Every news article that reports on Fed Chairman Benjamin Bernanke's assessment of the housing market should include a warning notice. Alan Greenspan has publicly stated that he deliberately chose to not to talk about the stock bubble while it was inflating, even though he recognized the bubble, because he thought it was inapproprate for the Fed to try to influence the course of the bubble.
If Mr. Bernanke has the same view of the Fed's responsibilities as Alan Greenspan, this means that he would not say that he believed there to be a housing bubble, even if in fact did believe that there was a housing bubble. This means that, whether or not Mr. Bernanke's believes there is a housing bubble, he will say that he sees no serious risk of major price declines in housing prices.
FOR THEM BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST THEM. The National Labor Relations Board, currently stacked with anti-worker Bush appointees, ruled today that about 8 million workers are actually of supervisor status, and thus cannot form unions. Charming. Exactly one month ago, Bush spoke at a union's Center for Maritime Training and Education, saying:
THE REAL CULPRIT. I'm truly going to miss the old girl when she loses by a couple of miles in November. Perhaps in gratitude to Mark Foley for declining to run for the Senate, thereby enabling her to put together the most singular combination of incompetence and public nutbaggery in the history of American electoral politics, Katherine Harris cuts right to the heart of the ongoing scandal -- if you're keeping score at home, the Republican leadership of the House knew nothing of any of this, but the omnipotent Democratic leadership sat on this information until just the right moment.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CONFOUND IT. You knew it was coming: Paul BermanrejoinsEric Alterman's rejoinder to his essay on I.F. Stone. What is the proper way to assess Soviet Communism's influence on the American left? What does Berman think a midcentury American Menshevik has to teach American liberals about current Iran policy?
WEBCAMERON. Wrist-deep in a sink full of dirty dishes, discussing his vision for a better country while continuously fighting off interruptions from his kid -- this is how Britain�s boyish new Conservative Leader David Cameronchose to appear in a new behind-the-scenes website launched this week. Cameron, who spoke today at his party�s conference and is profiled glowingly in this morning�s Times, is already a political phenomenon across the pond.
COMMAS. Once again, the president has been gifted with a new turn of phrase and he's taking it on the road with him. On Tuesday, talking about the war in Iraq, he told an audience in California:
You know, it must seem like an eternity to you, when you think about those elections last December. It certainly does to me, in some ways. Ultimately, when this chapter of history will be written, however, it's going to be a comma. The Iraqis voted for freedom -- comma -- and the United States of America understood that Iraq was the central front in the war on terror and helped this young democracy flourish...
THE WAL-MART EFFECT. So long as I'm talking books, I've been trying for days now to figure out how to recommend Charles Fishman's The Wal-Mart Effect, which is by far the most important, enlightening, and judicious examination of the new economy I've yet seen. Since all I've got for the tome is unadulterated, schoolgirl-like praise, a review wouldn't quite have worked, so I'm just going to shoehorn it in here. If you're at all interested in the subject, Fishman's book is among the top two or three I've ever read on a contemporary issue (the others, if you're interested, being Jason DeParle's American Dream and Thomas Geoghegan's Which Side Are You On?).
BOOKS.David Brooks argues that one indicator that conservatism is running out of steam is a distinct paucity of "big, impactful books" on the right. He reminisces about the good ol' days, the 80's and 90's, when George Gilder, Alan Bloom, Charles Murray, and others were writing books that fundamentally shifted how conservatives viewed the world. Such books aren't being released lately, he laments.
Okay, that is not what Benjamin Bernanke said, but that is what his logic implies. How do I get there?
Well, in a speech today, Mr. Bernanke complained about the huge projected rise in entitlement spending. He pointed out that Social Security and Medicare spending together are projected to rise from 7 percent of GDP today to 15 percent of GDP by 2050. Therefore he called for the revamping of both programs.