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.
IN DEFENSE OF INTERNSHIPS. I'm going to break with Garancehere -- Anya Kamenetz's op-ed didn't make much sense to me. Her basic point is simple: Internships are a $124 million subsidy to corporate America. Well, maybe. But first you have to figure out how many internships are actually in "corporate America." The American Prospect, The Nation, the AFL-CIO, the Center for American Progress, the ACLU, People for the American Way, and all the other usual suspects have robust intern programs which allow them to train and try out kids they can't necessarily hire.
THE NEW ANTI-UNION TRAINING GROUND: UNPAID INTERNSHIPS.Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible Time to be Young, today penned a brilliant op-ed for The New York Times arguing that, rather than focusing solely on the impact of illegal immigrants on wages and jobs, we ought to take a good, hard look at the potential wage and other distortions created by the rise of the unpaid internship as a major factor in American economic life, and to treat internships as the "$124 million yearly contribution to the welfare of corporate America" that they are.
ZINSMEISTER'S RACE-CONSCIOUS NATION.Greg over at Horse's Mouth notes another peculiar article by new White House domestic policy chief Karl Zinsmeister, this 1996 American Enterprise essay on the always uncontroversial subject of race. While making appropriate hemming and hawing sounds and adding lots of caveats to his assertions, Zinsmeister still manages to come off sounding, well, like the kind of fellow an administration that's already alienated African-Americans might not chose to lead its domestic programs if it wanted to improve those relations.
GOREWATCH. So far as all the speculation that Gore has released his fundraisers and is definitively out goes, color me unimpressed. To be clear, I don't think Gore will run -- I'd put the odds at 60:40 against. But the decision has nothing to do with his funders. As Rich Lowrynotes, Gore doesn't, in any case, have a serious network of longtime moneymen waiting for reactivation. Whatever cash-shoveling infrastructure he built in 2000 has long since atrophied, and much of it is probably solidly in Hillary's camp.
THAT EXPLAINS IT. If you're ever confused about the GOP's puzzling determination to eliminate the broadly supportable estate tax, this report showing that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their cabinet will personally gain between $90 and $340 million dollars from the tax's repeal clarifies things considerably.
HOORAY FOR PRE-K. The vote on California's Proposition 82 -- the Rob Reiner-spearheaded initiative providing universal access to preschool for all Californians, paid for by an income tax hike on wealthy residents -- is coming up in a week. The odds are still in its favor for passage, though not overwhelmingly so.
SPEAKER PELOSI.The New York TimesassessesNancy Pelosi today. Much ink (including a direct quote from Barney Frank) is devoted to how bad she is on television. This is true; she's bad on television. It's her deficiency as a "spokesperson for the party" that seems partly to explain the rather odd pincer dynamic that's emerged under her leadership, wherein various observers, activists, and members both to her left and to her right have expressed dissatisfaction with her. The hostility from the right -- from Steny Hoyer's allies, a.k.a.
MAY ACTUALLY DO A HECKUVA JOB. With Treasury Secretary John Snowfinally on his way out, Bush has named Goldman-Sachs CEO Henry Paulson to be Snow�s replacement. Paulson is -- believe it or not -- a serious, competent guy who comes, like Robert Rubin before him, from Wall Street. Better yet, he retains a reputation of his own, has long ties to the private sector, and has plenty of money in the bank. In other words, the administration needs him, he doesn't need them, and both sides know it. Paulson should enjoy an easy confirmation, and Chuck Schumer has already offered his support. Guess the Bush administration didn't feel like picking a fight...