You feel strongly that the financial system has gotten out of whack. Do you think the American political process is capable of fixing it?
The American political process is about as broken as the financial system. Therefore, one has to be a bit skeptical. Just to give you one little example, one unrelated to the financial crisis. Here we are on Dec. 29, almost a year after the Inauguration, and there is no Under Secretary of the Treasury. That should be an important position. How can we run a government in the middle of a financial crisis without doing the ordinary, garden-variety administrative work of filling the relevant agencies? The Treasury is an outstanding example of a broken system, but it's not the only one.
Is part of the problem that Congress is slow in the process of approving?
Slow is too fast a word to describe what's going on. The Administration is one quarter over, and it hasn't manned the ramparts of government yet.
You think Harry "the coward" Reid will do anything to force this through? I don't.
At best we'll see this go to the Senate and be filibustered to death. At worst we'll see a repeat of the health care "reform" debacle and the Democrats ritually humiliating themselves at the alter of "bi-partisanship".
What possible downside is there for the Republicans to filibuster this?
I'm curious how the Republicans will stand against this. I've got $5 saying they go with the, "Regulations are what caused the problems, no a lack of them!" defense.
It hardly matters. "Socialism", they'll say, maybe. Or something totally unrelated to the actual issue, like "Just another big government democrat tax on small business owners". Or something absurdly unrelated to the actual issue, like "Marriage is between one man and one woman".
There are 39,000 individuals working full time to regulate the financial markets in the U.S. alone. What did they do when the bubble was inflated? Well, they helped inflate it.
In the 1970s and 1980s, we learned that regulation of product markets caused many problems. The public choice school taught us that when regulators have to choose between increasing their powers and budgets and what improves society, they often choose the latter. Even well-meaning regulation often produces unintended consequences that turn small problems into big ones.
But when the financial markets seemed to be doing reasonably well, that criticism never really had an impact on the world of finance.
What a difference a crisis makes! A detailed anatomy of the bubble shows that many of the policies and regulations meant to reduce financial risk actually increased it. The most obvious example is the government's policy of bailing out financial institutions to avoid crises, which made it more likely that they will engage in risky behavior. And the Fed's attempt to abolish recessions with drastic reductions of the interest rate it sets resulted in the biggest credit bubble in history, and one of the worst recessions.
But there are several other examples in this crisis. In the 1970s, the SEC gave the big rating agencies a regulatory role. They got the right to officially define risk, and other investors were forced to abide by them; many funds were not allowed to invest in anything that was not considered investment grade, and other institutions were forced to hold more capital if they did.
This oligopoly was granted in order to control risk. But the institutions used their new role to inflate the ratings, and dangerous mortgage-backed securities were suddenly considered risk-free.
Obama’s Bank Proposal Helps Erase the Month’s Gains
Concerns over President Obama’s plan to limit the activities of banks helped drag shares down on Thursday, erasing all the gains the stock market made in the first three weeks of 2010.
C) Obama is a spineless turd, a corporate whore, no different than George Bush. His presidency is already a corpse and I spit on it. If you want to defend him it's because, oh, no one can criticize your Glorious Leader. Guess what that makes you? A turd, a whore, no better than Bush.
The speed with which MeFi, and many Democrats, slid from (A) directly to (C) reminds me of nothing better than a tantrum. At the very least, it creates a toxic atmosphere.
Yeah; I have. I guess this still has some currency among the Netroots, but it's hard to fathom people flocking to the "they're all the same" canard because Obama isn't achieving every item on the Lefty laundry list.
Obama, who has risked his presidency on getting some health care refrom, is exactly the same as a Republican, who'd want no reform, and to actually reduce regulation.
What happened to Bush's highjinx that essentially gave him dictatorial powers over the House and Senate? Didn't those get passed on to the new President? Why can't Obama just unilaterally overrule the idiots populating the H&S and just make universal healthcare, and regulated banking and stock exchanges, the law?
But a lot of people are breaking party discipline right now in the hopes of getting the exact bill they want. That means no bill at all, especially with the margin we have in the Senate right now, which is a problem. And suddenly everyone is against the filibuster, which they loved a few years back when the GOP was threatening the "Nuclear Option" when they wanted to ram through a whole bunch of shitty judges really fast.
Compromise requires that the right give way too. See, "compromise" doesn't mean "the left surrenders everything and the right gets exactly what they want". That, however, is exactly what Obama is demanding.
Ironmouth: Which events of the past few days are related to leftist infighting? I don't disagree it exists and that it's bad, I'm just not sure it's as important as Coakley being above campaigning and Kennedy deluding himself that fair elections aren't a compelling government interest.
I think he was hoping to get a big, easy win early and then build on that momentum before going into some of the more bread-and-butter reforms he wants, but (with a lot of help from the industry lobby and the tea baggers) HCR turned out not to be a populist unifying cause
I think Hillary has a genuine shot at the 2012 nomination if this bullshit continues.
Clinton vs. Palin... that's gonna be... wow
Sarah Palin trails Obama 49-41 largely because she loses 14% of the Republican vote to him, making her the only one of the GOP candidates we tested who Obama could get double digit crossover support against. At the same time Palin continues to be the most well liked potential GOP candidate within her party- at 71% favorability. Her problem appears to be that the Republicans who don't care for her will go so far as to vote for Obama instead of her.
"I think if you wanted to send the worst signal to the markets right now in the country and send us in a tailspin, it would be to reject this nomination," Dodd told a group of reporters. "This is not naming someone to be an assistant secretary to something. This is the most important central banker in the world."
Dodd warned that rejecting the president's choice for the Fed chairman would have "huge economic implications, and people need to think about that." Speaking of Democrats who plan to vote against Bernanke, Dodd said he appreciated their frustration but argued that "they're missing the larger point. "That's a short-term answer," Dodd said. "And the short-term is going to create far many problems than it's going to solve."
First, he is what he always appeared to be, and campaigned as: plenty liberal, but no radical. He never said he was going to prosecute Cheney, or bring in single-payer, or let the Taliban back into Kabul. He has the short-comings that he always appeared to have: limited DC experience and no private sector experience whatever; a desire to get along to go along; a rather obvious lack of the common touch that he partially disguises with nifty oratory. It's not his fault you found it easier to read your hopes and dreams into him than into Hillary Clinton, or broke your habit of third party or stay-at-home voting in order to "make history."
They barely have to say "Jimmy Carter, failure failure weakling failure" because Daily Kos (which has become a cesspit) and the Huffington Post and the gang here do all the heavy lifting for them.
As for the comments about the "right having to give" up above, HELLO GIGANTIC STIMULUS BILL NEARLY A TRILLION DOLLARS! Its like you don't even watch the news.
HELLO GOING TO CLOSE GUANTANAMO!
HELLO HARD ASSED REFORMS FOR BANKING INDUSTRY IN THIS POST.
HELLO PUSHING ISRAEL HARDER THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN PUSHED. -- Ironmouth
That's the thing that pisses me off about the Left here. Their pie in the sky proposals don't have the votes, and have never had the votes to pass. When this is pointed out, they assert that it is everybody's responsibility but their own to come up with the votes. They never focus on the fucking whip count and just assume that if somebody other than them did the work, the votes would show up. -- Ironmouth
The "center" is the right. The Republicans removed themselves from the equation completely by voting as a monolithic bloc and explicitly stating that they would do all in their power to kill HCR out of spite. The only right worth talking about in the HCR debate is the Democratic right. -- sotonohito
Back in 2008, the smart liberal spin on "post-partisanship" -- one which I frankly bought into -- is that it was in part an effort to put a popular, centrist sheen on a relatively liberal agenda. Instead, as Leonhardt points out, what Obama has wound up with is an unpopular, liberal sheen on a relatively centrist agenda.
It's not just on health care -- but let's talk about health care for a moment. The bill that the Senate Democrats passed did not substantially restructure the system of private insurance, nor the health care delivery system. It did not include a public option. It did, rather, about the minimum that you could do if you want to prevent people with pre-existing conditions from being denied health care. You can't require insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions unless you're willing to put a mandate into place (otherwise, everyone's premiums would rise substantially). And you can't put a mandate into place without having some reasonably generous subsidies (otherwise, a lot of folks would go broke.) The Senate's bill was about the least radical way to achieve something approaching universal coverage that can be imagined. It is nevertheless a bill that would do a tremendous amount of good for a tremendous number of people, and so I've advocated for its passage. But with the possible exception of Wyden-Bennett (which not identifiably left or right although much more radical than what the Congress is considering), virtually any attempt to achieve universal coverage would be further to the left of this bill.
What's more alarming still is that some of the policies which have become unpopular -- like the health care bill and arguably the stimulus (although the polling is more equivocal there) -- did not start out that way. With the exception of the bailouts -- a policy which the White House certainly wasn't pursing for political expediency -- virtually every policy that the Democrats have advanced polled reasonably well when it was first proposed. It did not always end up that way after it had been through the legislative meat grinder. The reflexive Republican opposition to virtually any policy that the Democrats advanced -- they've overwhelmingly opposed policies as benign as delaying the digital TV changeover date! -- has in retrospect been exceptionally effective.
This is not to suggest that the Democrats should say fuck it all and adopt an agenda that really is leftist -- it couldn't get the support of the Congress anyway -- although there are important exceptions where the liberal alternative (the public option being a good example) polls better than the centrist one.
But the Democrats do have the benefit of hindsight now -- and they ought to take advantage of it. For one thing, they need to be very careful about rewarding Republican nihilism. The best case is when you can simultaneously achieve both a policy and a political victory. More often, especially given the structural constraints imposed by the Congress, you'll have to settle for one or the other. But I would be very careful about any course of action which concedes victory to Republicans on both levels. Mistakes were made along the way to health care reform, but you've paid the political price for health care: now pass the fucking thing.
But henceforth the Democrats, from the White House on downward, have gotten a remarkably poor return on the investment of their political capital. The failures are more tactical than strategic. But to do what Democrats usually do, and crawl into a shell in the face of adversity, is not advisable.
where are the votes in the Senate? Name names. Tell me how each and every senator is to be convinced.
You can't do it.
I once asked Neil Jameson, who runs the COF, what Mr Obama was actually doing in that photograph. Neil was trained by the same people who trained the US president, all those years ago.
Power analysis, he told me, involves three questions: Who can stop us? Who can help us? Who has the money?
Once you understand the self-interest of these groups, you can use it to try and either persuade or force them to do what you want them to do.
If we read the Obama presidency according to these questions, much of the last year becomes intelligible - though that does not change whether it becomes acceptable, either to that large minority of Americans that voted Republican, or to the disgruntled Democrat grassroots who wanted Mr Obama to go further.
We know what Mr Obama wants at the level of ideals: more social justice; a rebuilt social infrastructure; disengagement from no-win conflicts (or an alteration of their terms); a new multilateralism in international affairs; plus a US government and consumer that begins to act as if climate change was a reality rather than a myth stirred up by the nation's enemies.
Who can stop him? He knows that - First, the Republicans in Congress. Second the conservative grassroots who are mobilising in large numbers against every initiative. Third major corporations, such as the big Pharma and healthcare lobbies. Fourth, high finance.
That's virtually the same list of forces who, by 1937, were able to force FDR away from the more radical aspects of the New Deal and it is a list that goes a long way to explaining why Mr Obama's presidency looks nothing like FDR's.
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