An Administration in Retreat

The Obama Administration is prepared to jettison the creation of an independent stand-alone Consumer Protection Agency in the hopes of securing quick passage of a financial reform package. The details from the Washington Post:

In hopes of quick congressional approval of a reform bill, White House officials are opening the door to compromise with lawmakers concerned about creating a new bureaucracy, according to congressional and some administration sources.

President Obama's economic team is now open to housing the consumer regulator inside another agency, such as the Treasury Department, though they still prefer a stand-alone agency. In either case, they are insisting on a regulator with political autonomy and real teeth so it can effectively enforce rules designed to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

The administration may also have to compromise on Obama's recent proposal for a rule to limit risky activities at banks by prohibiting them from engaging in many kinds of speculative investments.

Last month, Harvard Law Professor and Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel that oversees the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) Elizabeth Warren told the Huffington Post that Congress would be better off passing nothing at all if the financial reform bill doesn't establish an effective and independent consumer protection agency.

"The CFPA is the heart of what makes regulatory reform work," Warren said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "The consumer credit market is where the biggest abuses were. It is where families will be most directly affected and it is where the American people will see change. CFPA is how to make clear that regulatory reform is for them, and that it isn't a game among insiders.

"We just can't pass a regulatory reform bill that acquiesces to the industry on every front and where everything is so watered down that nobody has to take a hard vote," she said.

"It's not ok to weaken the agency so much that, while everyone can vote yes and pretend to support consumers' right to a fair deal, nothing really changes. I want a strong agency, and if there's not going to be a strong agency, then I at least want to see an up-or-down vote on it. Let's see a vote."

And if it fails?

"Shame on them," Warren declared.

Shame on them indeed. Perhaps it's time to send out a search party for Barack Obama's spine. Apparently, it's gone missing.

Tags: US Finance Reform, Obama Administration, consumer protection agency (all tags)



I recommend bobswern's diary on this
Over at Daily Kos

Not only will there be no independent consumer protection agency, banks will now be allowed to make payday-style loans. Total disaster.
by desmoinesdem 2010-02-25 07:01AM | 1 recs
RE: I recommend bobswern's diary on this

Thanks for the link.

Really, the fact that Democrats ares till out fundraising the Republicans makes sense now. They've chucked over reform and decided to try to buy the election come November.

A lot of these issues are all boiling down to the senate. Something's dead and rotten there IMO. I know I may come off like an Obot; but I look at the House passing the agenda the president campaigned on and it all dying in the senate. I look at the White House being knee capped by Democratic Committee Chairman and I just see a gulf in governance there. The senate's not going to toe the White House line, Reid annonced that when Obama came in. And we're seeing the results.


by Rhoda 2010-02-25 09:17AM | 1 recs
Warren should resign in protest

She's a Kill-Biller!

Warren told the Huffington Post that Congress would be better off passing nothing at all
Nothing is better than something!
by QTG 2010-02-25 08:58AM | 1 recs
Really, Obama's spine?

Let's look at this w/out the automatic Blame Obama tic. Chris Dodd spent weeks working with Shelby to get a "bipartisan" reform bill. That fell apart and what did he do? He didn't charge ahead as he did w/health care and pass a bill out of committee. Nope. He started negotiations with Bob Corker.

Chris Dodd has been against this Consumer Regulatory Agency from jump, he's against implementing the Volcker Rules, and he's clearly decided to do the bare minimum to perserve his employment prospects after he retires.

The President's been standing for real reform for a  long time, he put the Volcker rules into the spotlight and discussed implementing them through executive order if necessary. He's done a lot to get real reform and the House has passed real reform.

Like all things now: it's dying in the senate.

Senators have made the calculation that Barack Obama can't do shit for them. So they're going to look out for themselves and that means punching a lot of hippies IMO. That's why we're in such danger come November.

If the senate had done what the House did; we wouldn't have any issues now IMO.

And yet, no one is refocusing on begining to fix this elctorally. On going out there and voting in primaries and making themselves heard progressivly. Nope. All we get are posts about how the base will stay home. Well, then the Democrats won't be represented Nov. 5th as they shouldn't be. This is a democracy. The ballots were you get to make your voice heard.

Progressives are to lazy to even pick up a phone or mail a postcard, through. So I'm not shocked given how they've been outhustled by astroturfed teabaggers.

by Rhoda 2010-02-25 09:11AM | 2 recs
President Obama

demanded the Consumer Protection Agency in anuary, and put down the hammer with Chris Dodd.

Did it work?


The President's influence over the Senate is nill. We saw it with Clinton, we've seen it with Obama on Gitmo and cramdown. If the Senate doesn't want it, the President ain't getting it. We could speculate all day the things he could do to gain influence in the Senate, but we'd be forgetting that this a body when a Democratic Senator upped and announced his retirement without even telling the leaders of his own party...and, what? We think ANYONE is going to get a consumer protection agency through if they don't want it?

And btw, could someone really tell me why it's such a big deal if instead of a stand alone agency, we put on under the guise of the Treasury Department or Justice Department? I really don't see what the big deal is.

by ND22 2010-02-25 09:57AM | 1 recs
The problem

is this, right now there exist multiple regulatory agencies, eight I think, and so financial services have been able to pick which regulator suits them best (to be read least).

So it's likely that Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) will be rolled into one of these if it's not created as a separate entity. None of these other agencies has prevented a crisis heretofore because their mission is broader. Only an agency with laser-like focus on consumer protection will protect consumers because otherwise it's just going to subsumed by more powerful interests within that department.

The whole point of the CFPA is that those other agencies tend to abandon their consumer protection imperatives because those are not central to their larger and often competing responsibility.

The Federal Reserve has a lot of consumer protection power, but very little of its was exercised in the run-up to the crisis because the Federal Reserve isn't interested in consumer protection. Same deal with the Federal Trade Commission. Strengthening one of these agencies isn't the solution. It's creating a stand-alone one with specific oversight protection and only one client, consumers. Otherwise, consumers are just going to drown out by more powerful competing interests.


by Charles Lemos 2010-02-25 07:50PM | 0 recs
RE: The REAL problem

Is that too many small minded people think that if they can't have the solution JUST THE WAY THEY WANT IT!, then they advocate for nothing at all. Kill billing bratty assed children.

by QTG 2010-02-25 07:55PM | 0 recs
Vote for Elizabeth Warren

"The Obama administration is no longer insisting on the creation of a stand-alone consumer protection agency as a central element of the plan to remake regulation of the financial system"

It is also expected that Obama may abandon the quest to keep banks from making speculative investmrnts, or even engaging in proprietary trading.



by altara 2010-02-25 09:44AM | 0 recs
No spine

In his first year of office he has shown no spine....what we have seen is someone who shows no real ability to lead......

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-02-25 10:26AM | 1 recs
oh bite me, you neocon asshole

everytime he fights for something, you come on here and BITCH that's he's too partisan, too liberal, blah blah blah, but when he cedes ground to your centrists, you join the bandwagon of "no spine." You should be happy, he's doing this for you centrists!

For Gods sake, troll better you douche.

by ND22 2010-02-25 11:56AM | 2 recs
RE: oh bite me, you neocon asshole

I dont find your language to be appropriate.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-02-25 01:55PM | 0 recs
Let's avoid this sort of language

Please, let's avoid this sort of language.

I understand the frustration but it's inappropriate and ultimately isn't conducive to dialogue.


by Charles Lemos 2010-02-25 03:21PM | 0 recs
You think this guy is interested in dialogue?

For God sakes, this is the same dude that's telling us we need to sell out to centrists, then says Obama isn't "leading" when he does.

BuckeyeBlogger isn't interested in dialogue, he's a troll.

by ND22 2010-02-25 05:10PM | 2 recs
RE: You think this guy is interested in dialogue?

your use of profanity and personal attack shows your the one not interested in dialogue. It also gives people the impression rightly or wrongly that you lack any substantive ideas or intelligence.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-02-25 07:15PM | 0 recs
RE: You think this guy is interested in dialogue?

You waste the time of anyone unfortunate enough to read your drivel. You deserved worse than you got.

by QTG 2010-02-25 07:36PM | 0 recs
The guy who voted "present"

Then--Senator Clinton warned us about Obama during the 2008 primary campaign. As an Illinois State Senator, he voted "present" 130 times......that's not the kind of guy who can be expected to show conviction when the going gets tough.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-25 01:34PM | 0 recs
RE: The guy who voted "present"

which was, of course, a complely BS talking-point.

voting "present" was often a strategic move, pushed by the state Dem leadership for a number of different reasons.

It was used to give cover to some party members for difficult votes, for instance, and basically worked as a "no" vote in practice.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 01:41PM | 1 recs
And therein lies the problem.

I'm looking at one sentence in your comment:

"It was used to give cover to some party members for difficult votes....."

Difficult votes? Well, welcome to the NFL. Those of us who work in the private sector (i.e.,, real world) usually have to do something "difficult" every week. It may be terminating someone, it may be giving a staff member who isn't performing an unfavorable review. Or it may be telling the CEO that you don't agree with one of his proposals.

This idea in government that you get to dodge the difficult things in life is one (of many) reason that government is so ineffective and dysfunctional. In the real world, you have to stand up and be counted.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-25 01:54PM | 0 recs
RE: And therein lies the problem.

wait - so it is your opinion that political strategy has absolutely zero relevence in politics...

to the point where anybody who ever worked with their political party is automatically disqualified from ever being worthy of receiving votes in the future? Really?

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 02:07PM | 0 recs
You mean like today?

Single hanbdedly resurrecting healthcare reform and smacking down the GOP on live TV.

Fuck off, you Regan loving Republican. You and your policies got us into this mess.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-25 01:45PM | 0 recs
Smack down? Really?

