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Wonkbook: States have 100+ billion in unspent stimulus; out-of-the-box Romer replacements; Fannie and Freddie safe?

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The big thing to watch this week is Tuesday's Treasury summit on housing policy, which will be the official kick-off for the effort to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But with the housing market sagging again, can you credibly threaten the mortgage giants who are currently backing nine out of every 10 new loans? What happens to the housing market if you do? And if the housing market goes south again, what happens to the (already shaky) recovery?

In other news, a year and half after the bill's passage, state and local governments have more than a $100 billion in stimulus they've yet to spend. Some of that is for long-term projects, but some of it isn't. Meanwhile, some state insurance commissioners are claiming they lack the legal authority to carry out health care reform's requirements; tech firms are saying the just-signed border security bill could wreak havoc on immigration by high-skilled workers; and what about the CEO of Pepsi for Christina Romer's replacement?

If I were in the White House, I'd appoint David Chang to run the CEA. Or at least the cafeteria. Anyway, welcome to Wonkbook.

Top Stories

States and local governments have more than half of their $275 billion in stimulus funds left to spend, reports Alec MacGillis: "Many of the unspent funds lie in programs portrayed from the outset as true long-term investments, such as $8 billion for high-speed rail, $17 billion for health information technology and $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health. But other programs that had been viewed as quicker job-generators are also taking a while to get rolling...The $5 billion program for weatherizing low-income homes is recovering from a slow start as officials wrestled with rules on wages and historic preservation, and as providers struggled to expand capacity."

Frank Ahrens suggests some outside-the-box replacements for Christina Romer: http://bit.ly/arjbIA

A stalling housing market could make Fannie and Freddie overhaulers more cautious, reports Nick Timiraos: "The Obama administration has defended its decision to postpone the debate over the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by arguing that it first needed to put the housing market back on track. Now, as mortgage-industry executives and government officials prepare to meet for a summit on Tuesday to begin those discussions in earnest, policy makers are facing an unexpected problem: The housing market appears to be stalling. That will make officials more cautious in considering any dramatic overhaul, because a shaky outlook further underscores the market's heavy dependence on Fannie and Freddie, which together with the Federal Housing Administration are backstopping nine out of every 10 new loans."

Medical costs fell for the first time in 35 years in July: http://nyti.ms/dBA6Ze

Some states claim they are legally incapable of implementing health care reform, report Robert Pear and Kevin Sack: "California, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wyoming, among other states, said they did not have authority to enforce federal law. Some state regulators said they would ask state legislators to expand their authority by putting the federal standards into state law next year. Others said they would rely on their powers of persuasion, the good will of insurers or general state laws that ban unfair or deceptive trade practices."

Democrats are considering slashing food stamps again -- this time to pay for Michelle Obama's child nutrition legislation, reports Russell Berman: http://bit.ly/bUSkon

The visa fee hikes used to pay for the recent border security bill are drawing criticism from tech companies, reports Don Clark: "The broader issue for Silicon Valley is that the flow of technology talent has now reversed. Most foreign students that get advanced degrees at U.S. universities no longer hope to stay in the country, said Mr. Wadhwa, partly because of stiffened immigration policies but also because job opportunities in places like Bangalore and Shanghai are so attractive. The visa increase sends another signal to foreign engineers that they aren't welcome, he added."

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Nirvana cover interlude: Ben Gibbard plays "All Apologies".

Still to come:High corporate profits are bad economic news; energy will will wait for the lame-duck session; the GOP thinks health-care reform costs too much but is trying to repeal all the cost controls; and an illustrator populates his house with cartoon gremlins.

Economy/FinReg

High corporate profits are bad news, writes Floyd Norris: While higher profits are normally deemed good news, it matters why they are rising. “The same thing that caused the profit gains is squeezing now,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.& P., said. “It is the lack of jobs.”...Mr. Silverblatt argues that a stronger recovery could, at least temporarily, lead to a decline in profit margins as companies begin to hire more people and make more investments, thus raising expenses.

China is set to overcome Japan as the world's second-largest economy: http://bit.ly/bwXXN2

The White House's tax overhaul panel will release its report at the end of next week, reports John McKinnon: "Panel chairman Paul Volcker has floated the idea of imposing a value-added tax to help pay for spending...President Barack Obama has asked the panel not to consider policies that would increase taxes on families making less than $250,000... That could complicate any efforts to introduce a value-added tax, which would ultimately hit all consumers. Measures have been proposed by tax experts aimed at offsetting the impact of a VAT on lower-income people, but such an approach could be complex. White House officials say Obama has not proposed a VAT, and such a tax isn’t under consideration."

Lower spending by retiring baby boomers could wreak economic havoc: http://bit.ly/9qXTMe

Gerald O'Driscoll argues the Fed can't fix the economy: "The declines in home values, investor portfolios and 401(k) plans, and the uncertainties surrounding retirement plans, have all had a big impact. The solution lies in restoring balance sheets. For financial firms, that means raising capital. For consumers and businesses alike, that means saving more of their reduced incomes...What is in short supply is not liquidity, but savings. The Fed can supply the former but not the latter. Both fiscal and monetary polices need to shift their focus. The Fed has done the heavy lifting and responded more than adequately to liquidity issues. Now there is little further it can do that is beneficial."

FinReg implementers are promising a transparent rules-writing process, reports Sewell Chan: "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which will be responsible for seizing and dismantling failing financial institutions, announced Thursday that every two weeks it would publish the names of lobbyists and other industry officials who met with its senior officials to discuss how to carry out the legislation. Two other agencies, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which have vast new duties involving financial instruments like swaps and credit ratings, have announced similar measures."

Fannie Mae has clarified its new, stricter credit policies, which it claims are not as stringent as claimed: http://bit.ly/bAPksI

Paul Krugman refudiates the idea of a Social Security crisis: "They rely on an exercise in three-card monte in which the surpluses Social Security has been running for a quarter-century don’t count -- because hey, the program doesn’t have any independent existence; it’s just part of the general federal budget -- while future Social Security deficits are unacceptable -- because hey, the program has to stand on its own. It would be easy to dismiss this bait-and-switch as obvious nonsense, except for one thing: many influential people -- including Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the president’s deficit commission -- are peddling this nonsense."

Former McCain advisor Mark Zandi argues letting the Bush tax cuts expire won't hurt growth: http://nyti.ms/9DS4au

Late night sketch interlude: Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell remember their soap opera, Jacob's Patience.

Energy

Jeff Bingaman says any energy bill may have to wait for the lame duck session, reports Darren Samuelsohn: "Reid is being lobbied aggressively by Democrats to tack a renewable electricity standard onto the oil-spill-focused bill. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said last week that some renewable energy advocates count as many as 62 senators ready to support the legislation...Bingaman said he’s not had a chance to examine any of the whip counts on the renewable electricity standard, an issue that he addressed last year with a committee-passed bill. 'I haven’t seen it, and I haven’t had a chance to talk to the individuals on the list to be sure they’re ready to go,' he said."

The White House is urging BP to continue drilling a relief well, reports Isabel Ordonez: http://bit.ly/8ZZQNT

Tyler Cowen attacks free parking: "99 percent of all automobile trips in the United States end in a free parking space, rather than a parking space with a market price. In his book, Professor Shoup estimated that the value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in 2002, and possibly much more. Perhaps most important, if we’re going to wean ourselves away from excess use of fossil fuels, we need to remove current subsidies to energy-unfriendly ways of life. Imposing a cap-and-trade system or a direct carbon tax doesn’t seem politically acceptable right now. But we can start on alternative paths that may take us far."

A $3.2 billion green jobs program passed in the stimulus has only spent 8.4 percent of its funds, reports Matthew Wald: "The problems Mr. Friedman cited are similar to the ones reported with the weatherization grants: when Congress approved the program, the Energy Department did not have the regulations or the staff to process applications. Local governments lacked the staff to make applications or handle the money they received. And federal money comes with strings attached."

Arts and crafts interlude: The goblins that haunt Christoph Niemann's house.

Domestic Policy

Ezra Klein notices Republican critics of health care reform's costs targeting its cost-control measures: "The board's first recommendations will be for 2015, but it'll take until 2018, when its purview expands to cover hospitals, for it to really start swinging its weight around. If the board makes it that far, it'll be the most aggressive effort lawmakers have ever made to control Medicare's costs. That's a big if. Republicans have zeroed in on the board as a soft target in their campaign to gut the health-care reform bill. 'In true fashion of Obama- Reid-Pelosi hubris,' Cornyn said, 'the IPAB is the definition of a government takeover.' A government takeover of . . . Medicare?"

Jonathan Cohn outlines the road ahead for health care reform's insurer regulations: http://bit.ly/bazD2I

Large health care networks could keep prices down or they could just create monopolies, reports Alec MacGillis: "Another group of health economists says that by many measures, Americans do not use medical care more heavily than people in other developed countries. The real difference is that people in the United States pay much more for the care they get. Expanding networks might allow providers to cut back on unnecessary care, this group says, but the savings could be canceled out if the networks drive up prices. The answer, they say, lies in reducing providers' leverage -- perhaps with a Medicare-like 'public option' for people younger than 65 that could push for lower prices or by public rate setting of hospital prices, as is done in Maryland."

Harold Pollack considers the fiscal impact of public employee overcompensation: http://bit.ly/9xr55J

Demand for public housing is far outstripping supply, reports Valerie Bauerlein: "Only one in four households that are eligible for federal housing assistance receive it, said Linda Couch, senior vice president for policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group. The government provides two million vouchers nationwide. The amount of public housing units and vouchers for subsidized housing has declined by more than 9% between 1999 and 2009, she said. 'The housing world is focused on preserving what we have,' she said."

The recession is leading to a community college boom: http://bit.ly/aQxDaN

Obama has adopted Bush's focus on standardized testing, writes Dana Milbank: "Obama has expanded the importance of standardized testing to determine how much teachers will be paid, which educators will be fired and which schools will be closed -- despite evidence that such practices are harmful. In the process, he's offended just about all the liberals involved in or advocating for education without gaining much support from conservatives. "

Paul Starr previews the fight to save health care reform from repeal: http://bit.ly/dvYfx6

Closing credits: Wonkbook compiled with the help of Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Sakina Rangwala. Photo credit: Newell Turner Photo

By Ezra Klein  |  August 16, 2010; 6:55 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: Column: The GOP thinks health-care reform costs too much. So why are they trying to repeal all the cost controls?

Comments

"99 percent of all automobile trips in the United States end in a free parking space, rather than a parking space with a market price. In his book, Professor Shoup estimated that the value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in 2002"

Well, okay, but those parking spaces are paid for by businesses as part of employing workers and retail establishments as a way for customers to get to their stores. Saying that those free parking spaces are "subsidized" is a little misleading, as they are no more or less subsidized that the roof over your head at the mall, or the walkway to the stores at a strip mall, or the bathroom in the Wal-Mart. They don't charge you for the bathroom in the Wal-Mart, either. What's the size of the national retail bathroom subsidy in this country?

Free parking is paid for. It's part of the price of doing business. Customers and employees also enjoy free electricity, as they aren't charged for the lights or the air conditioning in the store. I can only imagine what that outrageous subsidy is costing per year. But then, it's not really a subsidy, as it's actually a price that's being paid for by the businesses that have the parking lots, as a cost of doing business.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

@Dana Milbank: "Obama has expanded the importance of standardized testing to determine how much teachers will be paid, which educators will be fired and which schools will be closed -- despite evidence that such practices are harmful."

While teachers don't like these things--and I work for a school system--I also see what's involved, as a parent, in "teaching to the test". What's involved is getting the students to master important skills and learn useful knowledge, so if "such practices are harmful", I'm not sure that it's really the standardized testing that's the problem, but maybe the follow-up solutions to poor results.

That being said, much of the bad news--firing educators and closing schools--is directly related to the school systems taking federal money, which they generally have to apply and compete for. And they have to agree to certain outcomes, if they don't meet performance goals. If school systems generally see something like Race to The Top as a bad thing, they could decline to participate. In other instances, they could refuse federal money. Where they can't, we may be looking at a case of what happens when you nationalize education, rather than leaving it up to localities.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I like Gibbard's cover of MJ's "Thriller" better...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jdwm8TW-y0&feature=related

Posted by: DDAWD | August 16, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis: Parking costs $125/month at the garage two doors down from my apartment. My apartment complex is required by zoning codes to provide enough parking for all units. It doesn't make sense for my complex to charge separately for parking, because they have to build so much of it, they might not sell it all.

If they weren't required to provide so much parking, they could build more units on the expensive land where the parking currently is, lower rent on all units, and let the parkers buy spots in the garage. That's to say, the municipal zoning regulations force the non-parkers to subsidize the parkers through bundling parking prices into higher rents.

Posted by: dkesh | August 16, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Good article from Pollack. Just another example of a system that is designed to fail disastrously. I don't know what the solution is: maybe have a dedicated tax for public employee retirement benefits? But the whole concept of paying people in IOUs needs to be ended.

@Kevin:

I agree that parking is an odd choice of a place to complain about subsidy.

I'd focus on the roads themselves if I cared about the issue.

Posted by: eggnogfool | August 16, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

That "big chunk of stimulus remains unspent" story needs JUST A LITTLE MORE CONTEXT.

Research desk needs to take a look at "uncommitted" amounts. Since we don't want government money paid out until the road is built or the computer system is upgraded or [insert procurement item here] it isn't unusual for a multi-month or multi-year project to have unspent funds. That is the plan.

The GOP and its media arm, FOX, will trumpet the 'unspent' funds as wasteful and bleat that "No further stimulus should be undertaken until ALL the first stimulus is spent", but most of the hiring has taken place already. Those stimulus dollars are keeping people employed right now.

And the unemployment rate is still hugely high.

So, yes there is still money to pay for the salaries for workers that have been hired onto government projects under stimulus. But this isn't particularly an issue.

Posted by: grooft | August 16, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

This is a secret message for all the Hard News reporters from Ezra's JournoLIST so that all of the liberals are on the same page:

The current message from the DNC that needs to be conveyed: Republicans hate Muslims! Republicans hate Hispanics!

Scary Republicans.....please try to work it into your "hard news" headlines whenever possible.....follow good ole boy Ben Smith over there at Politico.com!


Whatever you do, don't mention that the Mosque being built at ground zero will be run by an Imam who openly states that 9-11 was USA's fault...according to him it was just their chickens coming back to roost....


That might cause Americans to realize that the real common thread here is Obama's support for anyone prepared to give USA their comeuppance, like Obama's buddy Bill Ayers who told NY Times on 9-11-2001 that he did not regret bombing...he wished he bombed more.

(Bill Ayers was working side by side with Barack Obama on the Woods Foundation in 9-11-2001 when he said that.)

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | August 16, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

To pay for the Child Nutrition Legislation the Congress should eliminate the massive subsidies to the sugar industry and the ethanol industry.

This would save enough money to save the food stamp program and also lead to reduced consumption of sugar products because of the increased prices.

Posted by: mwhoke | August 16, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"A stalling housing market could make Fannie and Freddie overhaulers more cautious, reports Nick Timiraos: "The Obama administration has defended its decision to postpone the debate over the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by arguing that it first needed to put the housing market back on track."

The government cannot put housing 'back on track'. It has been trying to do this for years and has utterly failed. All the government accomplished was to move demand forward, at great expense to the taxpayer. Everyone who wants a house and can afford a house has one - even many who can't afford a house. And the shadow inventory is still huge. Housing will not boom for a long time.

"Lower spending by retiring baby boomers could wreak economic havoc: http://bit.ly/9qXTMe"

The economic havoc was created when boomers failed to save enough for retirement. That being said, it is hard to blame the boomers as individuals for being fooled by bad price signals. Interest rates were kept artificially low which reduced savings, and fueled the asset bubbles made boomers feel artificially rich from 1995-2000 and 2002-2007, reducing savings further. Now the true state of affairs has been revealed. Boomers are woefully unprepared for retirement. The article notes that:

"Policy makers have long worried that Americans aren't saving enough for old age."

And yet everytime the economy slows down, these same policy makers go crazy trying to 'stimulate demand' (e.g. get consumers to save less), then wonder why the savings rate is so low.

Posted by: justin84 | August 16, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@Fast_Eddie:

Are there any conservatives that didn't blame 9/11 on the USA?

Maybe we shouldn't let any Republicans within 10 miles of Manhattan.

Posted by: eggnogfool | August 16, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"To pay for the Child Nutrition Legislation the Congress should eliminate the massive subsidies to the sugar industry and the ethanol industry.

This would save enough money to save the food stamp program and also lead to reduced consumption of sugar products because of the increased prices."

This is dead on.

It can reasonably argued that the elimination of subsidies to domestic sugar/corn producers is in itself a child nutrition program.

Food stamps are 2010's version of breadlines. I see few programs which merit diverting dollars from food stamps.

Posted by: justin84 | August 16, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Is there a single Conservative that DID blame 9-11 on USA?


I mmyself fully support the building of a Mosque on Ground Zero were the application submitted by a group that does not appoint an Imam who blames USA for 9-11 and were the money on behalf of the group fully accounted for.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | August 16, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Well, at least the child nutrition program is substantially related to the same subject matter as food stamps. I don't think it's a good idea to keep raiding food stamp funding, especially in this economy, but at least it's better than using food stamp money to pay for state and local government aid, which should have just been true stimulus.

And absolutely. In terms of really great pipe dreams that absolutely should be passed but almost surely won't in the forseeable future, repealing sugar subsidies (and corn for that matter, which adds a ton on incentive for increasing levels of high-fructose corn syrup into our diets) is at or near the top.

Posted by: MosBen | August 16, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

For more on federal government insanity in the housing market, see: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-13/manhattan-luxury-condos-embrace-federal-help-in-game-changer-for-sales.html

3.5% down on $3 million condos. What's wrong with this picture?

Justin84, I totally agree with you on food stamps. As government programs go, it's a model of efficiency and cost effectiveness and delivers essential goods to people who are truly in need. Ditto the child nutrition program in the schools. Plus, it's a way to support our crucial agricultural sector without the need for paying farmers not to farm. It's difficult to fathom how we can find money for pork and stimulus, but find it necessary to raid either of those programs.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 16, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@Fast_Eddie:

A quick glance at google finds each of Rush Limbaugh, George W. Bush, Jerry Falwell, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson, Dick Cheney, Sean Hannity blaming 9/11 on some combination of American foreign policy and American culture.

"Remember kids, it doesn't count when conservatives do it!"

Posted by: eggnogfool | August 16, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

As for parking, I had a lot of questions and not many solution suggestions, so I deleted my post and read the article.

It seems that most of what Cowan's talking about is repealing regulations that require or incentivize free parking. That seems like a pretty reasonable position for most areas. The price of land in suburban areas, particularly once you get to the sprawl, may be cheap enough that businesses decide to continue providing large parking lots because it's necessary for their customers and because they can afford it.

I think the biggest problem area is probably something like a mall. Frequently you've got a huge parking lot directly around the mall which isn't utilize anywhere near maximum capacity except at the holiday season or select big shopping days. Then the mall is surrounded by big box stores which have their own large parking lots. My guess is that a lot of the parking traffic includes people going on multiple trips between the mall and a big box store or between multiple big box stores. It'd be much more efficient if they focussed customer parking in the already huge and underutilized mall parking lot and then had frequent shuttle service between the mall and all the satillite big box store areas. Ideally, you'd get rid of the sprawling mall parking lot and replace it with a free or cheap parking garage and use then move all the big box stores closer to the mall.

