Archive for the ‘liberals’ Category

Do we want to revive our economy, or do we want to punish the bankers?

March 28, 2009

The liberal backlash against President Barack Obama has begun with many prominent left-leaning economists in the US attacking the administration’s plans to bail out the banks.

Paul Krugman describes the toxic asset purchase plan as “cash for trash”. Jeffrey Sachs calls it “a thinly veiled attempt to transfer hundreds of billions of US taxpayer funds to the commercial banks”. Robert Reich depicts Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, as a prisoner of Wall Street while Joe Stiglitz says the plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”.

By Edward Luce
FT
On the blogosphere and beyond, Democratic economists accuse Mr Obama – along with Mr Geithner, and Lawrence Summers, the president’s senior economic adviser – of taking dictation from the same financiers who have brought the economy to the brink of depression.

Mr Reich, who was Bill Clinton’s Labour secretary in the 1990s before resigning over the former president’s reluctance to pursue a strong public investment agenda, says that he and his colleagues fear a replay of the Clinton years under Mr Obama.

Mr Reich now talks of the “Paulson-Geithner approach” to demonstrate what he sees as the continuity between Hank Paulson, George W. Bush’s last Treasury secretary, and the current administration. Mr Reich says bank nationalisation is the only answer to today’s crisis.

“Bill Clinton chose to pursue a set of policies that Wall Street agreed with but at the expense of his long-term agenda of boosting public investment,” says Mr Reich. “Bill Clinton’s Wall Street agenda in the end brought America and the world crashing down with it. I hope we are not seeing history repeat itself with Mr Obama.”

Not every Democrat agrees. Brad DeLong, a former Clinton official, says that every banking crisis – barring the Great Depression – has been resolved by government recapitalisation of the banking sector, as Mr Obama is likely to attempt in the near future.

Nor, says Mr DeLong, is it fair to paint Mr Geithner as a creature of Wall Street.

“Hank Paulson is a man who grew up in American finance and cannot imagine a world in which America does well and its financial sector does badly,” he says.

“Tim Geithner, by contrast, is a bureaucrat and a policymaker. He has never pulled down a multibillion-dollar bonus. They are not the same type of people.”

But in reality the division is as much political as economic. Most of Mr Obama’s liberal critics argue he should have gone to Congress already and asked for a lot of money for bank recapitalisation. His defenders say that would be political suicide until the populist mood on Capitol Hill has died down.

“We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to revive our economy, or do we want to punish the bankers?” says Mr DeLong. “I don’t agree that we can do both.”

Why Obama’s left leaning is no tactical feint

March 9, 2009

Obama: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question.”

http://washingtontimes.com/weblogs/joe-
curl/2009/Mar/08/obama-makes-oval-
office-call-reporters/

Well, President Obama may be just shocked that some think he is far left and maybe even socialist; but some that wonder about his socialism include FT and The Wall Street Journal….

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/oba
ma-im-not-a-socialist-i-just-play-one-on-tv/

Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

Obama Doesn’t Understand What Many Americans Are Thinking

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By Clive Crook
FT

On this page last week I argued that Barack Obama’s first budget showed him to be more of a left-leaning liberal than I and many others – sceptics and admirers alike – had previously supposed. People I respect have accused me of going off the deep end about this, or of neglecting Mr Obama’s tactical finesse, or both.

Mr Obama is calling for little that he did not promise in the campaign, I am reminded, so he cannot be accused of springing a surprise. I welcome many of the budget’s main elements, notably healthcare reform and the cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, and the president made it clear all along that he wished to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the high paid. So the revelation that Mr Obama is a progressive liberal must arise from the proposal to curb high earners’ income-tax deductions. That was a surprise, but a small matter: hence the charge that I am getting carried away.

Alternatively, I am told, Mr Obama is playing a shrewder game. Like any good negotiator, he has adopted a maximalist opening position. He expects to be walked back from it, ending up where he wanted to be in the first place, with a more centrist plan than the one he pitched.

An outside view of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall street. ...

On the first point, the tax-deduction proposal is not so small. Instead of applying the highest marginal rates of tax to each deduction, the plan would apply a 28 per cent rate. This is equivalent to a tax increase of roughly $35bn (€28bn, £25bn) a year on households earning more than $250,000. Hardly chicken feed, it is roughly half of the amount raised by returning high earners’ marginal rates to their pre-Bush levels.

