James Pethokoukis

Why Obama’s tax pledge is bogus

April 12, 2011

Who does Team Obama think it’s fooling? Budget experts are already scoffing at the idea that the White House can somehow deal with America’s long-term budget woes without either a) raising taxes on the middle-class or b) adopting a Paul Ryan-style restructuring of entitlements.

Bending the debt curve

April 8, 2011

Some budget plans do, some don’t (via e21):

e21chart

Is the Ryan Plan a 73-page suicide note?

April 8, 2011

Charles Krauthammer asks the question:

In 1983, the British Labour Party under the hard-left Michael Foot issued a 700-page manifesto so radical that one colleague called it “the longest suicide note in history.” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has just released a recklessly bold, 73-page, ten-year budget plan. At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history.

Just how fragile are Obama’s approval ratings?

April 8, 2011

Quite, says my pal Jay Cost over at TheWeeklyStandard:

President Obama’s overall job approval is split 47-47, but the numbers underneath it are not good at all. On the economy, AP-GfK has him at -6, Gallup at -17, Quinnipiac at -26, and CBS at -14. On health care, AP-GfK has him above water (+4), but Gallup and Quinnipiac have him at -17 and -16, respectively. Meanwhile, check out the right track/wrong track numbers, which are as negative as they have been at any point during Obama’s tenure.

Why a government shutdown is even possible

April 8, 2011

What a very different political world it would be right now if President Obama had a) supported his own debt commission, b) devised a 2012 budget that made deep spending cuts over near and medium term, and c)  listened to his own economic team and suggested a Social Security fix. But with no leadership from the White House on the horizon, it made all that much more important for the Tea Party wing of the GOP to dig in and push real spending cuts now.

Some context on the current budget battle

April 7, 2011

This graphic from the good folks at Hamilton Place Strategies adds some perspective on the billions and trillions at play:

Ryan plan would boost U.S. economic security

April 7, 2011

It’s intriguingly simple: Limit future increases in Medicare and Medicaid healthcare spending to cut debt. That’s the easy-to-understand core of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, The Path to Prosperity. But the idea risks a voter backlash if medical inflation doesn’t slow, too. Otherwise, quality and service will suffer, badly fraying the social safety net. Republican Ryan thinks injecting some needed market discipline rather than sticking with President Barack Obama’s bureaucratic tinkering will do the trick. And he’s right.

The liberal budget response to Paul Ryan

April 7, 2011

Philip Klein, now at the Washington Examiner, scores a great scoop today with a peek at how the House Progressive Caucus plans on responding to the Ryan Path.  The liberal blueprint claims to balance the budget by 2021, mainly through a laundry list of tax increases that would raise government revenue as a share of GDP to a record high of 22.3 percent — four points higher than the historical average. (This also assume the tax increases have zero impact on growth.)

How the economy may undermine Obama’s 2012 reelection hopes

April 7, 2011

It’s not just the labor market that worries Team Obama:

“We are making progress on jobs and need to make more progress on jobs,” said David Axelrod, a former senior White House aide who is part of Obama’s 2012 campaign team. “But people are also grappling with stagnant wages and rising prices. That’s a legitimate, important concern for people and we have to pay close attention to it.”

The Ryan Path vs. Bowles-Simpson

April 5, 2011

Americans for Tax Reform has created a handy chart comparing the features of both: