Should we even have a debt ceiling?

Moody’s wants the United States to eliminate the debt ceiling, arguing that it adds uncertainty to the debt markets.

This would make for better policy, but I don’t agree with Ezra Klein who argues that it would also be good politics for President Obama to make this argument. The issue is too polarized at the moment.


Obama discusses energy policy

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his energy strategy at Georgetown University in Washington, March 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ENERGY BUSINESS)

President Barack Obama gave a speech today on his energy strategy at Georgetown University in Washington. He addressed some of the recent controversy regarding domestic oil production, noting that oil production is at an 8-year high in the US, and that we can insist on safety with sensible regulation and still produce oil from offshore sites.

Obama urged oil companies to make greater use of the federal leases both onshore and offshore to prop up domestic oil output. The oil industry and GOP lawmakers have been loudly complaining about delays in the permitting of offshore drilling in recent months. But an irked administration, which had pledged tougher scrutiny of drilling applications after last year’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, fired back Tuesday with an Interior Department report that revived earlier debates about whether oil companies were exploiting the leases they already have.

Obama has made energy a priority since taking office, with the increase in automobile fuel efficiency marking perhaps his greatest impact. As part of the economic stimulus package adopted in 2009, he also won about $70 billion in grants and loan guarantees to promote energy efficiency, advanced batteries for cars and renewable energy. He has said that in addition to energy benefits those monies will create what he calls “green jobs.” But he poured a large amount of effort into winning passage of a cap-and-trade climate bill, which failed.


Chrysler generates buzz with Super Bowl commercial

Chrysler’s two-minute Super Bowl commercial for the new Chrysler 200 featuring scenes of Detroit and with an appearance by Eminem is getting plenty of buzz. It’s two minutes long and quite compelling. The comeback story for the company fits with the concept of a rust best city trying to come back as well. I wonder if the workers at Chrysler and GM will be sending thank you notes to President Obama for saving the companies?


Business and labor support more infrastructure spending

President Barack Obama is applauded by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, while delivering his State of the Union address. UPI/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/POOL

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama made a strong case for investments necessary for our future, particularly infrastructure spending. There will be a big battle with the GOP over any spending initiative, but the president is getting support from an unlikely pairing.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, often bitter foes in conflicts between business and labor, released a rare joint statement Wednesday in support of President Barack Obama’s call for additional infrastructure spending.

The business lobby and union conglomerate’s respective leaders offered a united front in applauding the broad pitch for domestic development in Obama’s State of the Union address.

“America’s working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama’s call to create jobs and grow our economy through investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” their joint statement reads. “Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy.

“With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will also join together to build America’s infrastructure.”

It will be interesting to see if momentum build for more spending in this area.


The President’s economic team

Larry Summers (R), an economic advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner attend the announcement of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House in Washington, in this February 6, 2009 file photo. Blunt, brash, brainy and occasionally self-mocking. Larry Summers, the White House economic adviser, is all of these things. In a career spanning academia, government and finance, he has rubbed some people the wrong way and infuriated others. To match SPECIAL REPORT - SUMMERS   REUTERS/Jim Young/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS HEADSHOT)

Here’s an excellent article on how the White House economic team is organized. When you read about the President’s economic advisers, this article can help you understand how they all work together. It can also help you understand how different personalities work together, from Christina Romer to Larry Summers to Tim Geithner.

Thanks to Ezra Klein for the link. Ezra also has a great post on how Larry Summers might now be the ideal candidate to run the National Economic Council, given the nature of his personality.


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