James Pethokoukis

Poll: Americans don’t want a VAT healthcare tax

May 29, 2009

Scat VAT! Rasmussen reports that while Democrats would go for a national sales tax to pay for universal healthcare, no so the rest of the country:

Dem healthcare reform adopts ‘most liberal approaches’

May 29, 2009

Healthcare reform is gaining momentum. (“If we don’t get it done this year, we’re not going to get it done,” Obama said yesterday.) Ted Kennedy’s bill is beginning to be unwrapped, says the WaPo:

Do we need a second Obama stimulus pacakge?

May 29, 2009

Back in January when Team Obama was pushing its stimulus plan, the White House put out a self-analysis of the potential economic impact of the plan, authored by Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer.  If Congress passed the president’s plan, the report said, the U.S. unemployment rate would rise to just under 8 percent by later this year and fall to 7 percent by Q4 2010. If the plan was not passed, the reported predicted, the U.S. unemployment rate would climb to 9 percent next year.

Roubini: More pain to come

May 28, 2009

Nouriel Roubini paints a gloomy picture of the economy ahead:

“I still expect that economic growth in the U.S. is going to be negative through Q4, and that we’ll see positive growth in Q1,” Roubini told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Seoul Digital Forum.

Confused taxpayers are happy taxpayers?

May 28, 2009

Bob Williams over at the Tax Policy Center takes note of recent research that suggests “taxes don’t always have to depress demand. People may not react to tax changes they don’t perceive. If the price change isn’t obvious, homo economicus goes on merrily consuming the same as before.”

Cheney: Let GM fail

May 28, 2009

Larry Kudlow had a marvelous chat with the former veep yesterday. I think this exchange on GM is particuarly noteworthy:

Happy ending unlikely for GM

May 28, 2009

My pal Pete Davis over at Capital Gains and Games gives a  great 96-word GM sitrep:

The Republican healthcare gambit

May 28, 2009

I wrote a Reuters column yesterday about the GOP alternative to Obamacare just offered by Sens. Coburn and Burr and Reps. Ryan and Nunes. Read the column. Study it. Memorize it. But here are a few observations:

Tax cuts: Felix Salmon vs. John Taylor

May 27, 2009

My Reuters Commentary pal and fellow snappy dresser Felix Salmon wonders how noted Stanford economist John Taylor can be worried about big budget deficits and also be in favor of low taxes: “Or maybe deficits caused by permanent tax cuts are somehow to be preferred to deficits caused by temporary stimulus spending”

VAT attack! Will Obama push for a big healthcare tax?

May 27, 2009

The WaPo discovers that a value-added tax would be one way to pay for Obama’s healthcare reform plan. (White House healthcare adviser Ezekiel Emanuel is a big VAT fan and even wrote a book about it.)   Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center describes a VAT this way (in a different report):