Campaign 2012: Tom Fiedler on the Iowa straw poll

This week, “Campaign 2012″ looks at the Iowa straw poll, which will be held on Saturday, August 13. Tom Fiedler, Dean of Boston University’s College of Communication, talks about his predictions and analysis for the straw poll.

Contact Tom at 617-353-3488, tfiedler@bu.edu; Twitter: @BUCOMDEAN

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating

Markets continued to fall sharply today following Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. debt, lowering the credit rating from AAA to AA+. S&P continued their downgrades by lowering ratings for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and several Federal Home Loan Banks. Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff weighed in with his view of S&P’s move to lower the U.S. rating. Speaking to the Boston Herald, he said:

“You add it all up, our bond rating shouldn’t be AA+, it should be CCC at this point. I’m not kidding…It’s a scary mix of ingredients…If the market drops any more, this could lead to a double-dip. At some point, all hell can break loose on our bond market. If people realize how broke the country is, they may start dumping bonds. This could be a catalyst and interest rates would shoot up. Bank assets would drop and banks would start to fail. People might panic and take money out of their money-market accounts.”

Interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Kotlikoff added, “We’ve consistently done too little too late, looked too short-term, said the future would take care of itself, we’ll deal with that tomorrow. Well, guess what? You can’t keep putting off these problems.’

Kotlikoff is an expert in macroeconomics and fiscal monetary policy. He is the author of “Jimmy Stewart is Dead: Ending the World’s Ongoing Financial Plague With Limited Purpose Banking.” He is also a regular contributor to Bloomberg. He can be reached at 617-353-4002 or kotlikoff@bu.edu


Weekly roundup of quotes by BU experts: July 31 – August 5

Below is a sampling of quotes by Boston University experts for July 31 – August 5:

Egypt proving to be a leader in digitally preserving culture (Investor’s Business Daily): “Since the advent of the Internet, the Egyptian government has been doing an admirable job in preserving the ancient archaeological heritage.” Farouk El-Baz, Director, Center for Remote Sensing

Debt deal still leaves all players bankrupt (Boston Herald): “I think there are a lot of ticked-off people on the Democratic side here, because President Obama, he’s basically giving (the GOP) 80 percent of what they want. I don’t see how he can declare some kind of political victory here.” Tom Whalen, Associate Professor of Social Science, College of General Studies

Angry liberals seek silver lining in debt deal (Washington Post): “The challenge Washington faces is to cut the bloated Pentagon budget without being capricious and arbitrary about it.” Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations, College of Arts & Sciences

Afghanistan is broke, US drowning in debt – so what about a war ceiling? (EconomyWatch): “The total cost of war, the longest in American history and one that was paid for by borrowing rather than by increased taxation, should not be measured solely by the costs of financing the troops and the extensive aid programs administered by the State Department. It should also include long-term costs of the war, primarily veterans’ benefits for returning soldiers, who will require medical and mental health services for many years to come. Long after the last troops depart from the country, that hidden part of the bill will come due.” William Keylor, Professor of International Relations, College of Arts & Sciences

Slot open, Ch. 7 may raise anchor (Boston Globe): “They have been definately tinkering with the formula…It’s not unlike a chef working on a new recipe. Summer is a traditionally slow time for television, ratings overall are down, which is a great time to experiment with different combinations.” Geoff Klapisch, Lecturer, College of Communication

U.S. Steel is latest manufacturer to adopt Chief Risk Officer role (Industry Week): “Let’s say U.S. Steel is going into a market to get ore, maybe a third-world country where labor isn’t good or working conditions are poor. They have to understand whether they’re willing to take that risk of an accident or death and how that can damage their reputation. So this is where a senior-level person comes in.” Mark Williams, Master Lecturer & Executive-in-Residence, School of Management

Will President Obama lose the 2012 election? (PoliticoArena): “If Obama continues to govern like a Republican (as he did with thde debt ceiling debate) he will surely lose – Republicans will go for the real thing…” Kevin Gallagher, Associate Professor of International Relations, College of Arts & Sciences

The ‘Oreo Problem’: When drug marketers know too much about doctors (CommonHealth): ”If it’s Oreos, it’s only a snack and I’m buying them for my family. What we worry about for physicians is that they’re making an important medical decision for somebody else. We’re trusting the physician to make the right decision, without inappropriate influence from drug companies.” Kevin Outterson, Associate Professor of Law, School of Law

Grounding the FAA brings surprising economic ripples (Marketplace): “When you’re outta work, you’re not spending money. And when you’re not spending money, you’re not buying things, and the companies that are producing products, they’ve got to lay people off. It affects the economy thru the ripple process and there’s a giant ripple process with 70,000 people.” Allen Michel, Professor of Finance, School of Management

Tom Whalen on the proposed debt ceiling deal

Tom Whalen, an associate professor of social sciences, is an expert on American politics. He is a regular contributor to PoliticoArena. He can be reached at 978-888-3131 or tjw64@comcast.net


BU experts comment on debt ceiling deal

Cornelius Hurley, professor of law at BU’s School of Law and director of BU’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy. Contact Hurley at 617-353-5427 or ckhurley@bu.edu, Twitter: @ckhurley

“The president’s tactical errors were obvious. First, he failed to embrace his own Deficit Commission’s report and thereby yielded the high ground to the GOP on the debt issue. Second, he abandoned the bully pulpit by not calling out the tea party zealots for what they are – financial terrorists. Finally, he took the 14th Amendment alternative off the table without the slightest pressure to do so. Mr. Obama may yet get reelected in spite of his incompetence. In the meantime, he has hung congressional Democrats out to dry.”

