James Pethokoukis

Maybe this is why the stimulus isn’t creating tons of jobs yet

July 8, 2009

Here is what the Government Accounting Office is saying about the progress of stimulus spending:

Obama, Congress made the stimulus ineffective as stimulus

July 8, 2009

Dan Clifton of Strategas Research makes some great points on the choices the Obamacrats made when constructing the stimulus plan:

Healthcare surtax another burden on US economy

July 8, 2009

As you are contemplating the idea of a (perhaps ) $300 billion surtax on wealthier Americans to help pay for healthcare reform, consider that ALREADY the potential growth rate of the US economy has been lowered by all the government intervention in the economy. In a recent research note, economist David Rosenberg said he was worried about the price-earnings ratio of the stock markets:

California’s warning for Obama

July 7, 2009

A great, great piece by Joel Kotkin on what went wrong with the Golden State (via Instapundit):

Germany recovering without stimulus

July 7, 2009

From economist Robert Brusca:

Note as VP Joe Biden is pondering the success of the Obama stimulus plan and Laura D’Andrea Tyson is recommending a course of ‘seconds’ before we finish ‘firsts’ Germany is posting strong orders growth. The WORLD economy is reviving. Germany may not be shot out of a cannon but its message is clear.   … Adding another stimulus program on top of the already in train program would not be a good fit because the attempt to do it would result all the same delays and pork as the last one. … The plan is working as it was supposed to. It’s just the wrong plan and it’s huge.

Will Obama push for a weaker dollar?

July 7, 2009

Great catch by my guy Andy Busch, superstrategist at BMO Capital markets in Chicago. While Laura Tyson’s remarks about a secoond stimulus package are getting all the play, she also had a lot to say about the dollar:

Will Obama go for a second stimulus? No …

July 7, 2009

OK, so Laura Tyson thinks a second stimulus might be a good idea. Will the White House go for it The economic logic of such a package might seem compelling. The original $787 billion spending measure was deemed appropriate by the White House for an economy where the unemployment rate was predicted to approach 9 percent in early 2010 if no new fiscal actions were taken.

5 stimulus plans better than Obama’s first one

July 7, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden now admits the Obama administration “misread” just how bad the economy really was back in January. No apologies necessary. The Federal Reserve and most of Wall Street also blew it. But what Team Obama might want to apologize for is pushing an $800 billion stimulus/recovery/reinvestment/spending package that will do little to either boost the economy in the short run (quite obvious now) or improve America’s long-term global competitiveness (obvious later). Now with unemployment soaring toward double digits (even though the White House said the stimulus plan would keep it under 8 percent), there is talk of a second stimulus plan. More union-friendly infrastructure spending that will take months to implement? A massive aid package that would reward fiscally irresponsible states and cities? Ugh. Here are five intriguing ideas Obama passed on that he might want to reconsider for a second stimulus:

A global green war on the wealthy?

July 7, 2009

This report from my Reuters colleagues is a stunner:

WASHINGTON, July 6 (Reuters) – To fairly divide the climate change fight between rich and poor, a new study suggests basing targets for emission cuts on the number of wealthy people, who are also the biggest greenhouse gas emitters, in a country. Since about half the planet’s climate-warming emissions come from less than a billion of its people, it makes sense to follow these rich folks when setting national targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the authors wrote on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … The study suggests setting a uniform international cap on how much carbon dioxide each person could emit in order to limit global emissions; since rich people emit more, they are the ones likely to reach or exceed this cap, whether they live in a rich country or a poor one. …  Is this a limousine-and-yacht tax on the rich? Not necessarily, [author] Chakravarty said, but he did not rule it out: “We are not by any means proposing that. If some country finds a way of doing that, it’s great.”

Face it, America is spending way too much

July 6, 2009

Sure, raise taxes. But you’ll never be able to raise them enough to deal with America’s huge future liabilities. Some excerpts from a new report by Morgan Stanley economist Richard Berner: