Michael Maiello's picture

    Things To Like About Conservatives

    Playing Diogenes, good ol' jollyroger asked us to name some respectable conservatives.  It's a tough game because they all have sins.  I used to cite William Buckley as a personal favorite for his general tone and writing style, but would always be confronted with the crass and ignorant things the guy said about homosexuals in response.  From our lens, none of them are perfect.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    People Who Want To Hurt US

    My column for The Daily today is about the S&P downgrade and its effects but, beyond that, it's about an undercurrent of belief in the U.S. that we should be collectively punished for the sins of borrowing and profligate spending.

    There's actually a whole school of "hard money" economics adherents, known as the "Austrian School," that believes this very explicitly.  They see stimulus packages, quantitative easing, Keynesian money printing and other Federal Reserve tactics as ways of avoiding necessary economic pain.  Ron and Rand Paul are in this camp.  They believe that you deal with high unemployment or stagnant wages or even inflation by... living with it.  These are the necessary results of speculative bubbles that you never should have let happen in the first place and if you'd just let the supply of gold be the disciplining factor in economic life, you wouldn't have had these problems in the first place.  I tend to believe that if we did that we'd still be living in 15th century conditions, but that's another story.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    What Obama Sacrificed

    I see over at Swampland today that likely casualties of the budget deal include the long-term unemployed (who are unlikely to get another extension of unemployment benefits) and, of all things during a time when we're encouraging people to get more education to be better at their jobs, graduate students, who will lose the ability to take out federally subsidized loans.  One can only hope that pulling subsidies for those loans will eventually bring the costs of graduate schools dow

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    March Of The Centrists

    My latest column for The Daily was a reaction Thomas Friedman's recent New York Times column calling for a third party presidential candidate to be selected by some Internet Web site that he says is backed by flashy hedge fund money.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Is Obama Losing The Debt Ceiling Debate On Purpose?

    This morning, Paul Krugman praised a New York Review Of Books article by Elizabeth Drew called "What Were They Thinking?" that I recommend you all read.  It's depressing stuff but it at least offers an explanation as to why Obama never called the Republicans on their debt ceiling bluff and why he's made so darned many compromises that it's almost inconceivable that this whole debate ends as anything other than a Republican victory.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Ending The "Bush Tax Cuts"

    I used to think that the most lasting effects that a President can have on the country are his appointments to the federal courts.  But George W. Bush has changed my mind about that.  If you really want to have a lasting voice in the national conversation, just put your name on a big, fundamental piece of legislation and make it sunset after you're out of office.  The "Bush Tax Cuts," designed from the start to expire after Bush's two terms were, were a devious trap, set to explode in the face of the next president, preferably a Democrat.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Don't Raise Taxes Yet

    The largest single economic problem the U.S.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Let's Step Up And Do It!

    Over at TPM, the early response to Obama's presser seems to be that this was a political homerun for President Obama.  I get the logic here.  He used his bully pulpit to very clearly articulate that all of the debt ceiling obstruction is coming from the right.  He tortured House speaker John Boehner by praising his honesty and intentions, thus making the rest of the Republican party look a tad insane.  This could, as David Kurtz argues, cost the Republican some stature with the press, if not with vote

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Real People On Trial

    I have criminal trials on the brain this week with Dominique Strauss-Kahn and now Casey Anthony dominating the non-political news.  But, as I said in a previous post, I'm not a crime news junky.  I am, however, very interested in procedure and civil liberties.  When something like the DSK case happens I almost immediately wonder, "what happens to the accused when they are not fabulously wealthy?" Which is the topic of my column for The Daily this week.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Strange Verdicts, Casey Anthony and Murder Trials

    I don't follow murder trials closely and I can't stand Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor who seems to think that no innocent people have ever been accused of a crime in America ever.  When juries acquit in what we outsiders are assured are "slam dunk" cases, I don't get angry about it.  It's pointless, after all, and the jury generally knows better than anybody whether or not a prosecutor has surmounted the "reasonable doubt" hurdle.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Rights Of The Accused

