McCain: One of Us!

A mostly political Weblog.
Feb. 18 2008 5:23 AM

McCain: One of Us!

Liberals' secret feelings about the GOP leader.

(Continued from Page 31)

Fred Thompson gives a surprisingly good election-night speech** (about a month too late) and when they cut away to MSNBC the newsroom is filled with laughter--i.e. media types laughing at Thompson. They obviously expected Thompson to concede and felt snookered. Still, it was obnoxious. ... Update:fishbowlDC has the video. ...

**--Thompson's speech was better than McCain's arid victory pitch, for example. ... 5:21 P.M.

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Humiliation: John Edwards seems to have gotten about 4% of the vote ** in the Nevada caucuses, where he put in a not-inconsiderable effort. ... Is that a typo--or a message? ... It's  all the media's fault! ... Backfill: Edwards' now-embarrassing pre-caucus spin  here. Also "Edwards Can Win Nevada."  ...

P.S.: What would it take to get Edwards out? If he keeps polling at 4%, who cares? But if, like me, you suspect that his wife Elizabeth is the driving force behind his 'on to the convention' persistence--after all, why not keep traveling around the country getting attention?--there may be a solution: Give her a talk show! She's smart, she'ls likeable, she has a huge fan base, she's good on camera. She certainly wears better than her husband. And the networks need fresh content. Then John could cut whatever deal he wants to throw his rapidly-diminishing support behind one of the frontrunners. [Could he be the VP candidate again?--ed Don't think he vets.] ...

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More: Edwards' astral support is collapsing. ...

**--This is apparently Edwards' total after application of Nevada's 15% viability rule. There seems to be no way of knowing his pre-viability showing. Update: In the "entrance poll" taken by the networks he got a bit less than 9%. ... 2:04 P.M. link

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Mickey's Stimulus Package: Congress thinks it might be able to approve the "fast-moving" stimulus package "within a month." A month! Wow. Neck-snapping speed! Of course the fear is that even with such lightning-like Congressional reflexes, the stimulus will come to late to cure a recession, if it's already underway (and instead will only add to inflation during a recovery). From Steve Chapman:

Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, told The Wall Street Journal, "Most of the stimulus options under consideration would be difficult to actually get out the door in the first half of 2008." By the time a program spreads its healing balm, we may find the recession has died a natural death -- or was never born.p

Is there a way to avoid this inevitable, usually-fatal, lag? I don't see why not. We've tried to cure the lag, for monetary policy, by granting the Federal Reserve authority to raise or lower interest rates instantaneously. Why not have a similar arrangement for fiscal policy? We'd create a Pump-priming authority--call it PPA for short--and give it the power to instantly raise or lower the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax by a few percentage points--from about 15% to 10%, for example--when necessary to avoid a recession. (These are sample numbers; economists would work out the real ones.)  The stimulus would immediately be injected into the economic bloodstream as withholding formulas adjusted to take a smaller tax bite from paychecks. No waiting a month for "fast-moving" Congressional action.

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