in the campaign. His outreach to Republicans is popular because a streak of anti-partisanship has run through the American soul since the founding of the republic.

Tunnel Vision
12:00 AM

"No," Mahmoud says as he gets back into the car, slamming the door. "They don't want. They are afraid." I had come to Gaza’s border with Egypt to see for myself the infamous underground smuggling tunnels. Active since the 1980s, the number of tunnels has skyrocketed since the Israeli blockade of Gaza in 2007. Israel claims the tunnels are used to smuggle arms; their destruction provided much of the rationale for its recent 22-day offensive. Finding the tunnels proved much easier than I had expected.

How Quickly Will The Stimulus Kick In?
12:00 AM

You may recall how, the week before last, Republicans were up in arms over a CBO report showing that under 40 percent of the estimated $350 billion in stimulus spending projects would hit the economy in the first two years. At the time, budget director Pete Orszag assured members of Congress that, once the CBO had scored the overall $825 billion package (as opposed to just the $350 billion in "approriated" spending) the two-year pay-out figure would rise to at least 75 percent. But, alas, this didn't exactly stop the GOP for pressing the claim.

How Quickly Will The Stimulus Kick In?
12:00 AM

You may recall how, the week before last, Republicans were up in arms over a CBO report showing that under 40 percent of the estimated $350 billion in stimulus spending projects would hit the economy in the first two years. At the time, budget director Pete Orszag assured members of Congress that, once the CBO had scored the overall $825 billion package (as opposed to just the $350 billion in "approriated" spending) the two-year pay-out figure would rise to at least 75 percent. But, alas, this didn't exactly stop the GOP for pressing the claim.

Daily Round-up, 2/2
12:00 AM

Obama and Baucus have voiced their support for Daschle.   Physicians for a National Health Program and other liberal groups have launched a new single-payer lobbying campaign. Harvard health economist David Cutler is joining the new administration.   Obama will order a full review of the FDA in the wake of the recent peanut scare.   Governor Paterson is taking heat from unions for the health care cost-control measures in his new budget.   Can disruptive innovation create a new business model for health care?   GlaxoSmithKline is preparing to cut 6,000 jobs.

No Slick Response: Obama And Canada's Oil Sands
12:00 AM

Katherine Michonski is a research associate for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is eager for an audience with Barack Obama, and, luckily for him, he'll soon get one when the new president makes his first head-of-state visit to Canada on February 19. Harper is especially anxious to discuss Obama's campaign pledge to wean the United States off "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive" oil, which many Canadians interpret as a slight against Alberta's carbon-intensive oil-sands industry.

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