James Pethokoukis

8 reasons TARP is a bust

December 9, 2009

The oversight panel led by television funnywoman Elizabeth Warren has concluded that TARP has been asset for the economy. Except for this part (in the panel’s own words):

Small business to Washington: Stop confusing us

December 9, 2009

If you listen to the National Federal of Independent Business, the anemic recovery and weak consumer spending are its biggest concerns. But there is something else:

Why are Democrats pushing cap-and-trade? An explanation

December 8, 2009

Joel Kotkin thinks he knows:

Today’s environmental movement reflects the values of a large portion of the post-industrial upper class. The big money behind the warming industry includes many powerful corporate interests that would benefit from a super-regulated environment that would all but eliminate potential upstarts.

Obama’s jobs plan

December 8, 2009

A few cents from IHS Global:

The President’s speech was short in terms of the details. He did not specify how much of the remaining resources from TARP should be dedicated to deficit reduction versus additional stimulus spending. Nor did he specify any targets for spending under the four areas that were highlighted in his speech. Effectively the President has kicked the ball into Congress’s court in order to work out the details.

Obama and jobs, take two

December 8, 2009

A few thoughts on the Brookings speech:

1) Lots of big ideas from liberal thinks on  how to boost jobs. Obama pretty much took a pass.

The EPA and Obama’s Uncertainty Tax

December 8, 2009

Here’s the theory about the new U.S. position on greenhouse gases. The official finding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the emissions endanger human health sets the stage for permit requirements on power plants, factories and automobiles. It also supplies President Barack Obama with more evidence at the Copenhagen summit of a “new normal” in America when it comes to climate policy. And back home, it supposedly gives a nudge to the Senate where cap-and-trade legislation is stuck on the back burner.

EPA carbon ruling creates an even bigger ‘uncertainty tax’ for business

December 7, 2009

Call it the Uncertainty Tax. I mean, it is not enough that the American private sector has to deal with the mercurial state of healthcare, financial and tax reform, now it has to calculate the likelihood and impact of  the Obama administration unilaterally imposing draconian carbon rules? Even the EPA calls such efforts inefficient and economically disruptive. A few other thoughts:

Cost-benefit analysis of jobs stimulus

December 7, 2009

Hopefully any new plan will have a better ROI than the current stimulus package. Economic analyst  Ed Yardeni runs the numbers:

The TARP slush fund gets slushier

December 7, 2009

The New Normal may be a bummer, but it’s not life-threatening for the economy. The only systemic risk at the moment is the political prospects of Democratic incumbents on Capitol Hill. They dread standing for reelection in 2010 if the unemployment rate remains anywhere near double digits. The forthcoming jobs bill is a product of political panic. And using TARP to pay for it confirms the fears of those back in the fall of 2008 who thought the bank bailout fund would eventually become a political slush fund.

Tea Party fever! This can’t be good for the Republican brand …

December 7, 2009

From pollster Rasmussen:

Running under the Tea Party brand may be better in congressional races than being a Republican.