Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Over the weekend, global financial institutions officially bailed out Ireland. $90 billion in loans will go to the Irish government, which in turn will use most of them to bail out the banks, leaving little left over for upcoming emergencies. Felix Salmon has already called the amount "underwhelming," and he's right -- if history is any guide, this "package," as the IMFers call it these deals, will not stem growing concerns about sovereign debt, nor will it be a reprieve for other European countries teetering on the edge of default.
In an unsurprising move, House Republicans are gearing up to hinder the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established this past summer by the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation:
While they have little hope of repealing the new consumer agency—which has broad powers to write rules for mortgages, credit cards and other financial products—Republicans can work to influence regulators to blunt the agency's power.
For decades, libertarian Rep. Ron Paul has criticized the Federal Reserve Bank, putting him outside both parties: Democrats who hoped the central bank could manage sustainable growth and Republicans whose policy idol was conservative monetary economist Milton Friedman.
Now, when Congress reorganizes in January, Paul is likely to be placed in charge of the House panel that oversees the Federal Reserve, and his fellow Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, are mounting an extensive critique of the Fed's latest policy, even suggesting it's time to rewrite the institution's operating mandate. But Paul is still not exactly on the same page.
"I think they're missing the whole point," he says. "I don't want the Fed to have any power!"
Jason Zengerle has a new profile of New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who apparently does his best to manufacture the famous YouTube moments where he berates constituents who disagree with him. But what interests me far more than his media strategy is his strategy for buying off local Democratic Party bosses: