James Pethokoukis

Why Medicare is a beloved fraud

August 18, 2009

First a few numbers on U.S. healthcare, courtesy of Ed Yardeni:

1) Federal spending on Medicare combined with Federal and State spending on Medicaid over the 12 months ending July totaled a record $923.5bn.

Is this what a U.S. third party would look like?

August 18, 2009

Thinker extraordinaire Joel Kotkin gives an outline:

Given this sad political picture, the best hope now is to build an alternative perspective that focuses on the basic economic issues. This would not be the media celebrated movement of moderates–Democrats-lite and Republicans-lite–who seek kumbaya through compromise. It would, instead, require a radical third tendency–neither strictly left or right–that would draw on long-term American priorities and values.

A healthcare plan to save Obama’s presidency

August 17, 2009

President Barack Obama has told Americans to be skeptical of reports of an end to the recession, saying the downturn has “many more months” to run. Given the recent retail sales data, Americans seem to be listening to their economist-in-chief.

Taxes? Through the roof, America!

August 17, 2009

There was a Saturday Night Live skit after the 1988 election called “Dukakis after Dark.” In it, failed veep candidate Lloyd Bentsen asks failed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, “You were going to raise taxes, weren’t you?” Dukakis, wearing a Hugh Hefneresque smoking jacket, shiftily replies: “Through the roof.”

Oh, about that U.S. economic recovery …

August 17, 2009

What might stand in the way of a robust economic turnaround. Gary Becker outlines the following factors:

Reagan and the year that changed everything

August 15, 2009

The great Jason Trennert of the Strategas Group recalls the beginning of the Reagan bull market (in the WSJ) in August 1982 and points out some key differences between then and now:

The global economy and the day after tomorrow

August 15, 2009

A really great article in the FT that serves to dispel some of the doom and gloom that pervades much of current thinking:

Is Obama a bad economic cheerleader?

August 15, 2009

Dude, you’re bringing me down! Or so says economist Robert Brusca:

Obama has been saying bad things about the economy ever since he got in office. As economic data improved he focused on how bad things were, not on the improvement or the trend. When the Q2 GDP figure fell by only 1% in the quarter he said there would be many more months of recession to come. … His administration was talking about deficits and about raising taxes before the recession was even over; that was reckless.¬† Japan got into its lost decade of growth by fearing the size of its own fiscal debt and hiking taxes on consumers before the economy was strong enough to take it. Is that the model Obama is pursuing?

Where the U.S. economy is stranded

August 14, 2009

The economy is leveling off, the Fed says. I think of things this way, as if your ship sunk and you thought you were going to drown. But you struggle to shore on some island. You are happy to be alive but then realize you are stuck on an island. Kind of exactly like Castaway. But who knows what the tide will bring in.

About those healthcare protests …

August 14, 2009

(Lightly microblogging from the Great White North)

I think it is hilarious that the protesters get criticized for being uninformed about an uber-compliated plan that has been marketed in talking points and catch phrases. How dare they! This administration loves complicated, only-an-economist-could-love approaches.