Not everybody would regard two-earner households with an income of $250,000 a year as rich; and many of the taxpayers in question have seen their retirement savings, college funds and housing equity destroyed. The scandal of widening inequality that still animates the Democrats’ thinking is a story about the top fraction of one per cent of the income distribution, not the top end of the middle class. Also, it is out of date: as though the housing and stock market meltdowns had never happened, the budget raises taxes on the “rich” to where they were before the Bush administration – and then some.

Granted, other things being equal, reducing the value of tax deductions – not just for the highest earners, but for every taxpayer – makes sense. It broadens the tax base and requires lower marginal tax rates for any given amount of revenue raised. But look at Mr Obama’s proposal in context. He is not broadening the base to lower marginal rates. He is raising marginal rates on the highly paid, and increasing their effective tax rate by rolling back deductions. The measure is an unexpected element of redistribution in a package that was highly redistributive to begin with.

Standing back, the budget’s two great innovations are healthcare reform, an enormous undertaking only partly paid for in the plan, and cap and trade, a big new source of revenue. A centrist administration might have married the two – arguing, correctly, that a public investment as costly and far-reaching as healthcare reform should impose some costs on most taxpayers, not just on a few million at the top. Instead, the revenues from cap and trade are spent mainly on wage subsidies and tax cuts tilted toward the working poor. The down-payment on the cost of healthcare reform is financed by an additional tax increase on the rich.

A centrist administration would have thought about how to create a political constituency for cost control in health, and in public spending more generally. The administration rightly emphasises that healthcare cost control is the single biggest challenge in fiscal policy. Without it, public debt will stay on its present unsustainable path until it hits the wall of a new financial crisis. The need to create a wider constituency for fiscal discipline is the best argument for associating healthcare reform with a new and broadly based tax. Instead, the budget makes this already small constituency even smaller, telling almost all taxpayers they can have everything for nothing.

This message comes through loud and clear in the budget taken as a whole. Mr Obama is not a centrist – unless the second point is correct and I am underestimating Mr Obama’s tactical intelligence. His political skills are undeniable. Yet I find the view that you make a phoney offer and aim to be bargained down difficult to credit.

The question is, who is Mr Obama supposed to be bargaining with? If the answer were a Republican-controlled Congress, this theory might be worth entertaining. Scare conservatives with a pitch for social transformation – a new New Deal – then settle for a judicious nudge to the left. But the bargains Mr Obama needs to strike are not with Republicans, who for the moment are clueless, leaderless and powerless. The people he needs to do business with are members of his own party – and unless I am much mistaken, those people are liberals.

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/328430d0-0
c0c-11de-b87d-0000779fd2ac.html

Related:
Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Stock Market

NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Obama’s First Weeks: Economic Disaster, Socialist Agenda, Congressional Pork, Limbaugh Attacked, and “We Won”

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/
03/09/slickness-with-a-straight-face

Obama Can’t Revive Economy With Socialism

March 5, 2009

What Limbaugh clearly wants is for the president to fail in his apparent goal of bringing social democracy to our shores (through his nationalization of much of the economy and his onerous tax increases). Limbaugh wants this effort to fail because it will prevent economic recovery and the prosperity that has been allowed us by free-market economics. The whole controversy is a hoax. Yet now it is reliably reported that as many as a dozen top Democrats, some on the White House staff, are continuing this hoax and expanding it by trying to make reaction to Limbaugh an issue for the Republican Party to pronounce on.

From: R. Emmett Tyrrell
American Spectaor

Read the rest:
http://spectator.org/archives/200
9/03/05/rush-to-rush

Rushbo related:
 For Republicans: Bleeding Continues

 Limbaugh: Meaningless Clown, “Entertainer”

http://cinie.wordpress.com/2009/03/
05/why-is-obama-partying/

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

For Republicans: Bleeding Continues

March 5, 2009

Four months after John McCain’s sweeping defeat, senior Republicans are coming to grips with the fact that the party is still – in stock market terms – looking for the bottom.

Republicans this week are processing two sobering new polls that found the party’s support reduced to a slim one-quarter of Americans. In the absence of a popular elected leader, its most visible figure is a polarizing radio host. Its strategic powerhouse is a still-divisive former House speaker forced from power 15 years ago.

