Saturday, August 29, 2009

Points of View - August 29

Today's post has a variety of topics discussed, so we have categorized them to help you filter through them.

Senator Ted Kennedy

The Reagans and the Kennedys - By Peggy Noonan - The Wall Street Journal - "It was the summer of 1985, a year after the second Reagan landslide, and there was a particular speech coming up that was important to the president and first lady. It was a fund-raiser for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, which at the time was relatively new and the only presidential library that didn’t have an endowment. The event was at Ted Kennedy’s house. The senator had asked the Reagans to help out. The families had struck up a friendship a few years before; in 1981 the Reagans had been delighted by Rose Kennedy, whom they had hosted for her first visit to the White House since her son Jack was president."

Kennedy’s Flaws Gave Way to the Great Man - By Margaret Carlson - Bloomberg - "There are no brothers left to give the eulogy for Senator Edward Kennedy, who was called to give so many. The sorrow at his death is tempered by the fact that he got what so many in his family didn’t, 77 years. At his nephew’s funeral, Kennedy said: 'We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair... But like his father, he had every gift but length of years.'"

Renomination of Ben Bernanke

After Slow Start, Fed Chief Found His Groove - By Jon Hilsenrath, Sudeep Reddy and David Wessel - The Wall Street Journal - "As Mr. Greenspan's successor, he was slow to recognize the severity of the calamity confronting the economy, though he tried to catch up by cutting interest rates sharply in January 2008 and by saving Bear Stearns from bankruptcy in March 2008. But last September, he didn't rescue Lehman Brothers -- he said there was nothing he could legally do -- and that firm's bankruptcy helped push the U.S. economy closer to repeating the Great Depression than he ever imagined possible. After that, Mr. Bernanke disregarded tradition, stretched the Fed's legal authority and swatted away critics in what now appears to be a successful rescue of the economy."

Right Man, Rough Job - The Economist - "Having endured weeks of criticism over his plans to reform American health care, Barack Obama urgently needs some friendly headlines. That helps to explain why, on August 25th, the president nominated Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, even though Mr Bernanke’s first one does not expire until next January. The decision was widely hailed on Wall Street and in Washington, DC. With few exceptions, politicians and economists lined up to praise Mr Bernanke and to laud Mr Obama for keeping him."

On the Reappointment of Ben Bernanke - By Paul Krugman - The New York Times - "Generally, I’m pleased. Bernanke has done a good job in the crisis — he’s been far more aggressive and creative than almost anyone else would have been in his place, partly because he’s a scholar of the Great Depression, partly because he took Japan’s lost decade seriously and was therefore intellectually prepared for a liquidity-trap world."

Politics Come Into Play - By Gerald F. Seib - The Wall Street Journal - "President Barack Obama's decision to reappoint Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke makes sense for a lot of reasons, but here's an important political one: It now is far easier for the president to say he has a team that's winning the epic battle to turn around the economy."

A Second Term for Mr. Bernanke? - The New York Times - "Projecting an air of casual inevitability, President Obama took a break from his summer vacation on Tuesday to nominate Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Mr. Obama said that Mr. Bernanke’s leadership in the financial crisis had helped to prevent another Great Depression. He praised Mr. Bernanke as a man whose qualities and capabilities had helped to 'put the brakes on our economic free fall.' All true, as far as it goes. But it does not go far enough."

Healthcare & Trusting the Government

Imbalance of Trust - By Charles M. Blow - The New York Times - "Surprisingly, Democrats’ trust in government was the same or higher after a Republican was elected than it was after a Democrat was elected. That in spite of the fact that all three Democratic presidents came into office at the same time that their party had won control of both chambers of Congress."

Health-Care Secrets - The Wall Street Journal - "President Obama has promised a 'new era of transparency' in Washington, so perhaps he should talk to the Senate about getting with his program. On July 15, six weeks ago, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed an amended $1 trillion health-care bill, with acting Chairman Chris Dodd calling it a 'historic achievement.' Too bad the committee won't reveal this history even to other Senators, much less to the public."

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