Tales from the Trail

from MacroScope:

Sssh. Don’t say stimulus

William Safire, the language maven whose musings on how we use words have graced The New York Times and other newspapers for decades, has discovered something about the current crisis. Not for the first time, politicians are scrambling to avoid using common words that might get too close to the truth.

This time the target is the economy, specifically what needs to be done about it. In a column, Safire notes that some Democrats, notably the incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, are steering away from using the world "stimulus" when referring to efforts to, er, stimulate the economy. "Recovery" is being used instead. As in, recovery plan.

Who could argue with that? Republicans, apparently. According to Safire, they are favouring "spending", presumably as in spend, spend, tax, tax etc.

 Let's think up some more. How about the "defibrillation" plan?

The First Draft: Tuesday, Dec 2

Today’s the deadline for the Big Three auto makers to present their recovery plan proposals to Congress in order to get a $25 billion bailout.

All eyes will be on Capitol Hill to see the reaction of top lawmakers after the plans are in place. GM, Ford and Chrysler hope to convince lawmakers to approve the $25 billion in low-cost loans to help them survive the current downturn.  The deadline comes as auto companies are due to release their November sales figures, which are expected to be low.

We all knew the economy had been in a slump, but stocks tumbled around the world after confirmation that the United States had entered recession in December 2007. The confirmation by the U.S. arbiter of recession plus a warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke triggered a sell-off on Wall Street which in turn sparked a domino-effect around the world.

Bush: sometimes to save a free market requires doing the opposite

WASHINGTON – Just as you must break a few eggs to make an omelet, President George W. Bush admitted on Monday that saving the free market system required taking non-free market action.

The MBA president has repeatedly said that the actions taken by his administration to shore up floundering financial firms would not have been the first choice for a free-market thinker like himself, but he had no choice in trying to save the U.S. economy.

On Monday, at a global health forum, there was no question that the president saw the irony in the U.S. government intervening in the private sector to prop up the financial system in the name of keeping free markets afloat.

The First Draft: Monday, Dec 1

With the images of death and destruction in Mumbai last week fresh in everyone’s minds, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is set on Monday to name his national security team
 
At a 10:40 EST (1540 GMT) news conference in Chicago, Obama is expected to name former rival Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state and nominate Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on in that role. In addition he is expected to name Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary, Eric Holder as attorney general and adviser Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations.
    
After a series of three straight news conferences last week focused on the ailing U.S. economy, Obama will switch gears today as he will likely face questions about India and Pakistan and his proposed policies toward the two nuclear-armed nations.     
    
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to India on Wednesday. She has been in contact with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in recent days to ease tensions between the states.

    
Indian investigators said the militants who attacked Mumbai underwent months of commando training in Pakistan, raising tensions between the neighboring nations as recriminations mounted in India. 

In an interview with the Financial Times , Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for the Mumbai attacks, saying militants have the power to precipitate a war in the region.
    
In economic news back home, stocks appeared set to fall after poor manufacturing figures from China and a raft of economic data expected in the U.S. this week.

G20 family photo: Take 2

WASHINGTON – The G20 leaders found themselves in a predicament faced by many a family when trying to assemble everyone in one place at one time for a snapshot. Someone inevitably spoils the first take.

The leaders of the advanced and developing countries gathered in Washington on Saturday to talk about the global financial crisis started the day with a group photo.

They filed in to the National Building Museum and lined up smiling for the cameras to capture their bonding.

Yale economist’s model gives Obama 4-point spread on McCain

DALLAS – Yale Economist Ray Fair’s econometric forecasting model for presidential elections gives an almost 4-point spread to Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in Tuesday’s White House election.

The model, based on data going back almost a century, has just been updated after Thursday’s release of figures showing U.S. economic output shrank at a 0.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter as the
biggest pullback by consumers since 1980 overwhelmed an increase in government spending.

On his web site, Fair says in a two-party presidential race, the Democratic candidate can expect 51.91 percent of the vote while the candidate for the incumbent White House party — the Republican Party — is seen garnering 48.09 percent.

Obama rakes in $9 million at Hollywood fundraisers

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Democrat Barack Obama raked in $9 million at fundraisers on Tuesday night flanked by celebrities. But he stopped far short of celebrating.

The White House hopeful kept the tone of his remarks  somber as he talked of the financial crisis that has cast a pall over the economy to an audience that included Pierce Brosnan, streisand2.jpgLeonardo DiCaprio, Jodi Foster and Jamie Lee Curtis.

“This should be a celebratory evening. We’ve got 48 days to go in a campaign, a campaign that started 19 months ago, at a time when a lot of folks thought we might not get here,” Obama told a reception of 800 people at the swank Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Gustav forces Obama to curtail Labor Day politics

U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama, who had planned an economic  tour through the industrial Midwest, is changing his schedule because of Hurricane Gustav. Instead of staying overnight in the battleground state of Wisconsin on Monday, Obama is flying back to his home in Chicago to monitor the storm.

laborday.jpgHe also called for a moment of silence at a Labor Day rally in Detroit in the afternoon, saying it was not a time for political speeches.

“I wanted to talk about organized labor as the backbone of our economy and of our country and I wanted to talk about how we sustain that middle class against all the challenges we face today and how we promote policies that honor the dignity of work,” he said.

Inside the Tent: Sen. Robert Casey

Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, on the floor of the Democratic convention, talks about the importance of the economy as an issue in the 2008 elections with Corbett Daly, Washington bureau chief for Thomson Reuters Markets.

Reuters Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Click here for a full list of contributors at the Democratic National Convention. We’ll be moving to St. Paul for the Republican National Convention next week.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Taking cue from White House, McCain talks economy in new radio address

mccain-wash-pic.jpgPHOENIX – Part of the drill when running for the highest office in the United States is simply looking  and sounding  presidential.

Cue John McCain. The Arizona senator and Republican presidential candidate started a weekly radio address on Saturday, modeled after President George W. Bush’s regular broadcast ritual.

“Good morning. I’m John McCain, and this week I’ve been on the road in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” the candidate said in his first address, according to a copy of the remarks.