James Pethokoukis

About those Baucus healthcare co-ops ….

September 16, 2009

Here is what the CBO says about them:

The proposed co-ops had very little effect on the estimates of total enrollment in the exchanges or federal costs because, as they are described in the specifications, they seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country or to noticeably affect federal subsidy payments.

What liberals think of BaucusCare

September 16, 2009

Are they excited that Congress is moving a step closer to fulfilling decades of their healthcare dreams? Nope. This, from the liberal Health Care for American Now group:

Kudlow: Maybe a V for 2010

September 16, 2009

Larry Kudlow gives the bull case:

I wonder if Mr. Bernanke isn’t underestimating the very substantial monetary stimulus that he has injected into the economy, going back about nine months. This is the Milton Friedman monetarist experiment. The Fed’s balance sheet has grown by over $1 trillion; various money-supply measures are running about 10 percent on average; the Treasury yield curve is very steep and positively sloped; and of course the target rate is near zero. Add to that $1,000 gold and a weak dollar.

The coming wave of healthcare taxes

September 16, 2009

The guys at ATR give the rundown:

· Employer Mandate Tax. $400 per employee if health coverage is not offered. Note: this is a huge incentive to drop coverage, as $400 is much less than the average plan cost of $11,000 for families or $5000 for singles (Source: AHIP)

The mild ‘W’ scenario

September 16, 2009

Yardeni sketches it out, though he thinks a “muddling along” is more likely:

The Japan comparison

September 16, 2009

David Rosenberg draws an uncomfortable parallel:

Speaking of Japan, and we say this because the U.S. is following a very similar post-credit collapse pattern, we note that the Nikkei posted six 20%+ rallies since its bubble burst in 1990 and no fewer than four 50%+ rallies.  … So actually there is nothing in this flashy move off the lows in the S&P 500 that is inconsistent with a pattern of a bear market rally — this is not the onset of a whole new sustainable bull market.  … They are not premised on improved fundamentals, despite data that are skewed to the upside by rampant government intervention. Just remember, nobody built more bridges or paved more river beds to skew the economic data than the LDP did in Japan for much of the 1990s. With U.S. T-bill yields close to zero, as they were in Japan, we have at least one market — the money market — that sees what we see, which is an economic outlook fraught with fragility, as is typically the case after a secular credit expansion moves shifts into reverse.

The day in healthcare reform

September 16, 2009

– The Baucus healthcare bill is released.

– Baucus makes his case. (WSJ)

Health care is a complicated and deeply personal issue; it takes time and effort to get reform right. Legislating every piece of this puzzle would be impossible and counterproductive. What we can do is seize this opportunity to put America back on a fiscally sustainable path. The Senate Finance Committee proposal builds on what already works and fixes what threatens to break the bank for future generations.

Obama risks trade war to help union allies

September 16, 2009

Has President Barack Obama thrown Big Labor under the bus? It sure might seem that way after watching his performance yesterday before two union audiences, G.M. workers in Lordstown, Ohio, and an AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh.

Taleb: Suck it up, America!

September 16, 2009

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (via The Globe and Mail) on why the banks should not have been bailed out and why China should not buy our bonds:

10 ways to make a better world

September 15, 2009

Here is the list from New Scientist:

1. Base economic policy on scientific evidence

2. Legalize drugs

3. Give police your DNA

4. Find non-economic measures of success

5. Study climate geo-engineering to see if it would really work

6. Tax carbon and equally distribute the proceeds

7. Embrace genetic engineering

8. Protect the seas

9. Pay people to feed energy back into power grid

10. Move to a four-day work week