James Pethokoukis

Trust but verify, China edition

December 15, 2009

The words of #42 (RWR) came back to me when I read this in the NYT:

China, which last month for the first time publicly announced a target for reducing the rate of growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, is refusing to accept any kind of international monitoring of its emissions levels, according to negotiators and observers here. The United States is insisting that without stringent verification of China’s actions, it cannot support any deal

Expanders vs. Restrainers

December 15, 2009

I actually agree with this greenie op-ed the UK’s Guardian, though the author and I are on different sides:

Peter Orszag vs. the WSJ

December 14, 2009

OMB director Orszag didn’t much like a WSJ editorial about the lack of  fiscal prudence of ObamaCare. And he said so on his blog. I think Orszag makes a few reasonable points, like not counting on cost savings from the pilot programs.  But he side-stepped that fact that America will be spending more on healthcare, even if paid for. Then there is this:

Obama vs. Wall Street

December 14, 2009

A few thoughts on the banker summit at the White House:

1) Some banks were already trying to boost small business lending, such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.

Cap-and-dividend instead of cap-and-trade?

December 14, 2009

The cap-and-trade approach to limiting climate emissions does not seem to be going anywhere in the Senate. But a more-populist bill introduced by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) might be another option. Its goal is to cut emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Key difference with the existing cap-and-trade approach (via The Hill):

Paul Ryan and the future of the GOP

December 14, 2009

This  commentary from  GOP thought leader Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin really sets the intellectual and political framework for where the GOP might be headed.  He goes after Crony Capitalism, the melding of Big Money, Big  Business and Big Goverment. This is what’s next. Here are some important bits:

The coming assault on the Fed

December 11, 2009

This piece by Paul Krugman reinforces my feeling that the Federal Reserve is going to be hit hard for not doing even more to boost the economy. He wants the Fed balance sheet expanded even more to promote faster growth.

VAT Attack! Will deficit commission lead to a VAT?

December 11, 2009

That is one theory offered up as the eventual outcome of the C0nrad-Gregg deficit commission. And today in the NYT, there is a story extolling the virtues of a VAT.  Indeed, it is a great revenue raiser, and liberals love it because they think Americans are undertaxed and don’t want to cut spending to reduce the long-term structural budget deficit.

The risk of a supertax on banker bonuses

December 11, 2009

U.S.-based bankers shouldn’t worry too much about their bonuses. Even though Wall Street remains wildly unpopular and Washington needs more revenue, it’s unlikely U.S. authorities will follow their UK counterparts with a giant windfall tax on banker payouts.

The UK banker bonus supertax

December 10, 2009

I don’t see this happening in the US.  I mean, the effort to raise taxes on private equity carried interest, while passing the House, is going nowhere in the Senate. And that is far less controversial and a less stupid idea. And remember how the 90 percent tax on AIG bonuses fell flat back in March.  The one caveat, as Dan Clifton notes in an earlier post,  here is that 2010 is an election year and the combo of big bonuses  and high unemployment could cause endangered Ds to play the populist card and try something