Grab bag – Friday
- The art of debate in this country has died over the last 30 years. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were probably the last presidential candidates that actually had real debates. Since then, we’ve had organized photo opportunities. Two candidates will stand on the same stage and recite memorized talking points. Today there will be a lot of discussion about the Harry Reid – Sharron Angle debate. The bottom line is that very few voters will actually see the debate and decide their votes based on the merits of their arguments. The undecideds will continue to be undecided. Those who support each candidate will continue their support in spite of a good or a poor performance.
- The Obama Administration has been placed in an interesting position over the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. They don’t want to alienate the armed services. On the other hand, they really want this policy to go away.
- Interesting green energy initiatives/ideas. Hopefully something will come of them.
- Securitizing home mortgages never sounded like a good idea to me. It sounded like a great way to make money for Wall Street but not necessarily a great thing for United States or the American homeowner. It appears that all 50 states are looking into home foreclosures. Paul Krugman has more – Now an awful truth is becoming apparent: In many cases, the documentation doesn’t exist. In the frenzy of the bubble, much home lending was undertaken by fly-by-night companies trying to generate as much volume as possible. These loans were sold off to mortgage “trusts,” which, in turn, sliced and diced them into mortgage-backed securities. The trusts were legally required to obtain and hold the mortgage notes that specified the borrowers’ obligations. But it’s now apparent that such niceties were frequently neglected. And this means that many of the foreclosures now taking place are, in fact, illegal.
More from Political Animal:
- And in a rather classic example of why I think the notion of conservative populism is silly on a fundamental level, Glenn Beck urged his followers today to start sending donations directly to corporate interests so the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can buy more elections for far-right candidates. The minions took their orders well — the Chamber’s online donation page crashed today after regular folks tried to give their money to the already-extremely-wealthy business lobby.
- A clip-and-save item from Jonathan Cohn on health care reform: “[F]or the sake of my friends at Fox News and anybody who might be listening to them, here are three basic questions to ask every time you hear a story about changes the Affordable Care Act is unleashing: 1) Is something actually changing? 2) Is the change related to the Affordable Care Act? 3) Is the change really for the worse?”
- Larry Mishel explains the stimulus debate very well, with a helpful metaphor.
- Daniel Luzer: “How much can you pay for college? Remember when $50,000 a year was a lot of money? Now that’s not even surprising. Cost is still going up, a lot, and now $60,000 is right around the corner.”