James Pethokoukis

Obama and independents

November 12, 2009

It is not just the gap, but the rapidity of the decline that it is so stunning.

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Is Washington making unemployment worse?

November 11, 2009

Yes, says U. of C. prof Casey Mulligan:

Labor market distortions have gotten progressively worse during this recession. The federal minimum wage, for example, was increased once shortly before the recession began, a second time in the summer of 2008, and yet again this summer. The housing collapse has also had multiple harmful effects, such as impeding families who might want to move out of some of the hardest-hit regions toward areas where the economy is doing better.

12 reasons unemployment is going to (at least) 12 percent

November 11, 2009

Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate.  I think you would also be talking about  the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.

Obama, crony capitalism and blue-collar jobs

November 11, 2009

Joel Kotkin has a great piece on how Obama can still save his presidency. The bit on jobs is particularly good:

Henry Kaufman: Break up the banks

November 11, 2009

I think Henry Kaufman (in the WSJ) accurately outlines the public policy choice when it comes to financial reform: heavily regulated monster banks vs. a more decentralized, somewhat less regulated financial system TBTF creates a need for heavy regulation and less economic efficiency.

Dodd financial reform bill underestimates populist anger

November 11, 2009

The instant analysis on Senator Christopher Dodd’s aggressive financial reform plan is that it’s more about getting him re-elected than getting a bill through the Senate.

Geithner, the dollar and the deficit

November 11, 2009

First, Geithner on the dollar and deficits:

“I believe deeply that it’s very important to the United States, to the economic health of the United States, that we maintain a strong dollar,” Geithner said in a meeting with Japanese reporters at the U.S. embassy.  “We bear a special responsibility for trying to make sure that we are implementing policies in the United States that will sustain confidence … in investors around the world that as growth recovers and growth strengthens that we’re going to bring our fiscal position back to a sustainable balance,” he said.

Germany’s Merkel takes a walk on the supply side

November 11, 2009

From the NYTimes:

“I want us to do everything we can to create the conditions for new, stronger growth,” Mrs. Merkel said Tuesday, laying out her agenda in a speech before the Bundestag in Berlin. “Without growth, there will be no investment. Without growth, no jobs. Without growth, no money for education. Without growth, no help for the weak.”