Posted by: MosBen | August 16, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Underutilized mall parking frequently would make great park and ride locations for commuter transport. Think about it.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 16, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's a good idea bgmmma50. What strikes me as the most insane aspect of this is that there's so much underutilized capacity. Other than holidays I can't think of the last time I was at the mall or a big box store where the parking lot was even close to capacity, and I think most of the need for the capacity is because the stores are built so far apart that people can't walk between them.

On the mosque issue, is there a reason why people keep calling it a mosque rather than a community center other than they think that mosque is a scary sounding word and community centers sound like where you go to play checkers? Is there a small mosque built into the community center in the way that a McDonalds is sometimes built into a Walmart?

As for what this "shows" about President Obama, I guess it shows that organizations must comply with local zoning ordinances and other regulations if they want to build and operate a location in that particular community. Buildings owned and operated by muslim groups are no different. If they've complied with the local laws then they should be allowed to proceed as any other group would.

Posted by: MosBen | August 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"refudiates"?

Posted by: DaffyDuck2 | August 16, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"The current message from the DNC that needs to be conveyed: Republicans hate Muslims!"

Not quite, but some Republicans are edging ever-closer in that direction. From a recent post by Matt Duss:

"The right-wing group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) has announced that it will be hosting a rally against the proposed Cordoba House Islamic community center on September 11.

The confirmed list of speakers includes former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Andrew Breitbart, and, notably, the far-right Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology,” Wilders told the Guardian in 2009, “the ideology of a retarded culture.”

In the past, Wilders’ extremism has been condemned by conservatives such as Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and even Glenn Beck, who called Wilders “fascist.” It’s a clear sign of how far the Republicans have shifted to the right and embraced Islamophobia as a political tool that movement figures like Gingrich, Bolton, and Breitbart now have no problem sharing a stage with Wilders."

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 16, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The headline reporting in this column is disingenuous. "Former McCain advisor Mark Zandi argues letting the Bush tax cuts expire won't hurt growth" -- this headline makes it sound like Zandi is for letting the tax cuts expire. But as the article states, and as he stated over the weekend, he is actually promoting the idea that we extend them for a few more years, and then phase their expiration slowly over time. This is a position that falls squarely between Obama's plan and the Republican plan.

Posted by: boosterprez | August 16, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The google search is simply showing Rush and Glenn Beck's effort to point out the liberal blame America forces...and Jerry Falwell is a harmless idiot preaching very general moral platitudes that have no bearing.

I challenge you to point out one specific quote where Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck ever blamed America for 9-11.

I challenge you to watch/listen to two Glenn Beck shows without changinge your ideology....if he is as evil as George Soros claims, clearly your committment to oppose him will be strengthened...so why not?

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | August 17, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck on the relation between American foreign policy and 9/11:

"Were we minding our own business? No. Were we in bed with dictators? Yes."

In fact, Beck's opinions on the topic are the EXACT SAME as the Imam in question: while America didn't deserve the attacks, American influence in the region had some fairly catastrophic effects from a human rights perspective, and we shouldn't have been surprised by some eventual backlash.

Glenn Beck and the Imam are not in lock step with other conservatives on this issue, but they've all blamed US policies, just different ones. For others, blaming retreat from Lebanon and Somalia is popular, as is blaming weak responses to the USS Cole and Embassy bombings.

The general argument I hear is "If you blame US policies A, B, or C for 9/11, you are a patriotic American, where if you blame US policies E or F, you are clearly saying 'America deserved it', even if you also say 'America certainly didn't deserve it' or 'targeting civilians is always evil' in the same sentence, unless you are named Glenn Beck in which case you can say whatever the hell you want".

Posted by: eggnogfool | August 17, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

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