The Obama Administration announced that it had to extend the deadline for application in the TALF program due to lack of participants. Even with all the give aways to the rich people to participate, no one still wants to participate. Perhaps, it's because the toxic assets really have no value.
What this means is that they'll be no recovery in the banking industry for another seven or eight months because Obama will have to let this game play out to it's conclusion. Once the program fails, then he'll have to do what Paul Krugman suggested in the first place and nationalize the bad banks.
The challenge for Obama is to achieve regime change in N. Korea without resorting to war. This test really is a big deal and the Huffington Post is wrong to declare this test as a great failure; so nothing to worry about. The fact is for the first time the N. Koreans were able to complete the first stage successfully and get the second stage of their rockets to fire; thus, its only a matter of time that they will have the range to strike the West Coast of the United States with nuclear weapons. I don't want Obama to resort to Bush's cowboy diplomacy, but we've also got to recognize that we have a big problem on our hands.
Is a statistic not reflected in the unemployment rate. By excess, I mean the percentage amount of people imprisoned greater than the average percentage in the rest of the world. This excess jailing does reduce the unemployment rate by a substantial amount, probably by a couple of percentage points.
We aren't going to end the financial and economic crisis until we get rid of the toxic assets. The government needs to take control of these financial entities (for a short period of time) and just get rid of these toxic assets, and make them illegal for future use. Otherwise, bailing out these institutions will be like throwing money into a black hole.
Right now, we are following the Japanese model that led to the lost decade. The problem with Giethner and Summers is that they are products of neoclassical economics of the past 30 years. According to neoclassical economics, the financial and economic crisis shouldn't even be happening, thus they can't think outside of the box. They think of the economy as an aggregation of single agents, when the economy is more like an organism where the whole is more than just the sum of the parts.
Conservatism has been the dominant political philosophy ever since Nixon's landslide victory over McGovern. The country has been programmed to think conservatively. Moreover, it may be human nature to lean conservative such that low information people will tend to vote conserative. Thus, the only way we are going to change attitudes is for the Democrats to pass Obama's progams to demonstrate and effectively articulate that progressive policies actually work. This is what FDR did.
Most people old enough to invest in 1929 are now dead. If you were forty in 1929, you did not regain your initial investment until 1954. Moreover, the rate of return is not adjusted for inflation and furthermore, you are not counting the fees the typical investor pays to the broker or financial advisor.
In most economic studies, the great majority of investors underperforms the Dow and S&P 500 stock index averages once fees are taken into consideration. Most people who invest at the peak of a secular bull market lose out, even in the long run. That's why George W. Bush's proposal to force people to invest their social security withholdings in the stock market was one of the worst proposals ever by a president.
However, given that the secular bear market is now about ten years old and the Dow has lost almost half of its value, long-term investment in the stock market for young people is probably a good move. It's probably a good move for anyone who has more than a 20 year time horizon.
I put in over 100 hours of week for 20 weeks in the 2004 election for about a dollar an hour. I received no benefits, no thank you note, no future job and even had to pay social security tax on what little I earned. Still, I vote for Obama and will vote Democratic probably for the rest of my life.
There is no way Clinton should be ranked higher than Jackson. Yes, I like Clinton, but 100 years for now, if Clinton is remembered, it will be because of Hillary, and I doubt that, too.
Jackson is attributed to creating the first political realignment in American history. As I recall from my high school history class, he expanded democracy to non-property male owners.
Whether you like him or not, Polk was a high impact president. He could have been ranked in the top 5 had he a second term. In terms of impact, Polk probably ranks in the top 5 of presidents. Whether you like it or not, no other president would have had the audacity to annex Texas, Oregon Country and create a war with Mexico. It may have been brutal and unjust, but America could not have become a great continental power without Polk. Moreover, one can only guess what would have happened to slavery, the civil war and civil rights movements had Polk never been president.
Obama is going to be ranked farily high in history. If you are young enough, just wait and see.
If Obama can't get the economy to jump start soon and the economy tanks to near depression levels, GWB's ranking will fall. Right now, historians believe that his actions in October may have saved the economy and is why he's not closer to the bottom. So in a way, GWB's ranking depends on Obama's ranking. However, it will be hard for him to be ranked higher than Obama because if the economy bounces back, historians will give Obama most of the credit.
How each generation of historians view the ranking of presidents is a reflection of the prevelant views of society at the time. Right now, we are fascinated with Lincoln because of his 200th birthday, which is probably raising Grant's ranking and decreasing A. Johnson's ranking. When I grew up, historians actually ranked Andrew Johnson quite high because they thought he had a lot of grit to stand up against the radical Republicans in congress. Another president that got high marks when I was young was Grover Cleveland. He was ranked about tenth, then fell dramatically and now has been making a mild comeback.
Woodrow Wilson was considered to be a great president when I was young. But because the Democratic Party was quite racist when he was president, he has dropped somewhat in the rankings.
Lyndon Johnson is now making a mild comeback. When I was young he was ranked high, but when Reagan was president he dropped dramatically in the rankings. He is making a comeback because the country is moving to the left. However, LBJ is limited because of Vietnam.
Why is JFK ranked so high? Probably because Barack Obama reminds people of Kennedy. It's been a long time since we had a progressive president that was quite articulate. Carter and Clinton did not make memorable speeches.
Truman is the facsinating one. Truman got a second look from historians when the Soviet Union fell. Historians were impressed that he had passed the Marshall Plan, GI Bill, created NATO and reorganized the intelligence agencies. They also believed that Truman did the right thing not to make war on the Soviet Union (As Patton suggested) and the Korean War would have had a better outcome had not McAurthur disobeyed him and bombed China.
Presidents ranked too high: Adams, Q. Adams, Bush, W. Bush, Nixon, Grant, JFK and Harding (There may be others after more thought)
Presidents ranked too low: Cleveland, A. Johnson, Carter, Wilson and A. Jackson.
Now comes harder legislation: health care reform, green technology, entitlement reform and the bank bailout. I see no use in negotiating with the House Republicans. To do so would be capitulation without any rewards. Minnesota needs to get Franken seated in the senate because getting those three Republican votes is going to keep getting harder and harder.
I agree that Obama should be exposed to a diverse point of views by talking and listening to people from all political persuasions. Moreover, I agree that having a politically diverse cabinet is a lofty goal, and my comment above was referring to having people of a different political party in the cabinet.
However, the more I think about it, the more I believe that even other Democrats who don't share the same goals as the Democratic president could be a mine trap later on. My life experience tells me that people don't like "negative" people or people who often disagree with them. My experience from work tells me that most people feel uncomfortable working with people with a different view point. In most cases, the workers with the minority view point eventually get fired.
Jimmy Carter fell in the trap of having a diverse cabinet. Eventually, people like Andrew Young and Cyrus Vance resigned to protest policy differences they had with Carter. This help caused the Democratic Party to split apart. I use to think like you, but now I believe that its better for a president to have people who will enthusiastically work for him or her. This will not happen if there are too big philosophy differences. Thus, I think Obama should select a Commerce Secretary that shares his own values.