James Pethokoukis

More on the big W

August 24, 2009

Having talked to a number of former White House economists/center-right economists in recent weeks, this analysis by Tony Fratto almost perfectly echoes what they told me:

Are Obama’s healthcare troubles actually a good thing?

August 24, 2009

Mickey Kaus gives his theory:

It’s easy to forget that, even if Obama’s health care effort is bogging down, the effort itself still serves his presidency as a crucial time-waster, tying up Congress and giving him a reason to postpone (or the public a reason to ignore) those other divisive, presidency-killers. Obama needs some excuse for putting off unpopular Democratic demands; health care’s a good one. If he keeps failing to pass health care until spring, that might not be such a bad outcome. In fact, even quick passage was maybe never in his interest. There are things more unpopular than struggling. … Cap and trade, immigration legalization, “card check”—these are not what you’d call confidence building appetizers leading up to the main course of Obama’s presidency.

The strange Republican embrace of Medicare

August 24, 2009

Chris Edwards over at the Cato Institute is also unsettled by how the GOP is endorsing the status quo with Medicare spending to score political points:

Some terrible unemployment data

August 24, 2009

This from IHS Global Insight:

Although there are increasing signs that the economy has bottomed out, IHS Global Insight’s summer forecast shows that a job recovery is still a ways off for most of the nation’s metropolitan areas. Of the 363 metros in the country, just one—McAllen, Texas—will add more than 1,000 jobs this year. While most areas will begin increasing employment again in 2010, it will be tepid, with only 118 metros crossing the 1,000-job mark next year. Solid gains will not return for the majority of the country until 2011.

Too soon for a Bernanke victory lap?

August 24, 2009

It was a pretty upbeat Ben Bernanke that spoke over the weekend at the Fed conference. But a few cautionary statistics from Ed Yardeni:

Dude, where’s my civilization-wrecking depression?

August 24, 2009

Geopolitical thinker and strategist Tom Barnett is disappointed with the resilience of the global economy and institutions:

How Obama could prevent a second recession

August 24, 2009

Is the light at the end of the tunnel an oncoming train? That’s the worry of many economists who fret that after a couple of quarters of moderate growth, the U.S. economy will either lapse into a state of torpor or relapse into recession. In a new Financial Times op-ed, Nouriel Roubini says that weak labor markets, weak banks, weak consumers, weak profits and weak trade creates a strong risk of just such a “W-shaped” economic scenario.