James Pethokoukis

Washington and Beijing’s new yuan policy

June 21, 2010

What does China’s new currency policy mean in terms of efforts in Congress to pass an anti-China currency bill?  Here is some of what some smart people told me. First Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics:

Rahm Emanuel headed back to Chicago?

June 21, 2010

That is the implication of this UK story about the White House chief of staff. But Marc Ambinder is dubious:

A coming age of austerity? Maybe

June 18, 2010

A Reuters Breakingviews column:

Europe’s newish cult of austerity may have some converts in Washington. The U.S. Senate is having surprising trouble passing a routine spending bill that grows the budget gap. Bipartisan resistance could hint that deficit hawks are starting to gain the upper hand in Congress.

Did Goldmans Sachs just douse Dems 2010 election hopes?

June 18, 2010

Liberal pundits and economists such as Paul Krugman have no use for the White House “Summer Recovery” PR tour. (Note that it isn’t called the “Prosperity Tour.”) They continue to attack the Obama administration for worrying too much about the budget deficit and too little about high unemployment. The White House response has been three-fold.

Banks: No friends left in Washington. Except Barney Frank. Kind of

June 17, 2010

U.S. financial reform keeps getting tougher on big banks — so they need to take friends wherever they can find them. Right now, that means Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, the liberal chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Watching the watchmen

June 17, 2010

A good piece on financial regulatory reform over at VoxEu:

Furthermore, the bill does not address the risk of political capture. The same politicians calling now for stricter lending standards called for extended home ownership only a few years ago. The future roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are notably absent from this Bill, and neither is the issue of mortgage subsidisation being addressed. And there seems to be rather more political oversight than less. While accountability of regulators is important, the line between accountability and capture is a thin one.

Here’s what’s missing

June 17, 2010

How to lower the unemployment rate. How …  to … lower … the unemployement … rate. Lesse, I dunno …maybe growth the economy faster? Here is a bit from the UCLA Anderson Forecast:

Obama’s clean energy pivot goes awry

June 16, 2010

Imagine if your local fireman started lecturing you on fire safety and the need for more research into advanced flame-retardant materials while your house was engulfed in flames. (“Dude, shut up and save my dog!”)

BP oil spill pollutes Obama energy speech

June 16, 2010

The United States needs a long-term change in its energy policy. Right now, it needs oil to stop gushing from the broken BP well into the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama tried to tie long and short together in his first Oval Office address. But the White House will struggle to get Americans to focus on the future as long as the spill continues.

Why economy may not save 2010 Democrats

June 15, 2010

“Hope” wasn’t just a major theme of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. It also might be a one-word summation of the 2010 midterm campaign strategy devised by the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill. They hope voters get more comfortable with healthcare reform. They hope voters really care about the technocratic bank bill. And, most importantly, they hope voters begin to sense some impact of a slowly recovering economy on their personal financial situation.