Obama’s Summer of Discontent

michelle and barack obama

John Peeler: Overall, Obama has been successful as the leader of Washington. Where he is failing is as the leader of the country. That’s a surprise, given his short political career, and his very impressive rhetorical skills.

Origins of the Enthusiasm Gap

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Robert Reich: Whatever the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections, the activist phase of the Obama administration has likely come to a close. The President may have a fight on his hands even to hold on to what he’s already achieved because his legislative successes have been large enough to fuel strong opposition but not big enough to strengthen his support. The result could be disastrous for him and congressional Democrats.

Fraud on the Street

Wall Street Bears

Robert Reich: It’s now clear Lehman Brothers’ balance sheet was bogus before the bank collapsed in 2008, catapulting the Street and the world into the worst financial crisis since 1929. The Lehman bankruptcy examiner’s recent report details what just about everyone on the Street has known since the firm imploded – that Lehman defrauded its investors. Even Hank Paulson, in his recent memoir, referred to Lehman’s balance sheet as bogus.

Our Incredible Shrinking Democracy

Democracy

Robert Reich: It seems as if more and more decisions that should be made democratically are being shunted off somewhere to a few people who make them in back rooms. Which programs should be cut, which entitlements pared back, and what taxes raised in order to reduce the long-term budget deficit? Hmmm. Let’s convene a commission and have them decide.

How About House Democrats Next?

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Paul Hogarth: In the past year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats have made major strides passing progressive legislation – only to see it die or lull in the Senate, with the President barely lifting a finger. Voters are getting restless, Obama’s approval ratings are down and Democrats are in trouble because they haven’t gotten much done. Now with the Senate acting like a House of Lords, it’s time for House Democrats to get a little respect – and give Obama a piece of their mind.

In the Wake of AIG: Obama’s First Priority

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AIG is rapidly becoming a nightmarish metaphor for the Obama Administration’s problems administering the bailout of Wall Street. One central problem is the lack of transparency. According to some news reports, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner knew weeks ago that AIG was planning to issue the bonuses to executives in its notorious credit default swap unit, [...]

Stimulus Bill Limits TARP Executive Pay

Karen Bleier (AFP/Getty): Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner

Top executives at banks that got money from the TARP will face stricter compensation limits thanks to the stimulus bill.  That’s because tucked into the 1,071-page bill is a twelve-page section that goes much further than any limits imposed by the Bush administration or even contemplated by the Obama administration. The limits, which limit bonuses [...]

The Bailout: The Really Small Print Is Really, Really Scary

Assuming that the Bush-Paulson Wall Street bailout gets changed drastically by the time it’s passed, we can all tip our hat to Mother Jones. With everyone on the Hill screaming about the power grab Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is trying to engineer, the magazine’s Nomi Prins deserves a deep thanks for noticing the really, really, [...]