James Pethokoukis

Bill Daley as Obama’s new chief of staff?

January 4, 2011

That is the buzz. But it is more than just buzz. My sources tell me that serious conversations are being had, though it is not a done deal. Certainly the business folks I have chatted with would be delighted. Forget about Valerie Jarret. When a top CEO had an issue, he or she would be calling Bill Daley from now on, not Jarrett. Daley would be “their guy.” (And I would also call Gene Sperling the frontrunner to replace Larry Summers.)  Here is the Reuters take:

The surprises of 2011

January 3, 2011

Wall Street veteran Byron Wien, now vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners, has issued his annual list of ten surprises as well as ten “also rans” for the next 12 months. Here are a few that I have thoughts on:

Weak economy shouldn’t overexcite Obama rivals

December 29, 2010

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

Obama hits 2011 with a needed running start

December 23, 2010

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

Summing up Nancy Pelosi

December 22, 2010

The Washington Post asked readers to describe outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a single word. It then made a word cloud from the responses:

Like the economy, Obama is kind of stuck

December 22, 2010

Jay Cost thinks Obama, like the economy, is kind of stuck:

The macro trend, I would say, has essentially been flat for the last few months — as Americans have developed fairly stable opinions of the 44th president by this point that probably are not easily dislodged. In the long term, the way the president gets his numbers up will be to convince the country that he is a good steward of the economy, a view most of his fellow citizens do not hold at the moment.  This is why the tax cut deal was such a sensible compromise for President Obama to make, despite the criticism he received from his left flank.

Six ways government helped cause the financial crisis

December 22, 2010

Market failure or government failure? The BigGov party is promoting the former narrative, but the latter is more accurate in explaining how government created incentives for disaster. Mark Perry and Robert Dell lay it all out. Here is a sampling, but I urge you to read the whole thing:

The truth about the U.S. budget deficit: It’s 13x worse than you think

December 22, 2010

Uncle Sam runs his books like he’s operating a hot dog stand rather than a $14 trillion economic superpower. It’s cash in (revenues), cash out (spending), forget about the future costs of Social Security and Medicare. But what if government bean counters acted like they worked for USA Inc., instead? The numbers would come out just a bit differently, accordingly to a little noticed Treasury Department report that didn’t escape the notice of my Reuters colleagues:

A brief rundown of the 2012 White House wannabees

December 22, 2010

Jonah Goldberg sizes up the possible GOP presidential contenders (presented in outline form by me):

Net neutrality rules a blow to free markets

December 21, 2010

Milton Friedman had it right. Business is no friend of free markets. The Federal Communication Commission’s “net neutrality” ruling is more evidence of this. What the FCC should have done is called it a year, went on holiday and left the Internet alone.