CNBC's Tyler Mathisen looks back at the week's top business and financial stories. A shortened trading week, this week, as Easter is on Sunday. The week ended positive after Janet Yellen reassured investors. Low rates could be around another two years, she said.» Read More
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards--once again seeking to drive the 2008 campaign debate within his party--will today propose raising the capital gains tax rate to 28% from 15%, and use the money to finance tax cuts for middle and lower income families. While raising the capital gains levy to that level, which Edwards points out was a rate once signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, Edwards proposes a series of breaks for those not currently thriving in the U.S. economy..
The tax debate is sharpening. The John Edwards' campaign tells me he'll deliver a speech in Iowa tomorrow on tax policy changes to make the IRS code reward "work, not wealth" in a greater way than it does now. Details come in Des Moines tomorrow morning--just as Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is holding a conference on the need to cut corporate taxes to spur the economy.
As Robert Palmer might sing it, 'we might as well face it, the Democratic presidential candidates are addicted to war.' Which is another way of saying that Iraq, the issue that has most driven down President Bush's popularity, is driving the debate in the Democratic debate as well. The economy is not.
The sound of marching military cadets is not normally considered the Democratic theme song. That makes the scene here in Charleston,SC, hours before the Democratic presidential candidates debate on the campus of The Citadel, decidedly out of the ordinary. But then there's nothing ordinary about this debate. In an attempt to link an old political format to new technology, questions will be posed to the candidates via YouTube.
As candidates approach the fall stretch run of the 2008 presidential nomination races, candidate debates are increasingly important for the second-tier candidates struggling to stay alive. Among Republicans, former Gov. Jim Gilmore of Virginia has already dropped out. Former Gov. Mike of Arkansas, Sen. of Kansas, and former Bush Cabinet Secretary Tommy Thompson face increasing pressure to raise enough donations to keep their campaigns alive in competition with better known and better financed rivals.
In my earlier post today, I told you to tune in to "Street Signs" where I would have more on John Edwards' top economic advisor Leo Hindery. In case you missed that, here's the report.
Senate Democrats' fruitless effort to force a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq this week carries a side lesson for everyone on Wall Street watching other parts of the Washington political agenda. The lesson? From hedge fund taxes to energy legislation to expansion of government-financed health care, it appears that the domestic policy phase of the Bush presidency is pretty well over.
In mimicking Robert F. Kennedy's 1967 tour through impoverished American communities, John Edwards strikes a resonant chord with me. My father covered that Kennedy trip for the Washington Post. A photo from that experience hangs on the wall in the kitchen of my family home. But is he the Bobby Kennedy of the 2008 presidential race?
Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died Wednesday, a family spokeswoman said.
As he struggles with record-low approval ratings and criticism over the Iraq war, Bush was eager to tout what he viewed as a success for his domestic record and credited his tax cuts with reducing the budget gap.
Curbing spending has become the new centerpiece of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign--but not in the way the Arizona senator had hoped. Faced with lagging donations and down to just $2-million in cash, the one-time front-runner has laid off one third of his staff. That includes his top economics adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. As former head of the Congressional Budget Office, Holtz-Eakin has underscored McCain's political appeal to economic conservatives; that he has the record and commitment to curb runaway federal spending.
Barack Obama's economics adviser Austan Goolsbee (see video link below), a professor at the University of Chicago, had another pursuit as an undergraduate at Yale. Goolsbee was part of an improv comedy group called Just Add Water. "We were actually pretty funny and even toured at Second City," Goolsbee says. As an economist, he dryly observes, he "wasn't necessarily the best guy in the group." But one of his colleagues made real headway in the business--and is now head writer on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Lesson to Wall Street: be alert for hidden laugh lines in Obama economic speeches.
Russian president Vladimir Putin wants to redirect nuclear missiles toward western Europe, and that will affect investors in the domestic Russian market, according to one portfolio manager. "That's a sign of their [Russia's] inexperience and their poor handling of this public relations challenge, and it definitely does increase political risk," said John Connor, portfolio manager at Third Millennium Russia Fund. "The stock market has indicated that."
Barack Obama's record-shattering fund raising performance in the second quarter raises a legitimate question: is Hillary Clinton really the Democratic front-runner after all? Obama didn't just outraise Clinton in the months April through June. He blew past her vaunted political machine with 50% more primary cash--$31-million to $21-million. He has amassed an enormous list of more than 250,000 donors, to whom he can return again and again before the primary season is over.
This week's collapse of comprehensive immigration reform made all of Washington look inept. But here's a glance at the biggest losers: Arizona Sen. John McCain. Once the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. McCain has seen his poll numbers dwindle as conservative activists cried “amnesty” over the bipartisan legislation he co-sponsored. His campaign blames fallout over the issue for contributing to his lagging fund-raising. .
Speaking at a real estate conference in New York, the CEO of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers, Robert Toll, said, “I see no reason to expect a change in confidence until probably April ’08, when the candidates will fairly well be settled for the presidential election and we’ll start to listen to speeches about how we’ll get better.”
In my earlier post, I talked about the taxation debate swirling around private equity and hedge fund managers. Well, one asset those hedge fund managers enjoy right now is the presidential fund-raising chase. As all the top candidates sprint toward the June 30 second-quarter fund-raising deadline, even left-leaning Democrats aren’t rushing to embrace the “carried interest” issue. Sen. Hillary Clinton hasn’t a position. Nor has the populist champion John Edwards--who also happens to be a former employees of Fortress Investment Group.
Welcome to Political Capital. If you’ve seen me on TV you know that my business is politics. And in one way or another, politics is everyone’s business. It sometimes looks like a game, but the outcome shapes the taxes you pay and the rules of the road for economic competition–-in the U.S., and around the world. Here at Political Capital, I’ll take you behind the headlines to offer my take on events and issues facing Congress, the White House, and the key places in the 2008 race for the presidency. From Washington or the campaign trail, I’ll explain what’s happening-–and why. Let’s get started.
Sometimes scheduled news events hold a great deal of promise -- and just as often, they don’t deliver. After New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dropped his affiliation with the Republican Party Tuesday and switched to independent status, the speculation began that this was merely a prelude to a presidential run.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg left the Republican Party on Tuesday and switched to unaffiliated, a move certain to be seen as a prelude to an independent presidential bid that would upend the 2008 race.
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