James Pethokoukis

The Fed more unpopular than the IRS

July 28, 2009

Ben Bernanke isn’t just campaigning for his own reappointment — though that certainly is part of what’s going on. He is also bolstering the public image of the Fed, which could use some help:

Candidate Bernanke hits the campaign trail

July 27, 2009

JamesPethokoukiscrop.jpgIf Ben Bernanke were running TV ads, taking polls and holding town hall-style meetings, it wouldn’t be any clearer that he’s conducting an explicit reelection campaign for another four-year term as Federal Reserve chairman come next January. Oh, wait a second, he just did hold an unprecedented town hall meeting. And it was one worthy of a presidential candidate charming primary voters in Iowa.

Are corporate profits about to take off?

July 27, 2009

Jim Paulsen of Wells Capital Mangement points out that companies have cut to the bone in preparation for near-depression. This could result in some spectacular profit numbers ahead (and check out the chart below) — assuming no near-depression:

A quick look at Chimerica/Americhina

July 27, 2009

Here are three chart to give a feel for the current state of the US-China economic relationship (via the econ team at Action Economics):

Prof. Copper and the V-shaped recovery

July 27, 2009

Ed Yardeni takes note:

The S&P 500 is one of the ten components of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators. It seems to be forecasting a robust V-shaped economic recovery. This has got to be the most contrary scenario of all right now. Everybody is hung up about the anemic outlook for employment. I am too. So what is the S&P 500 seeing out there? How about yet another global bubble boom? This one is led by China, where M2 was up 28.5% y/y in June. Professor Copper seems to agree with this outlook. The price of this basic metal rose to $2.52 a pound at the end of last week, the highest since October 7, 2008. China’s Dow Jones Shanghai Composite is up 53% since March 6, well ahead of the S&P 500. It actually bottomed on November 4, 2008, and is up 122% since then to 383.78. That’s certainly an impressive meltup. Even more impressive would be if it recovers back to its record high of 588 on October 16, 2007. Anything is possible in a bubble.

China’s tax-cut success story

July 27, 2009

Chinese and American officials meet today in the latest edition of the “strategic dialogue” between the two nations. Here is an interesting 1998 take from Alvin Rabushka of the Hoover Institution about the role of tax policy in China’s economic ascent.

More on the dangerous dollar …

July 24, 2009

It is the last part of this bit from Brad DeLong that really caught my attention (bold is mine):

Healthcare reform has to pass because … because … well, it just has to is all!

July 24, 2009

Ezra Klein does his gosh-darned best to help restore momentum to healthcare reform, which he is sure people will love to bits if only it passes:

GOP healthcare alternative? It’s pretty flawed, too

July 24, 2009

Ugh. So House GOPers have put out their alternative to ObamaCare. It’s really more of a statement of principles with a few numbers. Yes, it is  a good idea to level the playing field between those who get their insurance through their employers and those who buy it on their own. But this is the part that put me back on me heels:

Is Obama playing politics with the dollar?

July 24, 2009

A weak dollar is not always a bad thing. Stocks are up 43 percent from their March lows while the greenback is off 11 percent against major currencies. Scott Grannis explains the correlation: