James Pethokoukis

Kudlow’s insight on Yellen

March 15, 2010

Larry Kudlow isn’t thrilled with the Janet Yellen Fed pick. This is the crux of his beef:

The cure for high unemployment

March 15, 2010

Gary Becker gets straight to the point:

The only real remedy for the long-term (and other) unemployed is to have the economy grow fast, as it did after the severe recession in 1982 when unemployment peaked in December of that year at 10.8%, and then fell rather rapidly. There is no magic bullet to accomplish this, but I do believe it would help a lot if the leaders in Washington did not try to radically transform various aspects of the economy while we are recovering from a serious recession, and thereby magnify the high degree of uncertainty that is typically caused by a recession. Instead, they should be concentrating on fighting the recession, and stimulating long-term economic growth.

Inside Dodd’s financial reform bill

March 15, 2010

A few thought on the Dodd bill:

1) The key to the consumer finance piece is how much influence regulators have in rule creation. Giving some final veto power to the systemic risk council with a two-third vote is a joke. Would never happen.

Liberals begin to drive financial reform agenda

March 12, 2010

This HuffPo piece backs up my analysis of how liberal activists are starting to drive the financial reform agenda:

Mitt Romney, Going Rogue

March 12, 2010

The rap on Mitt Romney is that he is the protean presidential candidate. Always shifting, always morphing, ever eager to please in relentless pursuit of the Oval Office. If he was a contestant on American Idol, the judges would surely knock him for “not knowing what kind of artist he is.” One week a crooner, the next a rocker. One campaign a moderate,  the next a culture warrior.

Financial reform imploding; Dems declare War on Goldman Sachs

March 11, 2010

So it looks like financial reform is going to be Dodd-Dodd rather than Dodd-Corker. The consumer finance regulator is like the new public option, a real deal killer. Also not helping is the wider, harsher version of the Volcker Rule that a group of Dems have proposed. I call it the Goldman Sachs Rule since it is targeted at the supposed conflicts of interest GS has. Throwing GS into the mix further politicizes the process and makes compromise tougher. A real poison pill. But that might be the idea all along. Push a weak, Democrat-only bill vulnerable to a host of anti-bank amendments on the floor of the Senate. Then force Republicans to vote against them with the midterm elections looming. With the economy weak and healthcare unpopular, financial populist may be the only card Dems have to play.

Problem with cap-and-trade is substance, not style

March 11, 2010

Washington is obsessed with optics and messaging. Indeed, U.S. proponents of limiting carbon emissions hope rebranding their “cap-and-trade” proposal as “pollution reduction” will boost the flagging proposal on Capitol Hill. But the real problem is the product, not the packaging. There are far more politically feasible and economically effective ways of dealing with climate change.

Should Obama’s econ team resign in protest?

March 10, 2010

They won’t, of course. Kind of extreme. But Cato’s Richard Rahn makes an interesting intellectual case:

Paul Ryan’s budget roadmap is flummoxing Washington

March 10, 2010

Washington doesn’t know how to handle Rep. Paul Ryan’s outline for how to balance the budget without raising taxes. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the Wisconsin Republican’s plan is “unsustainable.” (Well, it makes Big Government unsustainable.) And an analysis from the Tax Vox blog takes issue with his revenue estimates.

California Screaming

March 10, 2010

Here are some fun facts about California’s fiscal situation, in light of state college students protesting a 32 percent tuition hike (via WSJ):