James Pethokoukis

Will Obama extends all Bush tax cuts?

January 13, 2010

That’s the DC buzz, that the WH will use bank tax to de facto pay for a 1-2 year extension of ALL the Bush tax cuts, including capital gains. The assumption was that the wealthier folks would be left out. But this would give Ds a tax cut to vote. With unemployment high and maybe going higher, Ds are scrambling for ideas.

A bullish case for the US dollar

January 12, 2010

Ed Yardeni expounds:

I’m not sure, but it seems to me that the dollar is the best of a dodgy breed. The Old World nations–Europe, Japan, and the United States–have rapidly aging populations. Their outlays on social welfare are rising faster than their GDPs. Their dependency ratios–the number of retired persons supported by each worker–are taking off. This suggests to me that the dollar, the euro, the pound, and the yen (DEPY) might all continue to be good shorts relative to gold. (See Figure 5 in our Gold chart book linked below.) Gold is widely viewed as a hedge against inflation. More broadly, it is a hedge against out-of-control debt-financed government spending.

Explaining Obama’s strange bank tax

January 12, 2010

The WH wants to tax banks to pay for the $120 billion that TARP may end up costing taxpayers. A few thoughts:

Ugh! 5 reasons why the Dec. jobs report was worse than it looked

January 10, 2010

Goldman Sachs thinks 4Q growth could be as a high as 6 percent. But don’t think the firm is as cheery about the labor market despite the “stable” 10 percent unemployment rate in December. Some bullet points:

9 reasons why the Dec. jobs report is bad news for Dems

January 8, 2010

Talk about one last gasp from the horrible year that was 2009. On the political front, the December jobs numbers were terrible news for the White House and congressional Democrats in a midterm election year. Here’s how it plays out:

What the December jobs report means

January 8, 2010

I think the “jobless recovery” meme stays firmly in place. Beyond the 85k jobs loss was the sharp drop in the labor force participation rate. If another 600k+ workers had not dropped out of workforce, unemployment rate would have been 10.4 percent. Here is what I have tweeting on the subject this AM:

The Dodd Effect: 2010 starts great for Wall Street

January 7, 2010

Washington just got a little more welcome for Wall Street. The retirement of Christopher Dodd, the Democrat from Connecticut, probably hands the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee to a friend of the industry in 2011. It also improves the odds of a weaker version of financial reform passing Congress in 2010 — if anything passes at all.

How Obama’s popularity will affect the midterm elections

January 7, 2010

The good folks at Public Opinion Strategies have an interesting analysis (in chart form!) of the impact of presidential approval ratings on congressional elections:

Can the GOP still take Connecticut?

January 6, 2010

A 30-point gap against a popular politician is a steep hill to climb. But my great pal Larry Kudlow makes the case:

New poll shows Blumenthal big favorite for Dodd seat in Connecticut

January 6, 2010

From Public Policy Polling:

Chris Dodd’s retirement has shifted one of the Democrats’ most vulnerable seats to one of their safest. A Public Policy Polling survey conducted Monday and Tuesday, before Dodd made his announcement, finds Attorney General Richard Blumenthal with leads of 30 points or greater against all three Republican candidates.