James Pethokoukis

Hey, what about taxes and housing policy?

June 17, 2009

Arnold Kling makes some good points about what is missing in the White House financial reform plan:

My quick spin on Obama’s financial reform plan

June 17, 2009

After perusing the 85-page draft,  a few brief thoughts come to mind, though more later:

Bill Clinton for Fed chairman

June 16, 2009

As long as we are politicizing the Federal Reserve and shredding its independence, why not Bill Clinton for Fed chairman? It’s not as loopy an idea as you might think. While the Fed chief has typically been an economist or banker, that’s not always true of central bankers in other countries. The former head of Iceland’s central bank, David Oddsson, previously served as that nation’s prime minister.

Should budget-strapped California lose voting rights?

June 16, 2009

That is the tongue-in-cheek idea from Ed Morrissey:

Perhaps Congress should set the rules so that any state applying for a federal bailout will get treated like the District of Columbia. Since they seem keen on surrendering their sovereign status, they can have non-voting delegations to the House and Senate until they repay whatever federal dollars they take to cover their shortfall.  Considering the vast majority of California’s elected representatives on Capitol Hiill, that would be in practical terms a net plus for Congress, although an egregious violation of the Constitution.  (Yes, I’m being glib.)

Volcker: Mark-to-market accounting made things worse

June 16, 2009

The former Fed chair and current Obama adviser speaks (via the Big Picture):

There isn’t much doubt that attempts to enforce strict application of mark-to-market accounting procedures has contributed to confusion, uncertainty and inconsistencies among financial institutions. There is a strong case for reviewing the application of so-called fair value standards to commercial banks, insurance companies and perhaps certain other regulated financial institutions.

Did Obamacrat healthcare reform just flatline?

June 16, 2009

Perhaps at least the public option. Francis Cianfrocca notes that the health insurance stocks are up strongly on a down market day:

White House: Climate change could turn Minneapolis into Miami

June 16, 2009

This long awaited U.S. government report sees U.S. temps rising as much as  10 degrees this century. Here is the exec summary. Unless this stuff comes with an economic cost-benefit anlysis of mitigation strategies, you are really only getting half the story

Obama throws Kennedy healthcare bill under the bus

June 16, 2009

From ABC News:

This is not the Administration’s bill,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement following the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s health care reform legislation, “and it’s not even the final Senate Committee bill.

Healthcare reform may cost $4 trillion over ten years

June 16, 2009

Here is another analysis of the Kennedy health plan, from consultancy HSI:

1) The plan lowers the uninsured significantly, to less than 1% of the population, but not without a cost of over four trillion dollars over 10 years.

VAT attack on healthcare

June 16, 2009

Ezra Klein notices that the value-added tax option to pay for healthcare reform is still floating around. Not a good idea, he says: