Saturday, September 11, 2010

Overview of what happened in Washington in this week

Washington – despite Congress still being on recess, there were a lot of headlines out of Washington this week.  Obama made a series of media appearances, inc on Labor Day (Mon), on Wed in Cleveland, and on Fri during an 1hr+ press conf.  A slew of economic initiatives were discussed/proposed, inc. expanding and making permanent the R&D tax credit, an accelerated depreciation plan for ’10 and ’11, and a new $50B infrastructure spending program.  Investors and myself yawned at the news, viewing them as nothing more than political posturing ahead of the Nov 2 mid-term elections.  A Washington Post article discussed how politicians, businesspeople, and economists were relatively cool on the White House initiatives, preferring instead a payroll tax cut as well as clarity on the Bush rates (all of which are due to expire in ’11).  The White House continues to push for the Bush rates on upper-income earners to lapse back to the pre-’03 levels, although reports indicate there is waning support among Dems in Congress for such a plan (regardless, it seems like the Bush rates won’t be handled until a lame duck session of Congress late this year).  The consensus thinking is that the GOP will be able to recapture the House in Nov although the Senate is probably out of reach (a few articles this week cautioned against expecting a huge Republican sweep of Congress).  After the mid-terms, there could be a large reshuffling of key White House staff (esp. if Chief of Staff Emanuel runs for Mayer of Chicago

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