James Pethokoukis

Maybe Obama should have pulled a Christie on infrastructure stimulus

October 22, 2010

Cause it really hasn’t worked out so well, as The Economist outlines.  The magazine criticisms are as follows:

Will GOP midterm win help reelect Obama in 2012? Maybe not

October 21, 2010

The Washington consensus is that if the GOP takes at least the House, it will give Obama a political foil and give his 2012 election hopes a big boost. And, the media tell us, the GOP presidential field is weak:

Fannie and Freddie and Barney

October 21, 2010

IBD‘s great Capital Hill blog makes a good point about F&F and the midterms:

Fannie and Freddie could need $363 billion in taxpayer funds by 2013

October 21, 2010

Ugh.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today released projections of the financial performance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) including potential draws under the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) with the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To date, the Enterprises have drawn $148 billion from the Treasury Department under the terms of the PSPAs. Under the three scenarios used in the projections, cumulative Enterprise draws range from $221 billion to $363 billion through 2013.

Is Geithner the next to leave Obamaland?

October 21, 2010

The man behind the Volcker Rule and the bank tax will soon be leaving Washington. That’s right, Obama political adviser David Axelrod is headed back to Chicago. What, you thought I meant Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? As for Geithner, he will more than likely be at Treasury for the duration, though in some ways he has a better skillset for the National Economic Council. Here’s a bit from my recent Reuters Breakingviews columnette on Obama’s pal:

Arguing for deflation

October 20, 2010

Ed Yardeni gives it a try:

Why is  [Bill Dudley of the Federal Reserve]  so sure that the Fed is so powerful when the CPI inflation rate is so close to zero despite the Fed’s extraordinary efforts to reflate the economy over the past few years? Could it be that while the Fed may be able to control inflation, it can’t do much to stop deflation? Macroeconomists like Mr. Dudley are convinced that inflation is always a monetary phenomenon. I agree that rapidly rising inflation is always a consequence of excessively easy monetary policy. Tight monetary policy, if tough enough, can always lower the inflation rate. However, the deflationary pressures of recent years can be attributed to lots of non-monetary developments including the IT revolution, the rebound in productivity growth, the proliferation of free trade following the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of low-wage emerging countries like China. There’s not much that the Fed can do to stop deflation caused by these forces. Indeed, the Fed shouldn’t even try, since such deflation tends to boost the purchasing power of consumers, which is a much better stimulus program than any reflationary policy promoted by the Fed.

Making sense of Sarah Palin’s third-party threat

October 19, 2010

For Sarah Palin, it’s Tea Party first, Republican Party second:

Some in the GOP, it’s their last shot, it’s their last chance. We will lose faith, and we will be disappointed and disenchanted from them if they start straying from the bedrock principles. … If they start straying, then why not a 3rd party?

Is the Democratic comeback fizzling?

October 19, 2010

Numbers from Gallup seem to say it is.

Gallup’s tracking of the generic ballot for Congress finds Republicans leading Democrats by 5 percentage points among registered voters, 48% to 43%, and by 11- and 17-point margins among likely voters, depending on turnout. This is the third consecutive week the Republicans have led on the measure among registered voters, after two weeks in September when the parties were about tied.

Relitigating the 1990s boom

October 19, 2010

Over at e21, former Bush administration official Joel Harris provides a nice reminder about the real  foundation of the 1990s boom. And it was not the Clinton tax increases: