James Pethokoukis

Applying the Summers-Google metric to healthcare reform

July 20, 2009

So does more public interest in healthcare reform help or hurt?

july20googhealthchart

Where cap-and-trade and healthcare are heading …

July 20, 2009

While both healthcare and cap-and-trade look to be in various degrees of trouble, some savvy Capitol Hill watchers make this point to me: Democrats look at failure to do something about healthcare as an Extinction Level Event, with a failure on cap-and-trade also incredibly damaging, particularly with the Dem base.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told wavering Dems that a cap-and-trade failure was a dagger in the Obama presidency. She pushed them to the wall. Healthcare even more so.  Expect a full-court press in the Senate on both. At the same, either of those issues slipping into 2010 is fatal to their chances. The next five months may make or break the Obama presidency.

Why globalization is winning over militancy

July 20, 2009

This analysis by the great Thomas PM Barnett really places the recent troubles in Iran in a geopolitical context.  It also explains why Iraq is, in the end, a win for America and the West:

How Goldman Sachs is hurting cap-and-trade

July 20, 2009

My sources have been unrelentingly negative about the chances of a cap-and-trade bill getting passed, but far less so about a renewable energy standard on electricity providers. So any suggestion to split the Waxman-Markey approach into separate cap-and-trade and RES bills, as  Sen. Byron Dorgan is doing,  is a big negative for capandtraders.  It’s also amazing to see how the current anti-Wall Street sentiment is hurting cap-and-trade because of the perceptions that financial firms will make a mint in the trading of emission permits. Here is a bit from a recent Dorgan op-ed piece:

Another free-market fix for healthcare

July 20, 2009

I can tell you the pro-Obamacare Washington wonks I chat with are pretty down right now about the chance of “real reform” getting passed. And as the costs and inadequacies of Obamacare become more apparent, I expect to here more ideas like this one by economic analyst Ed Yardeni:

Summers: Google searches prove economy is recovering

July 17, 2009

White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said in a speech today that the number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is back down to normal levels, proof anxiety and fear are on the fade. OK, here is the chart:

The chances of a US debt default

July 17, 2009

This is one way of showing the change in America’s fiscal situation — what it costs to ensure against a debt default (via Brookings) using credit default swaps:

Centrists in Congress continue to trip up healthcare refrom

July 17, 2009

This is why the Al Franken/Supermajority Effect is overstated. Centrists in the Senate can toss a spanner into the works. The lot below (letter via HuffPost) want to slow things down for more debate.

Will Obama devalue the dollar to save Democrats?

July 17, 2009

Economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff makes the speculative — and scary — case that high unemployment + 2010 elections = Obama will devalue the dollar to boost growth. Here is case: