James Pethokoukis

Obama’s SEC war against Goldman Sachs

April 16, 2010

A few thoughts on the SEC charges against Goldman Sachs:

1) Goldman Sachs gave the Obama campaign $994k during the 2008 election, his biggest donor. Doesn’t this undercut the theory just a bit that Washington is under the thumb of Wall Street?Even a tiny bit? (No, say Simon Johnson and James Kwak.)

5 reasons why the Tea Partiers are right on taxes

April 16, 2010

Here is the new Washington Consensus: American taxes must be raised dramatically to deal with exploding federal debt since spending can’t/shouldn’t be cut. Only the rubes and radicals of the Tea Party and their Contract from America movement think otherwise. And don’t worry, the economy will be just fine.

A few thoughts on Tax Day

April 15, 2010

1) Dems have ripped the Bush tax cuts yet want to keep 95 percent of them.

2) Even the middle class ones may only be extended through the 2012 election by Congress. That will make for a nice presidential campaign issue!

Is McConnell right about TBTF?

April 14, 2010

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell charges that the Dodd financial reform bill supported by the WH fails to end Too Big To Fail. Is he correct. Well, this bit from Reuters highlights one problem area:

Imagining a new consumer finance regulator

April 13, 2010

Alex Pollock does, and the results are not pretty:

Consider a new, independent regulatory bureaucracy filled with ambitious officers and staffers who are interventionist by ideology, believers that people need to be guided for their own good according to the tenets of “behavioral economics,” social democratic by faith, and closely aligned to numerous “consumer advocates.” They will hardly be content with the project of “improving disclosure,” important as that is.

The Looting Scenario for America

April 13, 2010

The Great Arnold Kling thinks there is a high probability of a two-decade economic fiasco, outlined below.

How to really end Too Big To Fail

April 13, 2010

Over at the must-read e21 site, Chris Papagianis provides an excellent counter to the Dodd-Obama financial reform plan. He prefers an approach devised by Oliver Hart and Luigi Zingales. Here are the key details via Papagianis:

Andy Stern can now fix a problem he helped cause

April 13, 2010

Multiple reports suggest Andy Stern will be leaving his job as head of the politically powerful SEIU. The union, which represents healthcare and public employees, was instrumental in passing healthcare reform. In other words, he has contributed in two ways to America’s fiscal woes. First, health reform may prove a budget fiasco since its tax hikes and spending cuts  were used to expand coverage rather than cut the budget deficit. Second,  fat pay and benefit packages for public sector unions are a big reason so many states like California have long-term fiscal woes. As this David Feddoso story found:

Imagining a V-shaped recovery and the 2010 midterms

April 12, 2010

Those who argue that Democrats might lose one or both houses of Congress are making an economic argument. Slow growth/high unemployment = angry, anti-incumbent voters. But what if the economy really perks up? First some analysis by Larry Kudlow:

After FDR’s New Deal …

April 12, 2010

The death of FDR in 1944 meant no New Deal, The Sequel. What did happen? This (via the WSJ):