Kinda, Sorta, Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (November 1, 2009)

Dead Man in Pakistan-Head and Torso

As before, the quotes are close approximations to the truth.  My opinions are parenthetical to the discussion and, hence, are set aside in parentheses.

Meet the Press aired at 8am, much earlier than the regular broadcast schedule.   The NYC Marathon preempted the regular 10am EST broadcast.  Dagnabit.

Anywhoo, this morning, I’ll blog on my thoughts on the streaming webcast of the original broadcast .

DG: Does Wall Street think the recession is over? Do YOU think that the recession is over.

Tim Geithner: We’ve come very far.  We’re making progress slowly.  Though workers and small business owners are still hurting.

DG: Can the economy grow at this pace without government intervention?

TIm Geithner: Government has to provide a bridge until the economy can grow again, as private businesses invest and hire more workers.  But we’re going to work on the progress we’ve already made.

DG: Do we need another cash for clunkers.

TG: Not at the moment.  But about half of the stimulus hasn’t been injected into the economy.  And lets remember that it was designed to pay-out over two years.

DG: (On TG’s claim that the stimulus is working better than the Obama Administration had planned) Wait a minute, the OA claimed that unemployment would top out at 8%.

TG: Yes, economic growth has come before we thought it would.  Job loss is important but we need economic growth before jobs can come back.

DG: Lets talk about claims of success on jobs.  Jobs saved: Fact or fiction.

TG: The Recovery Act has worked well.  Fact: jobs have been saved.  Think of it this way: when teachers do not have to be laid off, a firehouse does not have to close, that’s a job saved. When a teacher is added to the payroll, a fireman is hired, then that is net job growth. (Personally, I think its a fairly easy counterfactual that can be established by matching on conditions, a Heckit model; nevertheless this counterfactual cannot be established on an individual level.  Is this what conservatives require the OA to show?)

TG: Individual level debt will have to come down.  No two ways about it.

DG: Individual executive compensation, talent loss and the claims of taxpayer interest.  (To be fair, those 7 firms are peas in a pod.  No one firm will likely pay more than any other.  So if ego rents matter and people at teh highest ranks will stay on in the atmospheric eschelons of the finance industry, most people will simply stay on in their jobs)

DG: Is Goldman Sach in the wrong to take the risks that lead it to record profits, the same kinds of risks that lead to the original near collapse, by having a guarantee that because they are too big to fail, and will be bailed out.  (A classic question on adverse selection and moral hazard)

TG: What we need is that banks not overcompensate by not taking risks at all. (He then moves right to talking about Barney Frank and Chris Dodd’s financial regulation bill.  This is implicit and somewhat resigned nod that yes, risk will be systemic and overly speculative.)

David Plouffe (Obama’s 2008 Campaign Manager)writes that Bill Clinton cost Hillary Clinton the V.P nod.  And that they were worried that by picking Biden, the Obama campaign had just steadied itself to suffer some self-inflicted wounds.

DP: (On Sarah Palin) Sarah Palin is helping move moderate Republicans out of contention.  The Republican Party candidate stepped down in NY 23. (Ron Brownstein has written that white independent voters are moving towards a more libertarian message.  Obama won this demographic handily in 2008)

DP (On Afghanistan).  This is a weighty decision and Obama knows this and he’s taking his time.  A lot of this is the same old blah blah blah.

DP (on the promise of the first year of the Obama Administration)..blah, blah, blah.  But upon DG’s question on the strong incumbency disadvantage of 2010–i.e dwindling Democratic majorities after 2010–DP balks and talks about the policy goals that Obama is trying to manage and doesn’t really address the issue of 2010 losses.

The Political Roundtable:

Andrea Mitchell is basically parroting what the NYTimes has published on Afghanistan and Abdullah Abdullah.  Do what Al Gore did.  Step back, become a statesman.  Interestingly enough, that is also what Julius Caesar did when his adversary and fellow member of the Triumvirate, Pompey was declared sole Consul of Rome.  Caesar stepped back, drawing back in Gaul (where he was stationed already), and allowed the Roman talking heads to speak well of his exploits, so that in short order, teh Roman public would also know of his conquests in relation to Pompey’s own dimishing role as the protector of Rome.

Jim Miklaszewski: The Afghan people have no confidence that the American military or the Army will stick around for the long haul to protect them.  But they are now turning to our enemy, the Taliban, to set up shadow courts and governments to dole out justice (I think these judgments are more akin to blunt Solomonic Judgments)

Stan McChrystal’s mission is to stop the momentum of hte Taliban; not to destroy the Taliban.  Nevertheless the counterinsurgency strategy could end in disaster if the government of Afghanistan does not do its part to protect its own people so that those people can support us against the Taliban.

And we are starting from scratch in a sense because the Taliban might now have more territory that it controls that it did before the war started in 2001.  They are able to conduct terrorist attacks in 80% of the country.

Jon Krakauer’s written a book on Pat Tillman, the former professional football player who enlisted in the U.S. Army.   Pat Tillman was protecting a private under friendly fire, when he died. There was no enemy fire.   Gen. McChrystal recommended that Pat Tillman receive a Silver Star.  Though unrelated to his current position, this snafu does cast a cloud of contention–not necessarily suspicion over Gen. McChrystal’s conduct in war.

~ by Faheem Haider on November 1, 2009.

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