James Pethokoukis

Obamacare court ruling gives a shoutout to Tea Party movement

January 31, 2011

From page 42 of the ruling by Judge  Roger Vinson:

It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compelan otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting — as was done in the Act — that compelling the actual transaction is itself “commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce” [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power”[Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only.

America’s fiscal future

January 28, 2011

Here are two charts that give a good perspective on what the Congressional Budget Office thinks may be the likely U.S. budget path, not the baseline that the media focuses on:

Uh, yeah, Social Security does have a problem

January 28, 2011

And it is expertly outlined by IBD’s Jed Graham at the Capital Hill blog:

But the Congressional Budget Office forecast released a day later shows that the coming crisis has drawn one year closer — to 2017.

The tough job of cutting corporate taxes

January 28, 2011

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech delivered on an idea he’s been telegraphing for weeks: corporate tax reform. And there are hints the changes he will seek could be major. But some companies will lobby hard against losing tax breaks to pay for a rate cut. Turning even sensible proposals into law is no sure thing.

One more from the crony capitalism beat

January 27, 2011

From the great Jerry Bowyer in Forbes:

The fact that Immelt is a Republican is as beside the point as the fact that Daley is a Democrat. Increasingly our nation is divided, not between Rs and Ds, but between TIs and TBs: tribute imposers and tribute bearers. The imposers are gigantic banks, agri-businesses, higher education Colossae, government employees, NGO and QUANGO employees and the myriad others whose living is made chiefly by extracting wealth from other people. The bearers are the rest of us: the people who extract wealth from the earth, not from others.

The latest on states declaring bankruptcy

January 27, 2011

Some Republicans are against the idea, but a couple of heavy hitters — Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich — continue to be for it. Here is a bit from their LA Times op-ed:

Crony capitalism update

January 27, 2011

The alliance between Big Money, Big Business and Big Government is something I will be giving a hard look over the coming a year. Two great pieces. First, Tim Carney on Obama and Immelt:

The right response to America’s Sputnik Moment?

January 27, 2011

I am a little late on this, but AmSpec’s John Guardiano is dead on:

Kennedy didn’t think America was “as strong as [it] should be.” And the reason, he surmised, was that the heavy hand of big government was too onerous. The feds, he realized, were stifling initiative and entrepreneurship. He knew the solution was to cut marginal tax rates. And so he did just that.

FCIC report: 10 causes of the financial crisis

January 27, 2011

The other dissent (written by Keith Hennessey, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and Bill Thomas) to the main Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report identifies 10 causes for the meltdown. They run through them in a WSJ op-ed: