James Pethokoukis

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.

Obama and a second stimulus package

June 23, 2009

Actually, it would the third stimulus, counting the one from Bush. The president at his new conference this afternoon:

Yes, there are still some mustard seeds out there …

June 23, 2009

Mike Darda of MKM Partners spys some of them:

1) The ratio of leading to coincident indicators is up nearly 5% since bottoming in October, a magnitude not seen outside of economic recoveries going back to 1960.

The next Fed chairman will be …

June 23, 2009

Looking for a short list of replacements for Ben Bernanke for Federal Reserve chairman? You can start with Larry Summers, Alan Blinder, Janet Yellen (with a bullet!), Roger Ferguson, Donald Kohn, Robert Rubin (I am going broad here!), Donald Kohn. And how about tossing in the old Greenspan replacement short list: Glenn Hubbard, Martin Feldstein. Kohn was on that one, too. Any more suggestions???

Good news, bad news

June 23, 2009

Hey, this is good:

The quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index rebounded to 18.5 in the second quarter from a record low of negative 5 in the first quarter.

The CBO takes away, the CBO gives

June 23, 2009

Just as a Congressional Budget Office estimate of the cost of healthcare reform ($1.6 trillion over ten years) threw a spanner into the works of that effort, a CBO study of cap-and-trade costs ($175 year in 2020) may have given some oomph to the energy plan which is coming to the floor fo the House. Still, the Senate is going to be a quagmire …

White House: 10 percent unemployment ‘within months’

June 22, 2009

WH spokesman Robert Gibbs echoes what his boss said recently:

The U.S. unemployment rate is likely rise from already high levels to 10 percent in the next couple of months, a White House spokesman said on Monday.