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.
The president has decided not to veto the Housing Bill that passed the House yesterday. So is it a good bill or not? Speaking to a few experts around town has led me to conclude it is an okay bill -- it will help allay the problems of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the short term, but it doesn't offer long-term solutions to the problem of affordable housing or go as far as progressives might want it to go in the near term.
I'll leave an explanation of the details of the bill to David Abromowitz, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress:
Calling EPI today, I learned that the federal minimum wage is going up tomorrow, all the way to $6.55, but it's not going up that much: 23 states and the District of Columbia already have higher mandated pay rates. The raise only affects about 40 percent of the workforce.
A WaPo editorial today characterizes Barack Obama's Iraq policy as "eccentric" -- not sure I've ever seen that word employed in political discourse before, so points for that -- but bases that judgment on two unusual criteria. One, that General Petraeus opposes a timetable; however, it's up to the Commander-in-Chief to set strategic goals. Two, and much less credibly, that "neither [do] Iraq's principal political leaders actually support his strategy."
The McCain campaign just sent me a statement in which Barack Obama acknowledges that "there's no doubt that General Petraeus does not want a timetable," as though that recognition of the obvious means the jig is up. But it raises this important question: If John McCain knows nothing about the economy and most domestic issues but wants to be elected based on his foreign policy, which is apparently 'do whatever David Petraeus says,' why not have McCain do a surprise endorsement of Petraeus and drop out? It would certainly be easier than crafting a coherent foreign policy.
Conservatives are in a lather about The New York Times' decision not to print an op-ed by John McCain that attacks Barack Obama's Iraq policy. (Apparently the paper would have considered a different draft).