12/01/2010 archive

A Big Day in Economics News

Two of the major Washington based stories are extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest 2% on which the best policy from an economic standpoint is to let them all expire and replace them with Obama Tax Cuts for those consumers hardest hit by the Financial Depression and most likely to spend them so that as poor a tool as Tax Cuts are there is at least some increase in Aggregate Demand.

Simply extending any of the Bush Tax Cuts has ABSOLUTELY NO STIMULATIVE EFFECT WHATSOEVER, this is money people already have and have had for 10 years now.  Continuing it will NOT make consumers more likely to spend it- they already are.

The fact that this is also the best political policy makes it unlikely that the Obama Administration and the Institutional Democratic Party will adopt it.  Indeed the best “bi-partisan” compromise we can seem to hope for is tying it to extension of unemployment benefits (which are one of the most stimulative transfer payments, but not at all as economically productive as investment in infrastructure).

Another story out of Washington is the Catfood Commission meltdown.  Clearly there aren’t 14 votes for the Chairmen’s Mark, and no progress has been made on compromise.  Bowes-Simpson is essentially unchanged and all the initial objections still apply, the most fundamental of which is that it subsidizes Tax Cuts for Corporations and the Wealthy at the expense of neccessary Government Services (and one of those is Social Security which is not even part of the deficit).

Unfortunately Simpson is probably correct that Republicans will simply pull out the most pernicious, greedy, and hurtful ideas and push them.

Another Big Fail by Barack Hussein Obama and his confederacy of dunces and conservatives.

Anyway the best reporting I’ve seen so far (though I did sleep in) is at Firedog Lake and as a service I’ve collected some of their Front Page stories on the subject.  The one I think gives the best overview is Scarecrow’s.

dday has some pieces on the FDL News Desk that have not yet been Front Paged (though I’m sure they will be).  One on the Catfood Commission-

And others on the Tax Cuts-

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand: Time to Listen to Our Military and Repeal DADT

This is a historic week in our quest to strengthen our armed forces and secure equality for all Americans.

Today, the Pentagon has released its yearlong study of how to implement repeal of the corrosive “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This report makes it unambiguously clear that the risk of repeal on military effectiveness is minimal, that any risks can be addressed by implementing the report’s recommendations, and that a clear majority of active duty servicemen and women have no problem with repeal. It should come as no surprise that the men and women who serve bravely in our military don’t care about the sexual orientation of their fellow servicemembers, they just want to serve their country proudly and believe others should be able to do the same.

Bob Herbert: Broken Beyond Repair

You can only hope that you will be as sharp and intellectually focused as former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens when you’re 90 years old.

In a provocative essay in The New York Review of Books, the former justice, who once supported the death penalty, offers some welcome insight into why he now opposes this ultimate criminal sanction and believes it to be unconstitutional.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Among the wealthy, a new voice for fiscal sacrifice

President Obama’s discussion Tuesday with leaders of both parties about the expiring Bush tax cuts comes at a time when a growing chorus of progressives and other reasonable-minded Americans have been ramping up pressure on the White House to allow the cuts for millionaires to end – as intended – at the end of the year. Last week that chorus was joined by a group of unlikely, albeit welcome new singers: the millionaires themselves.

Paul Krugman: Ireland and the Euro: Is It Time to Part?

This is the way the euro ends. Not with a whimper, but with a bank run.

OK, I’m overstating the case – we are still a long way from Ireland’s exiting the euro. But in thinking about the ongoing Irish mess, I realized we are drifting closer to the kind of scenario I wrote about earlier this year during the Greek debt crisis.

I used to be a full believer in the economist Barry Eichengreen’s theory of euro irreversibility: no European nation can even discuss leaving the euro because the anticipated devaluation will lead people to move deposits to other euro-zone banks, leading to the mother of all bank runs. But I’ve been reconsidering this stance, because while the Eichengreen argument explains why nations should not plan on leaving the euro, what if the bank runs and financial crisis happen anyway? In that case, the marginal cost of a nation’s leaving the euro falls dramatically, and in fact, the decision may effectively be taken out of policy makers’ hands.

On This Day in History: December 1

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 1 is the 335th day of the year (336th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 30 days remaining until the end of the year


On this day in 1990, the Chunnel makes breakthrough. Shortly after 11 a.m. on December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English Channel, workers drill an opening the size of a car through a wall of rock. This was no ordinary hole–it connected the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8,000 years.

The Channel Tunnel, or “Chunnel,” was not a new idea. It had been suggested to Napoleon Bonaparte, in fact, as early as 1802. It wasn’t until the late 20th century, though, that the necessary technology was developed. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and Calais, France.

The Channel Tunnel (French: Le tunnel sous la Manche), (also informally known as the Chunnel) is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent near Dover in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is 75 metres (250 ft) deep. At 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi), the Channel Tunnel possesses the second longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world. The Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall at 53.85 kilometres (33.46 mi), and deeper at 240 metres (790 ft) below sea level.

The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, Eurotunnel Shuttle roll-on/roll-off vehicle transport-the largest in the world-and international rail freight trains. The tunnel connects end-to-end with the LGV Nord and High Speed 1 high-speed railway lines. In 1996 the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Ideas for a cross-Channel fixed link appeared as early as 1802, but British political and press pressure over compromised national security stalled attempts to construct a tunnel. However, the eventual successful project, organised by Eurotunnel, began construction in 1988 and opened in 1994. The project came in 80% over its predicted budget. Since its construction, the tunnel has faced several problems. Fires have disrupted operation of the tunnel. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers have attempted to use the tunnel to enter Britain, causing a minor diplomatic disagreement over the siting of the Sangatte refugee camp, which was eventually closed in 2002.

Just Give Them the Keys, Mr. Obama

Obama promises more outreach to GOP

From Ed Henry, CNN

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama told GOP leaders behind closed doors Tuesday that he had failed to reach across party lines enough during his first two years in office, a senior administration official told CNN.

Between this sell out and having OFA asking workers to write letters supporting a Federal wage freeze, he may as well just give the GOP the key to the executive mansion and go back to Chicago.

h/t Atrios

Prime Time

Two Holiday classics, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Boris Karloff!) and Rudolph (Burl Ives).  Also Rockefeller Center.  Yippie!

Well, I don’t have anything to say, you’ve done the best you could. You really have, the best you could. You can’t expect to win em all. But, I want to tell you something I’ve kept to myself through these years. I was in the war myself, medical corps. I was on late duty one night when they brought in a badly wounded pilot from one of the raids. He could barely talk. He looked at me and said, “The odds were against us up there, but we went in anyway, I’m glad the Captain made the right decision.” The pilot’s name was George Zip.

George Zip said that?

The last thing he said to me, “Doc,” he said, “some time when the crew is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to get out there and give it all they got and win just one for the Zipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Doc,” he said, “but I won’t smell too good, that’s for sure.”


Dave in repeats (11/4).  Jon has Susan Casey, Stephen Tom Vilsack.  Conan hosts Charles Barkley, Drew Pinsky, and Bo Burnham.

BoondocksThe Story of Gangstalicious

You’d better tell the Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.

A hospital? What is it?

It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Ending gay ban poses little risk to military: Pentagon


2 hrs 12 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A Pentagon study released Tuesday said ending a ban on gay soldiers serving openly would create no serious problem for the US military and that a “solid majority” of troops expressed no objection to the change.

The study, which the White House hopes will pave the way for Congress to lift the ban, concluded the risk “to overall military effectiveness is low” if the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is repealed.

“We are both convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war,” wrote the report’s authors, General Carter Ham, and the Pentagon’s top legal adviser, Jeh Johnson.