After the November election, Democrats will push for a second economic stimulus package that includes money for the states’ stalled infrastructure projects, along with help paying for healthcare expenses, food stamps and extended unemployment benefits, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said Thursday.
In a meeting with the editorial board of The Standard-Times, Rep. Frank, D-Mass., also called for a 25 percent cut in military spending, saying the Pentagon has to start choosing from its many weapons programs, and that upper-income taxpayers are going to see an increase in what they are asked to pay.
The military cuts also mean getting out of Iraq sooner, he said.
“The people of Iraq want us out, and we want to stay over their objection,” he said. “It’s extraordinary.” The Maliki government in Iraq “can’t sell (the withdrawal deal with the U.S.) because it sounds like we’re going to stay too long.”
“I was teasing (U.S. Rep.) Jack Murtha (a key supporter of military budgets) and I said to him, ‘For the first time, somebody else has got a bill that’s almost as big as yours.’ We don’t need all these fancy new weapons. I think there needs to be additional review.”
Rep. Frank called on President Bush to appoint a senior official to guide the economic stimulus packages through the transition to the Barack Obama or John McCain administration when it takes office in January.
And he said that if the Democrats can’t find an adequate agreement on a stimulus package in the lame-duck Congress, they would rather wait until the new Congress takes over — likely with many more Democrats, if polling results bear fruit in the November voting….
And, ultimately, there will be tax increases on the upper brackets. “We’ll have to raise taxes ultimately. Not now, but eventually,” he said.
From Public Record
In a déjà vu moment from Campaign 2006, President George W. Bush again is asking his Attorney General to launch an investigation into the registration of hundreds of thousands of new voters, many of whom are expected to vote Democratic.
Bush forwarded to Attorney General Michael Mukasey a Republican request that he intervene in the battleground state of Ohio to force 200,000 new voters to either verify the information on their registration forms or cast provisional ballots, which are often thrown out after the voter leaves the polling place….
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Bush asking for his extraordinary intervention after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to get involved in the Ohio dispute.
“Unless action is taken by the [Justice] Department immediately, thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of names whose information has not been verified through the [Help America Vote Act] procedures mandated by Congress will remain on the voter rolls during the Nov. 4 election. …
“There is a significant risk if not a certainty, that unlawful votes will be cast and counted. Given the Election Day is less than two weeks away, immediate action by the Department is not only warranted, but also crucial.”
On Friday, White House spokesman Carlton Carroll said Bush had referred Boehner’s letter “to the Department of Justice for their review.”
A deal governing the long-term presence of US troops in Iraq beyond the end of 2008 is more or less done, and any changes would be merely fine-tuning, the White House said Wednesday….
The draft deal calls for a withdrawal of US combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 and includes US concessions on jurisdiction over its troops accused of “serious crimes” while off duty or off base.
So… I guess that is settled.
Take one more reason to vote Obama off the list…
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday that a deal lifting a ban on nuclear trade with India would be signed shortly.
“The president will sign the agreement very soon,” she said. The signing had earlier been postponed because of administrative matters.
“Let me be clear, the 123 agreement is done, it’s just a matter of signing that agreement,” Rice said, referring to the name of the deal, which removes a ban on U.S. nuclear trade with India.
At a luncheon, External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee praised Rice and U.S. President Bush for their efforts.
Reverse Auction Design – will it be in the final bill?
With over 100,000 individual designed mortgage-related securities, obligations, and other instruments outstanding, further divided by multiple rated tranches, auctions to price each piece are not workable. But the Mortgage Bailout Bill depends on price discovery via auction – and as far as I can tell does not have rules for that discovery. So we are left with “trust me” and regulations to be announced later. Knowing loan vintage, maturity, loan type, interest rate, location, payment history, FICO score, and initial loan/value ratio will not prevent are narrowly restricted, a package of some degree of heterogeneity in any package of loans. Prior over-the-counter trading in mortgage-related assets has ended because computer models are no longer trusted for price discovery.
The Paulson program of auctions for mortgage-related assets seems to be intended to be a one-time event – why I do not know since a standardized investment form and an exchange for that form would seem to be the best way to avoid our current problem in the future. But as I understand the Bailout Bill, the plan is to have each asset hit the auction block once and then stopping there, or stopping once the money runs out.
In some statements Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke appeared to identify as the objective finding a “hold-to-maturity” value – but that means paying a great deal more than market value – later he indicated he was referring to the higher market value post auction because of US Gov ownership of the asset was the value he wanted to pay – this is a major difference – and still sounds like an “auction” with a floor that is above market value. Will there be anything in the Bill to address this? Treasury can not just offer to buy the Banks non-saleable assets – a Bank would be a fool if it did not greatly over price those assets in that situation. Treasury can not commit to purchasing the entire quantity offered of a given package – it must allocate its budget among the various packages available for sale – buying a portion of each package.
The Packages (packages of assets since individual auctions for each asset design is impractical because every asset is an individual design) will give good price discovery, but by definition, the more heterogeneous the package the more likely the US Taxpayer will be screwed because of the adverse selection problem of relatively inferior assets being disproportionately offered for sale at the lowest prices. Treasury will end up buying the worst of the lot and, if a single price is paid for all units, overpaying, with Banks with higher quality assets asking for a higher bid, and finding they can not sell at that higher price – but with the high quality asset bank being screwed as it is forced to mark down its higher quality asset to the price given for the low quality package.
The order of sale of the packages will determine how badly the taxpayer is screwed – Treasury must start with packages of securities having severely depressed prices in their computer model, relatively simple features, and substantial face value owned (e.g., straight pass-through securities with subprime mortgage collateral), Will this requirement be in the Bill?
With luck we will be able to end the now stalled “over-the-counter” markets, replacing it with an exchange and standardized packages, with a non-standard package area in that exchange (as exists now at our exchanges).
We will still need to buy and sell some assets purely by looking at the computer model output – but where that output is not trusted today because input parameters are felt to be possibly incorrect, it will be easier to get to a sale once the newly available market data generated by auctions are used, to estimate the contribution to value of the various asset characteristics. Applying the estimated models to the non-auctioned assets would then yield a predicted price for each asset. Transparency requires that today’s “proprietary” formulas be reveal – they caused this mess and have no value, so with luck they will be donated to Treasury and we will not pay the Banks for that bit of information.
First, on a lighter note, let me state that it is 100% impossible for John McCain to have voted with President Bush, after all the President has no voting powers in the Senate. But that’s just a laughable technicality. In reality, however, the problem with the McCain/Bush voting argument and the attempts to paint McCain as some radical right winger is that there are organizations that track the votes of congressional members. According to the Washington Post’s Votes Database Project, Obama and the DNC’s claims are 100% false.
McCain, unlike his Democratic Rival, has continued to maintain one of the highest levels of independence demonstrated by any US Senator since 2000. For instance, during the 110th Session of Congress, McCain ranked 65th among his colleagues having voted along party line 88% of the time, a far cry from the 12th place rank of Obama. Yet, McCain’s voting record during the current session of Congress is likely to hold closer to party lines due to the nearly 50 bills that contained an Troop Withdrawal Timeline. During the 109th session of congress, McCain ranked 94th out of 100 Senators, having voted along party lines 79.4% of the time. This ranking and percentage are nearly identical to his 93rd place rank during both the 107th and 108th Congressional Sessions.
That’s right, according to The Votes Database, During the 110th Congressional session running from Jan 2007 to now, Senator Obama ranked 12th among 100 Senators, having voted along party lines 96% of the time; an amazingly high percentage for someone who claims to be able to reach across the isle. The Obama campaign and pundits will argue that Obama’s voting record during this session was driven by a need to shore up support among his base supporters. Yet, if that were true then we would expect his record during the 109th session of Congress to reflect a greater level of moderation. According to the Vote Database Project, During the 109th session Obama was ranked 5th in the Senate having voted along party lines 94.8% of the time. Ironically, during both sessions of congress, Obama voted along party lines more often the Senator Kennedy, Senator Reid, and Senator Kerry. For a candidate who talks about unity and his ability to work with the side, he certainly has not demonstrated it. After all, how can a candidate claim moderation when the current Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has crossed party lines during the past two sessions of congress more often than Obama?
Make sure to go do PDOP to get the rest of the analysis and the numbers.
I Love This Guy.
Basically, if the US makes the conversion to 100% carbon free electricity generation, it solves all our nations problems…
The economy, the environment and national security… and you know what? He is most probably right.