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.
FOLEY FALLOUT. You can see it in the way that salacious scandals in unrelated races are resurfacing in Foleygate's wake. As Eve Fairbanks has been noting, Pennsylvania's Don Sherwood has been dogged by allegations of choking his Peruvian mistress, but the scandal had remained mainly as subtext in his heated reelection fight -- until now. Check out Sherwood's new ad.
THE CORRUPT CCP.The New York Times reports that the party boss of Shanghai was detained in an anti-corruption probe last week, the first such major detention since 1995. The Times suggests that the move was intended to solidify Hu Jintao's power base, and to intimidate leftover supporters of retired leader Jiang Zemin.
DOW DOWNER. Speaking of stock market stuff, expect to see the GOP trumpeting the Dow's ascension to a new high of 11,727.34 yesterday. While it's a good number, it's a bit illusory. The Dow is reported in terms of absolute values, but as with everything else in economics, those are rarely so absolute. Indeed, if inflation is taken into account -- and why wouldn't it be? -- the Dow would need to jump another 2,150 points before matching its past high. Today's number is good, but in terms of metrics like the ability to actually buy things, it's no high.
THE INVISIBLE RIGHT HAND. It's a hoary truism that markets favor Republican rule, though one that, till now, lacked much evidence. Stock prices, after all, have consistently done better under Democratic administrations than Republican rule. But Justin Wolfers at the Wharton School of Business and Erik Snowberg and Eric Zitzewitz at Stanford University found a more telling methodology for testing the preference: They researched how markets performed during the 48-hour period starting when the American people were actually voting for president.
BUSH: BLACKWELL IS A �NUT.� The Toledo Blade pointed out yesterday that buried on page 347 of Bob Woodward�s State of Denial is this not so flattering Bush remark about Ken Blackwell, who other Republicans -- including the President�s brother -- have touted as a rising GOP star:
One infuriating feature of business reporting is the constant cheering for a higher stock market. I have nothing against a higher market, but I know of no general public interest in a high stock market.
In principle, the stock market represents the discounted value of the future profits of corporate America. If the value rises because the economy can now be seen as growing more rapidly, then this is certainly good news. But, if future profits are projected to be higher because of lower wages or lower corporate taxes (e.g. a higher tax burden on workers or fewer public services), why should the mass of the population, who own little or no stock celebrate?
SPEAKER BOEHNER. Via Josh Marshall, check out this article reporting that Dennis Haster may "have just one or two days to turn the affair around -- or quiet it -- or face being forced to step aside." Assuming the latter development for a moment, what would happen next? In the event of Hastert's resignation, John Boehner is the favorite to step up to the Speakership, and presumably his former rival for majority leader, Roy Blunt, would take over his current role. Incidentally, this paragraph from the U.S.
AL-QAEDA WANTS THE U.S. IN IRAQ.Marc Lynchasks why so few in the media seem to have mentioned this. In a letter purportedly from a top al-Qaeda leader to the organization's Iraqi branch, the author writes:
Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God's permission.