James Pethokoukis

Ben Bernanke, 2009 Person of the Year

December 16, 2009

Or so says Time. With the vast array of unprecedented Fed actions, it is hard to argue with the selection.  But this might not be Bernanke’s last selection if inflation picks up. Remember, the award goes for the person who had the most impact, for good or ill.

The ‘mirage’ economic recovery

December 15, 2009

Gallup’s chief economist, Dennis Jacobe:

We’ve just gone through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and economies don’t recover from that kind of thing overnight.

Winging it on healthcare reform

December 15, 2009

“Armchair Economist” Steven Landsburg had a chance to talk with Obama healthcare guru David Cutler of Harvard. His conclusion:

Harry Reid in 2010

December 15, 2009

Stu Rothenberg on the Senate Majority Leader:

Finally, I am struck how much Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) ballot test numbers resemble those of former Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and John Sununu (R-N.H.), as well as soon-to-be-former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D). All three, of course, lost re-election bids.

An interview with Rep. Paul Ryan

December 15, 2009

I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the ranking GOPer on the House Budget Committee. Ryan’s a rising Republican star (he’ll be just 40 next month), a guy some folks were pushing to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008.  If there’s a young Jack Kemp in today’s Congress, he’s it. And if you’re wondering what the 21st century Republican Party will stand for, many of the ideas will probably come from Ryan. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Where financial regulatory reform is heading

December 15, 2009

The future of U.S. financial reform seems destined to track closely the path of that other major effort winding its way through Congress, healthcare. As a result, what came out of the House of Representatives with a narrow majority on Friday may be far more ambitious than what the Senate could possibly pass.

Obama vs. Wall Street

December 15, 2009

As usual, Ed Yardeni is exactly on point:

1) While Washington wants them to lend more, the bank examiners sent by Washington’s regulators are all over them to improve their credit quality and to tighten their lending standards.

Why the Dems keep pushing healthcare reform despite polls

December 15, 2009

An average of healthcare polls by Real Clear Politics shows it unpopular by a 53-38 margin. But why are the Ds still pushing hard to get it passed? Byron York analyzes the various motivations after to talking to a Dem strategist:

Balancing the U.S. budget

December 15, 2009

The always insightful Pete Davis opines on the Pew-Peterson debt report at the must-read Capital Gains and Games blog:

Goldman Sachs still believes in the New Normal despite rosier growth forecast

December 15, 2009

Goldman Sachs has boosted its 4Q GDP outlook to 4 percent from 3 percent, yet continues to believe in the gloomy New Normal. Here’s why: