Money in the Morning


President Obama is going to name Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor and darling of the left, as a new “assistant to the president.” But it’s unclear whether she’ll actually call the shots at the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Reports quote unnamed officials who say she could still end being nominated by Obama to become director of the CFPB.

The scoop from Jake Tapper: “President Obama will announce this week that Elizabeth Warren... will be named to a special position reporting to both him and to the Treasury Department and tasked with heading the effort to get the new federal agency standing, a knowledgeable Democrat told ABC News.”

The NYT sees her in charge in all but name. Hed: “Elizabeth Warren to Unofficially Lead Consumer Agency”

HuffPo agrees... “The White House has tapped Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to help set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, affirming its support for a tough new agency charged with protecting consumers from abusive lenders... The move allows her to act as an interim head of the CFPB and will enable her to begin setting up the agency immediately and prevent the GOP from filibustering her nomination. Warren could serve until President Barack Obama nominates a permanent director to serve the five-year term -- a nomination he's not required to make for some time.”

But is she?

-TPM’s David Kurtz: “They Must Really Not Want Her” ... “I tend to agree with Matt Yglesias on this: ‘With Warren, Obama showing real innovation in developing odd, satisfying to nobody compromises.’”

-Angry Capitalist’s Yves Smith is more bearish: “Expect Warren to be pushed further to the sidelines, just as Paul Volcker has been (oh, and pulled out of mothballs when the Administration desperately needed to create the appearance it really might be tough on banks.”


Deficit Hawk Alan Greenspan pushes for higher taxes, end to Bush tax cuts. Reuters: “Reversing a long-standing aversion to tax increases, Greenspan warned of ‘very grave problems ahead’ if the budget deficit, swollen to around $1 trillion by massive amounts of stimulus spending, is not tackled soon... ‘I am in favor for the first time in my memory of raising taxes,' Greenspan told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York... 'I would love to see taxes go down, and I would hope that what we would do is we allow the tax cuts, the so called Bush tax cuts, all to lapse as they will ... on December 31 and then gradually bring the level of expenditure down...’”

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sees anything but the extension of all the cuts as a job-killer. ChamberPost: “The plain fact is that the people in the cross-hairs of this, the largest tax increase in history, will be small business. Some 75% of small businesses are organized as pass-through entities, meaning they pay taxes according to individual tax rates... Over the last decade, small business created two-thirds of the net new jobs in this country... A tax increase that falls disproportionately on the job creators makes no sense during the current climate of anemic job creation.”

What are small businesses actually thinking? "Nobody is buying what we're selling,” says Derek Thompson, armed with data and a graph. The Atlantic.

PRIMARY FALLOUT -- There’ll be no progress on the deficit in the next two years, says budget guru Stan Collender: “In light of the Castle and Lazio losses... [and] Murkowski’s defeat in Alaska, any GOP senator or representative who even dares vote for a budget deal with congressional Democrats or the White House…or perhaps even looks like he or she is interested in working with them…has to assume that they will get a well-financed primary challenge from a far-right/Tea Party candidate and that his or her cooperation will be stated as the reason they should be defeated.

And/But/Case in point... WSJ’s Daniel Henninger says the GOP now has to face up to spending: “In a sense, the GOP's impending victory is meaningless, a win by default. If the Republican rookies entering Congress next year don't do something identifiably real to stop the federal-spending balloon, voters two years from now will start throwing the GOP under the bus.

NEW OBAMA STIMULUS NOT VERY STIMULATIVE, according Macro Advisers forecast. Derek Thompson summarizes the report: “The proposal to build more roads and rail, establish an ‘infrastructure bank’, make permanent the research and experimentation tax credit, and expand tax breaks for small businesses will boost real GDP growth by an average of 0.3 percentage points over 2011 and 2012 and lower the unemployment rate by 0.2 points.”

The original report.


The Treasury secretary will take on China’s foreign exchange policy Thursday when he visits the Hill.

Geithner prepared remarks: "The pace of appreciation has been too slow and the extent of appreciation too limited... We are examining the important question of what mix of tools, those available to the United States and multilateral approaches, might help encourage the Chinese authorities to move more quickly."

Bloomberg: "Geithner’s comments, his strongest since he took office in January 2009, highlight growing frustration among American officials with policies they say put American companies at a competitive disadvantage.”