Friday September 04, 2015
February 19th, 2015
President Obama's request to Congress for authority to use military force against the Islamic State explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn't really tell us how.
John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, gave a good interview to the Financial Times this week. Williams is seen as a moderate on monetary policy, a centrist on the dove-hawk spectrum. He thinks the economy is now close to full employment and the time for raising interest rates is getting "closer and closer."
Many years ago, a politician complained to me about journalists who loved to dish it out but bristled at any criticism directed their way. "Look," he said, "we politicians may have thin skins, but you guys in the media have no skins."
It was only minutes into an interview with Jon Stewart before a screening of his film, "Rosewater," last November when I knew he would never fully return to "The Daily Show." Working on that heartfelt and effective movie about an Iranian journalist who was imprisoned by the regime for 118 days made the comedian wax poetic about how lasting and indelible film was compared to a television show.
We've seen senior discounts for buses. We've seen senior discounts at movie theaters. We've seen senior discounts in supermarkets.
Most make some sense, helping businesses attract older customers at slow times when others are working. What makes no sense whatsoever is applying senior discounts to economic policy.
At least President Obama has broken the ice on Cuba, but let it not stop there. It is time to leave our bully role behind.
After nearly 14 years of war in the Middle East, President Obama's pitch to Congress for authorization to continue it conforms with his own defined purpose -- eventually to end America's "perpetual war footing" that began under his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Monetary policy probably won't be a major issue in the 2016 campaign, but it should be. It is, after all, extremely important, and the Republican base and many leading politicians have strong views about the Federal Reserve and its conduct. And the eventual presidential nominee will surely have to endorse the party line.
So it matters that the emerging Republican consensus on money is crazy - full-on conspiracy-theory crazy.
"The Gilded Age was not a golden age," says Tom Perez,the U.S. labor secretary. "America works best when employers and employees work together" - as they did not during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century and have not during the neo-Gilded Age we are stumbling through today.