August 2011


President Barack Obama has asked congressional leaders to convene a joint session next Wednesday night, at which he will deliver a major economic speech.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Obama said he plans “to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy” during the 8 p.m. ET session.

Here.

What a dick. The administration schedules this speech at the same time as the next Republican presidential debate. How political, how partisan can you get? That’s a tell that the “jobs” program is a political agenda, not an economic agenda. How frustrating. We need serious policies for the economy and we get a political agenda.

The Export-Import bank (Ex-Im) is a government entity for distributing corporate subsidies. A test for Tea Partiers and Fiscal Conservatives is whether to try to eliminate it. It susceptible to cronyism and corruption like any other program.  Or will this be yet another exception to downsizing government?

Here.

Here’s an analysis on why it should be eliminated.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States picks winners in the U.S. economy, redistributing resources from the productive sector to its chosen clients. While it has been self-financing for a number of years, taxpayers remain exposed to tens of billions of dollars of loans and guarantees.

This is what happens when you have too much government intervention in the economy:

NEW YORK -(MarketWatch)- AT&T Inc. said it will bring 5,000 wireless call-center jobs it has outsourced abroad back to the U.S. if its proposed $39 billion deal to buy Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA is approved by regulators.

Late Tuesday, AT&T said it would add the jobs after the deal closes and promised not to cut any more wireless call-center positions. The move is contingent on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice approving the takeover, company spokesman Brad Burns said in an email.

The carrier is pressing its case for the merger against opposition from rivals, including Sprint Nextel Corp., as well as some politicians. AT&T is also facing scrutiny from a utilities commission in California and was told its $1.9 billion bid for wireless licenses from Qualcomm Inc. would be considered simultaneously with the T-Mobile deal, potentially slowing the process.

Here.

From Mark J. Perry:

From Conor Friedersdorf, associate editor at The Atlantic:

“The normal mindset among U.S. officials is that prior permission should be required to sell legal goods to a willing buyer.

From PBS’ The Commanding Heights:

INTERVIEWER: Is it fair to say that to a certain extent the Permit Raj led to stagnation of the economy and the choking off of entrepreneurial growth?

MANMOHAN SINGH: Yes, I think it gave rise to what I sometimes describe as functionalist capitalism. Capitalism historically has been a very dynamic force, and behind that force is technical progress, innovation, new ideas, new products, new technologies, and new methods of managing teams. If you have a rigidly controlled economy, cut off from the rest of the world by infinite protection, nobody has any incentive to increase productivity and to bring new ideas. Therefore, the license Permit Raj became a great handicap in carrying forward the sustained process of sustained growth.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, President Obama nominated Princeton labor economist Alan Krueger to become the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Sen. Rand Paul issued the following statement in response:

“Alan Krueger is nothing more than an extreme government interventionist, cut from the same cloth as those who have failed to correctly predict, diagnose, and manage our economic problem.

“During his tenure at the Treasury Department, Alan Krueger helped design the ‘cash for clunkers’ program and even supported a European style value-added tax that would raise prices on American families.

“This repetition of bad economic decisions by the President and his advisers could be described as the epitome of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. Hasn’t the President realized we don’t need more big-government Keynesians in Washington saddling the American taxpayer with trillions in debt?

“The President’s economic policies have been an abysmal failure. His economic advisers have helped lead to these failures.

“I have called for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to resign, and I am now calling on Alan Krueger to step down before he even begins his new role, before any more damage can be done to the American economy by this Administration.”

Here.

Meanwhile, reporter Robert Schroeder deceptively claims Sen. Paul called for Krueger to resign before he took the post:

Tea-party-backed Republican Sen. Rand Paul wants Alan Krueger to leave a job he hasn’t even started yet: chairing the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
. . .
If nothing else, however, Paul’s call for Krueger to give up a job he hasn’t begun underscores the intensity of the coming debate this fall over bringing down the nation’s 9.1% unemployment rate and kick-starting economic growth.

This is sloppy reporting, a semantic game.

Video entitled Gary Johnson 2012: Don’t Get Fooled. Ain’t it the truth — to a tee.

A sympathetic mainstream reporter sends a message to the GOP on health care.

Republicans may have convinced the public that President Obama’s national health care law will make things worse, but they have yet to adequately explain how they’d make things better.
. . .
As the 2012 election year approaches, Republicans won’t be able to rely on the unpopularity of Obamacare to avoid articulating an alternative. Just because Americans are unnerved by Obama’s massive health care overhaul, that doesn’t mean they’d tolerate a return to the old status quo.

In every other aspect of their lives, Americans enjoy a vast array of choices, as businesses vigorously compete for their dollars. Yet the health care system doesn’t function anything like this.

Here. Between the Democrats’ government-run schemes and the Republicans’ defense of the status quo as a result of not proposing a compelling alternative, Americans remain frustrated or confused. I spoke to relatives and they think pre-Obamacare the US enjoyed a free market in health care. As Mr. Klein’s makes clear, that is not the case.

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