Not Too Skinny And Not Too Fat

… she's a real humdinger and I like it like that:

  • You ought to subscribe to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt e-mail newsletter, because—for whatever reason—there's often good stuff in there that doesn't make it into his indispensable blog.

    Today, for example: Geraghty summarizes Fareed Zakaria's recent WaPo column which explores a stunning number that just might explain why the US economy remains in the doldrums:

    The Federal Reserve recently reported that America's 500 largest nonfinancial companies have accumulated an astonishing $1.8 trillion of cash on their balance sheets. By any calculation (for example, as a percentage of assets), this is higher than it has been in almost half a century.
    Zakaria asks "business leaders" (who demanded anonymity in fear of getting scapegoated) why this cash isn't being used more productively. Answer number one:
    Economic uncertainty was the primary cause of their caution. "We've just been through a tsunami and that produces caution," one told me. But in addition to economics, they kept talking about politics, about the uncertainty surrounding regulations and taxes. Some have even begun to speak out publicly. Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, complained Friday that government was not in sync with entrepreneurs. The Business Roundtable, which had supported the Obama administration, has begun to complain about the myriad laws and regulations being cooked up in Washington.
    Geraghty points to reactions from Captain Ed McQ, and King Banian, well worth the reading. All three (unlike Zakaria and the anonymous folks he quotes) pretty much saw this coming 18 months ago.

  • In the meantime, New Hampshire's slightly-less-irritating CongressCritter, Paul Hodes, is running for Senate, and (according to FactCheck.org) he's starting out on the low road:
    It didn't take long for New Hampshire's Senate race to turn dirty. In his first TV ad, Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes falsely accuses his likely Republican opponent of erasing e-mails to cover-up her department's botched investigation of an alleged $20 million Ponzi scheme. But former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's e-mails were preserved in accordance with state law (thousands have been released publicly). There's no evidence that she engaged in any cover-up, and her agency was not the only one at fault.
    I'm sure Hodes will apologize and his campaign will move on to more relevant issues. I'm also sure that Lindsay Lohan will come up with a workable scheme to plug the Deepwater Horizon gusher, clean up the Gulf of Mexico, and save the pelicans.

  • Jonathan Rauch interviews Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on five books of Daniels' choice: Hayek's The Road to Serfdom; Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman; What It Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray; The Rise and Decline of Nations by Mancur Olson; and The Future and Its Enemies by Virginia Postrel.

    I haven't read the Olson book, but the other four are insanely great, so I think I'll give it a try. Moreover, I think this makes Mitch Daniels the prohibitive favorite for the coveted Pun Salad endorsement in the 2012 New Hampshire Presidential Primary, should he choose to run.

    [To give you an idea of how coveted the Pun Salad endorsement is: in 2008, it went to Mr. Fred Dalton Thompson, who finished sixth.]


Last Modified 2012-10-03 8:49 AM EST