James Pethokoukis

America’s battered labor market

September 8, 2009

David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff analyzes thusly:

1) Jobless claims stuck at 570k — basically in line with a sustained 200k-300k payroll losses.

The way forward on climate change …

September 7, 2009

This, from Tom Barnett amplifying on a Bjorn Lomborg op-ed, seems like a policy that could actually work in the real world. Reducing economic growth is a sure loser:

McCain and stimulus: a counterfactual

September 7, 2009

From Brad DeLong:

Had John McCain won the presidential election of 2008, at the start of 2009 he would have in all likelihood proposed a trillion dollar fiscal stimulus bill–3/4 tax cuts and 1/4 aid to states–and he might have picked Tim Geithner for his Treasury Secretary. Democrats would have called for fewer tax cuts, more state aid, and some government infrastructure spending initiatives in the fiscal policy mix, but the need for the government to cushion the recession would have brought them into line. When Obama took office he bid $800 billion for his fiscal stimulus bill–about 1/3 spending, about 1/3 aid to states, about 1/3 tax cuts–thinking that would be a plan that would win broad bipartisan assent. And he was wrong.

Can Amtrak evolve into something more?

September 7, 2009

This analysis of Amtrak is worth reading in full. But I like this paragraph in particular:

Will Obama kill all the Bush tax cuts?

September 7, 2009

Might the POTUS get rid of all the Bush tax cuts, even the ones for the middle class? Larry Summers certainly has hinted at this. And I missed this one from the WaPo a couple of weeks back:

Kudlow: Obamanomics and the jobless recovery

September 7, 2009

The great Lawrence Kudlow tells a hard truth, I think, about the economy and the day after tomorrow:

Another banking crisis would not be good

September 4, 2009

Curious Capitalist Justin Fox notices that time is running out on financial reform:

How high unemployment undercuts Obama’s agenda

September 4, 2009

At the end of the 2000 film “The Perfect Storm”, a Gloucester swordfish boat captain (played by George Clooney) finally accepts that his crew won’t escape a monster hurricane in the North Atlantic. “She’s not gonna let us out,” he says as the trapped vessel moves from the eye of the storm and back into the raging winds.

Government’s real role in healthcare

September 4, 2009

Some wise words from economist Andrew Samwick over at Capital Gains and Games:

1) The scenario I envision is that the public option does nothing to control costs.  Its payment system is set up to resemble Medicare, and it is the growth in real, age-adjusted Medicare expenditures per capita that has most people concerned about long-term deficits.  But with a public option, there will now be recourse for every citizen to petition the government to get a better deal on its health insurance premiums.  The pressure will be enormous to subsidize the public option, just as there has been enormous pressure to offer services in Medicare that increase its cost at (future) taxpayer expense.

What does 9.7 percent unemployment mean for Democrats?

September 4, 2009

Marc Ambinder looks at this question and concludes a) that anything under 10 percent is better than expected, b) 0.3 percent makes a big difference politically, and c) Team Obama will be able to more or less successfully blame Bush. His bottom line: