Getting close to a deal [Update 2: House passes it]

Bird Dog's picture

Give Obama credit. With his bad negotiation skills, it was better for him to appoint a negotiator (Biden) than do it himself. The Dems give a little on income levels for tax increases and they let the 2% cut in the payroll tax expire. Otherwise, they get what they want. Entitlements are untouched, tax credits get extended, and Medicare doctors don't get a 27% cut in pay. The Republicans get what they can, which isn't much. The debt ceiling can is kicked down the road. We'll see if Boehner can whip enough Republicans to save face. Both sides should take the deal.


UPDATE 1: The Senate passes the deal 89-8. I don't see how the House could not pass it. Around 50 hardliners in the GOP will vote "no" no matter what. After that, there should be a clear majority vote.

UPDATE 2: With only 36% of the GOP caucus voting "aye", the House passes the Senate version unamended. The final vote was 257-167.

UPDATE 3: The short answer to the article title is: Because he's a douchebag. The long answer as to why Reid ended negotiations and Biden stepped in is here.


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Concentrated brainlessness

Bird Dog's picture

It's hard to believe this guy was a full-time pundit for the Des Moines Register, or that the editors would let him out of retirement to publish this. Hey, let's torture people who disagree me about guns and the 2nd Amendment. Until they agree with me. The "let's give up on the Constitution" piece isn't far behind.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The guy is old, yelling at clouds,

brutusettu's picture

and probably lost some brain cells back in July.  I don't know if LaPierre et al have a similar excuse.

But Biiiird Dogggg. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .[Ezra Klein] the Constitution is old and icky and no onnnnne understands it any more! [/Ezra Klein]

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

that document that passively says

brutusettu's picture

[the actual US Constitution] Black people are property and they give white slavemasters, the forefathers of white supremacy, more represenatives.[/the actual US Constitution]????






What do ";" mean back in they day?  Something very similar?

So Is The Amendment Process

M Scott Eiland's picture

Which--like the language on slavery--is quite readable even by modern standards, making Klein's comment even more stupid.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Chief IMF economist admits they were wrong on austerity


From the IMF report: "Forecasters significantly underestimated the increase in unemployment and the decline in domestic demand associated with fiscal consolidation”.


Suppose you accept that economic prognosticators have been similarly inaccurate in the US in underestimating the effects of the 2011 debt ceiling spending cuts and recent tax increases.


Then, from an eyeball of the underestimation of austerity's recessionary effects, the US is already on course to have around 1% GDP growth or lower for 2013.

More good news to cheer up catchy

HankP's picture

Geithner out by end of month


I blame it all on the Internet

I'm almost as glad to see Geithner go


as Lieberman and some of the crap Republicans.

This deal hurts the economy


more than I thought.


I thought the only real drag was the expiring payroll tax, but many estimates are putting the drag at around -1.5% GDP for 2013. 


E.g.: Pantheon economist Shepherdson sees the fiscal cliff deal hurting GDP by 1.5 percent, he told clients in a note on Wednesday.

"That’s still far too much for such a fragile economy but it will not push the U.S. back into recession," he wrote.


Brad Delong estimates the drag at -1.75%


This means our failing political elites are ensuring that the US will be stuck with at least 1 million fewer jobs than w/out the deal. 


Thanks guys, and apparently you're not done yet.

At Some Point It's Not Failure


Not when it's so consistently pursued.


Our political elites must like slow growth.

I don't think they mind a soft labor market


But my guess is the consistent low growth policies are just due to ideological intransigence.


Belief revision is difficult and simply not valued in society.


I liked a recent suggestion to combat this by teaching philosophy in high schools.


Meantime, there's money to be made by betting against those with biased and entrenched background beliefs, especially with conservative (economic) bias.

Comparison of US austerity to European countries



Obama asked for $475 billion in temporary stimulus, instead got nothing, so here we go.


Given that economists have fundamentally underestimated the effects of austerity in Europe, the upper estimates -- a 1.75% to 2.0% drag on GDP -- are likely correct.


I think at this point many of us should be wondering how our expectations got so depressed that we're feeling good about implementing worse than European levels of austerity in the US.

I'm Not Feeling Good About It


I expected this and have not been disappointed. Obama simply will not play hardball, no matter what.


I've been silent on this thing because it's been too predictably discouraging.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

If you want to argue


That Obama should have used his club on the GOP to get a better deal, then you have to lower your expectations to an outcome that's not worse for the GOP than walking into the club is.


What was the club? That hiking taxes on the rich was popular, and that the GOP would be seen as forcing tax hikes on everybody else (and causing economic turmoil) in order to safeguard the rich. Well, one strategy that was talked about on the GOP side was letting the middle class tax cuts pass (i.e., walking into the club.) If the Dems didn't pass the bill as is, then THEY would be seen as the anti-middle-class obstructionists causing economic turmoil, and the GOP could come back and re-litigate when they had better leverage. Let's call that the equilibrium point in the negotiations.


The administration (and I hope, progressives) should have had three priorities:


1. Make the tax code more progressive

2. Long term, reduce the debt by increasing revenues

3. Short term, reduce austerity/increase stimulus


What the administration did was trade some of what the equilibrium gave them in (1) and (2) for a little of (3) in the form of Unemployment Benefits (the form of stimulus with the greatest multiplier, according to some economists) and progressive tax measures. Given the state of the economy, I think that was a reasonable trade-off. Nobody is going to be thrilled with the results, but given the structural constraints they probably couldn't have done much better.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

There is no overall short-term stimulus though


The small UI extension is completely dwarfed by the payroll tax cut expiring. 


Estimates of the current deal are that it is contractionary to the tune of -1.75% GDP for 2013.


At least according to Bill Clinton, that means the deal wasn't credible.


If Obama couples it with signing into law significant spending cuts in a few months I think it moves from borderline to betrayal.

$50 billion for this year


And I believe when you include the progressive tax expenditures, over 10 years they got better than dollar for dollar for what they gave up in revenues.


You can argue that establishing an alternative energy economy or EITC expansion isn't as important as stimulus, but you have to argue it. (Although of course, both these measures have stimulatory effects even if they aren't concentrated over the next two years.)

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

It's $30 billion


So says this link.


Your framing is trading the GOP tax cuts for tax cuts and counting those as progressive wins, including the EITC, which was expanded by Reagan and both Bushes I & II.


When you have to trade the GOP for tax cuts that every Republican president has enacted the past 30 yrs., that's a framing according to which the GOP has already massively won.


Wags, there must be something wrong with counting as a win an austerity deal that is overall -1.75% GDP recessionary. The wind tax, while nice, doesn't make up for this.


And I'll posit that we lost not only b/c of our awful right wing, but also in no small part b/c we have a president more interested in deficit reduction than jobs and growth.

Poo-pooing the EITC


Is poo-pooing the most significant poverty-reduction tool we have. It also probably has a multiplier similar to UI. That Republican Presidents have signed such legislation as part of negotiations with Dems is irrelevant. Does progressivism still stand up for the poor, or does it stand up only for middle-class entitlements?


According to CBO, additional spending this coming year is $50 billion, UI included.


Your estimate of the contractionary hit includes the expiry of the payroll tax, which was always intended to be a short-term measure. And again I have to remind you that you criticized the Prez for choosing stimulus instead of tax hikes when the economy was far worse. Now you criticize him for choosing tax hikes instead of stimulus when de-leveraging has brought household debt to historical norms or below, housing prices (and the construction industry) are picking up, and employment is on the mend. Where is the consistency in that?


Of course, your retort would be that the Prez could have passed anything he wanted back in 2009. An even cursory look at the current state of the debate on the filibuster might indicate that there are some serious problems with the Shazzam theory of Presidential Power. Any chance we could get a review on that?


"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I'm not poo-pooing the EITC


I'm poo-pooing the idea that it's good negotiating to give up something in order to get the GOP to approve tax cuts it's approved during every Republican administration the past 30 yrs. That's called letting the other side dictate terms.


Any idea where the extra $20 billion is coming from? 


"you criticized the Prez for choosing stimulus instead of tax hikes when the economy was far worse."


I've already answered that I think, and am pretty disinterested in defending my personal reputation. My recollection is that Obama didn't get enough stimulus in return for a two-year extension of the upper-end Bush tax cuts. But if I was wrong back then I'm happy to just admit that. We should all be listening to respectable economists and learning about the bad effects of austerity. Are you? 


Calling the payroll tax "always short-term" doesn't excuse ending it prematurely. Like many of these temporary measures, e.g. quantitative easing, the smart thing to do is to index their presence to economic indicators, especially unemployment. This was a failure to prioritize needed growth over deficit reduction, your green shoots statistics notwithstanding.


Bernanke was begging Congress and Obama not to implement austerity. Clinton said short-term growth had to be a component for any deal to be credible. I'm not saying anything these establishment, Obama-allied figures aren't saying, yet somehow you're addressing me as an irrational Obama hater.


What is your claim with filibuster reform? I see a Whitehouse behind the idea and now it's at least a credible threat despite fewer D Senators than in 2009. When post-partisanship was all the rage, obstructionism wasn't being combated. What is your cursory read telling you?

Thinking that the GOP is good with EITC


Is just a very wrong read. It only came into its own with Clinton, and Republicans have had it in their sights for a long time... including their latest Presidential candidate. Of course, even IF the GOP was good with it that wouldn't make it less beneficial to the poor, or inimical to progressives. That's a rather dodgy form of argumentation.


Sorry, can't give you figures on the extra $20BN.


It's laudable that you don't care about your reputation, just what's best. My take is that the most important metric is household leverage. Why? Because if we wait for the crackerjack growth of the 90s we might be waiting for a very long time -- it could be that the fundamentals have changed and we'll never have that growth again, because of demographics or technology or whatever. Meanwhile, we'll be digging a debt hole for ourselves, and putting in danger the entitlement programs you prize so highly. If we get a recurrence of 1937 then I'll be wrong and you'll be right, but I don't think that will be the case.


What is my claim on filibuster reform? Simply that even after four years of completely unprecedented GOP obstruction it is still difficult to find 50 senators, Dem or otherwise, that favor the Merkley bill, a very modest form of filibuster reform -- with or without Presidential support. Why? Because Senators love their privilege of obstruction. This puts the lie to your contention, which was at the center of practically every argument we've had in the last four years, that Obama was failing to win a progressive agenda simply because he was too shy to demand a straight up-and-down vote in the Senate.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I just figured out


that not only does the current deal not do anything about the debt ceiling but the sequester spending cuts are still in force, just pushed back 60 days.


So it looks like Republicans are in a position to extract very significant spending cuts in two months.


Either Biden is a terrible negotiator or the admin wants spending cuts.



Or ...

HankP's picture

the Dems have figured out that the current GOP can't do anything without stepping on their own d!cks. Remember that the GOP wants to cut social programs but doesn't want to say that they're cutting social programs. I'm guessing more proposals that let the GOP indulge in bloody infighting.


I blame it all on the Internet

I'm waiting to see how this all turns out


before turning negative on Obama. As I said, viewed in isolation, this was a poor deal that raised taxes on the middle class, but wasn't terrible There were no spending cuts and taxes got raised on the wealthy.


But I'm having trouble understanding why this deal didn't ditch the sequestration. I can understand why the debt ceiling didn't get wrapped into this, but the sequestration was supposed to be the pressure point for the deal, and it happened.


It's also worth noting that when Obama says he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling, that doesn't mean he won't be negotiating for spending cuts to stave off the sequester. 


I think allowing for a 60 day sequester deadline is a more ominous part of the deal than Obama's having caved on the 250k mark.

It was much better than was feared

HankP's picture

first, it had Republicans agreeing to higher tax rates. That's a big deal, and it split their caucus.


second, the 2% payroll tax exemption got cut. While that's a regressive tax increase, it also fixes something that never should have been done in the first place. Messing with social security funding is a mistake and advances conservative goals to eliminate SS. So I think that was a good move.


third, I don't care for the 450K vs. 250K limit but it did pass. Seeing as how the GOP voted 2:1 against the bill, I'm not sure if pushing for the 250K limit would have killed the bill. As usual, the Dems weren't willing to shoot the hostage but most of the GOP was.


fourth, it permanently fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax, removing another yearly issue that the GOP would play for leverage.


fifth, extended unemployment benefits. These are stimulative and removing them would have lowered GDP by ~.2%


but this doesn't mean anything is settled permanently. Nothing is ever settled permanently. Future congresses could change any or all of these with a large enough majority.


I blame it all on the Internet

We're in agreement


In isolation, it was better than feared.


I take your point on the payroll tax cut, but it shouldn't have been returned to previous levels until the unemployment rate was much lower.


I hope neither of us will be viewing the current deal as coupled with a future deal on significant spending cuts.


... I like reading about Obama insisting that he'll demand increased revenue to match any spending cuts, b/c that means they probably won't get done at all.


Maybe we'll all get through this OK.


That's my 2013 motto anyway.

I'm glad I could cheer you up!

HankP's picture

You've been awful gloomy the past few weeks.


I blame it all on the Internet

I had a traumatic experience recently



... how can you call my posting gloomy when I've single-handedly brought the joys of the .gif into Darth Cuddly's life? 

The AMT Fix was a Good Get


And I'm expecting Obama to take the Constitutional Option wrt to the Debt Ceiling.


The Sequester Cuts ... Like Catchy says, Obama wants cuts. But where? He says he also wants revenue. From where?


What he should really want is more stimulus. 

Re: more stimulus


At least Obama asked for $475 billion at the outset, even though he got 0. 


But a good deal would've gotten a stimulus $ for every $ given up in tax revenue by moving from $250k to $450k. 


As a reminder to the loyal D party types, even Bill Clinton claimed that any "credible" deal requires stimulus:


"It's important not to impose austerity now before a growth trend is clearly established, because as the austerity policies in the eurozone and the U.S. show, that will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits ... any credible deficit-reduction plan requires three things -- spending reductions, revenue increases, and economic growth."


- Clinton, November 2012


Democrats have every right to demand that we don't end up with just the first two.

Sure, but that would never pass

HankP's picture

there's all kinds of ways to look at this, but if you consider that it was a giant austerity bomb and it got defused to more like an austerity firecracker, it's not a horrible outcome.


I blame it all on the Internet

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Anyway, you know they're not going to extract anything on the same order of magnitude as the sequester itself.  So don't worry, be happy!  (I am, I'm now safely inside the Overton definition of "middle class"!  Power to the people!  Screw the rich!)

The sequester cuts would send us into a deep recession


The current deal already raises payroll taxes, which will likely cost us 1/4th - 1/3rd of GDP growth over the next couple years.


An additional fraction of the sequestration cuts could cut growth in 1/2, maybe more.

With a Deal Done & DOW Futures Up 250 Points...



...this is an intensely practical question for me.


I like my current portfolio...I've worked hard at it, lost some money putting it together exactly as I wish....for a long term run (generic drug makers, Solar, Oil, Rare Earths, etc)...but the question will be in the morning, sell everything in the face of all this exuberance and buy back in February or let it ride?


This may all be politics, but there are also dollars to be made.





Cut your losers and let your winners run

HankP's picture

IMO unless you're willing to put a lot of time into research (as in multiple hours per day) I don't think it's a good idea to use a day trader mentality.


I blame it all on the Internet

Nah, I don't Ever Want a Day Trader Mentality....



...however, I do confess to doing some trades recently just to prove I'm alive. A bad psychology to be certain. But I haven't been hurt much...the goal is a portfolio I don't have to look at very some risk that requires I've trimmed today, surprisingly, big oil and shale oil production.


I'll wait now. Something's bound to come up as nice.


Thanks for the Advice, (re rare earth, got lucky with a recent flyer with MCP).


Best Wishes, Traveller

I'm still 1/3 in cash, FWIW.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

There should be plenty of turbulence surrounding the negotiations around the sequestration/entitlement reform/etc.  Buy in late March/April?


(Side note:  Rare Earths have been one of my two worst moves in the last couple of years.  I have counted excessively on China's leadership being as douchey as possible.  If only they'd threaten to quit selling to the Japanese!)

I Always Thought it Was Overblown


It sounded like somebody wanted to sell Rare Earth stock.


What was your other bad move?


I'll give you my worst. Shorted Apple at $700. Brilliant right? Then nothing happened for two weeks and I got doubtful, right before it fell. I had the right idea but I missed it. I hate when that happens.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

You're a mighty brave man


Even at $700 it was trading at a lower P/E than the S&P 500. It should be at $1000.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

It was way above...


...a surprisingly accurate long term trend line I established back in 2008 or so, and that combined with the lack of Steve Jobs and the generally reactive product introductions since then.


Apple has a few fundamental weaknesses. One is that it has moved over time from dependable computer buyers to fickle consumer electronic device buyers. It did this to gain volume, but this is a market led by teens and historically nobody can hold the secret sauce for that age group indefinitely. Well, maybe Jobs could have done it for another decade or so, but Cook? He has no product instincts at all.


A second weakness is that the business model is based on selling hardware, and they already own the high end of the market, so to keep up volume growth they need to go lower. The company is becoming more price sensitive and is responding with products like the iPad Mini.


And, more speculatively on my part, younger people are generally more environmentally aware, perhaps also more prone to austerity due to the post 2008 economy, and there is a certain resistance building up to the habit of buying and tossing hardware on a yearly basis. This is a trend that -if it expands-, could really hurt Apple far more than Google. Google does not care how many devices you get from Samsung, they just care that you run Android.


But the obvious problem is that Apple no longer has a Zen Budhist with LSD experience who can see over the horizon at the helm. It is becoming reactive, playing with basic parameters like size and price. The iPhone 5 was reactive to the monster Android phones, and the iPad Mini was reactive to the Kindle Fire and other 7" devices. Next thing you know, they will be doing focus groups. I would not quite say that they are flying totally blind, but there is definitely a fog for them now that was absent previously.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I think that when you're buying shares


You're buying earnings and assets, not a trend line. When you buy Motorola you're paying twice as much for earnings as you do when you buy Apple... and Apple is sitting on more cash than God has.


I think the iPod was driven by teenagers, but iPhones and iPads cut across all demos.


As for volume growth, the global smartphone market is growing at about 20% per year. Apple doesn't need to even grow market share to have healthy earnings growth.


You're right that no one can replace Steve Jobs, but I think the company has enough of the DNA he put into it to keep on rolling nicely.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

But growing how?


It's true that the smartphone market is growing quickly. But you need to understand that it's growing down, from the top, by replacing so-called feature phones. The smartphone share is gradually moving into lower and lower price points. That is, smartphone growth is simply that all phones are becoming smartphones.


The top end is not growing nearly as fast. There are only so many people in the world that can afford and desire high-end cell phones. This is why Apple's footprint is largest in the developed world, and I argue that this market is nearer to saturation.


And by the way you definitely are buying a trend line. The market is a discount mechanism. Today's earnings don't mean anything. What you care about are earnings in the future.


Apple does have a lot of cash, but its market cap is truly gigantic and has to grow hugely to sustain stock price rises.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I think your view is a bit US-centric


The growth is mainly about the millions entering the middle class in emerging markets.


Agree on earnings in the future as being what matters... I just meant that you can't see the trend line in isolation, without looking at the Profit and Loss statements and the balance sheet. The fundamentals matter.


The size theory is probably the best hypothesis to explain the low valuation, but I don't find it persuasive. Apple is a dominant brand in tablets and phones, which are growing very strongly... they don't need to expand market share there, just ride the growth. They have only about 12% of the desktop market, with plenty of room to grow. And they have Apple TV in the pipeline, which Jobs seems to have been pretty excited about before he died. That's a whole new market all together. They also have leverage to enter the media delivery markets with the iTunes store... perhaps using ads as a revenue source. There are a lot of possibilities.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

TV Still Hasn't Gotten The Compleat Apple Treatment


Tons of demand for an it just works a la carte TV experience.


Just throwing it out there.

Yeah, sure.


The demand is there, the supply is not, and I doubt it ever will be.


The licensing is awful. You have too many vested interests, in too many countries. It's a real mess. And none of those companies are going to give up their rent seeking to Apple, especially the cable networks. Why would they?

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

You're the Same Guy


who spoke admirably of Steve Jobs' LSD experience informing his ability to see opportunity over the horizon?





Anybody can see opportunity. Just look for a market with unhappy people in it. Whenever something sucks, there is a market. Cable sucks. Has for decades.


Steve Jobs could conceive elegant solutions enabled by new technology, and execute them.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I'll Rephrase


You're the same guy who spoke admirably of Steve Jobs' LSD experience informing his ability to conceive elegant solutions enabled by new technology, and execute them over the horizon?



You seem to be spotting an inconsistency on my part that I find hard to see.


TV sucks. But the problem isn't the sets. Sure, most sets manage to be ugly and a few are passable, so a decent design would be welcome. And the menus and remote controls are not very good. Apple could do better there as well.


But Apple doesn't just make pretty stuff with good UI now. It expects everything to fit in its ecosystem, and here is the rub.


For the record, I have no cable. I've had no cable since 2003 or 2004. I do have broadband, and I was an early adopter there. I can do this because I have little interest in live sports coverage, as does Mrs. Aurelius. For most of my friends, this is the one thing they need live TV for.


So I should be an easy fit for Apple. I already consume TV series through iTunes, not to mention music. Yet the available content is quite limited. Not only does it lack live content, but also if you want to watch content that extends in time and space (that is, old or foreign). And I don't mean some soap opera from Burundi in the 1970's. I mean for example content from the BBC. Heck, even oldish Disney films have been missing for years and are only now being back filled into Apple's library. And Apple has a direct relationship with Disney.


Distribution rights are tightly controlled, and broadcast rights even more so. This is the problem Apple is having a hard time solving. The cable companies want to own their customers, and the distributors don't want to hand their business models to Apple.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Apple Maps.


But who knows, maybe you're right.

MobileMe too...


Apple has had huge mess-ups in it's run-up... yes, even in Steve's day.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I rode a few shares from...

Bernard Guerrero's picture

...$500 to $600 and sold.  Looked parabolic.  The fundamental valuation does still look cheap, but also relies on continued impressive EPS and sales growth.  I suspect the market still has questions about this post-Jobs. And post iPad.  What comes next?

It's a mystery to me


Right now the S&P is at 16x but Apple is at 11x p/e? With all their cash and the best brand in the world? I do expect sales growth, but its certainly not priced into their current valuation. (Meanwhile, Motorola trades at 23x? Like I said, a mystery.)


PS: I bought at $70 and have no plans to sell.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

You're an American success story, wags


You come from a immigrant background that includes holding an undocumented status, developed computer animation skills that are utilized by a successful company that does quality work (from what I've seen) in New York, and invested early in the world's largest and arguably most successful corporation.


I'm impressed!

Thank you


And forgive a little bit of braggadocio if I add that I own that successful company... just four employees now, myself included, but growing quickly. I have a lot to be thankful to this country for.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

One of these days when you break a leg or something


and you have nothing else to do you'll hafta sketch a short little autobiography and post it here. 


I've picked up a few pieces over these past several years, but only have a vague picture, and yours sounds like an interesting story.

American Superconductor

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Wins, or rather loses hands down.  Product is good, sales were good, I like to tell myself that there was no way to foresee the Austrian engineer selling secrets to Sinovel.  But their over-concentration in a single customer was obvious, and something I've complained about before (not least regarding my own employers.)

I Don't Know Anything About Anything


and even less about investing, but it seems to me that if one were inclined to sell now, the idea would be to sell only some piece of one's nut -- five percent? -- and let the rest keep doing its thing. If you're right about the timing (big if), you've earned a little bonus and the opportunity to dream wistfully about what might have been if only you'd been more daring. If you're wrong about the timing (little if), you've lost little and gained the opportunity to be proud of your prudence.

I'm both too poor and too cowardly to be able to put the idea to the test, which probably says enough about the quality of this advice.

Republicans Can Say Yes to a Good Deal...Vote in 1 hr...

(#298637) added amendments that would have sent the bill back to the Senate.


Obama, (really Good Ole` Joe Biden) win this one big.


We will see what the voted is, but if the votes were not there for an Amendment, my bet is that the Senate Bill will pass.


Still, we will see.


Best Wishes, Traveller

If 50 Republicans vote no


Do House Democrats have any leverage here? Can they demand back the payroll tax cut in return for their cooperation?


Also, what happens if the House waits until more Ds from the last election are seated?

After Jan 3, Everything Starts anew..With a Newly Sworn Congress


...the Bill does not even exist any longer.


An entirely new one would need to be crafted and passed by the new members.



Considered in isolation the deal is not terrible


but not very good.


Obama gets a 1 yr., 25 billion extension of Unemployment Insurance in return for giving up $200 billion in revenue over 10 yrs. from the top 2%. Not a penny in short-term stimulus.


Worse, the payroll tax cut expires. That's -.7% of GDP in an economy growing in the 2.0 - 3.0% range -- i.e., Obama gave up between a 1/3rd and 1/4th of total economic growth for the foreseeable future. He's an economic illiterate who never understood that, so it's wasn't so much his bad negotiating skills as his screwed up economic priorities that lost him that one.


However, the deal avoids all spending cuts, so I think it's overall OK to go for, especially considering that it does significantly less damage than Obama's final offer to the GOP and is 5x better than any offer from Boehner.


If the deal is just one component of a future debt ceiling deal that slashes spending, it would be a huge betrayal.


Some people see that coming given that Obama caved so much in this deal. But I dunno. I also saw a pattern of Obama not willing to get blamed for spending cuts again and the GOP not prioritizing them. On to the next self-imposed crisis.

Atrios says what I was thinking


The hostage taking in the future won't involve Republicans proposing spending cuts, it will involve them threatening to blow up the country if Obama doesn't own those spending cuts.

They don't have the courage to put their names on what they want.

Yes, Soft Leadership...I'd be Fire Breathing, But Obama has Been



...soft in that he didn't throw Republican's under the bus, sick the dogs on them...I would have...gleefully.


But it was leadership on Obama's part firm(ish)...without cutting anyone's throat...again, as I would have.


So good on him.


(Except the the Debt Ceiling crap should have been put to bed)


Best Wishes, Traveller

The likelihood of this deal making it through the House


Is somewhere between zero and snowball's chance in Hell.

It appears that I was wrong


I'm pleased that some normalcy still flickers in the GOP.

It depends on whether Boehner sticks to his...

Bird Dog's picture

...majority of Republicans line in the sand. I'm guessing that the Dems in the House will go for it overwhelmingly.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Yeah, It'll be Democrats Plus


whatever number of Republicans are willing to cross over/use crossing over as a chisel to carve out goodies for their constituents. There's pork to be had here, gentlemen.

Boehner couldn't even pass


a bill raising taxes on incomes over a million dollars a year. There's simply no way that he could get the votes on a bill raising taxes on the merely affluent.

Yeah, pretty much

HankP's picture

I can't see the TP people going anywhere near this deal. In fact I expect them to loudly complain about it.


I blame it all on the Internet