January 11, 2009
In my ongoing effort to convey the insights of genuine economics experts, rather than pretend I'm such an expert myself, economist and blogger Brad DeLong has what seems like a smart take on the stimulus debate. Like Paul Krugman and others, he is skeptical that proposal under discussion is sufficiently large. But he also cautions that crafting a larger package isn't as easy as it sounds: I agree with Paul that this fiscal boost plan is too small, but I do want to admit that doing this well is harder than it looks.
January 10, 2009
On Saturday morning, the Obama transition team released a memo outlining its calculations about the economic recovery package. The memo's authors are Christina Romer, who will chair the new president's council of economic advisers, and Jared Bernstein, who will be chief economic advisor to Vice President Biden. The report suggests the package President-elect Obama has sketched out would create three to four million new jobs by the end of 2010.
Counterterrorism expert John O. Brennan was reportedly Obama's original choice for director of the CIA, but he withdrew from consideration after complaints about his past involvement in Bush-era interrogation programs. Now, Obama has appointed Brennan as deputy national security adviser for homeland security--a White House position best described as "counter-terrorism czar"--and has selected Leon Panetta to head the CIA, where he will be subordinate to the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. To get some perspective on these appointments, I contacted Richard A.
January 09, 2009
United--But For How Long?
The last time most of us saw Bob Dole talking about health care was 1994, when he was burying the Clinton health care plan on behalf of his fellow Republican Senators. On Thursday, Dole came back to the Senate and back to the health care debate. But this time his agenda was different. Dole was there to introduce Tom Daschle, whom President-Elect Barack Obama has tapped as his Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Liberate The Palestinians From Hamas
Not being a military expert, I will abstain from judging whether the Israeli bombardments of Gaza could be better directed, less intense. Not being able for decades to distinguish between the good dead and the evil dead or, like Camus used to say, between "suspect victims" and "privileged executioners," I'm also deeply disturbed by the images of the Palestinian children who have been killed. This being said, and taking into account that certain media outlets have been carried away on the winds of folly once again--as is always the case when Israel is involved--I would like to remind everyone o
The Case for Panetta
The fight over the appointment of Leon Panetta as CIA director died down as fast as it flared up. The question now is whether Panetta, never having worked in intelligence, will figure out how espionage works fast enough to save the CIA--and keep the president out of trouble.The CIA certainly needs saving. Many believe 9/11 could have been prevented if the CIA had notified the FBI in enough time when two hijackers moved to San Diego in early 2000. In a Parthian shot, the Bush administration is blaming the CIA’s bad intelligence for leading us into war in Iraq.
Not Doing Enough
Why I worry that Obama doesn’t realize just how bad things are.
Just Win, Baby
WASHINGTON -- It has been so long since Congress needed to pass a huge and urgent package of spending increases and tax cuts that few people understand how the politics of such a thing might work.For at least two decades, Washington has focused (if sometimes only rhetorically) on the politics of deficit reduction. Nobody has a playbook for consciously and intentionally embarking on large-scale deficit spending.
TalkingPointsMemo is reporting that Tom Daschle yesterday holstered one of the Democrats' most potent political weapons, the Senate's budget reconciliation process, in the fight to pass health care reform. If true, it would be a major shift. The rules of reconciliation forbid filibusters, making it possible to pass legislation with just fifty votes. Democratic reform propopents, including not just Daschle but also Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, have for some time said they'd use reconciliation, if necessary, to enact health care reform.
Are Moderates Really Pragmatists?
Matt Yglesias takes aim at the notion that centrism and pragmatism are one and the same: In the United States, slavish adherence to “moderate” positions is often construed as exhibited “pragmatism” that’s in distinction to the more “ideological” views of people with less centrist views. In fact, moderation can reflect ideology ever bit as much as extremism can. This is certainly right, up to a point.