Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

Posts in "Economy"

August 28, 2013

Keep Your Eye on the Dow

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up just short of 13 percent over the past year, it has lost almost 850 points since it hit its 52-week high of 15,658.43 on Aug. 2. With the Dow closing today at 14,824.51, that’s a drop of only 5.3 percent.

That recent slide in the Dow surely reflects concern about expected U.S. military action in Syria and higher crude oil prices, but it also is a function of the growing belief of investors that the Federal Reserve will start to taper its policy of quantitative easing.

For the Obama administration, this is a very delicate time. Further weakness in the Dow could undermine consumer confidence which, in turn, could short-circuit the economic recovery and undermine public confidence in the president.

Democrats certainly have reasons (both international and domestic) to be jittery about the political environment, but they should remember that Republicans will still have plenty of opportunities to look foolish, keeping attention on the division within their ranks and their most confrontational members rather than on the president.

And no matter what happens, Democrats will look to blame the GOP for any weakness in the economy or on the jobs front.

July 2, 2013

Democrats Rally Against Bill Clinton’s Record

WR980202.031 426x335 Democrats Rally Against Bill Clintons Record

Clinton announced his budget in 1998 (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What do you call a politician who supports the Defense of Marriage Act and a balanced federal budget? Today, that describes a conservative Republican. Sixteen years ago, that was a two-term Democratic president.

Bill Clinton is a rock star among Democrats. He’s one of the most requested politicians on the campaign trail because his unique appeal allows him to go to regions of the country where President Barack Obama isn’t particularly popular.

But while Democrats are more than happy to have the former president preaching their praises, the party is rallying against two of the highest profile accomplishments of his presidency. Full story

June 10, 2013

When the Nation Has the Blahs …

Is the nation suffering from a national case of hypochondria, or are Americans rightly worried about the country’s future?

The answer depends, in part, on your (political) point of view. But it’s also true that every bit of good news — rising home prices, rising stock prices and an increase in federal tax revenues that improves Medicare’s short-term outlook — seems to be followed by a warning, a disappointment or tragedy, some of them weather-related, that brings gloom and doom.

The U.S. economy is expanding, but at a disappointingly slow pace. Jobs are being created, but not enough to make a real dent in the nation’s unemployment and underemployment rates.

The Obama health care plan is about to kick into high gear, but polls suggest that the public isn’t enamored with it. Republicans believe that dissatisfaction with the plan will fuel anger toward the president and his party as the months roll by. Full story

April 29, 2013

Is Long-term Economic, Political Discontent Ahead?

Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson is one of a handful of economic writers I pay a lot of attention to. If you are a political junkie, you should read his April 28 piece The Twilight of Entitlement, which has profound implications for American politics and for the nation’s psyche.

Samuelson isn’t talking merely about Social Security or Medicare when he writes about “entitlements.” Instead, he is talking about a set of “attitudes and beliefs” best expressed by President Bill Clinton when he said, “If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll have the freedom and opportunity to pursue your own dream.”

That’s no longer the case, the veteran columnist writes, noting increased financial anxiety and less optimism about the future in at least two recent surveys.

The post-World War II period offered growth, opportunity and optimism for Americans, but, if Samuelson is right, we have already entered a period which is more about dividing a relatively stable pie than about sharing in a growing pie.

“Popular national goals remain elusive. Poverty is stubborn. Many schools seem inadequate. The ‘safety net,’ private and public, is besieged,” he writes, arguing that Americans no longer believe that they can count on a strong economy, secure jobs, home ownership, fixed tax burdens, college education and an ever expanding government safety net. Full story

By Stuart Rothenberg Posted at 3:01 p.m.
Economy

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