James Pethokoukis

Obama stimulus vs. Fed stimulus update …

June 15, 2009

A stimulus update from my guy Dan Clifton, super-analyst at Strategas Research: “Through June 5th, about $46bn of stimulus spending and $10bn of tax cuts have been enacted (total $56bn) via President Obama’s $787bn stimulus package (7.1%).”

The timing of the Fed exit strategy

June 15, 2009

When will the Federal Reserve begin to execute its exit strategy? Well, as far as the interest rate component goes, keep an eye on the job market.  At least that is how economists John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros see things:

Higher rates and refinancing

June 13, 2009

Fear of massive deficits and inflation may or may not be driving up interest rates, but the impact of the rate rise is not up for dispute. This from Barclays:

If not for Obama, would the US be Spain?

June 12, 2009

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.

Obama’s gas price conundrum

June 12, 2009

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.

Cap-and-trade off the table for 2009

June 12, 2009

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

Will Obama fire his accountants?

June 12, 2009

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

June 12, 2009

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!

How financial crises are like earthquakes

June 10, 2009

They both seem to follow a mathematical relationship called a “power law” where you have lots of small events trailing off into infrequent but much bigger events, according to a McKinsey study. (So don’t assume stability, look into the deep past not recent history, look for early warning signs and study complex systems. ) Now this is a great chart from the McKinsey study:

Comment of the day …

June 10, 2009

I may never get a better comment than this one from my post about the $2 trillion cost of climate change legislation: