James Pethokoukis

Environmentalists: Climate bill won’t work

May 22, 2009

This just arrived in my inbox from Friends of the Earth. Here is why the group says it can’t support the Waxman-Markey climate bill:

Who’s going to default?

May 21, 2009

Here are some numbers (via The Big Picture) on how investors in credit default swaps views the odds of sovereign debt default by various nations:

CBO: Unemployment headed over 10 percent

May 21, 2009

This ugly news from the Congressional Budget Office:

In the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) judgment, the economy will stop contracting and resume growing during the second half of this year, but the hardships caused by the recession will persist for some time. The growth in output later this year and next year is likely to be sufficiently weak that the unemployment rate will probably continue to rise into the second half of next year and peak above 10 percent. Economic growth over time will ultimately bring the unemployment rate back down to the neighborhood of 5 percent seen before this downturn began, but that process is likely to take several years.

The meaning of the California earthquake

May 21, 2009

I’ve talked to loads of investors, pro and amateur, who think the game is up.  They think the American economy is doomed to downshift into a permanent slow-growth mode. Massive budget deficits, more regulation, more taxes.  My standard reply points out that global current, debt and equity investors would punish, sooner rather than later, any nation that follows such a course. The financial vigilantes would prevail in the end.

Where the growth is going to be

May 21, 2009

Not in the US, Europe or Japan, says economic analyst Ed Yardeni:

The “Old World” economies (the US, the UK, the Eurozone, and Japan) are likely to remain challenged by the unwinding of the financial excesses of recent years. They all seem to have lost their entrepreneurial spirit. They all have large government deficits and aging populations. The emerging “New World” economies, particularly in Asia and Latin America, seem to be more dynamic. They certainly have tremendous growth potential by simply catching up to the standard of living of the Old World. Standards of living may grow more slowly than in the past for the roughly one billion people in the Old World as a result of tougher credit conditions.

Unemployment and the 9-handle

May 21, 2009

The government’s nastier stress test scenario looked for U.S. unemployment to rise to 10.3 percent. Today’s weekly jobless claims report (631,000) is another indication that we are well on our way to that level. As the econ team at JPMorgan sees things:

One more reason why cap-and-trade is in trouble

May 21, 2009

Some interesting factoids from a new Pew Research poll (bold is mine):

In the new poll, 51% agree that protecting the environment should be given priority even if it causes slower economic growth and some job losses, down from 66% in 2007. At the same time, the share saying that people should be willing to pay higher prices in order to protect the environment has dropped from 60% in 2007 to 49% currently. This represents a 17-year low point on this measure. Surprisingly, declines since 2007 in support for economic sacrifices to protect the environment have been particularly large among young people and political independents.