James Pethokoukis

Issa vs. Bernanke

June 24, 2009

Rep. Darrell Issa of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: ”The committee has already learned that Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve made inappropriate threats to fire Bank of America management unless they went ahead with the ‘shotgun wedding’ that was the Merrill Lynch acquisition. The Federal Reserve also engaged in a cover-up and deliberately hid concerns and pertinent details regarding the merger from other federal regulatory agencies.”

Today’s Federal Reserve statement

June 24, 2009

Here is your bottom line: The Fed seems to think growth is ready to resume this year. It doesn’t think inflation will be a problem as long as the economy is operating under its growth potential. Rates aren’t going to budge until at least late 2010.

Buffett speaks …

June 24, 2009

Warren Buffett just did a spot on CNBC. A few bits: Buffett thinks Obama should reappoint Bernanke; he doesn’t see any green shoots; he wants Obama to slowdown on cap-and-trade and healthcare; he caledl cap-and-trade a fairly “regressive tax.” … My favorite quote: “Can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

Why Obama’s polls are slipping …

June 24, 2009

Matthew Cooper posits this theory:

Obama’s poll numbers have been going down, although they remain high. Why are they going down? A lot of it seems to have to do with spending and government intervention in the economy, which has roused fears of independents. 70 percent of respondents in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said that they were concerned “a great deal” or “quite a bit” about the GM takeover.

Housing bottoming?

June 24, 2009

From RDQ Economics:

New and existing home sales, housing starts, building permits, and homebuilder sentiment all appear consistent with the picture of a bottoming out in housing activity, albeit at very low levels.  It seems likely that the drag from housing on GDP growth in the second half of the year will be significantly smaller than the average subtraction of 1.0% point per quarter over the last three years.

Citigroup’s big pay hikes

June 24, 2009

Instead of big bonsuses, Citigroup is moving toward bigger salaries. Here is what the company should be doing:

Rasmussen poll: more skepticism about financial regulation

June 24, 2009

From Rasmussen:

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans oppose more government regulation of the U.S. financial system, while 33% disagree and say more regulation is a good idea, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.