James Pethokoukis

More on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency

July 14, 2009

I am attending a Senate Banking hearing on the Obama proposal to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Some folks think new regulations would stifle financial innovation. Sen. Chuck Schumer just dismised “innovation as merely “clever ways to dupe the consumers.”

The healthcare surtax and bull semen partnerships

July 14, 2009

Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center throws cold water on Obamacrat attempts to raise income taxes to pay for healthcare reform:

Geithner on economy: Two steps forward and one step back

July 14, 2009

America’s Treasury Secretary speaks in Saudi Arabia: “Given the extent of damage to financial systems, the loss of wealth, the necessary adjustments to a long period of excessive borrowing around the world, it seems realistic to expect a gradual recovery, with more than the usual ups and downs and temporary reversals.”

A zero percent income tax rate

July 14, 2009

Think tanker Peter Ferrara talks up an interesting idea in the WSJ:

But what if Republicans proposed a federal tax reform with a 0% income tax rate for the bottom 60% of income earners?  … Trading an explicit 0% tax rate for the bottom 60% in return for eliminating the refundable tax credits would likely be at least revenue neutral, and probably result in a net increase in revenue. … Moreover, we should then be free to adopt sound tax policy for the top 40% of earners who make 75% of total income. Suppose we tax all of the income of those top 40% once with a 15% flat tax? That would be close to revenue neutral on a dynamic basis (i.e. counting work incentive effects). … All flat tax proposals effectively try to do the same through generous personal exemptions that are tax neutral for low- and moderate-income workers. But the explicit 0% rate would make the reform more easily understood. This — rather than adopting still more refundable tax credits as some conservatives are advocating — is also the way to eliminate the distorting tax preference for employer-provided health insurance. … The economic distortions caused by every other tax preference in the code would be minimized or eliminated entirely in this same way.

The era of big government is not over (chart)

July 14, 2009

I think this chart show where the train is heading (via the econ team at Wachovia):

Could CIT be a big blow for Dems in 2010?

July 14, 2009

Still wondering about a CIT Group bailout? Maybe the company is not systemically important, but it sure might be politically important for Democrats. This from analyst Jaret Seiberg of Concept Capital (via WSJ):