Why Wall Street Reform Is Stuck in Reverse

Geithner

Executives and traders on the Street have become the single biggest sources of money for Democrats as well as Republicans. And with mid-term elections looming next year, you can bet every member of Congress has a glint in his or her eye directed at the Street.

Specifically, What Should Be Done for Jobs?

Alan Greenspan cartoon

It would be hard to get a new stimulus package through Congress, but no member who’s up for reelection next year when unemployment is likely to be in double digits wants to be accused by rivals of voting against steps to help small businesses, public schools, childrens’ health, and average working people who need a tax cut.

The Public Option Lives On

First-day

Big Pharma and Big Insurance hate the public insurance option even more than they hate big Medicare discounts. And although the President has sounded as if he would welcome it, political operatives in the White House have quietly reassured the industries that it won’t be included in the final bill.

The Continuing Disaster of Wall Street, One Year Later

Zombie-Bankers

Let’s be clear: Wall Street today is up to the same tricks it was playing before its near-death experience: Derivatives, derivatives of derivatives, fancy-dance trading schemes, high-risk bets. “Our model really never changed, we’ve said very consistently that our business model remained the same,” says Goldman Sach’s chief financial officer.

The Lessons from History on Health Care Reform

free-market

The ideal of universal care has revolved around two poles. In the 1930s, liberals imagined a universal right to health care tied to compulsory insurance, like Social Security. Johnson based Medicare on this idea, and it survives today as the “single-payer model” of universal health care, or “Medicare for all.” The alternative proposal, starting with Eisenhower, was to create a market for health care based on private insurers and employers.

What Obama Must Demand from Congress on Health Care

werewolves

In order to get anything meaningful through this session of Congress, then, the President will have to give Congressional Democrats far more leadership and more cover. Doing so is harder now than before the recess, when he was still basking in the afterglow of a honeymoon and 60% favorabilities.

Don’t Succumb to Deficit Hysteria

red-ink

The only item worth looking at is the part of the report that predicts the government will have nearly a $1.6 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends this September 30 — but not because that number is alarmingly large. It strikes me as alarmingly small.

How Tough Is Our President?

President Barack Obama jogs in to speak at a town hall meeting on health care in Belgrade, Mont. Friday, Aug. 14, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The President’s centeredness, calm, and dignity inspire trust but also suggest a certain lack of combativeness, a reluctance to express indignation, and an unwillingness to identify enemies — resulting in a tendency toward compromise even at the early stages of controversy.

Sarah Palin’s Death Panels

death-panels

The “town meetings” that are now spewing such anger reflect deepseated fears that are welling up across America during this economic crisis. Healthcare reform may ease some of these fears. But the demagogues that are manipulating those fears for political gain don’t give a hoot.