James Pethokoukis

Segway inventor Dean Kamen: Nationalized healthcare will kill innovation

August 7, 2009

Let’s spend more on healthcare! An interesting chunk from a Popular Mechanics chat with Segway inventor Dean Kamen (via The Health Care Blog):

How global capitalism (and the U.S. military) is defeating Al Qaeda

August 6, 2009

A lengthy post from Thomas PM Barnett always makes it a great day. Here he talks about the video truce offer from Zawahiri, and why it is another sign of Al Qaeda strategic weakness and failure:

Tax the rich. Good luck with that

August 6, 2009

Government revenue estimates of future tax hikes on the wealthy always overestimate how much dough they will bring in.  This is certainly the case with the 1993 Clinton tax hikes. Now why is that? First up is my Reuters compadre, the so-smart-he’s-scary Christopher Swann:

America’s Most Dangerous Man? An Accountant

August 6, 2009

Well, that didn’t take long. Just four months ago, the Financial Accounting Standards Board wisely knuckled under to Ccongressional cajoling and decided to ease its market-to-market valuation rules. But now FASB Chairman Robert Herz and his obscure accountacrats in Norwalk, Conn. are enthusiastically re-embracing “fair value.” They want to expand their application as never before, to include all financial assets, even loans.

White House reform plan to make Fannie and Freddie … Fannier and Freddier!

August 6, 2009

So Team Obama is considering a truly horrible plan: to re-imagine Freddie and Freddie as new entities that are just like the current failed ones, but with government taking over all the toxic stuff . Tell it to me WaPo:

Will healthcare reform create trillion-dollar budget deficits?

August 6, 2009

That is the contention of former White House budget official James Capretta who does the math:

Study: Housing market will be in a recession for decades

August 6, 2009

A University of Utah study predicts that the percentage of U.S. households that own homes — a number which peaked at 70.4 percent in 2004 and 2005 and is now at 67.4 percent — will drop to about 63.5 percent by 2020. That would be the lowest level since 1985. The reasons are a) smaller households, b) tighter credit, c) green desires thatare  pro-renting.

The long recession: 15 reasons why the U.S. economy faces a weak recovery

August 5, 2009

What sort of recovery will the American economy have?  With estimates of 3Q growth rising on Wall Street — along with the Dow — here is why the optimism may be overstated. First up is David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff (outline by me):

Double taxes on the rich and you still wouldn’t balance the U.S. federal budget

August 5, 2009

Here is some fun tax information: The top five percent of tax filers in terms of adjusted gross income earned $3.3 trillion and paid $676 billion in taxes in 2007.  (That accounted for 61 percent of taxes, by the way.) So if we doubled their average tax rates, America would still be running a budget deficit for years to come. And that assumes no economic impact from the higher tax rates.

North Korea: Global markets are also potential prisoners — and Clinton can’t help them

August 5, 2009

Strategist Andy Busch of BMO Capital Markets provides some interesting insights on the situation in North Korea: