This is similar to the plan I pointed to earlier. The key here is using the FDIC to bolster consumer confidence in banks (as per the Obama recommendation for increasing insurance coverage to $250K) as well as to issue senior notes as capital to weaker banks. Isaac also recommends suspending fair-value accounting, which has been proposed before.
It looks like some Democrats in the House are going forward with some version of this.
"Many Republican strategists believe there is simply no way for McCain to win an economic-focused election by touting his own plans to turn things around. "Go totally negative and don’t let up until election day," advised Ed Rogers, a longtime Republican strategist and lobbyist. "This election needs to be about Obama and what a liberal he is. Period." Another Republican operative added: "Start attacking Obama’s character relentlessly (again) if the McCain campaign has any hope of regaining the initiative…. It’s not like there isn’t plenty out there." The Republican National Committee seems to be following that advice with a new ad from its independent expenditure wing that savages Obama on his proposal to spend $1 trillion more on new programs; "Obama’s spending plan: It’ll make the problems worse," reads white writing on a black screen at the ad’s close."
Henry Blodget echoes fund manager John Hussman, who provides a very simple and insightful explanation of why the bailout plan was bad, in recommending that the government should provide capital directly to the financial industry in the form of “super-bonds” in an amount no greater than the debt to bondholders. These super-bonds would be used like capital, but in the case of bankruptcy would be the first in line — before stockholders and even senior bondholders.
This makes sense to me, but I am a nobody and I would love to hear an explanation of why it’s a bad idea.
Personally, I think Democrats may want to be thankful this bailout failed. The House Republicans were right that while action may be necessary, this action isn’t necessarily it. If a better bill passes, House Republicans will be the true victors.
It strikes me that the core idea at the heart of the Paulson plan was to capture all the bad junk in one fell swoop and essentially have the federal government eat it. Save the whole market at once. Dodd, Frank, and company worked feverishly to make this plan more palatable, but at the end of the day, it is still a bad deal for taxpayers, and arguably the most expensive of all the potential options.
The goal should be to unfreeze credit markets, not to bailout firms. The most important question is: is there a way to open up the credit markets so that Main Street is cushioned without saving individual companies from their own failures of judgment?
The Paulson plan was a trickle down plan, assuming that it was necessary to save these firms to save the lending sector. But to me, this is like justifying war with Iraq on WMDs and potential al Qaeda support; by going with the big bang chips-all-in approach, we find out there are no WMDs and that through our reckless intervention we actually create more problems than we solve. Meanwhile, the Halliburtons laugh all the way to the bank.
It is important to note that Paulson comes from Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. His plan is biased towards their business model. And it is interesting to note that Goldman Sachs shed their i-bank status for the protections and requirements provided by standard bank regulation just last week.
But if you look around at the banks that did not participate in these risky investments — PNC Bank and BB&T spring to mind — you see that the downside risk of insolvency for these firms is low. These were the smart guys who avoided the easy game of leveraged and bundled securities. It seems to me to be a better idea to allow the healthy banks to emerge from this debacle stronger, even if it means buying up these failed firms for a nickel.
Back to the threshhold question. If the government provides capital to these firms directly instead of buying their junk, won’t this help to prevent a credit squeeze?
Why not combine something like capital lending at the top with some form of bankruptcy protection at the bottom? Wouldn’t this be likely to pass with bi-partisan support?
Unless it’s a bad idea… But I’d like to see someone explain why this is the case.
Americans love politicians that feel their pain. We are desperate for that “connection.” We don’t vote for someone who knows how to craft policy, who can govern. We vote with the gut and pray they know how to read.
Clinton was the true pioneer, the first emo president. Against such power, G.H.W. Bush was toast. Four years later those silly Republicans threw old-man Dole into this same grinder.
G.W. Bush was no Clinton, but he was the beer-buddy of ill-repute and he certainly did a better job at seeming like an everyday person than the robotic over-trying Gore. Bush can wear his heart on his sleeve and though he doesn’t do it so much anymore, he put on a super sappy care-fest back in the day. Four years later, Kerry was unfairly caricatured, but doomed himself with his upscale intellectualism. He couldn’t put together a sentence without a half-dozen semi-colons, when he should have been using emoticons.
The winner was never the decider, it was the emoter.
It’s not that the other stuff doesn’t matter. It does. But the rest is more controllable. Policies can be created by armies of back-office wonks. Positions can be extracted from poll data and predictions made about what can be marketed to the citizenry. Everyone has a record to exploit, past mistakes to be minimized, skeletons in the closet.
But the “connection” can’t be manufactured or analyzed in such a way. It’s that X-factor. Palin has it, boy howdy. Unfortunately, it’s all she’s got.
The “connection” is based on narrative — the ranchin’ Texan, the hillbilly Arkansan — but it’s mostly built on performance. It’s those upturned eyebrows, the moist eyes, the softly pursed lips, the serious contemplative gaze. It’s the quiet reassuring voice that says, “I get it. It’s tough out there.”
Obama does not have this. Obama lacks the good frowny face.
And I think it’s why he’s having a hard time convincing those important undecided swing voters (battleground state mercenaries?) to sign on the dotted line. It’s why that “elitist” tag tends to stick. He presses the narrative, the son of a single-mother, the multi-racial meritocratic student-loan success, but the narrative is only part of it. Being “one of us” isn’t about telling someone you’ve been through it, it’s about them inferring it by a single look.
Race is what it is and shouldn’t be underestimated, but it is only part of the puzzle. Race is a bit of an obstacle for Obama, simply because most white people don’t look at a black man and think, “he’s had my life.” That can’t be helped, but it can be overcome. Obama has some very tricky lines to walk, forever victim to “is he too black?” questioning, immediately followed by someone asking, “is he black enough?” He can’t be the angry black man, but neither can he be the wimpy Democrat in a time of war. He can’t be too wonky, but wonkyness is the best defense against cries of inexperience.
He’s done an amazing job threading the needle, but without the frowny face, he hasn’t been able to close the deal.
The mistake Obama has NOT made, though, is to pretend. He comes across as genuine in a way that recent Democratic candidates have not. Think of Dukakis in that tank, Kerry dressed up for the hunt, Gore trying on some Naomi Klein earth tones. These guys tried and tried hard, and if there’s anything Americans despise it’s knowing they are being pandered to. Don’t get me wrong, Americans love to be pandered to, but only so long as we can suspend disbelief. It’s the difference between, say, a good Hollywood blockbuster action movie and a bad one. Don’t make us feel like fools!
So Obama hasn’t thrown on flannel and gone on a chainsawing photo op. He stays true to who he is. Better to be honest than to blow it pretending. Better to be genuine.
Obama has a trump card, though. His ace is his smile. It’s what made this all possible, the sunny optimism that gleams off his pearly whites. Obama’s smile is so warm, so disarming, so genuine. You look at it and he is hard not to like. It makes him seem honest, true, kind. I think it’s a key part of why his hopeful optimism was selling so well in Iowa nine months ago.
Obama is the first candidate since Reagan to have such a powerful smile. And he needs to use it more, and not just on the cover of People magazine.
It was on display at the debates and it was a big reason why I think he won in so many of the post-debate polls. McCain looked uncomfortable and his hissing codger grin came across as snide and fake, but Obama could be deathly serious one minute, then relaxed and smiling at Jim Lehrer the next. Obama lost many of the primary season debates because he was harumphing during Hillary’s answers, shaking his head, being all kinds of rude. This time, he was patient, thoughtful, and he smiled to break the tension. It was a small thing, but huge.
McCain went the emoting route early on in the debate and I was worried it was working, but in hindsight he was laying it on pretty thick. Maybe he crossed that line for people into fakeness. If so, that is doom for McCain because really the only weapon he has against Obama is the “fear of the unknown” junk he’s been throwing around for the past month and a half.
What I thought was most interesting about the debate is that Obama didn’t have any “witty” zingers. The lines about the PM of Spain and the bomb-bomb Iran bit were played dead serious, and his other primary rhetorical flourish was the accusatory “you were wrong” bit. John McCain, on the other hand, had clearly been studying his trademarked McCainiac One Liner Flash Cards (large print edition) and was throwing out jokey pablum all night.
I think humor is important. It can be completely disarming. It creates a bond between teller and listener. But maybe everyone is a little too stressed out for it right now, a little to ready to hear some serious answers given the entire financial sector is on the brink. Maybe McCain’s lines came across as too rehearsed, too fake. Obama lacked the humorous line, but rather than force it, he stayed true to himself.
This was wise, but he would be wiser moving forward to figure out a way to build that smile back into his message, which has been very dreary as of late harping on the economic meltdown. Now that the McCain campaign has flipped again to try to pitch themselves as “safe change,” Obama needs to create a reason for people to buy into HIS version of tomorrow. In the final month, Obama needs to reclaim his hopeful vision, weave it back into his narrative. These are dark days and we could use something to look forward to. Obama needs to refocus his anger into resolve.
I thought it was telling that today, after the bailout failed, Obama told everyone to remain calm and that Congress would work it out, while McCain blamed Pelosi and Obama for its failure.
You know that with about a week to go before the election, McCain is going to be trotting out his POW story again. They went to the well around the convention, and they’ll do it again. I can’t wait to see those ads, arguing with final desperation that it’s between a heroic war hero heroically running for president out of heroic obligations to humanity and a selfish scary black guy who might be the antichrist.
Obama doesn’t have that war hero narrative. He can’t create it. He doesn’t have a good frowny face. But he has a positive vision for this country that can convince people that tomorrow can be better than today, and that it might even be better than yesterday. There’s a reason they call it a winning smile.
Out here on the Illinois/Iowa border, we are inundated with McCain ads, nearly all of which fall into some sort of fear-mongering trend. Most show dark shadows and evil clouds and some bulljunk about how Obama is going to raise your taxes and how he’s got no experience at anything ever whatsoever none.
In any case, I’ve noticed something about these ads. They show more of Obama than they do of McCain. Like a lot more. Honestly, the only McCain in any of these ads is the “I’m a fuckface and I approve this message because I’m a fuckface” part.
It’s common knowledge that the only way McCain can win is if people are uncomfortable with the idea of Obama in the White House. And so the crazy mischaracterizations about his record and his policies isn’t all that unexpected. But it’s the way that McCain has been able to insert race into these ads that is really insidious.
These ads are all black men and white old ladies. Franklin Raines with a wicked smile. Obama is always in shadow, greyed out, devoid of human color. His face very close up. Not at a middle distance. Right up in your grill. It’s not as apparent on YouTube, but on television, it’s a lot more noticable.
In their hateful desperation (Raines having virtually no connection to Obama or his campaign), Team McCain once again works the combination of the found photograph and the base stereotype of the black man’s lust.
But for the most part, what is striking about these ads is that they are not overtly racist unless you are sensitive to it. It’s not the kind of thing that most people would look at and say “that’s racist.” It’s subtle. It’s not over the top.
In 20 years though, looking back, people will see these ads as racist. Mark my words. I suggest a tattoo.
See, these fuckers have learned from Willie Horton. They’ve learned a few things. Most importantly, they’ve learned it works. Well, of course, they knew that already.
One thing they’ve learned though is that white people don’t really notice racism against black people, but are preposterously sensitive to black people saying some white person is being racist. For example, remember that celebrity ad? Well, in a poll at the time, 58% of blacks found that ad racist, whereas only 18% of white people did. Remember Obama’s comment about not looking like the other guys on our money? 53% of white people felt that was racist, as did 44% of black people.
Of course, if you’ll recall, Obama’s comment was a response to a string of nasty hate-mongering emails. So, Obama responded to some racist crap that is most definitely making the rounds, and he gets called racist.
My point is this: white people are OK with a little white “unintentional” prejudice, but what white people absolutely cannot stand is being called on it. Not me, man!
So these McCain ads with their dark shadows and subtle race-baiting are difficult to attack. If Obama were to come out and say, “wait a second, this is some bullshit, son!,” he’d be called a racist in a heartbeat.
Another key difference between these ads and the Willie Horton ad back in 1988 is that there are a whole lot more ads today. It’s not just one ad. It’s fifteen, and they all have the same look. It’s a string of ads. You look at one individually and it’s not so bad. You run four or five back to back and it’s a lot easier to see.
Why this matters is that if I see seven ads over an hour or two and Obama is always in shadow, always kind of “scary,” this perception starts to sink in. It’s an intentionally cumulative attack. After all, you’re seeing more of Obama in McCain ads than you are in Obama ads.
This is really cynical. Truly nasty.
I’d like to see someone do some math. I’d like to see someone take all of McCain’s ads and add up the amount of time in them showing Obama vs showing McCain. I’d like to see the same done for Obama.
“When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.”—James Fallows
James Fallows is inscrutable. This is an honest appraisal of Palin. A couple of choice passages:
After thirty years of meeting and interviewing politicians, I can think of exactly three people who sounded as uninformed and vacant as this. All are now out of office. One was a chronic drunk.
Or how about this:
I am not aware of any other current figure in national politics — by which I mean any member of the Senate or House — who would do a worse job under questioning. There could be some I don’t know about. But they’re not on a national ticket.
Translation: “She is the worst. Well, there maybe others, but I’m pretty sure she’s the worst.” Indeed.
Wow, what horseshit! David Brooks is basically saying to vote for the McCain of 1999 (except to also include that window where he was for the surge). Everything else, including the entire campaign: ignore it, and trust that “he will run the least partisan administration in recent times.” Um, what? This is the best the right can come up with? Pathetic.
By now, everyone knows that the White House meeting was a bust. This NYT article is must-read stuff, though, for its details. What appears clear is that a bunch of recalcitrant conservatives decided to scuttle the deal at the last minute, introducing alternative CORE ideas at what should have been the meeting to close the deal. What did John McCain do at this meeting? Nothing.
From the article (bold italics are mine):
But once the doors closed, the smooth-talking House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, surprised many in the room by declaring that his caucus could not support the plan to allow the government to buy distressed mortgage assets from ailing financial companies.
Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.
The story of Paulson begging Pelosi not to destroy the deal is interesting:
“I didn’t know I was going to be the referee for an internal G.O.P. ideological civil war,” Mr. Frank said, according to The A.P.Thursday, in the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.
“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”
Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”
To me, though, this is the kicker (bold italics mine):
Mr. McCain was at one end of the long conference table, Mr. Obama at the other, with the president and senior Congressional leaders between them. Participants said Mr. Obama peppered Mr. Paulson with questions, while Mr. McCain said little.
So let’s add it up: McCain makes a big show about suspending his campaign, but he still runs ads, he still has surrogates on the air, Rick Davis is fundraising for the RNC, Palin is giving talks, and he finds time for 4 major network news interviews in two days. Then he flies to Washington for a White House photo op session to cap off a bi-partisan deal worked out hours earlier. After meeting with House Republicans, he knows they are not signing on, but does nothing to alert the White House, Treasury, or anyone else that the deal is not in as good of shape as previously announced by the bi-partisan group earlier in the day. Then, while at the meeting, he allows House Republicans to revolt, refusing to take a stand on the bailout one way or the other, and doesn’t play an aggressive role in questioning or debating the bill. He just watches it go down in flames.
Jonathan Chait has a must-read article in the next issue of The New Republic that describes McCain’s pattern of lies lo these many months and attempts to explain some reasoning for it.
But what I found interesting was this central premise:
How could McCain—a man widely regarded, not so long ago, as one of the country’s most honor-bound politicians, and therefore an unusually honest one—have descended to this ignominious low? But part of the explanation for all this recent dishonesty may lie, oddly enough, in McCain’s legendary sense of honor.
Expanding on this, Chait writes:
McCain’s deep investment in his own honor can drive him to do honorable things, but it can also allow him to believe that anything he does must be honorable. Thus the moralistic, crusading tone McCain brings to almost every cause he joins.
To me, this rings deeply inevitably true. Confidence blends into self-righteous egomania. He can do no wrong. This is why he seems so sincere telling just the most blatant disgusting lies.
In 2000 and afterward, McCain came to despise George W. Bush and Karl Rove. During his more recent primary campaign, McCain thought the same of front-runner Mitt Romney. Not surprisingly, Romney was the target of McCain’s most unfair primary attack—an inaccurate claim that he favored a withdrawal timetable in Iraq.
I remember times during the Republican debates where McCain was such a snarky asshole that I couldn’t believe he wasn’t called on it. But there were so many candidates and, I think due to this honorable brand he’d created within the media, he was forgiven for it before he was even really accused.
More recently, he apparently changed his view of Romney. Now, Obama is the villain. “The contempt that many McCain aides hold for Barack Obama,” The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder wrote this summer, “rivals the contempt that McCain held for Mitt Romney a year ago.” As Time reported, “McCain and his aides now view Obama with the same level of contempt they once reserved for tobacco-company executives, corrupt lawmakers and George W. Bush. They have convinced themselves that Obama is not honorable, that he does not love his country as much as himself.”
McCain believes this Country First shit down to his marrow, only he defines what is best for America is what is best for himself. He can no longer separate his patriotism from his raging ego. They are one.
The pattern here is perfectly clear. McCain has contempt for anybody who stands between him and the presidency. McCain views himself as the ultimate patriot. He loves his country so much that he cannot let it fall into the hands of an unworthy rival. (They all turn out to be unworthy.)
I think it goes further. McCain needs enemies. He needs to create enemies. The warrior is nothing without the war. So in everything, he sees war, and in everyone in that war, a friend or an enemy. And of course, you do whatever it takes to vanquish an enemy.
McCain’s talk of bi-partisanship, sometimes validated by reality, but far more often than not disputed by it, may seem to contradict this. But it doesn’t. It’s just that in some battles he defines his enemies differently. He defines something to stand for, rattles his saber, and then he goes to the mattresses. He doesn’t so much work across the aisle as he goes about creating crusades that dare people to be friend or enemy.
Viewed in this way, doing whatever it takes to win is not an act of selfishness but an act of patriotism. McCain tells lies every day and authorizes lying on his behalf, and he probably knows it. But I would guess—and, again, guessing is all we can do—that in his mind he is acting honorably. As he might put it, there is a bigger truth out there.
I don’t like this conclusion, that “in his mind he is acting honorably,” because it suggests a simplification that I don’t buy, a sort of mental acrobatics that means that McCain somehow can’t tell right from wrong. I don’t buy it.
He knows right from wrong; but he does it anyway and feels no guilt for it because he believes he’s fighting a war against an enemy of the United States. People do ugly things in war, but they are necessary things. But it makes you wonder: if everything is war, and if in war anything can be justified, just what is it that McCain won’t do?
“You don’t suspend your campaign. This doesn’t smell right. This isn’t the way a tested hero behaves. I think someone’s putting something in his Metamucil.”—David Letterman, after finding out, in the middle of taping tonight’s show, that McCain was down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. McCain had called him earlier in the day to cancel his appearance so he could rush back to DC to deal with the economy. (Drudge)
If you read posts like this one on The Next Right, you’ll see there are a number of Republicans that want to treat the bailout like a political hot potato. As Patrick Ruffini puts it:
A bailout may be inevitable, but so to can be the political benefit for Congressional Republicans if played correctly.
Basically, what Ruffini and others are suggesting is that, since Dems have a majority in Congress, they can be saddled with the blame of the rather unpopular bailout. This is based primarily on its inevitibility, and to the same degree, its urgent necessity. If Congress doesn’t pass anything, well then, it’s the Democrats in charge who failed to get anything done and let the country go down the toilet.
Look, I have some doubts about this bailout myself, but the Republicans aren’t really playing ball. They aren’t proposing anything, really. Chris Dodd has put out a concrete plan, and rallied some doubters behind it. But so far, all the Republicans are doing is throwing stones in the hope they’ll give someone, anyone, a black eye. After all, Bush is a lame duck.
So now the largest group not for the bailout are the Republicans. To listen to Newt Gingrich and Richard Shelby sound like they’re opposed to the thing. It gives them an opportunity to separate themselves from Bush, and return to their “conservative” principles about the market. I heard Shelby today saying the last time we had a problem like this, in the early nineties, it only took 5 years for the market to recover. What? I mean, he’s suggesting that this isn’t a big deal, just another cycle. But many economists suggest this is the precipice, and if you look at the numbers this time, the latter seems much more likely than the former.
McCain has changed positions on this so many times, he’s lost George Will, who wrote yesterday:
Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.
It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?
Some of the options include taking equity (as investors) instead of taking bad assets, giving banks loans instead of simply taking bad assets, changing bankruptcy law to allow homeowners to arbitrate on bad loans, cutting capital gains taxes on banks, allowing the government to buy problematic mortgage securities and work w/ homeowners to stabalize rates.
Personally, I favor this last option because I think it also stops the foreclosure crisis that is truly the heart of the matter, though it would work slowly and involve tremendous bureacracy. But conservatives are unlikely to bite because it “rewards” homeowners who made poor decisions. The conservative approaches are OK, too: I also prefer stimulus proposals such as cutting capital gains, changing disclosure so banks don’t have to value their bad assets, or providing loans at great rates to firms, to taking on bad assets as per the big bailout. But liberals are unlikely to bite at these.
To me, the bailout seems to be the prevailing wisdom because it seems to cut the difference between traditional conservative and liberal views on economic matters. But what if the better option is to combine some of the traditional liberal options with the traditional conservative options. That is: what if a better plan combined the sort of homeowner/mortgage help that liberals like with the stimulus/corporate tax approaches that the conservatives like?
It seems to me that this may be the true goal of Republicans and McCain. After all, what’s another flip flop for McCain, who has put out a plan that essentially says “this is how to make the bailout work” but who also refuses to stand behind the bailout or promise to support it even if all his checkboxes are checked.
What if the Republicans can speak enough smack about Paulson’s plan to scuttle it, and then leave the door open for McCain to come through with some sort of conservative/liberal bi-partisan plan that they can then start to pitch via their heirarchy of talk radio and get-in-line pundit class?
Or can Obama be the one to walk through that door? Obama has been pretty right on with this economic stuff so far, but the danger of his slow methodical approach is that it makes it harder for him to completely switch positions. Then again, he has been the one stressing a solution that works for Wall Street AND Main Street, so maybe he is the one to take best advantage of an implosion to the bailout plan.
So I spent approximately 43 minutes early yesterday morning watching the new Knight Rider on Hulu. Wow. What an abomination. The acting is bad. The writing is horrendous. The editing is epileptic. But of course the special effects are OK and all the hot chicks get halfway naked or all the way naked or bend over in short skirts all the time.
Much like the Transformers movie was a shameless ad for the entire GM line, this is all Ford. KITT transforms from a Mustang Cobra to some sort of uber-Mustang, to a F-150 pickup. What? Yep, you got it: KITT transforms into a motherfucking pickup truck.
Now I didn’t see the TV movie, whenever that aired, but my guess is that it was maybe slightly less bad. This is because while it is possible to make a decent movie remake of an old television show, remaking it into another television show rarely works.
Last year, NBC remade Bionic Woman. Fail. This year it’s Knight Rider. Fail.
Battlestar Galactica is the exception that proves the rule: take an old goofy show and totally reimagine it. Start with a name people can hold onto, a good premise, and a show whose popularity wasn’t mostly based on a cult of personality around the central actors.
Most TV shows don’t start out with a highly famous highly paid central actor; the TV show makes them famous — people watch, and then they become stars. Remaking Bionic Woman and Knight Rider with beautiful but completely forgettable central actors is a huge mistake. They don’t have that star appeal.
But movies face a different challenge. Brand recognition, plus movie stars, gets people in the door. Think of the list: Lost in Space, Charlie’s Angels, The Brady Bunch, Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard, Miami Vice, S.W.A.T, Wild Wild West, Inspector Gadget, The Avengers, Bewitched, Get Smart, etc, etc. These movies make tons of money, but they almost always suck. How many of these spawn sequels? Very few.
This is why they aren’t remaking Magnum PI as a television show with Christopher Meloni from SVU, but as a movie with Matthew McConaughey and Tyrese Gibson.
TV shows depend upon repeat business, so half-assed exploitation of an old stable brand just doesn’t work. NBC seems to think the combination of Ford sponsorship combined with Transformers appeal will bring in the viewers, especially if they throw in a whole lot of PG-13 skin that isn’t saucy enough for adults (ahem, Mad Men), nor really all that appropriate for kids.
Here is what I want to see: a comparison of the Obama and McCain tax plans as compared to compensation and golden parachutes of Wall Street executives compared to those of stockholders in those companies.
For example, Martin Sullivan, the CEO of AIG made $13.9 million in 2007 according to this interactive USA Today table. By my 5-second-back-of-the-envelope math, his taxes under McCain would go down by about $570,000. Under Obama, his taxes would go up about $1.6 million. A married couple of AIG stockholders making $75,000 combined would receive $80 back from McCain and $980 back from Obama according to this calculator.
The CEO of Merrill Lynch made more than $83 million in 2007. The CEO of Goldman Sachs made $54 million. What about the CEOs of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Bear Stearns, Lehmann Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and so on?
I’d like to see this done w/ real citizens and families of different incomes to hammer home this disparity.
Taxes should not be punitive and that is not the point. The point is that these guys get paid a lot of money and they ran our economy into the ground. McCain’s tax plan suggests they are already doing too much for this country by paying such high taxes. His plan suggests that they need more relief than average Americans. At a time when unemployment has topped 6%, shouldn’t we be reducing the tax burden of the 99% of families who make less than $600,000 per year?
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
“In 2007, Wall Street’s five biggest firms— Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley - paid a record $39 billion in bonuses to themselves. That’s $10 billion more than the $29 billion loan taxpayers are making to J.P. Morgan to save Bear Stearns.”—Jake Tapper