You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

A White House-pentagon Rift?

Like Jonathan, I highly recommend Joe Klein's valedictory to the transition. This nugget was especially interesting:

(Asked about the persistent reports from the Pentagon that up to 30,000 more troops are scheduled for Afghanistan, a senior Obama aide said, "No — repeat, no — decision has been made about troop levels in Afghanistan, and anyone at the Pentagon who says otherwise should be fired.")

Seems a little harsh in its treatment of the hypothetical Pentagon employee. Almost makes you wonder if there isn't some unreported tension between Obama aides and Bob Gates' team, which is more or less intact.

Also, on Jonathan's question about the sales tax holiday--I don't think it's really analogous to the gas tax situation. The problem with the gas tax holiday was that, owing to the structure of the market, the price wouldn't have fallen; consumers would simply have paid oil companies what they'd been paying the government in taxes. It was a gimmick in that it pretended to ease people's pain without doing much about it.

With some exceptions here and there (basically industries with inelastic supply), I think consumers would generally benefit from a sales-tax holiday. Now whether they'd turn around and spend the savings is another question. But it wouldn't be so cynical. 

--Noam Scheiber