James Pethokoukis

Just how badly broken is the U.S. economy?

February 4, 2011

This bit on the January jobs report from Bankofamericamerrilllynch worries me:

In the Household Survey, the unemployment rate plunged 0.4ppt for the second month in a row bringing it to 9.0% – the lowest since April 2009. The unemployment rate has not dropped this far, this fast since the 1950s. So, we question whether this decline will be sustained. The household measure of employment rose just 117,000 while the labor force participation rate dropped 0.1 ppt to a fresh cycle low of 64.2%. Never before has such a sharp decline in the unemployment rate been predicated on an ongoing drop in the labor force. The participation rate has crumbled 1.5ppts since the recovery began.

Gen. Paul Ryan launches his war on Big Government

February 4, 2011

In the context of World War II, this was the Doolittle Raid. D-Day still awaits in the future.

Reagan at 100, Reaganomics at 30

February 4, 2011

President Ronald Reagan, Feb. 5, 1981:

Good evening.

I’m speaking to you tonight to give you a report on the state of our Nation’s economy. I regret to say that we’re in the worst economic mess since the Great Depression.

Why Obama’s magic number for reelection isn’t 270, it’s 215 (thousand jobs)

February 3, 2011

Team Obama would surely love to run a Reaganesque, “Morning in America” reelection campaign, cruising to victory by taking credit for a dynamic economic recovery. But for that scenario to play out — or anything close to it — the unemployment rate would have to drop a whole lot. (The president’s political advisers will be closely watching the January jobs report.)  In a new research note, analyst Matt McDonald of Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy advisory and strategic communications consultancy in Washington, makes the following points:

Time for new rules to limit Washington spending

February 3, 2011

If only U.S. Treasuries had covenants like corporate debt does. Instead of linking to EBITDA, metrics like borrowing or spending as a share of GDP could be used. That might be a stretch, but lawmakers are still trying to implement new fiscal rules. It’s an idea whose time has come – or at least come back.

Democrat control of Senate could fall victim to Obamacare

February 3, 2011

Ed Carson of IBD’s Capital Hill blog, highlight the 11 red state senators who voted against repealing Obamacare:

Saying ‘buh-bye’ to Obamacare

February 3, 2011

The always insightful Keith Hennessey show the path to repeal:

The path to repeal is straightforward and, while difficult, achievable. … In 2012 win the White House, hold the House majority, and pick up a net 3 Republican Senate seats to retake the majority there. … In 2013, use reconciliation to repeal ObamaCare, requiring only a simple majority in the Senate. … Repeal of the subsidies, the individual mandate, the insurance provisions, and the Medicaid expansions would, in each case, directly affect spending and revenues, so it would be a straight-up-the-middle use of reconciliation for deficit reduction. Democrats who argued in 2009 that it was OK to use reconciliation to create these provisions would find those same rulings working against them in 2013.

America and the world, in one chart

February 3, 2011

My pal Tim Kane over at Growthology offers up a way at comparing the U.S. and everybody else:

Any way you slice it, U.S. corporate tax rates are too high

February 2, 2011

David Leonhardt (NYT) makes the point that U.S. companies often pay far less than the top statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent: