Gretchen Morgenson had a good piece in the Times documenting some of the ways in which corporate boards manage to dish out bonuses to CEOs even when they miss performance targets. With all the scandals in CEO pay over the last decade, it is remarkable that this sort of nonsense persists unchecked. Clearly there is a structural imbalance, with top executives being able to pilfer corporate coffers to enrich themselves at the expense of shareholders.
WHO WOULD JESUS WHACK? Occasionally you hear about all those broadly supportable progressive issues on which rapprochement with the Christian right will be had. This worldview presupposes that the evangelical movement's partisan identification is the result of the right convincing them that they hold more areas of policy agreement. Which may, in part, be true. Of course, there's also the Mafioso-style intimidation tactics that are deployed against heretics...
THE END OF SUPPLY-SIDEISM. Chris Suellentropnotes that Republicans are beginning to abandon supply-side economics, one of the most overdue exoduses in economic history. Evidence comes from Bush's former chief economic adviser Greg Mankiw, who writes that "some supply-siders like to claim that the distortionary effect of taxes is so large that increasing tax rates reduces tax revenue. Like most economists, I don't find that conclusion credible for most tax hikes, and I doubt Mr.
TAPPED BOUND. Many TAPPED readers, I�m sure, will be happy to learn that Linda Hirshman will be guest-blogging with us for two weeks starting next Monday. Hirshman�s outstanding critique of �choice feminism,� which appeared in the Prospect�s December issue, helped spark a very heated debate about women, work, and the domestic glass ceiling. Hirshman has since extended her work for that piece into a book, Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, which will be released on June 8.
MORE ON IRAN. In addition to Garance and Laura Rozen's comments, it's worth heeding cautionary notes from both Kevin Drum and Ivo Daalder that Condoleezza Rice may be (whether in deliberate bad faith or not) putting too many demands for Iranian concessions on the table as preconditions for negotiation.
SOME PROGRESS, FINALLY. The United States, after much pushing, has finally acceded to engaging in direct talks with Iran, on the condition that it abandon its nuclear enrichment activities. This is the necessary next step in the diplomatic dance, but marks a dramatic departure from the Bush administration's approach toward Iran over the past six years. With the world looking to Iran for a counter-offer, Iran will now either have to chose the engagement with the United States it says it wants or else be perceived as the intransigent party in this conflict.
THE GOOD NEWS. While I was on vacation yesterday, I don't think any of my colleagues noted the ongoing developments in the Haditha massacre story. This is one of those things that makes you appreciate the old-fashioned print news media which, for all its flaws, can bring things like this to light and leaves your humble blogger with relatively little to add.
According to press accounts, Mr. Paulson is an ardent believer in a strong dollar. Regardless of what you think of the budget deficit, the strong dollar IS the reason for the trade deficit.
This is not really a contestable point. No one opts to buy imported goods rather than domestically produced goods because of the budget deficit. They buy imported goods because the strong dollar makes them cheaper. It really is that simple.