Graham Wilson, chair of BU’s Department of Political Science and author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective.” Contact Wilson at 617-353-2540 or gkwilson@bu.edu

“This is more or less game, set and match to the Republican right — a stunning defeat for President Obama.”


Weekly roundup of quotes by BU experts: July 24 – July 29

Below is a sampling of quotes by Boston University experts for July 24 – July 29:

Field position – Putnam assumes key sponsorship at Gillette Stadium, raising its profile (Boston Globe): “It’s a perceptional investment. There are lots of ancillary things that can come out of it.” Christopher Cakebread, Assistant Professor of Advertising, College of Communication

Mitt Romney, president might have Rock-y run-in (Boston Herald): “These candidates say they’re one with the common man, but then they end up at these elite playgrounds. They could have a ‘This island isn’t big enough for the two of us’ moment.” Tom Whalen, Associate Professor of Social Science, College of General Studies

Patrick hits the road campaign style (Boston Globe): ”To govern, you need to campaign. Day to day politics sure acts like its a battle, and a battle for the public.” Virginia Sapiro, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Does public understand debt debate? (Patriot Ledger): “Mainstream news media and the new media have been paying a lot of attention to this, so people say they are following it, but I think it’s too arcane and too political for people to really have a clear understanding as opposed to a push-button ideological understanding.” Tobe Berkovitz, Associate Professor of Advertising, College of Communication

Leaders in Congress scramble toward deal (Boston Globe): “The markets have kind of assumed that rationality would prevail. But every hour it’s seeming less and less likely that that will be the case.” Cornelius Hurley, Professor of Law, School of Law

Hospital charges $9.2 million to dead patient’s estate (ABCNews.com): “This is tragic. I think that the aim of health care might be something like…confidence that every American will get needed, competent, and timely care without having to worry about the bill when we are sick and, and without having to ever worry about losing our insurance coverage. That’s what we can get for $2.7 trillion a year.” Alan Sager, Professor of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health

Anti-addiction drugs face more than medical issues (New Scientist): “Before any vaccine is put on the market we need to get these ethical considerations worked out. It should always be the individual’s choice to be immunized. The treatments will only be successful if the individual is motivated to quit, otherwise they will find ways to get around it.” Kathleen Kantak, Professor of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences


Massachusetts prepares for Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline

With the Aug. 2 deadline looming on the debt ceiling crisis, Massachusetts officials are drafting an emergency plan to ensure that the state will be able to pay their bills. The following Boston University experts are available to comment:

Fred Bayles, Associate Professor of Journalism at BU’s College of Communication. An expert on Massachusetts politics, he is the Director of the State House Program. He can be reached at 617-353-7736 or fbayles@bu.edu

Tom Whalen, Associate Professor of Social Science at the College of General Studies, is an expert in American politics. He is a regular contributor to PoliticoArena. He can be reached at 978-888-3131 or tjw64@comcast.net

Kevin Lang, Professor of Economics at the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at 617-353-5694 or lang@bu.edu


Thomas Whalen on site of Bill Russell statue

In response to a recent column in The Boston Herald, Thomas Whalen, associate professor of social science at Boston University and author of Dynasty’s End: Bill Russell and the 1968 – 69 World Champion Boston Celtics (Northeastern University Press), discusses why he believes a statue of Celtics legend and civil rights activist, Bill Russell, should be erected near the site where Ted Landsmark was attacked by a man using an American flagpole during an anti-busing demonstration in Boston in 1976.

The attack resulted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Herald photograph now known as “The Soiling of Old Glory.”

 

Whalen can be reached at 978-888-3131 or tjw64@comcast.net.

Karzai on future US relations

Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with the new U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, and outlined his conditions for a long-term “strategic partnership” between the two countries, saying a deal will be made only if the U.S. meets the Afghan conditions. Boston University journalism professor Nick Mills, the author of “Karzai: The Failing American Intervention and the Struggle For Afghanistan,” offers the following comment:

“This is part of Karzai’s high-wire act.

“Without the U.S. and other Western allies defending his government, Karzai has no chance of surviving the combined pressures from the Taliban and Pakistan, which, as ever, seeks to control Afghanistan’s destiny so that India won’t.

“So while he says he wants a long-term deal with the U.S., he needs to show the Afghan people that he — not the United States — is dictating the terms.”

Mills can be reached at 617-353-3492 or nmills@bu.edu


Experts available to comment on debt ceiling debate

The following Boston University experts are available to offer commentary, insight, and analysis on the debt ceiling debate:

Cornelius Hurley, a professor in the School of Law, is the Director of BU’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors.  He is also a regular contributor to PoliticoArena. He can be reached at 617-353-5427, ckhurley@bu.edu, or Twitter: @ckhurley

Graham Wilson, chair of BU’s political science department and the author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective.” He can be reached at 617-353-2540 or gkwilson@bu.edu

Laurence Kotlikoff, professor of economics, is an expert in macroeconomics and fiscal and monetary policy. He is the author of “Jimmy Stewart Is Dead: Ending the World’s Ongoing Financial Plague With Limited Purpose Banking.” He is also a regular contributor to Bloomberg. He can be reached at 617-353-4002 or kotlikoff@bu.edu

Daniel Berman, a professor in the School of Law, is the Director of  the Graduate Tax Program. He is an expert in tax policy and tax legislation. He can be reached at 617-353-3105 or bermand@bu.edu

Tom Whalen, an associate professor of social sciences, is an expert in American politics and the American presidency. He is also a regular contributor to PoliticoArena. He can be reached at 978-888-3131 or tjw64@comcast.net