March 13, 2009
Support For Christopher Hill
I guess I'm now an expert on foreign and security appointments of the Obama administration. Apparently, Charles Freeman thinks that I'm one of the people who got him scratched as the administration's chairman of the National Intelligence Council. (I was upbraided for my action by a stiff lady at a Cambridge cocktail party on Thursday: "There have to be some people in Washington who don't take Israel's side." Is she blind? Why does she think Dennis Blair wanted Freeman in the post?
Tnr Slideshow: The Revolving Door
After promising sweeping reform in Washington, President Obama and his staff have done their best to prevent the interests of lobbyists from seeping into the new administration. Thus far, they seem to be mostly successful in this endeavor. But in today's TNR slideshow, we highlight some newcomers to Washington that the president may want to keep an eye on, as well as former politicians passing through the revolving door to new positions within the influence industry. --Alexander Wolf Image courtesy of planetware.com
Obama And Summers On Inequality
This isn't a new line from Summers or Obama--the former laid it out in his last Financial Times column before joining the administration--but I thought Summers hit it really well in today's speech: Bubble driven economic growth is problematic because of disruption and dislocation – affecting those who took part in the bubble’s excesses and those who did not. And, it is not entirely healthy even while it lasts. Between 2000 and 2007 – a period of solid aggregate economic growth – the typical working-age household saw their income decline by nearly $2000. The decline in middle-class incomes ev
March 12, 2009
Americans Like Big Government
Barack Obama flew to Columbus last week to announce a stimulus-funded rescue of 25 police jobs. During his speech, this most eloquent of presidents fell into a Lyndon Johnson-like sing-song as he detailed all the other pump-priming grants to Ohio from the stimulus package: “$128 million that will put people to work renovating and rebuilding affordable housing. … $935 million to Ohio that will create jobs rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our highways.
Barack Vs. The Hill
If the president’s agenda were relegated only to fixing a demolished banking and credit system while ensuring that vital industries like the automobile and steel ones don’t disappear, it would be overwhelming. But now President Obama is asking legislators to pass sweeping health care reform, sweeping climate change legislation, sweeping changes in energy policy, and more. This week, William Galston and others have raised the question of whether the Obama team lacks focus. Fair enough.
WASHINGTON--Maybe pragmatism isn't enough after all. President Obama regularly speaks disdainfully of "ideology," says he is focused only on "what works," and loves to be described as "pragmatic." Well, sure. No one ever admits to being an ideologue, and as historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. observed many years ago, democratic government should be about "the search for remedy." But there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. The economic crisis has let loose a furious philosophical debate over the meltdown, its causes and its cures.
Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.
From the Journal's indispensable Phil Izzo--let's just say not quite as good as Obama's law school grades: A majority of the 49 economists polled said they were dissatisfied with the administration's economic policies. On average, they gave the president a grade of 59 out of 100, and although there was a broad range of marks, 42% of respondents rated Mr. Obama below 60. Mr. Geithner received an average grade of 51. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke scored better, with an average 71. ... The economists' negative ratings mark a turnaround in opinion. In December, before Mr.
March 11, 2009
Shot in the Arm
WASHINGTON--A decade ago, the U.N. General Assembly set an objective of "eliminating or significantly reducing" narcotics cultivation and trafficking "by the year 2008." According to the data of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, the effort has been an unmitigated disaster. Opium and cannabis production has doubled, while cocaine has slightly increased.
Barack’s Too-Long Wish List
A surprised Rudolph Penner, assistant director of President Ford’s OMB and later a CBO director, offered a blunt assessment of the new president: “[He] has proposed a huge restructuring of government, and people are actually taking him seriously.