Baum on Money: IPod President Crashes
Happy Friday. Here's what I'm reading to start the day.
Making technology work
"Obamacare was supposed to be the model for a 21st century social program, not a replica of programs built in the 20th," writes Ezra Klein in the cover story for the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek: "How the IPod President Crashed." Instead, it was a "symphony of government inefficiency," opening the door to jokes that Healthcare.gov makes the Department of Motor Vehicles look good. The "flawed product poses real dangers to the law's success," he says. Klein outlines the principles for making technology work for government, including using in-house strategy and design rather than slapping together a lot of existing parts from various vendors. Good to remember in case the tech surge can't right the ship. National Journal provides a "Finger-Pointing Flow Chart."
The hits just keep on coming for Obamacare
The National Federation of Independent Business released the first part of a three-year study on how the Affordable Care Act will affect small business. It's no surprise the news isn't good. Health care costs were rising before the implementation of the ACA, and the law did done nothing to address them. The designers of Obamacare "failed to consider that someone has to pay for all the bells and whistles included in the law," writes William Dennis, author of the study. "That 'someone' it turns out is often the small business community —- small employers, their employees and their families." The infographic summarizes the results of the study.
Bloomberg's Rich Miller traces Janet Yellen's roots, and thinking, to the Yale University economics department, where she was a Ph.D student of Nobel laureate James Tobin. Tobin's portfolio balance theory was instrumental in the Fed's effort to twist the yield curve in 1961. Yellen has been a strong voice for more monetary stimulus. Another of Tobin's students, Yoichi Hamada, a special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been behind the Bank of Japan's efforts to step up stimulus, which he says is an extension of what he learned from Tobin.
Yellen's meet and greet
Janet Yellen has started her rounds on Capitol Hill, meeting with Senate Banking Committee member Richard Shelby yesterday. Shelby said he was concerned about the Fed's bond-buying program, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yellen said the program isn't ending anytime soon. Shelby wanted to know about the plan to unwind asset purchases. Yellen didn't answer. She also met with Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson. The first hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 14, but Senator Rand Paul wants to put a hold on her nomination until the Senate votes on his bill to increase Fed transparency. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are threatening to delay the confirmation process until they get more information from the Obama administration on Benghazi.
Who invests in the U.S.?
President Barack Obama unveiled a new initiative to promote foreign direct investment in the U.S., using commercial missions in the 32 countries that account for the most FDI to spearhead the effort. See if you can guess who's No. 1. OK, I'll tell you: The U.K., by a long shot, with $487 million in 2012. China? Fifth from the bottom with $5 million.
(Caroline Baum is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow her on Twitter.)