James Pethokoukis

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:

FCIC report: So why did U.S. have a financial crisis?

January 27, 2011

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report is out, and it also includes two separate dissents. There’s a metaphor contained in the dissent by Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute which does a pretty good jobof  describing the majority take and his critique of it:

As U.S. debt goes up, Obama’s concern goes down

January 26, 2011

In the space of less than 24 hours, the Congressional Budget Office managed to stomp all over President Barack Obama’s dovish debt speech. That Obama failed to use the State of the Union address to explicitly endorse any of his own debt panel’s major budget-cutting recommendations was, shall we say, a glaring omission. Now that failure appears absolutely blinding. Give us the bad news CBO bean counters:

Thoughts on Obama’s SOTU speech

January 26, 2011

Whenever I would ask folks at the White House about how they planned on dealing with America’s long-term debt problem, they would more or less tell me the same thing: “Wait for the deficit commission.” Well, Obama’s panel has come and gone. And in his speech last night, he failed to explicitly endorse any of its budget-cutting recommendations. This part particularly frosted my pumpkin:

It would be nice if Obama’s SOTU included some of this stuff

January 25, 2011

The folks at Americans for Tax reform have assembled a pretty solid list of ideas.  Since Obama is apparently going for growth in an attempt to get reelected, he might want to take a gander at a few of these:

Did Wall Street nix GOP push to let states go bankrupt?

January 25, 2011

As they used to say in the Soviet Union, “It’s no coincidence.” At least, I suspect is isn’t. Yesterday, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor came  out strongly against the idea of changing the federal bankruptcy code to let states declare bankruptcy, an idea being pushed by some Republicans, including Newt Gingrich:

More on states going bankrupt

January 21, 2011

Lots of buzz about this NYTimes story that says Washington policymakers (Republicans, really) are “working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.” (My blog post from six weeks ago that said the same thing is here.)

On the GOP, bankrupt states and government unions

January 21, 2011

The NYTimes finally picked up on a story I had six weeks ago:

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers. … For now, the fear of destabilizing the municipal bond market with the words “state bankruptcy” has proponents in Congress going about their work on tiptoe. No draft bill is in circulation yet, and no member of Congress has come forward as a sponsor, although Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, asked the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, about the possiblity in a hearing this month.

U.S. politicians could learn from Chinese moms

January 20, 2011

By James Pethokoukis
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.