James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

If not for Obama, would the US be Spain?

Jun 12, 2009 18:08 UTC

Matthew Yglesias says if not the Obama stimulus, the US would be in the same bad shape as Europe where the economy is supposed to shrink 4.2 percent vs. 2.8 percent here. I think this says more about a) the underlying deep power of the American economy. b) the Fed’s monetary stimulus rather than c) the 5 percent of the $787 billion that already out the door.


America would be better off without his stimulus. The market would have purged itself of most of these problems by now if the feds would have stayed out of it. We are in much much worse shape now and will be for a good while to come. I think this says more about the corrupt connections between Wall Street, the military industrial complex, and the federal government than any underlying deep American power. The only power we seem to have is our global military. Exactly the type of connections we as free, constitutional people are supposed to oppose.

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Obama’s gas price conundrum

Jun 12, 2009 17:52 UTC

This American Thinker post explores the political fallout of rising gas prices on the Obamacrats. (Gas was a $1.80 when Obama took office.) When gas prices soared in 2008, the Dems hammered Bush and the GOP. But super-high prices ended up being a plus for the McCain campaign since he was arguing for an “all of the above” energy policy (more driling and nukes, not just alternative energy) which strikes most people as a pretty reasonable approach.  If we head back to $3.50/4.00,  the Obamacrats could get hit by a double whammy — public unhappiness at high gas prices and at the administration’s refusal to move beyond a green approach.


It’s so amazing that we throw ten dollar words at an economic problem that no one has acknowledged yet. High gas prices mean more dollars spent at the pump. When you put $40 more into your tank per week, you spend less else where. The housing problem was not the only contributer to our economies down fall. Yet, it still gets top priority while gas prices sneak up. The housing market has always been headed down a steep gully. For years people have lived pay check to pay check and over their heads with debt. Change the gas prices and Americans stay home and shop way less. Obama’s tenure as yet, has failed to recognize how important gas prices are to Americans! Charge the OPEC countries the same for wheat that we spend for gas and watch the price go down. We have no guts in our government to use US goods and services over seas as a marketing tool. By the way, this topic was not an issue during the election: trade practices and supporting American goods and services.

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Cap-and-trade off the table for 2009

Jun 12, 2009 12:50 UTC

That is the conclusion of this Reuters story. But how about 2010? Here is the money graf:

Two obstacles stand in the way. First, advocates must convince the public the bill, which might initially raise electricity and other energy prices, will ultimately save money by heading off damage caused by global warming. … One opponent, the Coalition for Affordable American Energy, whose members include the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce and about 200 other organizations, has estimated climate legislation could cost U.S. households $1,400 per year by 2020. … Second, experts said the bill must include nuclear energy, which is nearly emissions free but comes with other problems such as toxic waste. Claussen said a resolution on nuclear power could help the Senate reach the required 60 votes for the bill’s passage.

Me: Unless money from cap-and-trade is fully refundable to consumers, I don’t see it happening. And if it excludes nukes, it seems like a fantasy plan untethered from political, economic or scientific realities.


I aggree with your comment. Until will embrace the idea of nuclear power; we are never going to make any efforts to stop global warming.

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Will Obama fire his accountants?

Jun 12, 2009 12:45 UTC

Some Democrats want the costs of healthcare reform to be judged by the White House Office of Management and Budget, not the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. As The Hill explains: “This unusual option could give Democratic leaders hundreds of billions of additional dollars to work with as they draft their plans. But Republicans would call it an accounting gimmick and a huge spending loophole.” It doesn’t need to be said, but I will say it: If the Bush White House would have tried a stunt like this, the Dems and the MSM media would have screamed.

Obama’s healthcare rebuke

Jun 12, 2009 12:35 UTC

More and more it looks as if a public healthcare insurance option won’t happen, at least as originally imagined by President Obama and liberal Democrats. Republicans won’t vote for it, nor a sizable number of centrist Democrats. Now they are talking about state or regional cooperatives that would provide a pubic option of sorts. So how goes the liberal agenda? Consider: No federal government healthcare option, no cap-and-trade energy plan with the allowances auctioned and only light limits on CEO pay. But at least we are still running trillion dollar deficits!