James Pethokoukis

The fate of cap-and-trade in the House

June 26, 2009

My guy Dan Clifton of Strategas Research hears what I am also hearing:

As of early this morning, the votes were not present for passage, but House leadership has publicly claimed progress and is confident they have the votes to pass the legislation. Should the bill pass, the vote will likely be a razor thin majority. While today’s vote will have an impact on the financial markets, we remain convinced that passage in the Senate is a very unlikely event and today could represent a head fake. Passage of the House bill should not be underestimated, but House passage is not a proxy for the Senate passage. A razor thin simple majority in the House does not translate into a required 3/5 majority in a more restrictive Senate.

And while you are here, Mr. Bernanke

June 26, 2009

Andy Busch of BMO Capital Markets also noticed the money supply question slipped in toward the end of Ben Bernanke’s grilling yesterday:

The Grilling of Ben Bernanke

June 25, 2009

Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress about his involvement in the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch  merger was a lot like an FOMC statement: short and unadorned, yet open to much interpretation. When the Federal Reserve wasn’t repeatedly saying “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recollect,” he was matter-of-factly stating that he didn’t intend to threaten Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis with termination if he didn’t go through with the Merrill deal.

Obama’s stimulus trap

June 25, 2009

It was, potentially, the most explosive question asked at President Barack Obama’s news conference. Just nine words: “Do you think you need a second stimulus package?”

Thoughts on Bernanke, Lewis and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

June 25, 2009

I sat through most of the Ben Bernanke/BofA hearing before having to duck out to do some CNBC. But these are my takeaways

Bernanke/BofA hearing … live blogging

June 25, 2009

11:55: I dont know what Paulson said to Lewis; but always Lewis’ decision

11: 51 elijah cummings (D) didnt get the Dem memo that lewis, not bernanke is the bad guy

Obama’s healthcare informercial

June 25, 2009

This exchange was not good for Team Obama:

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by insurance.

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.”