The Ticker Quick Views on Politics, Economics and Finance
Elizabeth Warren is living proof that taking on the banks can be very good for your career.
Just a few years ago, Warren was a little-known law professor at Harvard University, focusing on consumer debt and bankruptcy issues. Today, she’s a U.S. senator from Massachusetts after unseating Republican Scott Brown. Her soaring trajectory is thanks to one thing: The Democrat spoke truth to power about Wall Street.READ MORE
There was never much doubt who was going to win Indiana tonight: Mitt Romney has taken the state back from President Barack Obama fairly easily. But we can still learn something from the returns in this early-closing state.
The best microcosm may be Vigo County, on the Illinois border, west of Indianapolis. Since 1888, the residents of the county seat, Terre Haute, have sided with the presidential winner in all but two races. In 2008, Obama won the county by nearly 16 percent over John McCain, more than two and a half times the cushion George W. Bush had over John Kerry in 2004.READ MORE
Even before the (notoriously inaccurate) exit polling comes in, here are some early voting numbers to chew on.
Bloomberg Businessweek's Joshua Green received some early voting/absentee voting data from the micropolling outfit Catalist: "Colorado: 1,853,586 total votes -- 44% Democratic, 43% Republican, 12% Independent ... Ohio: 1,442,536 total votes -- 50% Democratic, 36% Republican, 14% Independent."READ MORE
Long lines at many polling sites across the U.S., especially in areas along the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy, make it tempting to ask: "Why are we waiting in line when we could be voting online?"READ MORE
Which presidential candidate does the market want to win? A quick and imperfect look at the data suggests that, if anything, it's rooting just slightly for President Barack Obama.
Teasing out the market's preference is no easy task. Looking at how stocks and bonds move when one or the other candidate is rising in the polls is far from ideal, because the causality could go either way. Maybe stock prices are rising because the incumbent's poll numbers are improving, or maybe the poll numbers are improving because good economic data are pushing up stock prices.READ MORE
The nerd wars among different tribes of election prognosticators have been surprisingly vicious, given that they’re all basing their forecasts on the same thing: polls asking people whom they intend to vote for. But what if this is the wrong question?
I think it is.READ MORE
YouTube wants your vote. And it could get you in trouble.
"We want to see and hear from you tomorrow," says the video-sharing site's official blog. "Whether you’re vlogging about which candidate you support, capturing footage of the long line at your polling place, or encouraging your friends to get out of the house and go vote, we’re inviting you to send us your Election Day videos."READ MORE
Just as we do every four years, we're hearing the mantra: This election will be the most important election in recent times, and if the wrong candidate wins, terrible things will happen to the country.
That's wrong. All presidential elections are important. But based on available information, this one will most likely be the least important one since 1996.READ MORE
Sheila Bair, formerly the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, says we should link Congress's pay to performance. Bair would pay part of elected officials' compensation in 10-year Treasury bonds and release that compensation only when they hit certain performance benchmarks. It's an intuitively appealing idea, but it would not work well.
The first problem with Bair's proposal is the idea of paying Congress in long-term bonds, so that they would lose money if bond yields rise. Bond yields are an ambiguous indicator: They can rise because of increasing worries about inflation or default, but they can also rise because of improved expectations for real economic growth.READ MORE
If there were any doubts that things were going to get nastier in Bahrain, they were dispelled when five home-made bombs went off in the heart of the capital Manama today, killing two people.
The monarchy has been trying to keep a lid on unrest sparked by the Arab Spring, going so far as to ban all demonstrations a week ago. Yet dissension has continued to bubble.READ MORE
Ramesh Ponnuru & Margaret Carlson
This is part of a continuing dialogue between Ramesh Ponnuru and Margaret Carlson about the 2012 campaign.
Margaret: Sane people -- and I'm not talking about you or me, Ramesh -- will wake up Wednesday morning as if so much is finally settled. No matter who wins, an election is a fresh start. Most people will get on with their lives.READ MORE
If there can be a silver lining to such a horrible natural disaster as Hurricane Sandy, it's that the devastation has given many Americans a firsthand understanding of the costs of climate change. This is something many voters, long doubtful of and poorly informed on climate issues, could sorely use.
The problem has been that it's easy to tune out warnings of environmental damage and economic losses several decades away. Many Americans surely have. But you can't ignore a forced evacuation when you're the one leaving. You can't ignore the lines for gasoline when you have to wait in them. You can't ignore $50 billion in storm damage when some of that comes from your own home. You can't ignore climate change once it has changed your life in a meaningful way. (I spent the last week in coastal Monmouth County, New Jersey, just north of where Sandy made landfall.)READ MORE
The Washington Post’s David Beard is maintaining a “roundup of vote irregularities." If you had no other information about U.S. politics but Beard’s list, you would know quite a lot about the state of the nation’s two major political parties in 2012.
Here is Beard’s entry for Sunday’s fiasco in South Florida:READ MORE
When a leader thinks he has little time left to shape a legacy, interesting things can happen. So it was that at age 77, with his people's cause moribund, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took a risk last week, breaking a taboo that must be shattered to achieve a Palestinian state.
In an interview on Israeli TV, Abbas said he would like to visit his childhood home of Safed, in what has been northern Israel since 1948. But he said it was not his right to live there. His remark suggested that, in peace talks, he would be willing to relinquish the "right of return" to Israel for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.READ MORE
Speculation is building over who might replace Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary if President Barack Obama wins a second term. Less attention is being paid to what Geithner -- who's made no secret of his plans to leave -- might do next.
The only thing for certain is that Geithner will return to Larchmont, New York, to join his family, which previously moved back so Geithner's son could finish his final year of high school there.READ MORE
The history of the collapse of Wall Street giants in 2008 has yet to be written. We're still sifting through the debris to see what went wrong, who's to blame and how to build a better financial system. When it is written, economically small Australia will have played an outsized role.
Not in creating the mess, but in highlighting its causes and shaming those who until now have largely gotten away with it. An Australian court ruling today against Standard & Poor's is a case in point.READ MORE
Reid Cherlin, a former Barack Obama staffer, has an excellent new GQ piece about the Obama campaign's effort to win "base voters." The most crucial segment of the base vote for Obama, Cherlin explains, is young people.
But young people aren't necessarily cooperating. Cherlin imagines a college kid named Zach, "snoozing in an upper bunk at State U": "Young Zach likes Obama. So do his buddies. They appreciate that they can stay on their parents' health care plans until they're 26 if they need to. They like that the wars are ending. They're indifferent to Romney, at best."READ MORE