It was a bit disturbing to hear John McCain blaming the greed of Wall Street and the lack of federal oversight for the our financial meltdown. But McCain’s performance yesterday on the Today show was truly a travesty. He attempts to voice the free-marketeer line that AIG shouldn’t be bailed out but winds up sounding like Miss Teen USA South Carolina talking about Iraq.
Our friend Rachel Sklar at the Huffington Post provides the transcript.
LAUER: So if we get to the point middle of the week as we heard in that report where AIG might have to file for bankruptcy, they’re on their own?
McCAIN: Well…quote, “on their own”…we have to – we cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else…this is something we’re gonna have to work through — there’s too much corruption, there’s too much access, we can fix it, I believe in America – we can have a 9/11 commission such as we had after 9/11, ’cause this is a huge crisis and we can come up with fixes and we can make sure that every American has a safer future and that is to make them know that their bank deposits are safe and insured.
It’s hard to escape the feeling that free market ideas don’t stand a chance with this guy as the Republican leader.
Does McCain Understand The AIG Crisis? [Huffington Post]
The Wall Street Journal’s news pages are notoriously
liberal not in sync with the right-wing stance of its editorial pages. But ever since Rupert Murdoch bought the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones, many have wondered if that might change. The place of Barack Obama’s picture just above the best story ever salacious tale of sex and drugs at the Department of the Interior will give them little reassurance that conservative politics aren’t playing a role in the news department. Surrounded by police, walking on the sidewalk, Barack glancing over his shoulder–well, it looks more than a little like a perp walk picture. As it turns out, the picture has nothing to do with the headline. Barack was just going to an appearance on David Letterman.
On a related note: who would have ever suspected that working for the Department of the Interior could be so much fun?
We’ve been scolded by some of our readers for our coverage of Sarah Palin. This morning we turned to a “Washington insider” to find out about her economic outlook, largely because she didn’t seem to say much about economic policy in her speech and her short tenure as governor of Alaska didn’t give her much of a chance to articulate a policy. Some readers point out that we might have overlooked the gushing black elephant in the room: oil policy.
Former supply-side economics, tax-cutter guru Larry Kudlow gives voice to this idea in the new York Sun today.
“The no. 1 economic issue this election is gasoline prices at the pump,” he writes. “And Governor Palin has the energy answer: Our abundant country can produce more energy at lower cost if government gets out of the way.”
There is a body of thought–increasingly popular among Republicans apparently–that holds that energy policy is the key to economic growth and financial health. Everything from home prices (pricey gas makes suburban life more expensive) to drug prices (the cost of chemicals) to food has an energy pricing angle. “Energy prices are the extreme marginal tax rates for the twenty-first century,” a ‘drill, baby, drill’ Republican told us.
Palin Is Our Energy Answer [New York Sun]
So it turns out that John McCain picked
Tina Fey Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
“Sarah Palin” is probably the most searched for name on the internet right now. In the minutes after news of her selection spread, popular websites like the Drudge Report went down. The reason for this is relatively simple: most of us don’t know anything about this woman who John McCain wants to be his running mate.
The one thing we do know is that she’s been a strong proponent of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve and wants to see more off-shore drilling. In fact, she’s said that McCain, who opposed drilling in ANWR, is “wrong on that issue.” It certainly seems that Republicans are lining themselves up as the party of greater oil supplies.
After the jump, we present a CNBC segment with Palin advocating drilling in ANWR.
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Over the next few months, the media will be talking about presidential polls taken nationwide. Most of the polls you hear about are done nationwide and assume we Americans for our president the way the French vote for theirs (and may the Lord bless and keep Nicholas Sarkozy): that is, by popular vote.
Some of the smarter ones amongst you are toying around InTrade.com to predict the upcoming election. Well, that’s nice and all, but how ’bout those of us for whom statistics matter? We’re looking at FiveThirtyEight.com which breaks out poll numbers state-by-state and evaluates the pollsters themselves based on their prediction accuracy.
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We’ve long since given up the assumption that some politicians are better than others. But every now and then a politician’s statements make us reconsider: perhaps this fellow is actually a little worse than the others.
Yesterday John McCain went to Colorado in order to say awkward things in an awkward manner. After begrudgingly saying maybe he’d cut taxes if he could somehow figure out how to do that, McCain turns to praise a local example of American ingenuity and drive.
And what is this fantastic example of American industry? Crocs, a company that has lost over 90% of its market value since its highs last fall. All we can say is that McCain must really enjoy his reputation for not understanding economics. Why else would he go so far out of his way to remind us of it?
After the jump, video of McCain’s praise of the ugly footwear company.
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Phil Gramm gave his first political interview in years to Stephen Moore in the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition. The interview is clearly meant to reassure conservative voters about Republican presidential candidate John McCain. What separates McCain from Obama, Moore writes, is that although neither of them know much about economics, “McCain has the good sense to know where to turn to for first-rate advice.”
Gramm was something of a hero to a lot of conservative activists. He cut his teeth as a Reagan Democrat in the House of Representatives, championing Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts in the early eighties. Later he switched allegiances to the Republican party and got elected to the Senate. With the GOP victories in 1994, Gramm became the chairman of the powerful banking committee. Moore writes that he played a “decisive role in nearly every fiscal conservative victory in the 1980s and 1990s.”
But that was then and this is now. Gramm is now 65 years old, and he vanished from the political stage six years ago when he took a high-rolling investment banking job at UBS. So what does Gramm offer voters now?
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SEC chair Christopher Cox missed the 5am conference call when Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson decided that the Fed would lend funds to rescue Bear Stearns from bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal reports on today’s front page. The call’s time changed and no one bothered to tell Cox, who didn’t know until he came into the office a few hours later.
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The scandal of Countrywide’s sweetheart loans has already forced the resignation of a top Barack Obama campaign adviser, and is proving embarrassing to two powerful US Senators. But now some are wondering where the information about the tainted loans is coming from. Who is leaking the story?
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Jim Johnson is out of there. The former chairman of Fannie Mae who received several preferential loans from Countrywide, has announced he’s leaving Barack Obama’s vice presidential search committee.
This is in keeping with the Obama campaigns new tactic of knee-capping supporters whose scandals distract from the campaign’s messages of hope and change. The operating principle (if not an actual campaign slogan) seems to be: No more Reverend Wrights!
Johnson Quits Obama’s Vice Presidential Search Team [Bloomberg]
Is John McCain trying to make headway with the activist investor community? Activists have been among have been among the vocal critics of lavish executive pay packages at public companies, and most of the biggest names among the activists favor Democrats in this election. (Carl Icahn, who said Barack Obama would be a terrible president, is an exception.)
Today John McCain is speaking to a small business conference on economic issues. He is expected to hit the usual Republican notes, calling for lower corporate taxes and opposing hiking capital gains taxes. But he’s also going to take a shot at “excessive” corporate pay and severance packages.
“Americans are right to be offended when the extravagant salaries and severance deals of CEOs … bear no relation to the success of the company or the wishes of shareholders,” his prepared remarks released in advance of the speech say.
It’s not just talk. He’s going so far as to endorse the hardest versions of the “say on pay” proposals that would require shareholder approval of a CEO’s pay.
“If I am elected president, I intend to see that wrongdoing of this kind is called to account by federal prosecutors. And under my reforms, all aspects of a CEO’s pay, including any severance arrangements, must be approved by shareholders,” he will say.
McCain wants low corporate taxes, regulated CEO pay [Reuters]