Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees business coverage for TheAtlantic.com. More
Thompson has written for Slate, BusinessWeek, and the Daily Beast. He has also appeared as a guest on radio and television networks, including NPR, the BBC, CNBC, and MSNBC.
Michael Moore first rose to fame on the back of an indictment of GM CEO Roger Smith, and since then has consistently aimed his populist camera at business leaders.
So it seems only natural that his next project would take aim at the CEOs who he blames for the current financial crisis. "The movie is not going to be an economics lesson; it's going to be more like a vampire movie," the filmmaker is quoted as saying on his Web site. "Instead of the main characters feasting on the blood of their victims, they feast on the money. And they never seem to get enough of it."
It will be interesting to see how his latest effort is received by the public. After focusing on political instead of economic issues in his movies earlier this decade he has become the face of far-left politics and his name is anathema to most conservatives. But at his heart, Moore is a populist, and many of the harshest critics of the government bailouts are on the right side of the aisle. Is it possible that there are some Republicans who may find themselves cheering for Michael Moore?
As the healthcare debate picks up in the US, there has been much discussion about how to pay for it. Coinciding with this debate are vocal concerns about the country's underlying fiscal position - which some have suggested as a reason to delay healthcare reform.
What this argument ignores is that healthcare is central to the long-term fiscal and economic prospects of the US. If costs per enrollee in Medicare and Medicaid grow at the same rate over the next four decades as they have over the past four, those two programmes will increase from 5 per cent of gross domestic product today to 20 per cent by 2050.
I'm not quite prepared to say that John Tamny's column on "the Flip Side of Failure" is the worst piece I've read since the onset of the recession, but it's arguably the most overblown.
Tamny's thesis is pretty simple. Another way of looking at a devastating recession is that it represents "assets falling into the hands of those who can either afford them, or who possess a stated objective to use them more wisely. In short, the flipside of failure is opportunity." And Tamny, to his credit, gives examples. Buffalo Wild Wings, for instance, which has taken over eight restaurants formerly owned by the Don Pablo's chain. And Panera Bread Co., which is moving into some of the buildings previously inhabited by the now-shuttered Bennigan's. This seems, to me, like a fundamentally sad macroeconomic story: A lot of jobs were lost and a couple of jobs were gained. This is like taking consolation because you won $50 at slots even as you lost several thousand in Vegas. But Tamny is more enthused. "The failure of certain chains and restaurants has created opportunities for other eating establishments to expand," he writes.
There are two distinct compensation issues arising from the current economic crisis. One involves the compensation of executives of firms that are owned or controlled by the federal government, such as General Motors, American International Group, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, as a result of federal bailouts in the form of equity investments rather than loans. The other issue involves recipients of federal bailout money that nevertheless remain under private ownership and control.This distinction makes perfect sense to me, but it doesn't seem like the big one. The big distinction seems like it's between compensation as it relates to systemic risk, and compensation as it relates to populist anger.
As you've probably heard, Obama's Department of Justice issued a legal brief
to a federal judge defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which Obama
previously derided as "abhorrent." I finally got around to reading it
(late as always). This paragraph jumped out at me.
DOMA maintains federal policies that have long sought to promote the traditional and uniformly-recognized form of marriage, recognizes the right of each State to expand the traditional definition if it so chooses, but declines to obligate federal taxpayers in other States to subsidize a form of marriage their own States do not recognize. This policy of neutrality maximizes state autonomy and democratic self-governance in an area of traditional state concern, and preserves scarce government resources. It is thus entirely rational.
The potential effects on the federal budget of recognizing same-sex marriages are numerous. [...] In some cases, recognizing same sex marriages would increase outlays and revenues; in other cases, it would have the opposite effect. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that on net, those impacts would improve the budget's bottom line to a small extent: by less than $1 billion in each of the next 10 years (CBO's usual estimating period). That result assumes that same-sex marriages are legalized in all 50 states and recognized by the federal government.
WASHINGTON -- A bill allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco is on the way to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.
A day after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure, the House passed it Friday on a 307-97 vote.
Mr. Obama said the legislation gives the government much greater power to regulate tobacco "truly defines change in Washington." The president spoke in the Rose Garden Friday and promised to sign the bill.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that her agency looked forward to implementing it.
The FDA now will take on an unprecedented role overseeing the production and marketing of cigarettes. Health advocates are happy about the prospect, saying at long last regulators can determine exactly the types of toxins involved in making and smoking cigarettes.
THE worst global economic storm since the 1930s may be beginning to clear, but another cloud already looms on the financial horizon: massive public debt. Across the rich world governments are borrowing vast amounts as the recession reduces tax revenue and spending mounts--on bail-outs, unemployment benefits and stimulus plans. New figures from economists at the IMF suggest that the public debt of the ten leading rich countries will rise from 78% of GDP in 2007 to 114% by 2014. These governments will then owe around $50,000 for every one of their citizens.
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