The draconian tax increases on the segment of the population that pays most of the taxes, generates most of the jobs, employs most of the workforce, and accounts for much of the consumer spending will chill whatever small warmth the stimulus package can generate. How can Obama pretend that he wants to encourage confidence among bankers and consumers while he regulates them, taxes them, and vilifies them? His tax increases make it clear that he is less interested in solving the recession and the financial crisis than he is in vindicating his political agenda of redistribution of wealth and income. The price of this policy will be lost growth and lost jobs.
Published in the New York Post on February 25, 2009
With a speech to match the most eloquent os State of the Union Addresses, with strains of FDR and JFK and a touch of Winston Churchill thrown in, President Obama has clearly staked his presidency on the outcome of the economic crisis.
Whether or not you agree with his prescription for recovery (I don’t), it’s clear that he’s not hedging his bets. If it works, his place in history is assured. If it fails, so is his early retirement.
The speech made it apparent that the Obama administration’s response to this crisis will either go down in history as a success that Americans will admire for decades, or become a case study in economic failure that students and scholars will study and pick apart for generations.
Published on TheHill.com on February 24, 2009
Ultimately, all recessions and depressions resolve themselves into crises of confidence. The instant, global, 24/7 communications of today make them ever more so. President Obama, in his pursuit of liberal big-government spending, has totally neglected the role of the president of the United States in reversing global panic. To the contrary, his every remark and the constant preoccupation of his Cabinet is to heighten the sense of crisis and to escalate the predictions of doom if we do not do as they tell us and raise spending now and taxes later.
President Barack Obama’s record in battling terrorism has proven so weak that one wonders if he really takes the issue seriously.
Since he has taken office, the president has:
- Announced closure of Guantanamo.
- Declined to prosecute the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing.
- Closed all overseas CIA interrogation centers.
- Appointed an Attorney General and Justice Department officials on record as opposed to the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques in terror investigations.
- Granted Al Arabia television his first news organization interview and called Fatah Party leader and PA President Mahmoud Abbass in his first phone contact with any foreign leader.
Published on TheHill.com on February 17, 2009
It’s rare to criticize a politician for being all action and no talk, but that’s one of the big things that’s wrong with Obama’s battle against the economic crisis. One of the key variants in any stage of the economic cycle is what the president says is happening. If he talks down the economy, it drops. If he is bullish and optimistic, the markets are likely to listen. Particularly early in his term, when his credibility is high and the spotlight is shining on him, a concerted effort by Obama to inject optimism into his economic commentary could have a very positive effect.
Published in the New York Post February 17, 2009
News broke last week that Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, lived rent- free for years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) – and failed to disclose the gift, as congressional ethics rules mandate. But this is only the tip of Emanuel’s previously undislosed ethics problems.
One issue is the work Emanuel tossed the way of De Lauro’s husband. But the bigger one goes back to Emanuel’s days on the board of now-bankrupt mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Emanuel is a multimillionaire, but lived for the last five years for free in the tony Capitol Hill townhouse owned by De Lauro and her husband, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.
The stimulus package President Obama is signing on Tuesday in Denver is a Trojan Horse. Labeled a bill to help the economy, it is really just an amalgam of the Democratic Party’s spending priorities over the past thirty years with some extra pork barrel items thrown in for seasoning. It will not — it cannot — have an appreciable impact.
Due to the overwhelming lack of confidence in the current economic situation (only a third believe the stimulus package will do much to help), consumers and businesspeople are going to sit on any cash the package puts into their hands, either saving it or using it to pay down credit card and other debt. It will have the same lack of stimulus as the Bush stimulus passed last year. Without some longer term confidence, government spending will have very little economic impact.
Published on TheHill.com on February 10, 2009
Because of the concentrated efforts of millions of Republicans all over America, Susan Collins (Maine) was reelected to the Senate, surviving a challenge once thought to be serious. She won, in large part, because she was able to drown her Democratic adversary in a sea of campaign spending made possible by donations from Republicans throughout the nation. As a result of their efforts, the GOP preserved its 40th vote in the Senate.
And when Saxby Chambliss was forced into a runoff in the Georgia Senate race, Republicans from all over the United States poured out their hearts and their funds to get him reelected, all to save the 41st vote and be able to filibuster Democrats’ big spending proposals.
Published on TheHill.com on February 9, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is finding that her job description is dissolving under her feet, leaving her with only a vestige of the power she must have thought she acquired when she signed on to be President Obama’s chief Cabinet officer.
Since her designation:
- Vice President Biden has moved vigorously to stake out foreign policy as his turf. His visit to Afghanistan, right before the Inauguration, could not but send a signal to Hillary that he would conduct foreign policy in the new administration, leaving Hillary in the role of backup.
Published in the New York Post on February 9, 2009
From Nouriel Roubini, the economist who most closely predicted the current mess, comes a warning couched in economic jargon that needs to be deciphered and publicized.
In a column on Forbes.com, Roubini warns that the United States, in its response to the economic crisis, may be following in the disastrous footsteps of Japan – whose sluggish and overly lenient response to a financial crisis led to a decade of economic misery.
In economic jargon, Roubini warns: The “market-friendly, case-by-case approach to the necessary debt reduction of insolvent private non-financial agents – corporate for Japan, households for the US – will be too slow.” He calls for an “across-the-board debt reduction” – lest we be condemned to a “systemic debt overhang.”