The only smack down came when Obama challenged Lamar Alexander's claim that individual premiums would rise under the proposed health care plan. Alexander promised that he would provide proof of his assertion before the day was out.

He didn't have to. An hour later, an aide handed Obama a slip of paper, verifying that CBO estimates do indeed project a premium increase of 10-13% for individuals, under the plan. Obama clumsily corrected himself a few minutes later.

As to Obama "resurrecting" health care reform, he wouldn't have to if he hadn't run it into a ditch in the first place.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-25 02:19PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

Obama: "Well, exactly, so let me — let me respond to what you just said, Lamar, because it's not factually accurate. ... Here's what the Congressional Budget Office says: The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they're currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent. What the Congressional Budget Office says is that because now they've got a better deal, because policies are cheaper, they may choose to buy better coverage than they have right now, and that might be 10 percent to 13 percent more expensive than the bad insurance that they had previously."

So Obama had to clumsily correct himself an hour later, huh?  Not sure I'm buying your account.


by Steve M 2010-02-25 02:53PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

Jon Kyl later read the actual letter from the CBO's Doug Elmendorf, which affirmed that premiums would rise between 10-13%, for the same policy under the Senate bill. Obama tried to bullshit his way out of it as usual, with some garbage about how Kyl was comparing apples and oranges, i.e., different policies. But that was not the thrust of Mr. Elmendorf's letter.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-25 07:47PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

Your use of the term "the same policy" is misleading, if not downright false.  As Elmendorf's letter explains, the reason the premium goes up is because you're getting more coverage than you were previously.  It's not "the same policy" if the new policy provides more coverage than the old policy.

It's interesting how you don't acknowledge that your whole story about Obama denying the CBO projected an increase until an aide corrected him an hour later was false, but instead just offer a new story about how it was really Jon Kyl who set the record straight.  If Kyl said premiums would rise "for the same policy," he was wrong.  If that was just your paraphrase, then you were wrong.

by Steve M 2010-02-25 07:54PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

I think this sums it up pretty well:

As to Obama being informed by an aide of what the real numbers are, Linda Douglass admitted as much in an interview with Megyn Kelly. I suspect that Obama was just going to sit on the numbers, hoping that the subject wouldn't come up again.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-25 10:20PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

The fact that you can stare at the direct quote where Obama gave the correct numbers in his initial response, and still claim he had to be given a note with those numbers later, kinda says it all.

by Steve M 2010-02-26 01:38AM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

So, as a country, we would be spending more on health care as a result of the proposed HCR ?

Isnt that how one should interpret it... the new policies will cost more (because they provide more coverage); therefore the sum of all those new policies will be more than the sum of all policies without HCR.

And why is that a good thing ?

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-26 12:38AM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

the sum of the premiums can go up and the total health care costs could still go down.

remember - not all health care costs are in the form of insurance premiums or even insurance payouts. People go to emergency rooms without insurance, for instance, and people pay out of pocket or huge copays for things. Those are cost that could be lowered if people get better insurance coverage.

Now, where it comes out on balance - I have no idea, and neither does anybody else here, I'm guessing.

by jeopardy 2010-02-26 01:17PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

I must have missed something.


Right now, the total health care spending can be counted by adding up the revenuesin the private sector and the spending in the public sector

av. insurance premium X number of insured


medicare/medicaid spending


Emergency room visits made by the uninsured does not count.... because there is no revenue associated with it


Future health care spending will also be given by

av. insurance premium X number of insured


medicare/medicaid spending


If the number of insured is going up, and the av. premium is not going down, and the public sector spending remains unchanged, then the total health spending must go up.... by a lot !!

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-26 01:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

Not quite there is a lot of spending that is not included in the sum total of insurance premiums - co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, prescriptions, etc etc. Then there also is the question of uncompensated care.

To answer your original question:

"So, as a country, we would be spending more on health care as a result of the proposed HCR ?"

The answer is NO. Costs without HCR would be far higher than with, without any of the benefits (universal coverage, insurance regulations, etc).

by vecky 2010-03-04 03:56AM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

You are wrong about this... as usual !


by Ravi Verma 2010-03-04 10:01AM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

Seems common-sense to me. Anyone who actually lives in the real world knows that their insurance premiums are not the sum total of their medical costs. Hell even Medicare has co-pays!

Obviously you haven't done very much research on the subject... as usual?

by vecky 2010-03-04 02:03PM | 0 recs
There you go again

Arguing minutae that are irrelevant.  My premise is that total health care spending will go up as a result of the proposed health care reform. 


You say, No, the Sun will rise in the east (or some such irrelevant nonsense).

At this point, even some of the strongest advocates of the plan are saying that total health care spending will go up by about 1% of GDP as a result of this plan. 

Care to point to any analysis that says otherwise ? 

I am not interested in your ramblings of copays and out of pocket expenses.

by Ravi Verma 2010-03-04 04:29PM | 0 recs
RE: There you go again

Well obviously you are not interested since you choose to completely ignore them, wishing they didn't exist in your calculations as it were.

I'm not sure where you get your figures from. Health care spending (yes including co-pays and deductibles and other ramblings) currently amount to 16-17% of GDP estimated to rise to over 20% of GDP in the next decade, by all accounts I've seen the HCR plan reduces that. The most recent study (Dec 2009) estimated a total saving of $600 billion over 10 years:

" This study projects the effect of national reform on total national health expenditures and the insurance premiums that American families would likely pay. We estimate that the combination of provisions in the House and Senate bills would save $683 billion or more in national health spending over the 10-year period 2010–2019 and lower premiums by nearly $2,000 per family. Moreover, the annual growth rate in national health expenditures could be slowed from 6.4 percent to 6.0 percent. "

by vecky 2010-03-04 07:15PM | 0 recs
This is impressive

At least you have a link in this instance.... 

Several comments

(a) you are proudly citing an article that suggests that health care expenses would continue to rise by 6% a year, if the proposed reforms are passed and everything works out, from the current value of 0.16*GDP.  Not sure if you see the irony here.

(b) this paper makes several questionable assumptions to arrive at the potential savings.  Number one being $1600/newly insured person.  Number two being the elimination of the mythical wastefraudandabuse that every politician promises to eliminate.

(c) Given a choice between Cutler/Davis and the CBO/CMS, I will go by the CBO/CMS estimates.  And, as their chart #4 illustrates ~ their estimates are about $300B more optimistic than the CBO

(d) Even under these optimistic assumptions, they are forecasting annual premiums of $20k/yr in 2019


I am sorry...which part was I supposed to be impressed by ?

by Ravi Verma 2010-03-05 12:22AM | 0 recs
RE: This is impressive

What's not to like...

(a) I'm pretty sure you'll take a .5% reduction on your mortgage after doing the math and seeing how much you would save over it's life. Especially if the historical trend was in the up direction.

b) the $1600 figure is actually higher than that used by the CBO. Considering it's all cited and referenced I can't find a problem with the figure myself, and you havn't actually given a reason why you think it's wrong.

c) The CBO also makes assumptions on cost that I find questionable - for one the CBO assumes that as a result of the reforms most people will choose to upgrade their coverage, from the current benchmark 'silver' plans to 'gold' or 'platinum' level plans even though they would have to pay the additional cost themselves. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me if it's assumed costs keep rising. Secondly the CBO assumes that most medical cost increases are a result of two things - demographics and technology, specifically more advanced technology leads to more expensive care and since med. tech. is always advancing care will always get more expensive and there is not much anyone can do about it. Now I don't buy this assumption myself. I believe most of the cost increases in the system are a result of an incentive process that rewards quantity of procedures rather than overall health, something this bill tries to correct.

d) Absent of reform annaul premiums are forcast to be $22k/yr in 2019. So that's a 2k saving right there.

In addition we would have 93% and growing of the population covered compared to 84% and falling of today. That's all pretty impressive.


by vecky 2010-03-05 02:28PM | 0 recs
RE: This is impressive

Only you... 

(a) can call an annual increase of 6% a reduction.  I hope you are smart enough to see through the shill you are peddling.  But, just in case you are not, I will spell it out for you.  The mortgage equivalent would be if my mortgage rates increase from the 5% (current) to 5.3% next year, and 5.618% the year after that, and so on... and you would expect me to consider that a savings.

(b) The current spending on health care is $13k/yr.  It will go up to 20k/yr, assuming the plan works out... most sane people would call that a net increase of 7k/yr.  You call that a savings of 2k/yr... hey, you are also entitled to believe in the tooth fairy.


by Ravi Verma 2010-03-05 02:56PM | 0 recs
RE: This is impressive

Only you can ignore a decrease from 6.5% to 6.0% and try to label it as an increase. It's really simple math, I fail to see how you can't grasp it. Say you had a expense of $100K, increasing at 6.5 % a year. 10 years from now your total would be $187,713.75. However if the rate was reduced to 6.0%, your total would be 179,084.77. A saving of $8,000 or about 8%, or $800 a year. Maybe you can use that saving to buy a new TV. Either way it's money that ends up in your bank acocunt that you would otherwise have spent. That's what a saving is.

b) It will go up to 22K without the plan. Most people would call that a net increase of 9k/yr. With the plan you save 2k/yr. That's deal even you would take.

Face it, you've just run out of arguments.

by vecky 2010-03-05 03:07PM | 0 recs
RE: This is impressive

have a good day sir... i have no desire to engage with rubbish arguments!!

by Ravi Verma 2010-03-05 03:30PM | 0 recs
RE: This is impressive

I understand facts can be painfull things. Take some time.

by vecky 2010-03-05 03:56PM | 0 recs
RE: Smack down? Really?

You are wrong about this... as usual !


by Ravi Verma 2010-03-04 10:01AM | 0 recs
You are wrong, BJJ

Ezra Klein:

Lamar Alexander and Barack Obama just had a contentious exchange on this point, so it's worth settling the issue:

Yes, the CBO found health-care reform would reduce premiums.

The issue gets confused because it also found that access to subsidies would encourage people to buy more comprehensive insurance, which would mean that the value of their insurance would be higher after reform than before it.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 04:21PM | 0 recs

Steve M beat me to it. Guess I should have scrolled down.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 04:25PM | 0 recs
RE: You mean like today?

Why is it that you and ND22 are the only ones that cannot behave civilly here on the comments? You both know that personal attacks with cursing are not allowed, so knock it off.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-25 04:06PM | 0 recs
RE: You mean like today?

For the record, I am unable to behave civilly here either.  Thank you folks, I'll be here all week (probably)

by lojasmo 2010-02-25 04:42PM | 2 recs
I have flagged my own comment for inappropriate language

It is your site, and I will abide by your rules.

Swearing, even at self-confessed reganites, is wrong.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-25 05:11PM | 0 recs
RE: The guy who voted "present"

Clinton warned us about Obama?

Clinton well understands the tactic of voting present.  That you are using this BULLSHIT campaign talking point as an example of Obama's "lack of conviction" means that either YOU don't understand how the senate works, or Clinton didn't.  I suspect it isn't the later.


This place is truly a PUMA cesspool. 

by lojasmo 2010-02-25 04:40PM | 1 recs
It's their last chance to be angry

Chalres isn't a PUMA. This is the first time I have disagreed with him, not in the content per se of the diary, but the (IMO) overwrought, melodramatic personal conclusion he draws.

As for the Obama Derangement Syndrome crowd, they seem to ratchet up their anger every time Obama is on the verge of victory. And it looks like HCR is going to pass.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-25 05:15PM | 0 recs
RE: The guy who voted "present"

Bringing up Clinton by the PUMAs is always interesting given the 103rd Congress had pretty similar makeup to the current Congress:

103rd : Dem 57 Senators + 258 House Members

11th : Dem 57 (+ Sanders) + 256 House Members

Now how well did Clinton do on HCR... hmmmmm?

Then some folk will bring up LBJ (68 Senators, 295 House) and FDR (60-69 Senators, 310-320 House) do doubt...

by vecky 2010-03-04 04:07AM | 0 recs

1.) To cast overboard or off: a ship jettisoning wastes; a pilot jettisoning aircraft fuel.

2.) Informal. To discard (something) as unwanted or burdensome: jettisoned the whole marketing plan.

President Obama's economic team is now open to housing the consumer regulator inside another agency, such as the Treasury Department, though they still prefer a stand-alone agency. In either case, they are insisting on a regulator with political autonomy and real teeth so it can effectively enforce rules designed to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

Jettison? Really?

by fogiv 2010-02-25 11:06AM | 2 recs
RE: Cheaters read

You broke the rules when you read beyond:

"An Administration in Retreat"

The Administration and every Democratic elected official not named Grayson, Kucinich, or Clinton is FAIL. No need to read further than the headline that supports that axiom.

by QTG 2010-02-25 12:08PM | 2 recs
What's up with Charles?

He used to write such excellent, insightful diaries on real problems.

Charles' first error is the title of the diary. An Administration in retreat? On the same day they single handedly resurrected and charged ahead with healthcare reform?

Second, none of this has come to pass. Even in the article Charles quotes:

President Obama's economic team is now open to housing the consumer regulator inside another agency, such as the Treasury Department, though they still prefer a stand-alone agency. In either case, they are insisting on a regulator with political autonomy and real teeth so it can effectively enforce rules designed to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

If it has real teeth, where the eff do I care where it is housed?

The administration may also have to compromise on Obama's recent proposal for a rule to limit risky activities at banks by prohibiting them from engaging in many kinds of speculative investments.

To charles, may implies possibility not certainty. It's a sad day when someone like me who can't write their way out of a paper bag is giving writing lessons to Charles.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-25 01:28PM | 2 recs
What 'Change'? Young Dem Support Crumbles


 A study being released Wednesday highlights the eroding support from 18- to 29-year- olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was read by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

WASHINGTON -- Whither the American youth vote? A year after supporting Barack Obama for president by an overwhelming 2-to-1 ratio, young adults are cooling quickly toward his Democrats amid dissatisfaction over the lack of change in Washington and an escalating war in Afghanistan.

A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18- to 29-year- olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was read by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

The findings are significant because they offer further proof that the diverse coalition of voters Obama cobbled together in 2008 -- including high numbers of first-timers, young minorities and youths -- are not Democratic Party voters who can necessarily be counted on.

While young adults remain decidedly more liberal, the survey found the Democratic advantage among 18- to 29-year-olds has substantially narrowed, from a record 62 percent identifying as Democrat vs. 30 percent for the Republicans in 2008, down to 54 percent vs. 40 percent last December. It was the largest percentage point jump in those who identified or leaned Republican among all the voting age groups.

Young adults' voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

During the presidential election, turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds was the highest in years, comprising roughly 20 percent of the voters in many states including Virginia and New Jersey, due in part to high participation from young blacks and Hispanics.

That percentage, however, dropped by half for the governors' races in those states last November, where Republicans celebrated wins as black groups pushed Obama to do more to soften the economic blow from mortgage foreclosures and Latinos saw little progress on immigration reform. Young adults also were the least likely of any age group to identify themselves as regular voters.

"This is a generation of young adults who made a big splash politically in 2008," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of the report. "But a year and a half later, they show signs of disillusionment with the president -- and, perhaps, with politics itself."

Democrats saw evidence of this last November, when Republicans removed Democrats from power in the New Jersey and Virginia governors's races. Young, minority and new voters who Obama pulled into the fold in 2008 did not turn out at the same levels for the two Democratic candidates. The same thing happened in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race last month in which a Republican won a solidly Democratic seat.

The lesson: neither party has a hold on 18- to 29-year-olds. They tend to vote far less than other age groups, yet they have proven to be a powerful constituency if they are persuaded to vote. That means the race is on by both Republicans and Democrats to make inroads into the next generation of voters.

Analysts say the findings reflect the fast pace at which young voters live their lives, and both parties should take note of their fickleness.

"If you don't respond to their needs, hopes or dreams quickly, they're gone," said Matthew Dowd, an independent political analyst who was a strategist in former President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. "They'll leave the playing field or switch their allegiance."

"They haven't become Republicans and they aren't solid Democrats. They're just looking for leaders who are where they are and will deliver," Dowd said. "Both parties have to be cognizant of the volatility of that group."

According to the Pew survey, large numbers of young adults said they personally liked Obama but were dissatisfied with his rate of progress in changing Washington, such as improving the economy and fixing health care. Just 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they believed Obama had changed Washington, compared to 48 percent who said he had not. Only baby boomers were more cynical, with 52 percent saying Obama had not changed the way things work in Washington.

The young adults also were the only age group in which more disapproved than approved of Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan. Only 34 percent supported his decision in December to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to the region, while 50 percent disapproved.

Still, when asked why Obama hadn't done more to bring change, young adults were somewhat forgiving, with about 56 percent blaming the president's opponents and special interests; only 30 percent said Obama was the one at fault for not trying hard enough.

The findings are part of Pew's broad portrait of the so-called millennial generation, the children of baby boomers who came of age in the new millennium. Demographers believe this generation can reshape U.S. culture and politics by virtue of their demographic size and political outlook.

Making up nearly one-fourth of U.S. voters, 18- to 29-year-olds are less religious, more racially diverse and liberal on social issues such as gay rights. They are steeped in digital technology and social media and are strong believers in the view that the government should do more to solve problems.

For example:

--Nearly two-thirds admit to texting while driving, and more than 8 in 10 sleep with their cell phones by their bed.

--Nearly four-in-10 have at least one tattoo; about half of those people have two to five tattoos. Roughly 1 in 4 have a body piercing in a place other than an earlobe -- six times the share of older adults.

--About 37 percent of young adults are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades. A record share -- 39.6 percent -- was enrolled in college, and one in eight millennials ages 22 and older say they had "boomeranged" back into their parents' home because of the recession.

The Pew survey is based on interviews with 2,020 adults by cell phone or landline from Jan. 14 to 27. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all respondents, higher for subgroups.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 11:53AM | 0 recs
RE: What 'Change'? Young Dem Support Crumbles

Yea, this is worthy of a post. Its the anti-libertarian things, like the mandate, and the anti-populist things like the bank bailouts, that are killin us with younger voters.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-25 04:11PM | 0 recs
RE: What 'Change'? Young Dem Support Crumbles

So "kids are ignorant" is now news?  Good to know.

by lojasmo 2010-02-25 04:51PM | 0 recs
RE: What 'Change'? Young Dem Support Crumbles

Wrong. For most of us Progressive minded millienials it is the crushing cost of education, our job prospects out of school, the wars, and our future standard of living that was completely shot by the recklessness and gluttony of baby-boomers. In terms of healthcare: Medicare-for-all. These are what is killing support for Democrats.


by SocialDem 2010-03-03 04:29AM | 0 recs
RE: What 'Change'? Young Dem Support Crumbles

Right, def Afghanistan surge, and the moving of the goalpost in Iraq by Dems, hurt alot among youth.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-03 10:22AM | 0 recs
RE: What 'Change'? Young Dem Support Crumbles

ummm, I'm the "youth" and I can't say that is the case at all. There always was going to be a drop off in enthusiasm once the focus shifted away from a hip campaign to a gritty matter of politics. With Obama not on the ballot and no reason to get "fired up" and "ready to go" they're not going to get engaged until 2012.

