The Glass Is Either Half-Full or Really Empty
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says he’s talked to businesses and the consensus is the economy is “gradually getting better”.
Two mega businessmen have a slightly different take.
“This economy is getting weak” says Obama supporter and U.S. News and World Report owner Mort Zuckerman who ticks off consumer spending -flat or down, housing -“off the edge of the cliff,” and unemployment, well even the administration now says the jobless rate will stay above 9 percent until 2012.
“There are very serious headwinds in the face of this economy,” says Republican Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes, Inc.. He explained that businesses aren’t hiring because they are uncertain about the cost of health care, financial reform and taxes.
So, Just To End That Uncertainty on Taxes
Geithner re-confirmed his previous confirmation that the Administration wants to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire in January, leaving them in place for the middle-class, usually defined by The White House as households making 250-thousand dollars or less.
“The Kinetic Option”: Candor only a “former” can offer
Iran continues to balk at sanctions, while still in a seemingly relentless pursuit of a nuclear program, “It seems inexorable, doesn't it?” Michael Hayden, the former CIA director under George W. Bush and former director of the NSA, said. “We engage. They continue to move forward. We vote for sanctions. They continue to move forward. We try to deter, to dissuade. They continue to move forward.” Hayden says military action against Iran is more likely now than ever - and could be justified. “When I was in government, what we would used to mystically call ‘the kinetic option’ was way down on our list. In my personal thinking... I have begun to consider that that may not be the worst of all possible outcomes.”
A “devil of a problem”
Hayden acknowledges home-grown terrorism is “incredibly difficult” to combat in a democracy. He says we can cut down the chances of an attack, but can’t eliminate it.
The former CIA director warned against slashing the intelligence budget saying it could give Al Qaeda an advantage. “Reducing resources beyond a certain point will make us less able to adapt as our enemy adapts. So I would be cautious about that.”
Who Got Iran and Shirley Sherrod into the same sentence?
One free edition of the Crib Sheet next week to all of you who guessed former house speaker Newt Gingrich.
Also coming next Sunday:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
Gregory: “Just to be precise, you do not believe in a double dip recession?
Geithner: No I don't. I think the most likely thing is you see an economy that gradually strengthens over the next year or two, you see job growth start to come back again, investments expanding, manufacturing is getting stronger, exports better, those are very encouraging signs. But we've got a long way to go still.”
Newt Gingrich, on “Fox News Sunday”
“I think a fair case be made that this administration acted with destructing irresponsibility in the way that they fired [Sherrod].”
Newt Gingrich, on “Fox News Sunday”
“If the Obama administration is this afraid of Glenn Beck, how do they deal with the Iranians?”
Abigail Thernstrom, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, on CBS’ “Face the Nation”
“Race and politics….have become so entangled, you can't even criticize President Obama without it being - coming off as, you know - you coming off as racially suspect.”
Mort Zuckerman on CNN “State of the Union"
“I'm more or less on the pessimistic side of things. My view is that you have consumer spending, which is either flat or going down; housing, which is falling off the edge of the cliff; employment, which is still continuing to be a serious problem, and I could give you a whole series of statistics that sort of fit into that general group of either flat or down, and that's what leads me to the conclusion that this economy is getting weak.”
Steve Forbes on CNN “State of the Union”
“…there's huge uncertainty out there, Candy, which is why you're not getting job creation. You have a weak dollar. Weak dollar always means a weak recovery. You've got tax increases coming. Tax increases already embedded in this healthcare bill. Massive new regulations coming. Small businesses not knowing what's going to happen. So the tendency is to clutch the cash, stay on the sidelines. So until the president deals credibly with that uncertainty, it's going to be a very subpar economy. There are very serious headwinds in the face of this economy.”