James Pethokoukis

Why Obama loves Bernanke’s big deficit warning

June 3, 2009

Ben Bernanke seemed to buy into the “bond vigilante” theory today in his House testimony as an explanation for the recent backup in long yields:

A ‘what if’ on GM, Hummer and China

June 3, 2009

Daniel Ikenson of the Cato Institute makes a great point on the Hummer deal:

The willingness of this Chinese company to purchase Hummer serves as a stark reminder of what could have been. Had George W. Bush not allocated TARP money to GM last December, in circumvention of Congress’s rejection of a bailout, then GM likely would have filed for bankruptcy on January 1. At that point, there would likely have been plenty of offers from foreign and domestic concerns for individual assets to spin off or for equity stakes in the New GM. There would have been plant closures, dealership terminations, and jobs losses, as there is under the nationalization plan anyway. But taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook for $50+ billion, a sum that is much more likely to grow larger than it is to be repaid. It is also a sum that will serve as the rationalization for further government interventions on GM’s behalf.

Taming the bond market vigilantes

June 3, 2009

Whatever the politics, fixing Social Security is easy conceptually.  And if Team Obama is starting to get a bit anxious about an adverse reaction from the bond market to its fiscal policies, why not offer a fix as evidence of its seriousness about America’s entitlement woes? Here is Ed Yardeni on this very topic:

Should Obama get credit for ending the recession?

June 3, 2009

Mustard seeds (or green shoots, if your prefer) are appearing everywhere, from credit markets to manufacturing to housing. And of course the 40 percent surge in the U.S. stock market since mid-March is hard to miss.