US Chamber of Commerce losing patience with Republicans
The Chamber of Commerce supported Republicans in 2010 with a ton of financial support, assuming that the GOP would be pro-business. Instead, the House Republicans and most Republican Senators are more than happy to hold the American economy hostage to their ideological demands.
The Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Congress on Friday urging legislators to quickly raise the debt ceiling, while also warning of catastrophe should the government continue spending at its current rate.
The Chamber, which represents business interests, helped elect many of the Republican members of Congress who are now threatening to vote against raising the debt ceiling. Republicans are demanding major cuts to government spending and long-term programs in return for their support.
The Chamber understands the consequences of messing around with the full faith and credit of the United States, while the Tea Party crowd seems happy to let the whole system collapse just to make a point. Remember the TARP vote and how many Republicans were willing to let all the banks collapse? Nobody should be surprised.
TARP was a huge success
Robert Samuelson is a grouch. Nobody would ever accuse him of looking at the sunny side of things, particularly when it comes to budgetary matters.
With that in mind, here’s his sober assessment of TARP.
It isn’t often that the government launches a major program that achieves its main goals at a tiny fraction of its estimated costs. That’s the story of TARP — the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Created in October 2008 at the height of the financial crisis, it helped stabilize the economy, used only $410 billion of its authorized $700 billion and will be repaid most of that. The Congressional Budget Office, which once projected TARP’s ultimate cost at $356 billion, now says $19 billion. This could go lower.
Almost everyone loves to hate TARP. It’s a favorite political sport of liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats — and the public. A Bloomberg poll last October asked how TARP had affected the economy. The results: 43 percent said it weakened the economy; 21 percent said it made no difference; only 24 percent said it helped, with 12 percent unsure one way or another. Commentators in newspapers from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times disparage TARP.
One lesson of the financial crisis is this: When the entire financial system succumbs to panic, only the government is powerful enough to prevent a complete collapse. Panics signify the triumph of fear. TARP was part of the process by which fear was overcome. It wasn’t the only part, but it was an essential part. Without TARP, we’d be worse off today. No one can say whether unemployment would be 11 percent or 14 percent; it certainly wouldn’t be 8.9 percent.
That benefited all Americans. TARP, says Douglas Elliott of the Brookings Institution, “is the best large federal program to be despised by the public.”
This demonstrates just how out of touch many Americans are these days. Sure, there’s plenty of justifiable anger. But this program served its purpose.
The battle regarding Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren has been a hot topic on both Capital Hill and Wall Street, as many are waiting to see whether she will be appointed as the head of the new Consumer Protection Agency.
The New York Times has written an editorial supporting her nomination. Meanwhile, more Democratic Senators are lining up to support her. Meanwhile, Warren is reaching out to some Republicans and lobbyists.
Chris Dodd has expressed concern over whether she can be confirmed, but many liberals argue that a fight with Wall Street supporters would help the administration heading into the midterm elections and would help fire up the liberal base.
We think this is a no-brainer for Obama – appoint her already!