I’ve enjoyed seeing Tom Delay on Dancing with the Stars. While his
actual dancing has been awkward, he has made up for it with his humor.
My favorite line from him? Tom’s dance instructor: “Now go left!” Tom: “It’s simply outrageous for me to go left!!” I think there should be more politicians on DWTS, and Newsweek agrees with me. They’ve published a list of 11 politicians they’d like to see on the show, including Janet Reno, Vladimir Putin, and Levi Johnston.
In that spirit, DWTS should get some economists on. Here are some I’d like to see:
· Jeffrey Sachs. Bono could perform for the results show.
· Hank Paulson. Not technically an economist , I know, but maybe we could finally see him run like a bunny.
· Stephen Levitt. I’m sure he’d come out of it with some research revealing fascinating insights into what it takes to win on the show.
· Austan Goolsbee. I think he’d be a crowd-pleaser. Also, he might rub Len Goodman’s head.
· Caroline Hoxby. She’s got an elegant look, and as a Rhodes Scholar, probably athletic aptitude.
· Paul Krugman. Not going to happen, but one can dream.
Other ideas? Share them in the comment section.
Treasury Secretary Geithner testified at the House Financial Services Committee again today, underscoring the need for financial regulation reform. Nothing new was proposed, but Secretary Geithner reiterated the Administration's proposals and urged quick action on reform.
Chief among the proposals are:
1. The formation of a consumer protection agency that would regulate all financial services; including credit cards and mortgage brokers
2. Merging the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Comptroller of the Currency into one national bank supervisor;
3. Increasing the Federal Reserve's powers to regulate bank holding companies like Goldman Sachs
4. Creating a board with representatives from all the regulators to look for systemic risks and coordinate financial oversight policies
5. Increasing capital requirments and other regulations on large, "too big to fail" financial institutions, and using ex posts taxes on large financial firms to recoup the costs of any future bailouts
The strategy for finacial regulation reform is to try to pass individual pieces of legislation addressing each issue. Some of these items will be easier to achieve than others. House Financial Services Republicans agree on the need for increased consumer protections and an over-arching body to look at systemic risks and coordinate regulatory policy among agencies. They differ on the future role of the Federal Reserve and on dealing with insolvent firms. Republicans propose stripping the Federal Reserve of all of its regulatory powers, and giving them to the national bank supervisor. The also propose a policy of no bailouts, even for systemically important firms. Both of these proposals seem rather radical (and very unlikely to be implemented with a Democratic House, Senate and Administration), and it is likely they are designed to pander to anti-Fed and anti-bailout sentiment in voters.
Most of the Democratic proposals seem like reasonable responses to some of the problems that contributed to the financial crisis. However, I wonder about the plausibility of the plan to recoup bailout costs ex post. In a wide-spread financial crisis, where many or most large financial firms take large losses, an ex post tax could be a significant burden on the remaining (and as evidenced by their continued existence, the most prudent) financial firms as they attempt to recover. A thought that occurs to me-- which I am sure will be unpopular-- : in a situation where the risk was as widespread and systemic as it was in this crisis, not all of the blame rides on large financial firms. Many individuals benefitted from cheaper credit prior to the crisis; credit that was, in retrospect, too cheap. No regulations can foresee all future crises, and it is in part the responsibility of the government to adapt to evolving financial markets and address new systemic risks that arise. Perhaps when the government fails at this, it should bear part of the cost of fixing it.
My impression of the people participating in the Tea Party protests is that they represent a group of people who are broadly disgruntled for a large variety of reasons. Some are concerned about abortion, others about health care or bailouts, and still others about the budget or national security. While some may be very knowledgeable, many seem to know very little about the issues they are fixated on, suggesting to me that they are just generally unhappy and scared.
The 9/12 focus of the Tea Parties is very interesting to me. I have been told that the idea is that the protesters would like to return to a time when the country was largely united, patriotism was celebrated, and we had a popular Republican President. While I understand why they would appreciate those values, I find it more than slightly morbid. It seems to suggest it would be better to live in a world where 3,000 people died yesterday and things are black and white than live in a world where problems are complex, there are shades of gray, and we must find ways to compromise when we disagree.
Will a general sentiment of unhappiness among this faction be a problem for the Democrats in mid-term elections? It could be; midterm elections are often rough on the President's party anyways. Democrats will need to get healthcare reform passed and get implementation started without disaster if they want to do well. However, I doubt this contigent will put Obama in much danger in 2012, unless the Republicans can find a compelling candidate who doesn't scare moderates. There was similar strong dislike of President Bush before 2004, but without a great Democratic candidate, there wasn't enough force to push President Bush out of office. At this point, it looks like the Republicans could be in a very similar situation in 3 years.
In the midst of a health care debate with plenty of juicy, substantial issues that Americans really care about, the leading news coming out of President Obama's speech was Representative Joe Wilson's (R-SC) raucous outburst from the floor.
For those who haven't heard-- all two of you-- Rep. Wilson yelled "You lie!" after President Obama stated that his plan would not extend health benefits to illegal aliens. Since then, Rep. Wilson has apologized but maintained that the bill would give illegal immigrants coverage.
Until this incident, I hadn't realized that the cheers, boos, and whatever else you hear when the President addresses Congress actually came from the Members themselves. I always figured they made their staffers sit in the eaves to do any undignified shouting for them.
My quick calls on the fallout of the incident for parties involved:
GOP: ↓ The lack of decorum makes a disordered party look even less disciplined.
Health Care Reform: ↓ This won’t make real concerns go away, and it’s a distraction from the President’s message.
South Carolina: ↓↓ Are all their politicians nuts?
Rob Miller: ↑ Wilson’s 2010 opponent has reportedly raised $350,000 since the incident.
Rep. Wilson: ↔ He’s galvanized support for his challenger, but got himself some publicity, and could become a favorite of the conservative base. Palin/Wilson 2012???
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.