Discussion Divas News Round Up

Between the wild stock market, the bailout plan and the presidential election it seems like the media outlets and churning out headlines fast than we can read them. Lucky for us the Discussion Divas have rounded up the latest news...
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Between the wild stock market, the bailout plan and the presidential election it seems like the media outlets and churning out headlines fast than we can read them. Lucky for us the Discussion Divas have rounded up the latest news...

SARAH PALIN SURVIVES THE VP DEBATE

As Sarah Palin—who participated in her first and only vice-presidential debate on Thursday—might say, “you betcha” we’re talkin’ politics this week.

The reviews

After a rough go with Katie Couric, the Sarah Palin-Joe Biden debate was perhaps the most anticipated television moment of the year. Apparently 3,100 media credentials were issued, the most ever by the Commission on Presidential Debates. (Watch highlights of the debate here.)

We watched with a room full of several-hundred women in San Francisco, many of whom laughed at Palin’s colloquialisms and her eagerness to stick to her talking points on energy. But by all accounts she survived the evening and as the New York Times puts it, didn’t do “any obvious damage to the Republican ticket.”

And while it will take a little while to get the poll results, it’s not likely the performance did much to help John McCain’s presidential campaign. Over the last week Barack Obama has pulled ahead in national polls and also in several key battleground states: Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

A review of the campaign positions

The VP debate centered on energy policy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the economy, all hot topics in the presidential race.

Energy: Both candidates support off-shore drilling in the United States, although McCain (“drill, baby, drill!”) is far more enthusiastic. Obama favors limited drilling.

The economy: Sen. Obama wants to raise taxes only on individuals who make more than $250,000 a year, McCain wants to cut taxes on both individuals and corporations.

Healthcare: The Obama camp is pushing for universal health care. McCain wants to give people $5,000 to go buy their own health insurance, but where that money would come from has been the source of some controversy.

The Wars: McCain wants to stay in Iraq until there’s “success,” Obama wants to set a timeline for troop withdrawal. In Afghanistan, both camps seem to want to prop up the efforts there.

We’ll do a full breakdown of the major issues and where each candidate stands in the coming weeks so that everyone will be fully prepared for November 4.

Comment on the article and get the big picture, here.

CHEAT SHEET ON THE BAILOUT THUS FAR

After a full week of talk and headlines and Congressional hearings about that plan, lawmakers are in a heated deadlock over the details, furiously negotiating, and the first presidential debate is hanging in the balance. Here’s what’s happening:

In swoops the government

The plan devised by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would cost $700 billion, about $10,000 per citizen. Under the plan, the government will buy bad assets from the banks that own them, with taxpayers footing the bill. These are the assets we talked about last week—securities that contain bad mortgages made during the housing bubble. They are so toxic and unwanted that banks can’t unload them—and they’re driving companies into bankruptcy.

The idea is that the government buys the assets at a cut-rate price and then eventually, when the housing market has bottomed out and we’ve (hopefully) started to recover, the government re-sells them—ideally at a profit, benefiting us average Janes and Joes, but more likely at a loss.

One problem with the plan

Determining what to pay for these assets is problematic. Because the market for them has essentially dried up, no one really knows what they are worth. We don’t want to pay the banks too much—but we have to pay enough so that they can resume normal business, and the economy can begin to function normally. The New York Times described it well: ”What would you pay, sight unseen, for a house that nobody wants, on a hard-luck street where no houses are selling?”

Some details and the sticking point

Details of the negotiations on Thursday revealed heated exchanges and finger pointing as the Republicans withheld their support of the plan, despite President Bush’s backing. Some fine points of the program include a cap on executive pay at companies that participate in the bailout, and allowing the government to take an equity stake—own a piece—of the banks. In this way, when (or if) these firms recover, their share prices will increase and the government will make money from their holding.

But Republicans worry that the plan thus far involves too much government intervention in the private sector. There’s also concern over how much power Secretary Paulson would have under the plan.

Comment on the article and get the big picture, here.

These articles are brought to you by WeeklyDIVA. Stay informed EACH WEEK with the WeeklyDIVA, which boils down hot topics in the news into just enough to help you survive any dinner party conversation.

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