Obama's Tepid Support For The Consumer Protection Agency
July 13, 2009
In mid-March, the administration proposed that toxic assets could and would be safely removed from banks balance sheets. I was skeptical, and the the PPIP now seems to have slipped into irrelevance (loans; securities). But the administration still put an impressive effort into persuading independent analysts, and broader public opinion, that they should do something clearly beneficial for banks. This was "all hands on deck," and it definitely had an impact on the debate, at least for a while. Now, the administration's major remaining initiative is its version of a Financial Product Safety Comm
June 17, 2009
Do we need a technological breakthrough to avert the climate crisis?
Obama Is Making A Big Mistake In Saudi Arabia
June 02, 2009
President Obama is on his way to Saudi Arabia, and Secretary Geithner is done with his major initiative in China. In part, this is just the U.S. normalizing its relations with the rest of the world and rebuilding some basic diplomatic niceness.
Is China Taking Tim Geithner To The Cleaners?
June 01, 2009
On his China visit, Secretary Geithner is immediately on the defensive. The language he is using on the Chinese policy of exchange rate undervaluation-through-intervention is the mildest available. And the commitment he is making, in terms of bringing down the U.S. deficit--which we all favor--is an extraordinary thing to put numbers on in a foreign capital. Such commitments are of course unenforceable, but still the wording indicates--and is understood by China--great U.S. weakness. Not surprisingly, China seems likely to push for more. Their main idea is that some part of their U.S.
Gates And Chu--will They Sink Obama's Nuclear Policy?
February 03, 2009
As Mike Crowley points out, Barack Obama has been conspicuously sluggish in appointing a nonproliferation team--something that's giving nuclear policy experts jitters. In addition, two of Obama's other decisions are unsettling from a nonproliferation perspective. One is the appointment of Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. While telegenic, brilliant, and exciting for the environmental lobby, Chu is untutored in nuclear-weapons policy--a conspicuous lacuna given that 80 percent of the Energy Department's funding is used to manage the U.S. nuclear-weapons complex.
Scott Mcclellan's Advice For Robert Gibbs
January 28, 2009
Yesterday, we asked President Bush's former press secretary, Scott McClellan, if he had any hard-won suggestions for Robert Gibbs. My view is that the press-briefing model that is used now is kind of outdated.
A Secret Weapon For Obama's Labor Secretary
December 18, 2008
Alyssa Rosenberg is a correspondent for Government Executive: Though she's been a staunch supporter of union priorities like the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), California Congresswoman Hilda Solis wasn't on anyone's short list to head the Department of Labor. But with the AP annoucing today that she will be Obama's pick, Solis may have a secret weapon as she takes over the department. Early in her career, she worked as a management analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.
The Labor Secretary Guessing Game
December 11, 2008
Tim Fernholz at The American Prospect reports today that union leaders are pleased as punch with Obama, particularly after he sided recently with workers protesting at a closed factory in Illinois. Jim Grossfeld, a labor consultant who's worked with several unions and congressional leaders, recently told me that "no one has ever been elected president who has as sophisticated an understanding of the labor movement as Barack Obama. ... He's a guy who's seen first-hand how collective bargaining can empower poor people in Chicago. That's huge." This is all good news.
Transition News 12/11
December 11, 2008
Chicagoans ask why Blago would ruin their Obama euphoria. Not transparency we can believe in: Change.gov censors Blago questions. Still-defense secretary Gates says the Pentagon wants to send thousands of new troops to Afghanistan as early as spring 2009. After a rocky start to the transition, labor is pleased with Obama. How Obama is giving Washington's economy a whole lot of hope. Why Obama needs the Warren Buffet ofnational intelligence. Let Obama smoke in the White House. It'll calm his nerves. Kristof proposes a new secretary of food. --Seyward Darby
What Napolitano Means For The Border Fence
December 05, 2008
Environmentalists should be pretty excited about having Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security—and not because, as Ed Rendell so awkwardly noted, she's single and will have more time to spend on the job. As the governor of Arizona, Napolitano has been forced to consider the impacts that immigration—and attempts to stop immigration—are having on wildlife in the border region. And she's had the sort of firsthand border experience that makes her question the utility of the security fence that's currently under construction along several sections of the border.