June 22, 2011
Partisans have a general habit of insisting that their side would do better if only their leaders would give more strident speeches. Witness liberals during the health care debate demanding that President Obama mind-meld conservative Democrats into supporting the public option, or the Republicans who fervently believe that just a few more addresses by Paul Ryan can sell the public on his plan to slash the most cherished program in the United States so as to pay for unpopular tax cuts for the affluent. It’s usually a fantasy of escaping inescapable political constraints.
Obama's New Bank Tax
January 14, 2010
Today the Obama administration unveils a new tax on large banks. It's the (partial) answer to a policy dilemma and a political dilemma that were dying to be solved together. The policy dilemma is that the administration is having trouble crafting a long-term fix to the financial crisis. Large financial institutions have an inherent tendency to threaten the entire economy. Those institutions know that if they make huge risky investments, they get to keep all the upside if they pay off.