Tim Fernholz

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.

Recent Articles

LOOTERS' FOLLIES

Delightful economic news in the Times this morning: “It’s clear that the housing downturn and credit crunch are still very much under way. Clearly, there are more jobs to be lost in housing, finance and construction -- hundreds of thousands of more jobs to be lost collectively.” Without easily accessible credit, the article goes on, Americans are being forced to ration their paychecks, putting a hit on consumer purchasing, even with tax rebate checks going out. It's increasingly clear that we need a more aggressive response from the government in order to limit some of the factors leading to this slide; one option is the Dodd-Frank bill, discussed by Dean Baker and Bob Kuttner . Congressional staff hope that bill passes when Congress returns from the Independence day recess, but the real question is whether any further recovery legislation will be approved by the White House before we have a new president -- sure, 6 months seems like a long time, but it's nothing on the Hill; the...

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END, THE BAD ONES JUST LAST FOREVER.

George Packer touched off a discussion yesterday with a comment suggesting that conditions in Iraq might be improving so much that Obama won't able to see through his ambitious withdrawal plan. This is very optimistic, to say the least, but even if Packer is right (and he almost certainly isn't), Obama sees the whole engagement as a bad strategic move, and is going to be able to make political headway by offering to shift the fight to Al Qaeda and Afghanistan. The right, furthermore, is going to be hard pressed to explain to a very war-weary public why, if things are going so well, we need to remain in the country. But given the continuing lack of political progress and resulting violence , I also think Packer and friends are talking about improvement too soon -- the number of troops killed rose from May to June. Bonus Morning Tidbit : Forcing myself to watch Hardball last night, I received the dubious pleasure of hearing Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom claim, on McCain 's behalf,...

THE TIES THAT BIND US BLIND US.

This post has been updated. Conservative provocateur James Kirchick pens a bit of nonsense in Politico today, arguing that Democrats are smearing John McCain. To do that, he has to equate lies about Obama with critical discussions of John McCain's biography. On the smear side, you have malicious and baseless rumors about Obama's religion, past, and wife. On the other side, you have public officials asking whether or not McCain's wartime experience would help him be a better president. Scott already addressed the Wes Clark issue, but I was surprised to see Kirchick cite a Rand Beers quote from yesterday, captured in full at ABC : “Sadly, Sen. McCain was not available during those times, and I say that with all due respect to him," said informal Obama adviser Rand Beers. "I think that the notion that the members of the Senate who were in the ground forces or who were ashore in Vietnam have a very different view of Vietnam and the cost that you described than John McCain does because he...

REALLY A PANDER THERE?

Noam Scheiber makes a good point about the secondary effects of Obama 's outreach to evangelical voters, but I think he's got his vocab wrong -- he calls it "pandering." But doesn't pandering imply a certain expediency, as though Obama wouldn't have delivered the best speech on religion in politics in years, or be spending today rolling out his plans for a "President’s Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships," except that he needs the votes? I think part of the reason Noam thinks this is a pander is the generally accepted but false idea that religious voters don't have a place on the left. But, looking back at Obama's personal and legislative history, it's safe to say his religious outreach is an organic part of his ideology. Put it this way: pandering requires a politician to indulge a group that's not part of his or her natural constituency. I'd say Obama's first two general election ads, with all their talk of slashing welfare rolls and cutting taxes, could count in...

TREAT IT LIKE AN OIL WELL.

The final panel of "McCain University" dealt with the Senator's energy policy, which is based entirely on gimmickry and a false reputation as a moderate, according to Joe Romm . Fast facts: Romm refers to McCain 's stance as "The Placebo Energy Policy" because of his tendency to discuss the psychological boost provided by his announcements, without mentioning that they will have very little affect on the cost, supply or side affects of energy production. Case in point: Saudi Arabia has announced plans to produce 700,000 more barrels of oil a day by the end of the year, with no discernible affect on oil prices. McCain's proposal to increase offshore drilling has the potential to increase our capacity by 200,000 barrels a day ... in 20 years. Sounds like that'll help. Navin Nayak of the League of Conservation Voters points out that McCain's lifetime LCV voting score is 24 percent. The panelists observed that, while McCain and other conservatives often promote technology as the solution...

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