James Pethokoukis

Why Washington should embrace innovation prizes

July 30, 2010

Innovation prizes put space tourism on the launch pad and helped Netflix better predict consumer movie preferences. Now they might even improve oil spill cleanup. Government should join in, too. In austere times, such rewards would be an efficient way for cash-strapped Washington to fund breakthroughs that drive economic growth.

David Brooks vs. Paul Ryan

July 30, 2010

This bit of David Brooks’ column today jumped out at me:

Paul Ryan, the most intellectually ambitious Republican in Congress … has been promoting a roadmap to comprehensively reform the nation’s tax and welfare system. On the tax side, he would sweep away most of the special-interest-favoring tax credits and subsidies and give people a chance to join a simple tax system with only two rates.

The second-quarter GDP report and the 2010 midterms

July 30, 2010

The uninspiring 2Q GDP report of 2.4 percent is now the new relevant data point, not the Zandi-Blinder study.

Zandi and Blinder make a weak case for Big Government

July 29, 2010

Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder have launched a maximum defense of all the government interventions in the economy since 2008. Without TARP, stimulus, various Fed actions  — the who kit and caboodle – their model estimates the following:

Obama polls continue to melt during Recovery Summer

July 29, 2010

President Barack Obama’s “recovery summer” has become a summer swoon. GDP growth has downshifted, as have his poll numbers. And with Democrats likely to suffer big losses in November’s elections, the president will have to rethink his economic agenda or face gridlock in 2011.

Kudlow: WH dismissive of business complaints

July 26, 2010

From the Great One, Larry Kudlow:

Then there’s the confidence-threatening war between business and the White House, which is also related to the liberal tax revolt. It’s still a battle royale between the nation’s business leaders and the administration over taxes, spending, regulation, and trade.

Bernanke right, Geithner wrong on Bush tax cuts

July 26, 2010

Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, doesn’t want tax rates to reset higher at the end of this year, even for the rich. The White House and the Treasury think differently. Here’s how an off-the-record Bernanke might try to talk Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, around to his point of view.

Government Motors and the Great Re-inflation

July 22, 2010

OK, let me get this straight:  President Obama says he wants to build a New Foundation for the U.S. economy based on savings and investment, not debt.  So the government borrows billions to prop up General Motors.  And now General Motors uses that money to go out and buy AmeriCredit for $3.5 billion so it can more easily lend money to subprime borrowers.

Did Obama just sign a bailout out bill?

July 21, 2010

I think on this matter, this American Banker interview with Sheila Bair is instructive: But does this bill stop them from happening?

The state of Obama’s approval ratings

July 21, 2010

Well, they’re not good and signal great danger for Democrats in the midterm election. The good folks at RealClearPolitics sums things up nicely: