Gordon Brown's Financial Shock and Awe
November 10, 2009
There are two broad views on our newly resurgent global bubbles--the increase in asset prices in emerging markets, fuelled by capital inflows, with all the associated bells and whistles (including dollar depreciation). These run-ups in stock market values and real estate prices are either benign or the beginnings of a major new malignancy. The benign view, implicit in Secretary Geithner’s position at the G20 meeting last weekend, is most clearly articulated by Frederic (Ric) Mishkin, former member of the Fed’s Board of Governors and author of "The Next Great Globalization: How Disadvantaged N
Board to Death
November 10, 2009
To the frustration of many a cabinet secretary, the Obama administration is a little behind on its appointments. At this point—with only five weeks to go before the Senate breaks for recess—a little over half of the 514 positions that need filling have been filled. Some jobs are really important: The nominee for the Office of Legal Counsel has been held up for months. Obama’s choice for a USAID director came down just today. U.S. attorney nominations have slowed to a crawl. Other jobs?
All the Secretary's Fans
November 08, 2009
In the few hours between landing after a swing through Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa and taking off again for Berlin, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found time on Friday to stop over in much friendlier territory: a subterranean banquet hall at Washington’s Reagan International Trade Center.
Will the Dems Back Away from the Public Option?
November 02, 2009
For the moment, at least, House liberals still aren't backing away from their push to strengthen the public option in the reform bill. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, sent a letter to Pelosi on Friday that demanded an up-or-down vote on the Medicare-plus-5 rates--the strong public option that was passed up in favor of negotiated provider rates. The next best thing? Setting another pre-determined price "ceiling" for the weaker plan's negotiated rates, which Grijalva proposes in a separate amendment.
Rahm Taking Direct Interest in Reg Reform
October 29, 2009
Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was up at the House Financial Services Committee testifying on the administration's proposal for dealing with threats to the financial system ("Too Big To Fail," etc.). One day earlier, he and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel held a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the committee to field questions about the proposal and urge them to hang together. For Rahm, it was at least the second time this week he'd participated in an event with top Treasury officials.
Who is Us?
October 22, 2009
WASHINGTON--Is there room in the Republican Party for genuine moderates? Truth to tell, the GOP can't decide. More precisely, it's deeply divided over whether it should allow any divisions in the party at all. That's why the brawl in a single congressional district in far upstate New York is drawing the eyes of the nation. Conservatives are determined to use the race to prove that there is no place in the party for heretics, dissidents or independents. President Obama set up the fight by nominating the district's former representative, John McHugh, as his Army secretary.
TNR on Bernard Kerik
October 21, 2009
Bernard Kerik, former New York City Policy Commissioner, Interim Interior Minister of Iraq, and nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, will now be serving time in a Westchester County prison. Already facing charges of conspiracy and tax fraud, Kerik was sent upstate after the judge reviewing his case revoked his bail for leaking private information about the upcoming case to the public.
How to Get Around Bad CBO Scores
October 19, 2009
With all the focus on a handful of high-profile items, many important features in the House and Senate health reform proposals are being overlooked. And some of these neglected items bear on the fiscal soundness of whatever reform is eventually adopted. Consider the proposed new federal long-term care program (the “CLASS Act”), which is included in both the House and Senate HELP Committee bills but not in the Finance Committee’s version. Enrollment in the program would be voluntary and open to all active workers and their spouses.
Energy Pork: Why the Green Future May Take a While
October 19, 2009
Stephen Power has a good story in the Wall Street Journal that explains a lot about why America’s clean energy future may be a while in coming. Power notes that although Energy Secretary Steve Chu set out this year to begin reshaping America's energy future with a network of highly-focused, results-oriented research labs, lawmakers have been busy with business-as-usual. He reports that instead of fully funding Dr.
Sharpen Your Pencils for Education Innovation
October 09, 2009
Pop quiz: You read a draft notice for a federal grant program containing the terms, “internal validity,” “quasi-experimental,” “regression discontinuity,” and “interrupted time series.” The program in question is: a) A CDC program to fund pre-development of the porcupine flu vaccine b) An FDA program to spur commercialization of an at-home test for polonium in your food c) A NASA program to support design of a low-cost module that will allow humans to populate Venus d) A Department of Education program designed to support and scale innovation in K-12 education Answer: d).