James Pethokoukis

The conservative case for a VAT

December 16, 2010

Over at NRO, Duncan Currie gives it his best shot:

Despite being more efficient than an ordinary sales tax, a VAT carries significant administrative costs, and piling it on top of the present U.S. tax structure would be a mistake. But using the VAT to eliminate a sizable amount of distortionary U.S. income taxes would yield a far more growth-friendly system than the one we have today. Over the long run, America must reorient its economy away from consumption and toward investment while boosting its dangerously low savings rate. A VAT is certainly not the only way to promote those objectives, but it should at least be part of the conversation.

Sarah Palin vs. Simon Johnson and Washington wisdom

December 16, 2010

This is the kind of thing that really burns me. Here is Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF, over the at the NYTimes econ blog:

Obama’s CEO Meeting: the Uncertainty Principle lives!

December 15, 2010

So the POTUS met with a bunch of CEOs:

President Barack Obama, trying to improve strained relations with the corporate world, prodded America’s top business executives on Wednesday to spend more money to boost U.S. hiring and the economy. ”We focused on jobs and investment and they feel optimistic that, by working together, we can get some of the cash off the sidelines,” Obama told reporters after spending more than four hours with 20 company leaders to discuss job creation.

Obama and CEOs finish year warmer but still wary

December 15, 2010

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

Obamacare doesn’t ‘bend the curve,’ it just breaks the law

December 14, 2010

Instead of “bending the curve,” Obamacare broke the law. Not only is the new healthcare law fiscally unsustainable, it’s unconstitutional — at least according to a U.S. judge in Virginia.

Sarah Palin’s huge 2012 move: She endorses Paul Ryan’s ‘Roadmap’

December 10, 2010

With one op-ed piece in the WSJ, Sarah Palin has made a lasting impact on the dynamic of the upcoming Republican presidential race — even if she doesn’t run. (Though I think she will.) By strongly endorsing Rep. Paul Ryan’s outstanding Roadmap for America’s Future, Palin has set a floor for how radical and sweeping an agenda the 2012 candidates can offer. Anyone offering less will look timid and inconsequential and most un-Tea Party-esque. One of the big knocks against Ryan’s plan is that few of his colleagues are supporting it. Now the most high-profile Republican in America has given it her seal of approval. The Ryan Roadmap is quickly becoming the de facto GOP economic platform.  And if Palin does decide to run, she immediately starts out with  a specific and coherent agenda.  Candidates beware: Bullet points and platitudes aren’t going to cut it.

Is the Obama-GOP tax deal about to collapse?

December 9, 2010

Things may be going swimmingly in the US Senate, but not so the House:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not bring President Barack Obama’s current proposed tax plan up for a vote in her chamber, an aide said on Thursday.

Economists weigh in on Obama-GOP tax deal

December 8, 2010

The always enlightening David Gitlitz of  High View Economics likes the cut of its gib:

More on states going bankrupt, this time with added Felix Salmon goodness

December 8, 2010

Felix Salmon — who, like me, works at Reuters but, unlike me, is officially a citizen of no nation and operates from a specially modified Yakovlev “Yak” 77 that only lands to refuel and take on provisions — comments on my post about GOP plans to push states into bankruptcy: