Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Do people laugh in Treasury Secretary <$NoAd$>John Snow's face when he says stuff like this ...

Snow said there are also economic benefits to the proposed changes. Businesses would not have to compete with the government to borrow money that might be needed to cover a Social Security deficit, there will be an infusion of investments to fund business expansion and job creation and payroll taxes wouldn't be raised.

Admittedly, Snow is not one of the more esteemed Treasury Secretaries in recent decades. But really, phase-out is going to lead to less government borrowing and free up capital for business expansion?

What about the three or four trillion dollars phase-out will cost over the next two or three decades? Even if you take the view that the government is going to borrow that money and then touch it to the heads of individual workers before compelling them to invest it in one of three or four government-administered low-risk investment funds, that hardly seems like a model for letting that capital find its most productive outlets.

Presumably, Snow is talking about that late 21st century Elysium in which everything comes out great in the end and all the debt just melts away.

Treasury Secretary John Snow endorses big benefit cuts. Here's his line from Tampa today. "If you are 20 or 30, the system cannot deliver those benefits, it can't afford them. In other words, it can't deliver on the promise."

It's a policy decision whether we choose whether or not to phase out Social Security. Snow is saying it's not in our power to keep Social Security intact for those retiring in 30 or 40 years. Not true. We can make changes that will keep the program solvent through all through those people's retirement. Indeed, it is possible that it will continue on through their retirement even if no changes are made.

Snow is saying phase-out is inevitable so he can duck responsibility for conceding that it is the policy he prefers.

I was starting to wonder when someone was going to start pressing this point. It seems like half the high-profile Republican Social Security townhalls we cover ends up having Deputy Social Security Commissioner James B. Lockhart III there to preach the phase-out gospel. The Times has a piece on it Friday.

We're always on the look-out for companies making shrewd investments and acquisitions. So today we were interested to see the latest news about Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo and their on-going effort to purchase the PC division of IBM.

A couple months ago Lenovo and IBM agreed to the purchase. But, as you might imagine, US regulators have serious concerns about the potential for industrial espionage (and, I would assume, good old-fashioned espionage espionage too) given that IBM is one of the leading US computer manufacturers, as well as a center of high-tech research.

According to today's report from Bloomberg, US regulators still aren't satisfied that IBM and Lenovo have dealt with the national security concerns surrounding the deal and have yet to sign off on it.

Now, I had actually heard a while back that Lenovo's stock had gone up on the first news of the regulatory hold-up because the IBM PC division's profit margins are so thin and investors question whether Lenovo should be buying the thing in the first place.

So what's the shrewd acquisition?

Well, I don't know about Lenovo. But IBM knows what's up. They just went out and bought Bruce Mehlman to grease the wheels of the federal bureaucracy and get the deal done. And that's quite an acquisition since Bruce is the brother of Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Chairman of President Bush's successful reelection campaign.

In other words, Bruce's brother is arguably the man most responsible for the president's reelection after Karl Rove. So I figure he gets his calls returned and doors get opened, maybe even export restrictions.

All I can think to say is: Brad Card, stay by your phone.

O'Neill Marketing Company has now posted a note about their current relationship (or rather, lack of a current relationship) with USANext. Since we've discussed this at some length, I've posted the relevant portions here ...

As a result of the recent press coverage of United Seniors Association, (now USANext) and the ensuing questions, we thought it might be helpful to clarify and answer the following:

1. O’Neill Marketing Company, (OMC) has no relationship with USANext, does not provide list-marketing services to them and has not done so for many months.

2. OMC was partnered in 1999 with United Seniors Association, but I acquired full ownership, buying out their interest in 2002 and severed the partnership.

3. OMC was a sublessor in suite 450A, 3900 Jermantown Rd. until October 2004 when we moved to suite #300, an Executive Suite. Any remnant phrases referencing the earlier occupied suite, 450A, was simply oversight we have corrected on our site.

More to <$NoAd$> come.

Rep. Capito (R) of West Virginia: "I see this as another issue where I've got to weigh what's best for my constituents and how they want and then consider what I think is good policy and what the president wants. You'd hope they'd be along the same lines, but that doesn't happen all the time ... There is a problem, and I do think personal savings accounts is something we should look [at]. Unfortunately it's become so politicized and there's been so many lines in the sand drawn, I'm not sure what kind of life it's going to have."

What's best for the constituents versus what the president wants. Interesting way to put it.

See excerpts from this radio interview today.

(ed.note: Note of thanks to TPM Reader AK.)

Campaign for America's Future goes to bat against Rep. McCrery (R) of Louisiana and hits a triple. Picked up in the Times, the Hill and the Times-Picayune.

See CAF's ad about where McCrery gets his money and who he works for, here.

Rep. McCrery, you'll remember, is the new chairman of the House Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee who was a down-the-line phase-out man, then hopped into the Conscience Caucus for a few days, then recanted after a self-criticism session at the White House.

I think we know who this fellow works for ...

I was not aware of this. But apparently Georgia Republicans are gearing up for a double-dip, mid-decade redistricting a la Texas 2003. Only they don't even have the fig leaf excuse Tom DeLay had.

Georgia Republicans, making Tom DeLay look good.

Deep-dyed Georgian Ed Kilgore has more.