ThinkFast: October 7, 2008


“American business, typically a reliable Republican cheerleader, is decidedly lukewarm” about John McCain’s health care proposals. Specifically, groups believe that McCain’s plan, “which eliminates the exclusion of health benefits from income taxes, would accelerate the erosion of employer-sponsored health insurance and do little to reduce the number of uninsured from 45 million.”

61 percent: U.S. households that “watched at least one of the two 2008 election debates aired so far,” according to Nielsen. “Homes headed by African Americans made up a larger portion of the presidential debate audience (14.0%) than the V.P. debate audience (12.3%). African American homes normally account for 12.2% of all U.S. TV households.”

In an effort to address the growing credit crisis, the Treasury is discussing a new plan to buy up “unsecured commercial paper, essentially short-term i.o.u.’s issued by banks, businesses and municipalities,” the New York Times reports. “If this were to happen, the central bank would come closer than ever to lending directly to businesses.”

Several tax experts said Sarah Palin “is required to pay federal taxes on $25,000 in reimbursements from the state of Alaska for her children’s travel expenses.” Palin “released her 2006 and 2007 tax returns on Friday, sparking a lively debate on tax blogs and among tax professionals over whether reimbursements and per-diem meal payments from the state should be subject to federal taxes.”

On the trail today: John McCain and Barack Obama will be in Nashville, TN for a Presidential Debate at Belmont University.

Todd Palin “will answer a series of questions from a legislative investigator by mid-week” about his wife, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s, questionable firing of her former public safety commissioner. Palin, who will answer the questions in writing through his lawyer, previously refused to testify under a subpoena.

Speaking in Ohio yesterday, President Bush declared that “the lesson is clear: Judges matter to every American.” Though Bush “steered clear of mentioning” John McCain in his speech, he made his endorsement implicitly, saying, “The selection and confirmation of good judges should be a high priority for every American.”

“The Dow isn’t the only thing that’s dropped in the current economic crisis,” reports the USA Today. According to a new Gallup Poll, President Bush’s job approval rating has “fallen to a record low” of 25 percent. That’s only one point higher than Richard Nixon’s approval rating of 24 percent when he resigned the presidency in 1974.

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, “said the global financial system may have reached a ‘tipping point’ — the moment when a crisis cascades into a full-blown meltdown and becomes extremely difficult for governments to contain.”

And finally: Yesterday, Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld had a rough day under intense questioning from House members. However, his day was even tougher on Sunday when he was punched in the face at the gym by a man angry at the Lehman failure. Fuld “went to the gym after…Lehman was announced as going under,” said CNBC contributor Vicki Ward. “He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold.”