Kicking the Wall Street Habit

by Zach Carter, TMC MediaWire blogger

As Barack Obama readies himself to lead the United States through what appears to be a scathing recession, he faces a choice between feeding the political sphere's Wall Street addiction and investing in economic progress. Two key former Clinton cabinet officials could determine which course he takes.

 It was more than a little startling to hear a U.S. leader who sounded like (gasp!) an economist at the president-elect's first press conference last week, after years of Bush speeches that treated economic policy as a realm defined exclusively by tax cuts and bailouts. But without policy specifics, we still do not know which voices of the many men and women flanking Obama at the event will impact the next administration's economic platform. Mother Jonesnotes that several of the names included on the list of Obama's economic advisers represent schools of thought that brought us directly to the current crisis. Two of the alleged experts, former Clinton Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, signed off on major financial deregulatory moves in the latter half of the Clinton years. The two sided often with former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on policies that included a refusal to place government oversight on the credit derivatives market, which eventually ballooned into the $60 trillion quagmire that destroyed AIG in September (who got another $40 billion from taxpayers on Monday).  

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Electing the New Economy

By Zach Carter, Media Consortium MediaWire blogger

 Welcome to The Media Consortium's Economy MediaWire project! Check this space every Tuesday for a discussion of the best economic coverage available on the information superhighway.

 This Tuesday, of course, is no ordinary Tuesday, but the day of the most important U.S. election in generations. Poll after poll has shown the economy to be the top concern for voters this year, as an epic financial crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble have ensured that the next president will have his hands full come January.

 But while there is plenty of bad news to go around of late, Ezra Klein notes for the American Prospect that economic downturns can be extraordinary opportunities to overhaul national  infrastructure, as the government steps in to fund projects that support what the private sector can no longer afford.

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Fun With Math (Greg Mankiw Style)

The Wall Street Journal today has a graph comparing current tax rates with proposed rates under a McCain and Obama administration.

First, while the chart is not completely misleading, its simplicity leads the reader to conclude that while most people will not pay the highest income tax rate, we will all pay 20% on capital gains and dividends. This, of course is not true even under the current law, under which a couple making up to $65,100 pays no taxes on capital gains. This would not change under an Obama administration, and indeed capital gains exemptions would be expanded further, specifically to small businesses.

Second, the estate tax exemption under Obama would double, from $3.5 million in 2009 to $7 million.

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A miracle brewing in West By-God Virginia

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project& My Left Wing

click to enlarge

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Before tonite's debate, let's think about economics.

I'm not sure if Obama can get the focus of tonite's debate on economic policy, given McCain's intent to keep up an attack on the Democrat's personality and character, but it is certainly the issue that ought to be discussed. I say that as I contemplate the almost $13,000 my retirement fund went down last quarter (I'm trying to get it moved to insured savings today) and figure I'm only one of millions of Americans who are realizing the mess we're in.

After hearing McCain's claims yesterday that Obama was "lying" when he called the Republican a Deregulator (the thing he built most of his political career on), I started researching the past 25 years and found enough evidence to pinpoint the real liar.

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