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Archive for May, 2011

The GOP 2012 Catch-22

May 31st, 2011

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This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

What, exactly, is the Republicans’ problem?

President Obama looks highly vulnerable as he begins his campaign for re-election. His job ratings, even after the elimination of Osama bin Laden, are only middling—around 50%, which is the threshold for re-election. Last year’s midterm was catastrophic for Democrats. The excitement factor, which drew huge Democratic turnout in 2008, is not there anymore.

And the economy is worse than it was when Obama took office. The nation’s unemployment rate was 7.8% in January 2009. Last month, it was 9%. The most optimistic forecasts have the unemployment rate dropping to about 8% next year.

Ten Presidents have run for re-election since World War II. Six of them ran when the unemployment rate was below 6%. They all got re-elected. Four ran when unemployment was over 7%. Three of them lost (Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and the first George Bush in 1992). Read the rest of this entry »

Pitching a penny for trade

May 27th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in The Hill.

Imagine that someone presented you with the following proposition: You can have $10, with more to come. You’re just asked to pitch in a penny to improve your neighborhood. You’d probably be quick to take that deal, right? Well, that’s basically the offer on the table right now for the American economy, yet some in Washington are waffling.

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Gas Prices: Fool Us Fourteen Times, Shame on Us

May 26th, 2011

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The gas price debate in the U.S. is a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. Fourteen times over the last 25 years, we have woken to gas prices in the United States have jumped by at least 5% between the months of March and June. Each time, Americans feel more and more of a pinch on their wallets. And each time, policymakers roll out the same stale and ineffective solutions. While calls for more drilling or releasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve may make for good sound-bites, these proposals would do little if anything to reduce oil prices.

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Leaving $2.3 Trillion on the Table

May 24th, 2011

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The United States is engaged in a fierce global economic competition to capture a share of the $2.3 trillion clean energy market. For the countries that seize this moment, clean energy will translate into new economic growth and businesses and a large share of the 20.4 million new jobs the sector is anticipated to create by 2030. Winning this race, however, requires significant public-private partnerships and investment in clean energy deployment and innovation. The 2012 House Republican budget proposal does the opposite. It eviscerates the very investments the United States needs to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Israel Clings to Status Quo

May 24th, 2011

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“The status quo is unsustainable,” President Obama said when he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday. That’s the core issue in the controversy over President Obama’s Middle East policy.

The status quo is unsustainable for the United States because it is undermining Obama’s policy of outreach to the Muslim world. General David Petraeus said as much when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year. “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests” in the Middle East, Petraeus testified. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling U.S.-Korea Trade Deal Calls for Common Sense

May 11th, 2011

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This piece was originally published by Bloomberg.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The proposed U.S. trade deal with South Korea would “increase exports of American goods by $10 billion to $11 billion.”

This is how Washington policy makers and American business leaders have traditionally made the case for new U.S. trade agreements. The numbers don’t lie; they don’t always persuade, either.

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