James Pethokoukis

Pay attention: How New Zealand cut spending and taxes

October 19, 2010

A fantastic Reason article looks at how Canada and New Zealand cut government spending.  Since GOPers often cite NZ’s experience, I found that portion of the piece particularly interesting. Over the span of a decade from the mid 1980s on,  the government’s share of GDP  fell to 27 percent from 45 percent. Here is a bit on how they did it, according to former government official Maurice McTigue (but please read the whole thing):

A decade-long dollar disaster

October 19, 2010

They’re calling The Oughts a Lost Decade. Yet how could that possibly be? The experts keep telling me a weak dollar brings prosperity. But look at this chart from Carpe Diem:

A bank tax? Really?

October 18, 2010

I just did a CNBC  spot debating whether robust banks profits should spur new efforts to tax them. Here were my talking points:

How a VAT would affect growth

October 14, 2010

Just how would tacking a 10 percent value-added tax onto the current tax system affect the economy? Well, an Ernst & Young study commissioned by the National Retail Federation came up with this result:

The Obama recovery vs. the Reagan recovery

October 13, 2010

Expect to see this chart from the Heritage Foundation all around the blogosphere. I don’ t think it is completely fair given the different flavors of the two recessions. But I certainly don’t think the current recovery is a robust as could possibly be expected. I think even the POTUS would concede that.

A chat with economist Glenn Hubbard

October 13, 2010

In their must-read policy manifesto, “Seeds of Destruction,” Glenn Hubbard and Peter Navarro outline the biggest economic problems facing America and what can be done about them. Hubbard is the former head of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush and is now dean of Columbia Business School. Navarro, a Democrat, is a business professor at the University of California, Irvine and author of  ”The Coming China Wars.” Here are some excerpt from a chat I had with Hubbard:

Why we don’t need a currency war, more Fed easing or additional stimulus

October 13, 2010

Great, great stuff from economic analyst Ed Yardeni, busting some myths and taking names:

Obama and the Investor Class

October 12, 2010

Larry Kudlow lays out a compelling case here:

A series of investor-related polls shows how totally detached the president is from the nearly 100 million folks who directly or indirectly own stocks.

U.S. states in a $3.2 trillion pension hole

October 12, 2010

Some scary numbers from new research by finance professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh, Associate Professor of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

The recovering financial system

October 12, 2010

The St. Louis Fed had put together a “financial stress index.” It incorporates a number of financial variables.  And it looks a whole lot better than it did two years ago.