Showing posts with label economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economy. Show all posts

Friday, October 22, 2010

Op-ed piece by Sherrod Brown

TEN years ago this fall the Senate sold out American manufacturing. By a vote of 83 to 15, it established so-called permanent normal trade relations with China, paving the way for that country to join the World Trade Organization. As a result, Chinese imports to the United States fell under the same low tariffs and high quotas as those from countries like Canada and Britain.

Today, though, our trade relations with China are anything but normal. The 2000 agreement’s proponents insisted it would enable a billion Chinese consumers to buy American products. Instead, our bilateral trade deficit has increased 170 percent, largely because China has undermined free-market competition through illegal subsidies and currency manipulation.

Unless the administration takes punitive steps in response to China’s unfair trade practices, the American economy — and the American worker — will continue to suffer.

The old agreement on trade with China was never really about promoting American manufacturing. Rather, it was a cynical ploy on the part of many multinational companies. They lobbied Congress to approve it, promising a boost to American exports; then, once it passed, they closed domestic plants, moved production overseas and sold their products back to American consumers.

As for those billion Chinese consumers? We now know that what the companies were really so excited about was a billion inexpensive Chinese workers.

True, our exports to China have increased. But reporting only exports is like reporting just one team’s score in baseball: the Cubs scoring five runs sounds good, until you hear that the Reds tallied 12.

Indeed, our exports pale in comparison to the torrent of artificially cheap Chinese imports. Economists, including free-traders, estimate that price manipulation keeps Chinese products 40 percent cheaper than comparable American-made goods.

Inexpensive products might sound nice, but we lose 13,000 net jobs for every $1 billion increase in our trade deficit. Our $226 billion deficit with China has meant shuttered factories, lost jobs and devastated communities across America.

And it’s no longer just Chinese bicycles and electronics that are flooding our markets. China will soon make half the world’s wind turbines and solar panels, most of which it plans to export to America. And, as usual, China’s clean-energy industry relies on large government subsidies, in direct violation of international trade laws.

In response, the Obama administration recently accepted a petition, filed by the United Steelworkers under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, to investigate China’s state support for clean-energy exports. If the White House finds that the support violates international trade rules, Section 301 allows it to respond with a range of aggressive measures, including tariffs.

This strategy has worked before: in the 1980s and ’90s, the United States used its 301 authority to combat Japanese and Korean subsidies and trade barriers. Though critics warned of bitter trade wars, the get-tough approach actually led to more balanced trade relationships, and even encouraged foreign investors, like Asian auto companies, to build plants in America.

In trying to get China to play fair, though, Washington has instead relied on rhetoric and moral suasion. It hasn’t worked. Only rigorous enforcement of trade rules by the Obama administration can reverse the harm caused by the permanent normal trade relations agreement.

Congress has a role to play, too: when the Senate reconvenes next month, it should vote, as the House did in September, to expand the president’s authority to impose tariffs on China or any other country that unfairly manipulates its currency.

Many politicians claim they support products “made in America.” But the phrase is more than an empty slogan; it means standing up for American manufacturers. Only by learning the lessons of “normal” trade with China — and acknowledging buyer’s remorse — can we reach a truly balanced bilateral relationship that works for America.

Senator Sherrod Brown

Friday, October 15, 2010

Construction employment numbers

The Associate General Contractors of America (AGC) announced yesterday that construction employment is at a 14-year low.

Association officials noted, “The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates.”

The unemployment rate for the construction industry stands at 17.2%, while the overall U.S. unemployment rate was 9.6%.

Many economists believe that looking at planned construction projects and the employment rate of construction jobs is a way to see where the economy is headed. This would mean, our recovery at this point is still slow.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

8% unemployment was not promised - it was predicted

We can debate the virtues of the stimulus package as to how effective it was, however it's a bit intellectually dishonest to state that there was a promise that unemployment would be 8% if the stimulus package was passed. There was a prediction and it was one that was couched with the reality of the uncertainty of our current economy.

The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is where the chart is that is creating the controversy. Yet if one were to actually read the 14 pages you'd have a different view -- one part:

It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error. There is the obvious uncertainty that comes from modeling a hypothetical package rather than the final legislation passed by the Congress. But, there is the more fundamental uncertainty that comes with any estimate of the effects of a program. Our estimates of economic relationships and rules of thumb are derived from historical experience and so will not apply exactly in any given episode. Furthermore, the uncertainty is surely higher than normal now because the current recession is unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity.

That's not a promise, it's predictions...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another economic crisis predicted within a decade...

I know this is a bit long, but it shares some interesting information I was sent via e-mail - from the Peterson Foundation:


Peter G. Peterson Foundation Survey of Economic Leaders from Past Eight Administrations and Congress Shows Bipartisan Agreement that U.S. Needs to Cut Spending and Raise Taxes to Avoid an Economic Crisis

NEW YORK, NY – An unprecedented survey of the most senior economic officials from the last eight administrations and Congressional leaders from the past 30 years shows that there is broad consensus that failure to address the country’s long-term structural deficit challenges would lead to another economic crisis within the next ten years. There is also consensus around the solution to the deficit problem: it must include both cutting spending and increasing taxes, according to a group of more than fifty former top economic officials.

The survey topline can be found here:

The survey respondents polled were former senior officials from the past eight administrations under Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson, as well as members of Congress, with significant experience on fiscal issues, including:

Secretaries of the Treasury
Federal Reserve Presidents and members of the Board of Governors
Directors of the Office of Management & Budget
Council of Economic Advisors Chairs
Directors of the Congressional Budget Office
Senate Budget Committee Chairmen/Ranking Members
House Budget Committee Chairmen/Ranking Members
House Ways and Means Committee Chairmen/Ranking Members

The survey was commissioned by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF) as part of its mission to increase public awareness of the nature and urgency of the country’s key fiscal challenges and was released in the days leading up to the first meeting of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform as well as the Foundation’s “2010 Fiscal Summit: America’s Crisis and A Way Forward.” The survey was conducted by Global Strategy Group, a public opinion research firm.

“It is significant to see such an overwhelming proportion of these former senior officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, agree that we must address our long-term structural deficits to avoid another economic crisis, and that we must do so now,” said Peter G. Peterson, founder and Chairman of PGPF. “Addressing our fiscal challenges will require being open-minded about solutions and taking a comprehensive approach in which all options are seriously considered. By acting now, we can meet these challenges in a way that secures the vital programs on which so many Americans rely, and ensures that resources will still be available for investments for future growth in areas like education, research and critical infrastructure.”

“The opinions of these federal government experts clearly demonstrate that there is a bipartisan consensus that spending cuts and tax increases are both necessary to address our unsustainable structural deficits,” said David Walker, President & CEO of PGPF. “Given increasing concerns among Americans, and with this bipartisan consensus of experts in mind, it is time to set aside partisan battles and bridge ideological divides to focus on sensible solutions.”

The survey found that top former economic officials believe:

· We need to change course. Democrats and Republicans unanimously feel that the federal government is currently on an unsustainable long term fiscal path. (100% Dems and Reps strongly agree)

· Systemic issues must be addressed. Democrats and Republicans unanimously consider long term structural deficits more threatening to the country’s economic future than short term deficits. (100% of Dems and 93% Reps say long term structural deficits are much more threatening; 7% of Reps say they are somewhat more threatening)

· Inaction will lead to crisis. More than 9 in 10 Republicans (98%) and Democrats (94%) believe if we do not act soon to address the nation’s long term fiscal situation we are heading for another major economic crisis.
– Most Republicans (88%) and Democrats (75%) expect an economic crisis within the next ten years if we do not act.
– And practically nine in ten Republicans (92%) and Democrats (82%) believe the government should begin to take action within the next 1-2 years to address the long term fiscal situation.

· Elements of a crisis. Majorities of Democrats and Republicans believe that without measures to address the longer term structural deficit challenges it is very likely we will encounter:
– Rapid growth in federal mandatory spending crowding out other important public investments (80% Reps very likely/71% Dems)
– Significant rise in interest rates (71% Reps very likely/65% Dems)
– An eventual decline in Americans’ standard of living (65% Reps very likely/53% Dems)

· Tax increases and spending cuts must be part of the solution. Two-thirds of Republicans (68%) and more than eight in ten (88%) Democrats believe that solving the country’s long terms structural deficits will include both spending cuts and tax increases.

· Democrats and Republicans share an open-minded approach.
– Practically all Democrats believe entitlement reform (100%), overall spending cuts (100%) and significant decreases in discretionary spending (94%) should be seriously considered.
– 72% of Republicans believe tax increases should be seriously considered in addition to 56% who believe significant decreases in defense spending should be seriously considered.

# # #

Methodological Note: Global Strategy Group conducted a survey among top economic leaders from the last eight administrations and Congress between April 5 and April 26, 2010. Individuals who are currently serving in public office were not solicited for participation in accordance with the research design. For the purposes of analysis, respondents are assigned a party identification based on their personal affiliation (if an elected official) or by the administration that appointed them.

About PGPF

Founded by Peter G. Peterson with a commitment of $1 billion, the Foundation is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. For more information, see

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hearing hopeful signs but not yet seeing them...

The part of Northwestern Ohio that I live in has been pretty hard hit with the downturn in the economy. Unemployment has been in the doubledigits for some time and some with jobs have either taken pay cuts or had their health insurance costs increase. Or in the case of my family, both.

I know more people know who are on unemployment and have been nearing their last extension more than once. That's never happened before that I can remember, typically most of my circle of acquaintances may end up temporarily between jobs, but one extension was all that was needed and at times not even that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ever just want to pack it up and try someplace new?

There are days when the day to day dealing with people of this area that don't seem interested in moving towards the positive but appear to be determined to actually make things more difficult than they need to be gets tiring. While perhaps the grass always seems greener on the other side of the septic tank, I admit it's appealing at times to think about just calling up some cross country movers and going west. Into the mountains, where I'd be a hermit, write books and revel in solitude, only visiting the uncivilized society we now live in when necessary.


Monday, August 03, 2009

8 years after Ayman al Zawahiri prediction...

Recommended article in this week's Newsweek, The Islamists' rebellion in Nigeria isn't the latest front in the global war on terror. It refreshes some history from 2001 where Ayman al Zawahiri predicted that Nigeria would be at the front of the global war on terror. A few paragraphs of the recommended piece:
In the eight years since Zawahiri made his claim, his vision of a grand west African front hasn't panned out. Islamists haven't attacked any foreign targets in Nigeria. There are no Nigerians in Guantánamo. Allegations about small cells surface now and again, but nothing has been proven yet. There's no strong anti-American sentiment in Nigeria, and there aren't any U.S. troops nearby to attack. "West Africa just has not been a fertile ground for jihadism," says Peter Lewis, director of the Africa program at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. "This doesn't translate into a regional Islamist network." The death-to-the-Westerners mantra just has no constituency there.

What Nigeria does have—and what the Boko Haram attacks actually reflect—is an immensely complicated (and often very nasty) local politics. Nigeria's mean poverty rate, the number of people living below $1.25 a day, soars above 70 percent, even as a tiny minority of wealthy, and often very corrupt, officials live decadently. Nowhere is the discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots more pronounced than in Nigeria's fertile northern regions, where the Boko Haram attacks are occurring. Unemployment is rife, even among college-educated youth. That's partly why northerners opted for alternate political systems, and Sharia law in particular—hoping that bypassing the existing system would guarantee them a bigger piece of the pie.

Some of the previous warnings that Nigeria could be a troublespot that are a bit more recent are still online, one example from 2007. There have also been recent articles about how some of the acts of terrorism there directed at oil production has a larger global economy impact far beyond Nigeria.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Online sales helps nutrition and diet industry

You may not think about it when you see websites, emails or other ads for diet or nutrition products but it's become an over $226 billion global nutrition industry. Part of that is directly related to the internet and it's ability for people to see, hear, review and buy products online. Search engines and key words like best weight loss pills help push some products up to the forefront that in years past would have had to spend much more on other forms of advertising.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Canadian Banks surived better than ours...

I watched this on CBS and I thought it was interesting so I wanted to share the online version of the coverage of, Canadian Banks Avoided Mortgage Meltdown. I recommend reading the story and the newscast is online as a video. What I thought was most interesting:
Another villain in the financial crisis were toxic mortgage-backed securities - risky loans that were chopped up and resold in countless different ways. Many banks gobbled up the now virtually worthless investments. Ed Clark got out 4 years ago saying they were just too complex.

Clark: "As soon as you see that complexity, you say, 'How can I possibly think I actually can guess whether this will work or not?' And as soon as I hear that, I say, 'Get out of it.'"

Sherry Cooper spent years at the Fed overseeing Wall Street, before moving to Bay Street, the Canadian equivalent.

"It didn't take long for me to discover that this is an entirely different culture," said Cooper, chief economist at the Bank of Montreal. "Canadian banks were up to their ankles in the toxic muck whereas American banks were over there heads."

"A lot of this is about saying, 'Here are old banking rules, and we're prepared to give up short term profit in order to make sure we have a balance sheet that doesn't blow up on us,'" Clark said.

One reason why Canada is the only industrialized nation in the world without a single bank failure in the current economic downturn.

Maybe the US should hire some Canadian experts....

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gee, it's finally realized the death penality costs more

I've been debating the premise of the death penalty for decades, online for at least seven years, with part of the argument aside from the human aspect that courts/juries/judges are not always right, that it actually costs more to go through the whole process to execute a prisoner than it does to institute a life in prison with no parole sentence.

So, when a friend sent me this link, To execute or not: A question of cost? it was no surprise to read that states are discovering what some of us have pointed out for years...

After decades of moral arguments reaching biblical proportions, after long, twisted journeys to the nation's highest court and back, the death penalty may be abandoned by several states for a reason having nothing to do with right or wrong:


Turns out, it is cheaper to imprison killers for life than to execute them, according to a series of recent surveys. Tens of millions of dollars cheaper, politicians are learning, during a tumbling recession when nearly every state faces job cuts and massive deficits.

Yes! It's all about the money! So kids, let's not execute those prisoners to make sure we reduce our bottom line.

I realize some will suggest the solution is to shorten the process, that would save money, but it could also lead to scenarios where someone who was not guilty was executed. I've spent a bit of time over the years reading the last words of those who have been sentenced to death. It's always struck me that in those last moments of life when if those being killed believe in a God that would be the moment they would seek absolution for their crimes. Yet, many insist with the very last words they are allowed to say that they are innocent, some admit their guilt. A few selected from just one of the websites out there that list this information:

"I am innocent, innocent, innocent. Something very wrong is taking place tonight! May God bless you all. I am ready."

"It's a good day to die. I walked in here like a man and I am leaving here like a man. I had a good life. I have known the love of a good woman, my wife. I have a good family. Thank you for your love. To [my victims'] family, I am sorry for the pain I caused you. If my death gives you any peace, so be it."

"I'm sorry and I really mean that - it's not just words. My life is all I can give. I stole two lives and I know it was precious to ya'll. That's the story of my whole, that's what alcohol will do for you. Oh, Jesus, Lord God, take me home. Precious Lord, take me home, Lord. Take me home, yes, Sir."

This is also the case with a recent execution in Virgina where the last words of Edward N. Bell were:

"You definitely have the wrong person. The truth will come out one day."

While none of those statements is evidence, even when a confession has been given as to the murder of others, it does create a scenario where we should wonder...I've often said/written in these debates regarding the death penalty that when you discover you've wrongly convicted a person and they are in jail, you can set them free, that while you can't give them their life back during the time they spent in prison; that if they have been executed, what can you do? Dig them up and apologize? It's rather pointless...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Former President Clinton gives silly advice...

I'm not one of the Clinton bashing bunch, regular readers know this, but in hearing the advice suggested by Former President Clinton to current President Obama it's silly:
Former President Bill Clinton gives President Barack Obama an "A" grade for his first month in office, but tells ABC News that Obama needs to put on a more positive face when speaking to the American people about the economy...

The American people, well most of them anyway, are not stupid. When they read news like Krugman shared, and they look and see what is happening in many of the places they live, things are pretty bleak economically in many parts of the country.

It's not going to be a quick turnaround, and frankly if the President goes out there and puts a more "positive face" out there, in a few months when things don't get better, people are going to have unrealistic expectations. We don't have to have all doom and gloom but there is a point when some creation of honest expectations would be refreshing...

This was depressing - Krugman's column

I don't recommend reading Paul Krugman if you are in a happy, hopeful mood. It will kill it. Infact if you are in a happy, hopeful mood, you might want to stop reading this post now.

Still here? Okay, you were warned, here's the part that got to me the most:
To appreciate the problem, you need to know that this isn’t your father’s recession. It’s your grandfather’s, or maybe even (as I’ll explain) your great-great-grandfather’s.

Your grandfather’s recession, on the other hand, was something like the Great Depression, which happened in spite of the Fed’s efforts, not because of them. When a stock market bubble and a credit boom collapsed, bringing down much of the banking system with them, the Fed tried to revive the economy with low interest rates — but even rates barely above zero weren’t low enough to end a prolonged era of high unemployment.

Now we’re in the midst of a crisis that bears an eerie, troubling resemblance to the onset of the Depression; interest rates are already near zero, and still the economy plunges. How and when will it all end?

You'll discover not for some time...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Krugman makes some valid points...

In this piece written by Paul Krugman, The Destructive Center this stuck in my mind:
One of the best features of the original plan was aid to cash-strapped state governments, which would have provided a quick boost to the economy while preserving essential services. But the centrists insisted on a $40 billion cut in that spending.

The original plan also included badly needed spending on school construction; $16 billion of that spending was cut. It included aid to the unemployed, especially help in maintaining health care — cut. Food stamps — cut. All in all, more than $80 billion was cut from the plan, with the great bulk of those cuts falling on precisely the measures that would do the most to reduce the depth and pain of this slump.

On the other hand, the centrists were apparently just fine with one of the worst provisions in the Senate bill, a tax credit for home buyers. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research calls this the “flip your house to your brother” provision: it will cost a lot of money while doing nothing to help the economy.

There are questions related to the $16 billion dollars on school construction, but I don't think all of that should have been cut. I don't however disagree with Krugman's point that many of the measures that would have done the most to reduce the economic pain being felt by citizens have been diluted/eliminated. The explanation for those cuts is something that Senator Arlen Specter doesn't share in his defense of why he is supporting the changes to the stimulus plan.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We trimmed the fat, fried the bacon and milked the sacred cows

So, the Senate, at least some of them seem to have come to an agreement related to the Stimulus Plan with the remaining question still being, "Will it work?"

I'm not sure what, if any impact this will have on my family, some of whom are really struggling related to unemployment and increased health care costs. There's very little in there that helps people directly, which I supposed could change depending on what the States do with their share. Most of the aid designed for home owners won't help those in my circle who rent, spending millions on home weatherization would be great, this old house leaks like a seive but? We are renters.

Many of those in my neighborhood are like us, hopeful, believing a better economy will eventually "trickle down" to us but not really seeing any potential for an immediate improvement for us. If however someone like James Kenneth Galbraith (curtsey to Newswriter) was in charge? His suggestions would have an immediate impact for a lager group of people, just the temporary elimination of collection on Social Security for employers and employees would have a dramatic increase in not only personal but business cash flow.

It could create a scenario where some who are laid off could be called back to work, and here in Ohio where people are netting less total income than two years ago? It'd be a nicer raise than many have gotten in some time.

So, while the Senate is trimming the fat, frying the bacon and milking sacred cows? Many of us are waiting to see how it impacts us being able to put bread on the table...

Friday, January 30, 2009

The economy and moving companies...

I started wondering the other day as to the impact of the economy on moving companies, where they making more or were they making less? In reading quite a few articles from around the nation, it appears in many areas the first problem was the rising fuel costs which some addressed by adding a fuel surcharge on to their rates. The next issue was even though larger numbers of people were moving, there was less spending done on moving companies. Meaning those that were lower rate or considered "economy movers" seemed to fair well in addition to moving companies that specialized in out of state moves.

Do it yourself moving type rental operators also seem to have fared better than some of their counterparts. In parts of the nation moving companies have seen some of their competition go out of business, meaning those that did manage to stay in business ended up with increased sales.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Drill, baby, drill' was more than a political chant

It's actually happening, in Virginia.
The U.S. Interior Department has completed the first step, closing a public comment period on the proposal to lease 2.9 million acres of ocean to natural gas and oil companies. The pie-shaped area begins 50 miles off Virginia's coast, straight out from Virginia Beach on the south and across from Virginia's boundary on the Delmarva peninsula to the north.

"The East Coast really has not been looked at for 30 years," said Randall Luthi, who heads up the drilling plan as director of Interior's Minerals Management Service. Luthi spoke from his Washington office to CNN Radio.

"Our best guess is that area could contain about 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas," he said.

Besides the changing of the President there are some other factors that will come into play. Not a huge part of the article but something worth pointing out is the decreased price of gasoline, that will be a factor. Then the environmental/risks to nature that the article points out:

"The Navy has a lot of operations out there, in the area where this drilling takes place," he said, "And the North Atlantic right whale, there's only 300 or 400 of those individual whales left, and they migrate through that area as well."

The Navy has expressed concern about the prospect of drilling rigs in the area where much of its Norfolk fleet trains. NASA has objected as well because it launches satellites and low-altitude rockets from its facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

Yes, there is some irony in the knowledge that the very same area where only 300 to 400 North Atlantic Right Whales are at is also the place NASA launches rockets from...evidently no whales have been hit, at least that we know about but it would be pretty horrid for NASA to take out an oil drilling platform.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

White House steps in where Senate fears to tread...

I assumed when I got on the plane yesterday to fly back to Toledo from California that the automotive bailout plan for 15 billion would end up being approved, I discovered upon landing at 1:21 a.m. that didn't happen. So it was interesting reading today that the White House is going to step in and provide a temporary cash infusion.

Yet what caught my attention:

The government officials said they expected the companies and the unions would be asked to make significant concessions. They also did not rule out the prospect of a bankruptcy for one or more of the companies, but vowed that it would not be “uncontrolled,” meaning that enough financing would be provided to enable a reorganization.

I think it's fairly easy to guess which company will be the one that will go bankrupt. At least one gets that idea from this headline, GM to cut production by 250,000 vehicles . What kind of an impact it will have on the US, including my part of the nation that has GM plants is not known. It was stated earlier none of the plants slated for closure are in Ohio, but I was not sure of which plants were involved in the first temporary shut down until I found this link.

Friday, October 03, 2008

It's not in my job description...

I didn't realize until I was searching looking for something else, that there are actually places online where you can get job descriptions for a huge variety of different types of jobs. It'd be an interesting way to compare what you are doing compared to the description and could also be a way to start a conversation about a salary increase if you discovered that your job description contained much more than the usual tasks associated with a position. Or on the flip side, if your job description entailed less? You'd know you wouldn't want to bring up this website to your boss or HR department...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Communication breakdown over bail out...

This doesn't exactly sound promising, from Chris:
Despite today's news reports, there never existed a "deal," but merely a proposal offered by a small, select group of Members of Congress. As of right now, there exists only a series of principles, including greater oversight and measures to address CEO pay. However, these principles do not enjoy a consensus in Congress.

At today's cabinet meeting, John McCain did not attack any proposal or endorse any plan. John McCain simply urged that for any proposal to enjoy the confidence of the American people, stressing that all sides would have to cooperate and build a bipartisan consensus for a solution that protects taxpayers.

However, the Democrats allowed Senator Obama to run their side of the meeting. That did not work as the meeting quickly devolved into a contentious shouting match that did not seek to craft a bipartisan solution.

I don't know why they would put Obama in that position, though it doesn't seem as if the media is really reporting that much of that part of it. At times I wonder about their decision making process when it comes to what is the smart thing to do. Then I really wonder when I read this article as it does not mention Obama's lead and claims Democrats blamed McCain...

Will McCain debate? I'm thinking the odds are less than 50/50 with lots of people speculating as to his reasoning, this school of thought is one I wouldn't overly disagree with:
The uncertainty of this situation makes me suspect that this was not done exclusively for strategic campaign considerations. Some have called it a desperate hail Mary - a risky gambit taken because the "bottom is dropping out." But that requires a pretty tendentious look at the polls. Five of the ten polls in the RCP national average show McCain down by three points or less. Gallup has a tie today. That is not consistent with the "bottom dropping out."

Instead, I suspect that, as with the Palin pick, this is McCain being McCain. He didn't like the situation. So, he did something. We've seen him do stuff like this again and again over the years. Lieberman gave the best description of McCain at the Republican convention: he's a restless reformer. I think that McCain being McCain, he felt restless - so he went to Washington to do something.

Regardless of how we might feel about his decision - we can agree that McCain has once again affected the race by his actions. This is the second time he has done this in a month. It's become an ironic feature of this campaign. While most agree that the election will hinge upon public considerations of Barack Obama, so much of the campaign itself has hinged upon the actions of John McCain.

Considering this debate was supposed to be about foreign policy, despite the political gamesmanship of Obama not wanting to cancel/postpone, whether they debate or not, no one is going to get any answers as to the current "financial crisis" tomorrow night in Oxford.

McCain is stating if no deal is reached tomorrow he's not showing up. Then what happens? Obama debates himself? Questions that won't be answered until tomorrow...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

David Weidner says neither Obama or McCain "get it"

I'm not a financial expert, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but many people believe that David Weider knows just a thing or two about the financial aspect of the economy. I found his article, Does McCain or Obama get it? to be an interesting one that I recommend reading. Some of the points made:
Obama, after a weak stump attack against "predatory lenders" early in the campaign, has, in the last few weeks, spelled out more than McCain has. He's talked about strengthening capital requirements on mortgage securities and derivatives, rigorously managing liquidity risk, and investigating ratings agencies and their potential conflicts of interest with companies they rate.

There's not much to criticize there, and that's the problem. Obama is echoing what people in the current administration -- people like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- have been saying. There's nothing new. Obama's "plan" is a bunch of warmed-over ideas.

The bad news is that, as weak as Obama's plan is, it's better than McCain's. Aside from his idea to create a 9/11-style commission to find out what went wrong and propose changes, McCain wants a safety-and-soundness regulator for every financial institution.

There are also quite a few suggestions as well as additional links for those of you interested in discussing real issues as opposed to campaign fluff.