    Must be an awkward day for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.  His case against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is reportedly collapsing and the most serious charges might be dropped.  Prosecutors are likely hoping to save face by getting Kahn to plead guilty on some misdemeanor charge but Strauss-Kahn has proven himself a fighter.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Greek Mistake

    A few minutes ago, the Greek parliament voted in favor of the austerity plan being pushed on its governments by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.  The result will be falling living standards in Greece, lower growth (if not outright recession) and much suffering in general.  But, Greece will receive the n

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Michelle Bachmann Dozens

    Michelle Bachmann is...

    ...so flaky that when she showers with Head and Shoulders, she disappears.

    ...so flaky that if she eats a Hershey's Kiss she becomes pan au chocolat.

    ...so flaky that she snowed in her own cross country bus tour.

    ...so flaky that when she goes to KFC, biscuits order her.

    ...so flaky that she could sell herself in Japan as panko under the brand name Pannko.

    …is so flaky that she thought the first primary debate would be held on the Food Network.

    …is so flaky that the Gorton’s Fisherman chases her around.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    What If Obama Loses?

    I'm pretty bad at the politics part of politics.  Sure, I can read opinion polls and guess at what messages will play well in communities I know well, but I don't have a great crystal ball for predicting how groups of people will react to major events.

    When I look over at the Republican ticket I see one threat (Mitt Romney) and a lot of nothing else.  I also think Romney is eminently beatable and that so long as the economy is improving, even if it's improving too slowly, Obama has to be the odds-on favorite to win in 2012.  But, hey, anything can happen, right?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Corporate Power and American Democracy

    Writing a weekly column and blogging here adds up to a lot of spilled words every week.  I'm even starting to sense an evolving theme that wouldn't have been the one I'd necessarily chosen if I'd set out to write a whole bunch of little pieces that were going to add up to something.  Don't worry, I'm not going to go all meta on you here.  Just introducing the idea I've been struggling with -- the role of the economy as an organizing factor in society and the role of corporate executives as the most influential, powerful and unaccountable leaders.  My column for

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Will Barack Obama Work For GE?

    Update: after considering Genghis' comments, I edited the headline here and I want to add one thing, for those of you who have already read the post.  Even according to the Times story I linked to, Obama and Geithner are right now skeptical about the idea of a repatriation tax holiday.  It also looks as if the lobbying effort for this dates back to 2010.  So, yes, I probably did get ahead of myself.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama's Down and Out On Wall Street

    Apparently, President Obama is having trouble raising Wall Street money for 2012.  One anonymous champion of capitalism even complains that it's because "Obama simply doesn't like rich people."  I figure a statement like that will draw cackles around here.  If Obama doesn't like rich people, who the heck does he like?  And, if he treats the people he dislikes as well as he's been treating the rich, how do I get on the big guy's bad side?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Corporate America Breaks Up With The Middle Class

    American businesses are breaking up with the middle class.  This won't be news around here, though it might stir up some controversy over at The Daily today.  In my column this week I looked into some of the potential implications of two big changes in American business.  They used to rely largely on domestic middle class consumers to make their profits.  This was true even in the 1990s, when the main effect of globalization was overseas exploitation in order to sell cheap goods ba

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama's New Stimulus, (He's Still Not Getting It)

    I was delighted to see this Bloomberg story about the White House pursuing additional stimulus after the failure of QE2 and the recent rise in unemployment.  But the method he's pursuing -- a temporary holiday for the employer portion of the payroll tax, which funds Social Security, is not going to fix things, even if the Republicans go along with it.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Legalize Drugs, Gambling and Prostitution

    My social libertarian side comes out in my column for The Daily today.  I've always been a live and let live and let your freak flag fly type of person.  I think that people who want to live an atypical life should enjoy being chemically, sexually, physically and emotionally adventurous, so long as that's what they want to do.  If we only get one go at life, there's probably no point in returning your rental body without a few dings in it.

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