Bill Dallas is the CEO of Church Communication Network. Before that he was an inmate in San Quentin, doing time with the very tough guys because of financial fraud. I’ll talk with him on today’s show about what’s ahead for Bernie Madoff.
That’s the first line in my new piece in Politico.com about the refusal by Congressional Democrats to do anything to stop the job-crushing unintended consequences of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act.
As noted in the article, most journalists are wholly unaware of the law’s devastating impact on hundreds of small, medium and even giant businesses. In just one of the recent blows to manufacturers, late on Tuesday Amazon.com announced it was dropping 2,500 products from its site because of CPSIA. It is impossible to calculate the damage to the producers of those products, but the shutting down of a key marketing pipeline in the middle of recession has got to be staggering.
The job losses flowing from CPSIA are real and deeply hurtful, but neither Speaker Pelosi or Leader Reid have done anything to stop the bleeding. They’d rather spray dollars at the public works projects than act quickly to save private sector manufacturing jobs which are the backbone of the economy.
That’s the key headline from this morning’s Wall Street Journal. The heart of the economists’ critique:
[The] economists’ main criticism of the Obama team centered on delays in enacting key parts of plans to rescue banks. “They overpromised and underdelivered,” said Stephen Stanley of RBS Greenwich Capital. “Secretary Geithner scheduled a big speech and came out with just a vague blueprint. The uncertainty is hanging over everyone’s head.”
Yesterday The Hill provided a sampling not of number-crunching economists, but of veteran president-watchers –Democrats and Republicans, pundits and electeds– but the verdict was the same: Confidence in President Obama’s direction is slipping.
A few weeks of decent market gains, and much of the angst would fade, but the economy is clearly now “owned” by the president because he got the stimulus he wanted, he didn’t veto the ear-mark laden appropriations bill, and it has been four months since his election and there is still no public plan for the banks. President Obama blames President Bush at every opportunity, but that’s already an old refrain with little punch. With a trillion-and-a-half of spending at President Obama’s disposal (the stimulus, the omnibus, and the second half of TARP), voters expect a reviving market which looks out a few months.
Republicans are beginning to get their voice back, and the sense of a Democratic Administration and Congress burdened by absurd economic theories is growing. If the economy staggers along in no-to-low growth, voters will have to put the Congress back in the hands of the tax-cutting party.
Senior Democrats on the Hill may yet force the president to abandon his growth-destroying tax hikes, and to focus more on reintroducing the optimistic tone that the Chief Executive should almost always project. But their opportunity to recalibrate his course is narrowing, and the first hundred days is quickly becoming a slog through a swamp of wasteful spending and useless rhetorical attacks on the long-gone George W. Bush.
Word is out that the new conservative at the paper is Ross Douthat –a very talented writer and an excellent representative of the conservative world view. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder expands on Douthat’s background.