James Pethokoukis

Maybe Cantor should have stormed out instead

July 14, 2011

Here is how Reuters delicately describes the tense budget meeting:

The U.S. talks on Wednesday lasted nearly two hours and were the stormiest yet. They ended with Obama telling Republicans that “enough’s enough.”

Can the Ryan plan rescue Republicans?

July 13, 2011

So what are Republicans, particularly those in the House, going to do? Debt ceiling deadlines are fast approaching. And many in the GOP leadership, particularly in the Senate, think the party’s anti-tax resolve will dissolve if markets start to tumble, resulting in a deal far less appetizing than any discussed during the Biden talks. Certainly no hard spending caps or structural changes to entitlements or any other of the big things on the tea party wishlist.

The McConnell Plan and the GOP House

July 13, 2011

So just how hostile  is the GOP House toward McConnell’s new debt ceiling gambit (not to mention tax increases)?  Here are some excerpts from a chat I had early yesterday evening with a GOP Hill source with good knowledge of the caucus. I think it gives some pretty good color:

The issue isn’t default but government shutdown

July 12, 2011

Here’s a great chart from Goldman Sachs that shows how government revenues and obligations will likely match up in August:

Goldman Sachs: Debt default is “extremely unlikely”

July 11, 2011

Here is what President Obama said this morning:

As all of you know, I met with congressional leaders yesterday. We’re going to be meeting again today, and we’re going to meet every single day until we get this thing resolved.

Eat our peas? When will government eat its peas?

July 11, 2011

The President of the United States, this morning:

It’s not going to get easier; it’s gonna to get harder. So we might as well do it now, pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas

The declining ‘stimulus’

July 11, 2011

During Obama’s news conference today (more on that later), the president said he thought lower stimulus spending was affecting economic growth. Now I doubt how much impact, if any, the $800 billion package had in the U.S. economy. But I thought this JPMorgan chart did illustrate the decline in spending:

[Chart] The unemployment rate they don’t want you to know about

July 11, 2011

The official U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. But what if that rate was adjusted just for all the discouraged folks who’ve dropped out of the labor force during the past few years? It would be over 11 percent. (And over 16 percent if you counted the underemployed.) This chart from JPMorgan makes the point:

No big budget deal? Blame Obama, not Boehner

July 10, 2011

President Barack Obama could have done two things that might have saved his Mother of All Budget Deals.

Like Reagan at Reykjavik, Boehner passes on a bad deal

July 10, 2011

So in the end, it was bit of a Ronald Reagan moment for John Boehner on Saturday. Just as the U.S. president walked away from a bad arms control agreement with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986, the House speaker passed on President Barack Obama’s mega-debt reduction deal in Washington.