James Pethokoukis

Inflate away the debt? Yes, that is a stupid idea …

September 11, 2009

As Bruce Bartlett correct observes:

Although it is thought that inflation is an effective way of
reducing the burden of debt, this is no longer true. For one thing, a
declining portion of the debt is financed with long-term securities.
Today, just 3% of the debt consists of bonds with maturities of 20
years or more; 10 years ago, the proportion was four times greater. To
the extent that the debt consists of short-term securities that must
constantly be rolled over, inflation does nothing to erode its value
because interest rates just rise to compensate, raising interest
payments and borrowing, thus maintaining the real value of the debt.

Why strong climate change legislation is dead

September 11, 2009

My new favorite blog, New Geography, does a fine piece of analysis that reveals why 80 percent cuts in climate change emissions are a fantasy without a radical technology breakthrough:

A case for long-term high unemployment in America

September 11, 2009

A fantastic article by Joshua Cooper Ramo looking at whether the US is doomed to years of high unemployment. Read the whole thing, but this a key bit:

Is there where economic growth will come from?

September 11, 2009

Barry Ritholtz ticks off ten technologies:

My top 10 list (in order of biggest near term potential):

1. Nano Technology (Think of the line “Plastics” in The Graduate).

2. Green (low carbon) Energy  (generation)

3. Battery technology  (storage)

4. Genomics/Stem Cell Research

5. Web 2.0/3.0 — smaller, niche companies using increased bandwidth

6. Robotics — the continued replacement of humans by machine, for both labor and judgement

About the Bush tax cuts …

September 11, 2009

I like the growthy 2003 Bush tax cuts; the social-policy 2001 version not nearly as much. But it is wrong to say these cuts were only for the rich, as the POTUS said earlier this week (from the Tax Foundation):