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Tag Archives: Obama

Romney ‘outperformed’ Obama by 26.2% in fast-talking

I did not stay up to watch the debate tonight, but according to Zero Hedge Romney managed a freakish 217 words per minute compared to Obama’s 172. That’s quite a performance; try it yourself. Will obviously have to watch on YouTube learn his tricks.

Money, Power and Wall Street

PBS has made a four episode documentary about the crisis on Wall Street. The first two (on the build-up to the crisis and the crisis itself can be seen online). The next two will air today in the US and can be seen online afterwards. The two first were really good. Despite a wealth of reporting on the crisis, including numerous well researched books, they manage to recreate the suspense and also be quite analytical. Conclusion: Nothing much has changed since the crisis – are we heading for another one?

The beauty of being TBTF

Sometimes in the US you get these angry blog post with “jail the bankers”. There are obvious some folks out there who are angry if their house has been foreclosed, but this attitude is spread much wider, and not just with “radicals”. The financial crisis commission and the Senate Investigative Committee Report (and many others) have documented tons of evidence of fraud and malpractice. But despite all this,  few bankers have gone to jail. The Justice department and SEC has preferred to settle cases, and only the opposition by some brave judges have prevented a clean bill of health for the financial industry after the crisis.

The latest development is the settlement with the banks over “robo-signing”, a practice used in the heydays of the property boom, to make quick loans with little documentation. Now the Obama administration has signed an agreement with the industry that settles all claims and nobody goes to jail.

Simon Johnson is upset by this and discusses why the administration consistently avoids confrontation with the financial industry. A good read and it also gives some insight into the politics around the financial sector in the US.

Obama’s State of the Union was short on job proposals

Mark Thoma has a nice and short post today on the presidents State of the Union speech. He thinks the speech was “nice”, but since ‘putting people back to work should be treated as a national emergency”, he consider the speech as too vague on what to do now:

The plan the president outlined is fine as far as it goes, but I wanted a jobs plan that was big and bold. I wanted a plan that puts immediate job creation at the forefront. However, this plan is largely tax cuts, it’s piecemeal, and it’s mostly directed at our long-run problems. Bringing business home doesn’t happen overnight, R&D takes time, so does infrastructure, and so on. Millions of people need jobs now, not later. They don’t have time to wait, for example, for manufacturing to move from China back to the US, and there’s no certainty that will happen in any case. What was missing from the speech is a strong, coherent plan to create jobs immediately. Don’t get me wrong, we need to address our long-run problems. But we also need to get people back to work as soon as possible.

I agree with Thoma. As I noted yesterday, Obama is a great orator, but he constantly disappoints on execution. True, he is facing formidable and very strong opponents, both on Capital Hill and outside. But so far he has not had the will or courage to take on special interest groups. And, his views on energy and gas production will be controversial in the run up for the  presidential election, ref. all the discussion about fracking.

Ron Paul no. 2 in New Hampshire

Matt Romney has a solid lead in NH, but Ron Paul will finish a strong no. 2. He carries the young and independent voters, and surprisingly many disappointed Obama voters as well. With such a strong position, it is time to look closer at his polices, apart from wish to abolish the Fed. If you are curious how this congressman from Texas continue to draw large, young crowds, you should read the blog below.

Glenn Greenwald of salon.com offers an interesting analysis of liberals ambivalent views of Ron Paul.

Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception.

Unfortunately, Ron Paul has been associated with certain groups on the right with not so clean views (racism, and worse) and this make him unacceptable for many progressives. But Greenwald argues that Obama has many (if not more) dubious positions on his slate, including continued support for covert wars and the industrial-military complex. So if the choice is between two evils, many liberals may this year support Ron Paul, even though they may vote for him while they hold their nose.