And its hopes of demonstrating swift and visible change by pushing people of color to the fore have been dented by the stumbles of the party’s two most prominent non-white leaders, national Chairman Michael Steele and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

By Ben Smith, Politico

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/2
0090305/pl_politico/19636

Related:
Limbaugh: Meaningless Clown, “Entertainer”

Limbaugh: Meaningless Clown, “Entertainer” or de facto Republican Leader?

March 5, 2009

If Rush Limbaugh is a meaningless clown, how come the White House, the DNC and liberal columnists are spending so much time on him?

Even PresidentObama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has seen fit to attack El Rushbo…..Hmmm…..

James Carville believes Rush Limbaugh is the “moral and intellectual leader and most influential person in the Republican Party.”  Really?

Related:
Rush Limbaugh as “moral and intellectual leader and most influential person in the Republican Party;” REALLY?

R. Emmett Tyrrell wrote today in the American Spectator: “What Limbaugh clearly wants is for the president to fail in his apparent goal of bringing social democracy to our shores (through his nationalization of much of the economy and his onerous tax increases).”
See: Obama Can’t Revive Economy With Socialism

As Democrats cast conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as the de facto leader of the GOP, Republicans are decrying what they see as an orchestrated scheme designed to divert attention from the Democrats’ spending proposals.
From CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
3/05/limbaugh/index.html#cnnSTCText

Radio host Rush Limbaugh has been vocal about his displeasure with President Obama's policies.

Radio host Rush Limbaugh has been vocal about his displeasure with President Obama’s policies.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

******

By Timothy Egan

The New York Times
.
Once upon a time, you could drive to the most remote reaches of the United States and escape Rush Limbaugh. But from the Mogollon Mountains of New Mexico to the Badlands of South Dakota, where only the delicious twang of a country tune or the high-pitched pleadings of a lone lunatic came over the AM dial, there is now the Mighty El Rushbo.

As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I used to find Limbaugh to be an obnoxious but entertaining companion, his eruptions more reliable than Old Faithful. But now that Limbaugh has become something else — the face of the Republican Party, by a White House that has played him brilliantly — he has been transformed into car-wreck-quality spectacle, at once scary and sad.

Behold:

The sweaty, swollen man in the black, half-buttoned shirt who ranted for nearly 90 minutes Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He reiterated his desire to see the president of his country fail.

Filling a leadership vacuum in the beleaguered Republican Party ... 
Filling a leadership vacuum in the beleaguered Republican Party has come the outspoken voice of talk radio king Rush Limbaugh, seen here in 2008, — and the Democrats cannot conceal their delight.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Stephen Lovekin)

Read the rest:
http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/
03/04/fears-of-a-clown/?hp

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/05/new-rush-
derangement-syndrome-project-a-dnc-funded-billboard/

For Republicans: Bleeding Continues

In this Friday, Jan. 30, 2009 picture, former Maryland Lt. Gov. ... 
In this Friday, Jan. 30, 2009 picture, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele speaks after being elected the first black Republican National Committee chairman in an election by the RNC during their winter meetings in Washington. Two days after calling Rush Limbaugh a mere ‘entertainer’ with an ‘incendiary’ talk show, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele apologized and acknowledged the radio commentator as a ‘national conservative leader’ on Monday, March 2, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Honeymoon Lost, Stimulus Too? Many Liberals Dismayed

February 5, 2009

This stimulus bill is just a mess, and I sense the tide of opinion is swinging away from it as currently constituted. It’s not only people like me, but also writers ranging from Bob Samuelson to Jeffrey Sachs, to editorial boards ranging from The Washington Post to The Philadelphia Inquirer who are critical of the hodgepodge nature of the thing. What’s the matter with a big payroll tax holiday? Helps the working class. Works fast. Can be shut off when the time comes.

By David Brooks and Gail Collins

The New York Times:
http://theconversation.blogs.nytime
s.com/2009/02/05/is-the-honey
moon-over/

What we don’t know about Obama

January 22, 2009

We know a lot more about Barack Obama than we did on Election Day. He wastes little time making big decisions. He was serious about surrounding himself with seasoned people, even if they are outsized personalities likely to jostle one another and unlikely to salute on command. He intends to move quickly to put his personal stamp on government and national life. 

By Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris
Politico

Yet much about how the 44th president will govern remains a mystery—perhaps even to Obama himself.
 
The stirring rhetoric witnessed on the campaign trail and in Tuesday’s inaugural address is laced with spacious language — flexible enough to support conflicting conclusions about what he really believes.
Only decisions, not words, can clarify what Obama stands for. Those are coming soon enough. 

Until then, here are the questions still left hanging as the Obama administration begins:

DOES HE REALLY THINK AFGHANISTAN IS WINNABLE?

The new president has strongly signaled that he thinks the answer is yes. But neither his rhetoric nor his policy proposals so far have fully reckoned with the implications….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/200901
22/pl_politico/17769

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Does Obama Really Believe in Transparency?

Ed Henry
CNN

What a long, strange trip Barack Obama’s first full day as president turned out to be.

He began the day pushing for more transparency in government, only to end it by keeping TV cameras out when Chief Justice John Roberts re-administered the oath of the presidency.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/

Obama Didn’t Want Man of Knowledge and Integrity at CIA

January 7, 2009

WOULD you ask your accountant to perform brain surgery on your child? That’s the closest analogy I can find to the choice of Democratic Party hack Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

Earth to President-elect Obama: Intelligence is serious. And infernally complicated. When we politicize it – as we have for 16 years – we get 9/11. Or, yes, Iraq.

The extreme left, to which Panetta’s nomination panders, howled that Bush and Cheney corrupted the intelligence system. Well, I worked in the intel world in the mid 1990s and saw how the Clinton team undermined the system’s integrity.

Al Qaeda a serious threat? The Clinton White House didn’t want to hear it. Clinton was the pioneer in corrupting intelligence. Bush was just a follow-on homesteader.

By Ralph Peters
New York Post

Now we’ve fallen so low that left-wing cadres can applaud the nomination of a CIA chief whose sole qualification is that he’s a party loyalist, untainted by experience.

The director’s job at the CIA isn’t a party favor. This is potentially a matter of life and death for thousands of Americans. But the choice of Panetta tells us all that Barack Obama doesn’t take intelligence seriously.

Mark my words: It’ll bite him in the butt.

After the military, the intel community is the most complex arm of government. You can’t do on-the-job training at the top. While a CIA boss needn’t be a career intelligence professional, he or she does need a deep familiarity with the purposes, capabilities, limitations and intricacies of intelligence.

Oh, and you’d better understand the intelligence bureaucracy.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who was blindsided – and appalled – by the Obama mafia’s choice, has the essential knowledge of how the system works. She, or a similar expert, should have gotten this nod. But the president-elect wanted a clean-slate yes-man, not a person of knowledge and integrity….

Read the rest:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/01072009/post
opinion/opedcolumnists/an_awful_pick_148973.htm

NBC Banning Conservatives?

January 6, 2009

NBC TV, widely criticized for its left-leaning and Pro-Obama agenda during the election campaign, has apparently continued its biased ways.

The Drudge Report is saying the the leading conservative writer Ann Coulter has been “banned from NBC.”

Coulter has a new book that is widely critical of the liberal media including NBC….

Related:
The Woman Unafraid to Rip Into Other Women (Like Caroline Kennedy, Sarah Palin….)

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter watches play at the U.S. ... 
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter watches play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2006.(Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters)

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From The Drudge Report
http://www.drudgereport.com/
.
The nation’s top selling conservative author has been banned from appearing on NBC, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
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“We are just not going to have her on any more, it’s over,” a top network source explains.
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But a second top suit strongly denies there is any “Coulter ban”.
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“Look for a re-invite, as soon as Wednesday,” said the news executive, who asked not to be named.

NBC’s TODAY show abruptly cut Ann Coulter from its planned Tuesday broadcast, claiming the schedule was overbooked.
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Executives at NBC TODAY replaced Coulter with showbiz reporter Perez Hilton, who recently offered $1,000 to anyone who would throw a pie at Ann Coulter.
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Hilton is also launching a new book this week, RED CARPET SUICIDE.


Above: Perez Hilton….


Paris Hilton

Coulter was set to unveil her new book, GUILTY. One network insider claims it was the book’s theme — a brutal examination of liberal bias in the new era — that got executives to dis-invite the controversialist.
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“We are just not interested in anyone so highly critical of President-elect Obama, right now,” a TODAY insider reveals. “It’s such a downer. It’s just not the time, and it’s not what our audience wants, either.” Others inside the peacock network strongly deny the book’s theme is at issue.
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For the book, Coulter reportedly received the most-lucrative advance ever paid to a conservative author. The TODAY show eagerly invited the author months ago, for her first network interview on GUILTY. The exclusive was to air during the show’s 7 AM hour. The cut came Monday afternoon.
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Coulter was also to appear on the TODAY’s fourth hour. A host even teased the segment saying the ‘conservative pit bull and bestselling author’ would be a guest.
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NBC’s cable outlet, MSNBC, will also become a Coulter-free zone, insiders explain.
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Morning host Joe Scarborough is said to be concerned with the new ban. “He’s working to overrule it,” tips a source.

***************

By Paul J. Gough, Reuters

NBC News denied Monday that conservative author Ann Coulter has been banned from the network after “Today” dropped her from Tuesday’s program because of breaking-news events.

The Coulter incident garnered huge headlines on the Drudge Report, which reported that network sources said NBC was not going to allow the frequent guest to appear any more.

That’s not true, NBC News said Monday. Coulter’s segment was dropped from the schedule because of news that the show was expecting to cover in the Gaza Strip with the Israeli military action there and in Washington with the Obama transition. “Today” had booked former British prime minister Tony Blair. Coulter was to promote her new book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America.”

“We’ve had Ann Coulter on ‘Today’ many times, but because of the news in Washington and the Middle East, we decided to cancel her appearance tomorrow,” NBC News said in a statement Monday. “Understanding the media as well as she does, we are sure she knows this happens from time to time. We look forward to welcoming her back in the future.”

Instead, Coulter will appear on CBS’ “The Early Show” to promote her book, according to an announcement on Coulter’s Web site. It wasn’t confirmed immediately by CBS.

“I guess this ends the ‘they just want to get ratings’ argument about liberal media bias,” Coulter wrote on her site of NBC. She was scheduled to appear January 9 on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.”

Coulter has a history with NBC, particularly “Today.” She went toe-to-toe with former co-host Katie Couric in 2002, whom she called “the affable Eva Braun” in her book “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right.” Couric protested Coulter’s portrayal of the “Today” interview with Ronald Reagan biographer Edmund Morris that called the former president “an apparent airhead.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090106/tv_nm/us_coulter_1

Obama: Move Toward the Center is Smart

December 27, 2008

Barack Obama is an annoying guy.

As of last week the U. S. President-elect had announced 20 cabinet appointments. Of these, only five are women. Granted, these women will hold some of the most powerful positions in the government; head of homeland security, secretary of state, labor secretary, ambassador to the UN, environmental protection agency boss.

Even so, CNN reports, some women’s groups are displeased. “There need to be a lot more women’s voices in this administration,” says Kim Gandy, of the National Organization for Women.

Gays and lesbians are irked at Obama too. During the primaries and in the presidential campaign he promised to be a strong advocate for them. But now he’s up and invited a conservative preacher, Rick Warren, to lead the invocation at his inauguration on Jan. 20.

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren delivers a speech during the ... 
Rick Warren

Warren is strongly pro-life and staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Zounds, say the liberals: How could our guy do such a thing? Aren’t there plenty of good liberal preachers around, people who actually backed Obama for the Presidency?

Others are upset, reportedly, because of Obama’s decision to leave Robert Gates in charge at the Pentagon. Gates is a holdover from the hated Bush administration and an implementer of the illegal war in Iraq. How could he possibly have a seat at Obama’s table?

You can hear the chatter percolating in the coffee houses and on the university campuses: He’s not even president yet, and already he’s walking away from some of our most deeply held positions. How could he?

Obama is doing precisely the right thing. In walking away from the leftist fringe and hewing to the centre, he is creating the much larger coalition that he absolutely needs if he is to succeed as president.

For this presidency will not be about business as usual. The United States faces a staggering trillion-dollar deficit next year.

Its military is at war on two fronts and struggling on one, in Afghanistan. It faces unfunded pension obligations that threaten national bankruptcy well into the future.

Editorial
The Sun Times
Ontario, Canada