Meanwhile issues that matter to young voters - namely education costs and employment prospects have played second fiddle to Health Care. HC is not a big issue to young folk, even the "stay on parents plan till 26" is more for peace-of-mind for parents than the youth. Sure they support it, along with bans to pre-existing conditions, but it's nothing to get all jazzed up about.

by vecky 2010-03-04 04:18AM | 0 recs
What is wrong with the Democrats?

Five former Treasury Secretaries - four of whom served under Republicans - came out in favor of the Volcker Rule earlier thsi week.  Yet Congress cannot run away from that proposal quickly enough.

While there are still plenty of differences between the parties, the banking lobby doesn't seem to have a lot of enemies on Capitol Hill, that's for sure.  The degree of Barack Obama's political courage is frankly irrelevant since no one at all can get stuff done singlehandedly if Congress is bound and determined to put the interests of big business ahead of what's right for the country.

I don't know what Obama is expected to do, other than take the best deal he can get.  Run against his own party?  We're in a bad way, no question about it.

by Steve M 2010-02-25 12:44PM | 1 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

the idea is that it may be possible for the president to sway opinions, both the public's and the representative's.

He also has a procedural way to influence which legislation becomes law (veto).

Now, the extent that those tools can make a difference is a matter of legitimate debate, for sure. But the problem many of us are having is that it hasn't really seemed like he has been going to the mat trying to use those tools.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 01:06PM | 1 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

In other words, yes, you want the President to run against his own party.  You want him to go directly to the people and say things like "my party is refusing to pass the Volcker rule, make them do it."  I wish I could see that as realistic.

by Steve M 2010-02-25 01:13PM | 1 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

I want him to run against both the GOP and the few Dems who are blocking the people's work.

That is NOT the same a "running against his own party". You know that, and that kind of straw man argument is beneath a guy like you who usually has very good comments.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 01:43PM | 1 recs
What the hell?!?

I agree with jeopardy completely.

My only caveat is: let's be patient and see. He's in an important meeting all day today, and he needs them thereafter for HCR.

I agree. At some point, he is going to have to take a stand against the Senate. He's boxed into a corner on HCR. He has made a win so crucial that he has become afraid of failing. Okay.

But if he can get a "win" on healthcare, I agree, it's high time for him to take a gamble and risk losing with the Senate.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-25 01:50PM | 0 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

The Washington Post reported this week that there is "little support among either Democratic or Republican lawmakers" for the Volcker Rule.  If you have evidence that it's just a couple of rogue Dems who are standing in the way, please share it.  Otherwise, consider the possibility that I am not the one who is making comments that are beneath him.

On some issues, the narrative that the Democrats basically have their heart in the right place but are frustrated by the need to accommodate annoying moderates like Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman is a valid one.  On banking regulation, I don't think this is the case.  There are some Dems in the House who are genuinely pro-regulation but the Senate caucus seems to be almost entirely bought and paid for by the banking lobby.

by Steve M 2010-02-25 02:07PM | 0 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

ok, I agree with you re: the Volker Rule that it is more then a couple of Blue Dogs standing in the way. I was addressing a larger point of criticisms of the president's strategies regarding a handful of Blue Dogs and the GOP obstructing progress.

I did not make that clear, and I apologize.

However, I would think that on the matter of financial reforms in general, and banking regulations in particular, the President would have a better chance of swaying public opinion than on most other issues, because it is so easy to villify those particular villans.

The President has made a few weak attempts here and there, but not enough to my personal liking and perhaps other peoples' liking, that is all.

by jeopardy 2010-02-25 02:30PM | 0 recs
Again, I agree

But I don't think that he is worthy of hatred yet.

President Obama, by setting the bar too high, allowed himself to be taken advantage of by Blue Dogs and the Senate. Obama needed them much more than they needed him. He lost his bargaining position.

I agree he has an excellent chance on swaying public opinion. I agree it is time for him to take a risk and risk losing. But right now, with HCR on the line, he is politically very vulnerable.

My only request is to please just wait and see on this.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-25 05:22PM | 0 recs
RE: Again, I agree

1) "hatred" is not the correct word. It's more like "bitter dissapointment"

2) and of course you don't think he's worthy of it - you basically said in the other diary comments that the only anti-Obama evidence you will accept is an outright admission of guild by Obama himself.

With that kind of filter on, you are going to just think that everybody who thinks Obama is doing a bad job is just out to get him.

by jeopardy 2010-02-26 02:28PM | 0 recs
Ugh. Let's go back to the Miles Mogulescu piece


Says Miles:

The other [reported by the NY Times] was a deal with the for-profit hospital lobby to limit its cost reductions to $155 billion over 10 years in exchange for a White House promise that there would be no meaningful public option.

According to the times:

Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying-Medicare rates...or controlled by the secretary of health and human services. 'We have an agreement with the White House that I'm very confident will be seen all the way through conference', one of the industry lobbyists, Chip Kahn, director of the Federation of American Hospitals, told a Capitol Hill newsletter...Industry lobbyists say they are not worried [about a public option.] 'We trust the White House,' Mr. Kahn said

But that's it. The NY Times reported that "several" unnamed lobbyist sources were not worried about a PO because of a deal.

Add to that the observation that the WH neither publically pushed for nor fought aginst the PO.

Compelling? Yes. Partyl true? I suspect so. Is there evidence to point to the POs demise besides a backroom deal? Yes, much.

So there is some evidence. You will draw your conclusion. I will draw mine. Would I care even if there was a deal? Absolutely not if it got HCR passed.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-26 05:03PM | 0 recs
RE: Ugh. Let's go back to the Miles Mogulescu piece
Nope. Not going to let's you move the goalposts. I asked you what evidence you would count. You indicated that in practice, you won't count anything short of an explicit admission by Obama. That is a rediculous standard.
by jeopardy 2010-02-26 05:54PM | 0 recs
RE: Ugh. Let's go back to the Miles Mogulescu piece

What's with the falsification? Do you want to have a discussion about the article or not? It seems you don't.

I said two things, remember? Go back and look. In fact, I said it more than once.

I said (1) admissions of statement, yes. And I also said a corroborated, (2) named and neutral source. I'd like to add informed to #2 as well.


by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-26 08:30PM | 0 recs
RE: Ugh. Let's go back to the Miles Mogulescu piece

you responded with two points

i responded that in practice there's NOBODY in Washington (i.e. nobody who would have that kind of info) that would fit your standard for point #2.

I even asked you who in Washington would count as not having an interest in supporting/attacking Obama (your criteria for point #2)

You then did not respond to that, despite posting multiple times later on in the diary.

I took that to mean that you conceeded that your point #2 is impossible for anybody with insider info to meet and therefore it is not a real standard for evidence.

If that is incorrect, then please respond to that or this comment to explain it.

by jeopardy 2010-02-27 04:10PM | 0 recs
The mother of all straw men

You have fabricated this enormous straw man, claiming that I am ignoring some "hard" evidence.

I keep asking you to list the evidence I am ignoring, and you steadfastly refuse. What's the hard evidence I'm ignoring? Do you even remember? Either say it, or drop this unreasonable banter.

* * *

I don't recall saying that the source must be in Washington. You seemed to once again add that in your little witch hunt here to make the requirement too stringent.

I asked you for neutral sources; sources with a history of praise and criticism of the President. That's all. Corroborated, named sources.

But you can't seem to come up with any. The article surely lacks them.


by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-27 05:34PM | 0 recs
RE: The mother of all straw men

ok, let me try to make this as plain as possible:


I am willing to detail all the evidence suggesting that Obama didn't want to try to get a PO passed. This isn't about one NY Times article.

My questions to you have been about what evidence you would consider valid.

You said that you would only consider two types of info.

1) an admission by Obama

2) named, on the record sources who would have no interest in either defending or attacking Obama.


Now, I've repeatedly asked you if you could name ANYBODY who could have that kind of info that wouldn't fall under #2. You keep failing to answer the question.

In short, #2 is an impossible standard for anybody who would have any kind of info about what Obama was trying to do.You could claim that ANYBODY who had information about that (a washington insider) was biased. So your #2 is not a real category of evidence you would consider valid.

Therefore, you only have one type of info that you would consider valid - an outright admission by Obama. That's rediculous.

by jeopardy 2010-02-28 02:51PM | 0 recs
Evan Bayh

upped and reitred from the Senate without even telling the President, do you really think he can sway his opinion or the opinions like him?

by ND22 2010-02-25 05:13PM | 0 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

It just comes back to the opportunity missed. Obama blew it by being the Democratic face to pass TARP, twice, then the status-quo finance selections of his administrations, and the continued bank bailout to the tune of trillions since he's become President. How do you turn that around by sounding tough now?

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-25 04:14PM | 0 recs
RE: What is wrong with the Democrats?

TARP needed to be done, I fail to see where Obama was the "Democratic face" any more than Pelosi or Reid, but considering it was before the elections that issue is very much bunk.

I guess the real question is - How best to blame Obama for all the sh!t that was handed to him while denying any credit for saving the economy from total freefall?

by vecky 2010-03-04 04:27AM | 0 recs
Obama should take a page out of Reagan's book

Whenever he couldn't get Tip O'Neill to say uncle, President Reagan employed one of his most successful strategies: going over the head of Congress, directly to the American people. President Reagan was an extremely gifted communicator, but so is Obama, right?

The only problem with employing such a strategy occurs when the people don't want the policy change that the President is advocating. Then of course, using the strategy would essentially be pointless.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-25 12:49PM | 0 recs
Thanks, MYDD

for posting this video.


by altara 2010-02-26 06:16AM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads