James Pethokoukis

Harry Reid in 2010

December 15, 2009

Stu Rothenberg on the Senate Majority Leader:

Finally, I am struck how much Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) ballot test numbers resemble those of former Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and John Sununu (R-N.H.), as well as soon-to-be-former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D). All three, of course, lost re-election bids.

Why the Dems keep pushing healthcare reform despite polls

December 15, 2009

An average of healthcare polls by Real Clear Politics shows it unpopular by a 53-38 margin. But why are the Ds still pushing hard to get it passed? Byron York analyzes the various motivations after to talking to a Dem strategist:

Paul Ryan and the future of the GOP

December 14, 2009

This  commentary from  GOP thought leader Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin really sets the intellectual and political framework for where the GOP might be headed.  He goes after Crony Capitalism, the melding of Big Money, Big  Business and Big Goverment. This is what’s next. Here are some important bits:

The UK banker bonus supertax

December 10, 2009

I don’t see this happening in the US.  I mean, the effort to raise taxes on private equity carried interest, while passing the House, is going nowhere in the Senate. And that is far less controversial and a less stupid idea. And remember how the 90 percent tax on AIG bonuses fell flat back in March.  The one caveat, as Dan Clifton notes in an earlier post,  here is that 2010 is an election year and the combo of big bonuses  and high unemployment could cause endangered Ds to play the populist card and try something

Washington and the 2010 stock market

December 10, 2009

Here is how economic analyst  Ed Yardeni sees things:

Could the S&P 500 rise back to its record high next year? I was in Boston on Tuesday, and met with the first money manager on Planet Earth to ask me this question. That is definitely a contrarian’s scenario. I am currently predicting a 2010 high between 1300-1350, and more specifically 1332 by March 6, which would be up 100% on a y/y basis, from the Da Vinci Code bottom of 666. Then I see a nasty correction on growing concerns that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts might depress the economy in 2011. That selloff could last until the November Congressional elections. If Gridlock wins, with the Democrats losing their majority control of one or both houses of Congress, then stocks might resume the bull market.

12 reasons the job market is worse than you think

December 9, 2009

The November jobs report may not be the only piece of good statistical news on the way. Wait until all those census workers start making their way into the data. But a drill down reveals deep, deep problems in the US labor market where unemployment averaged just 5.5 percent from 1989 through 2008:

The state of the union

December 9, 2009

It ain’t so hot, says David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff:

Things are so good in the U.S.A. that President Obama’s approval rating just sank to a new low for any president at this post-election juncture and Treasury Secretary Geithner is now seeking to have the $700 billion TARP extended to October. In fact, Obama wants to tap $200 billion from the program to fund a jobs initiative — let’s hope it turns out to be more effective than the last package that was supposed to cap the unemployment rate at 8%. It is rather amazing that here we are, 30 months after the onset of the credit crunch, and we see this as a headline on the front page of the FT: Obama to Boost Jobs With Bank Rescue Cash.

Obama’s jobs plan

December 8, 2009

A few cents from IHS Global:

The President’s speech was short in terms of the details. He did not specify how much of the remaining resources from TARP should be dedicated to deficit reduction versus additional stimulus spending. Nor did he specify any targets for spending under the four areas that were highlighted in his speech. Effectively the President has kicked the ball into Congress’s court in order to work out the details.

The TARP slush fund gets slushier

December 7, 2009

The New Normal may be a bummer, but it’s not life-threatening for the economy. The only systemic risk at the moment is the political prospects of Democratic incumbents on Capitol Hill. They dread standing for reelection in 2010 if the unemployment rate remains anywhere near double digits. The forthcoming jobs bill is a product of political panic. And using TARP to pay for it confirms the fears of those back in the fall of 2008 who thought the bank bailout fund would eventually become a political slush fund.

Tea Party fever! This can’t be good for the Republican brand …

December 7, 2009

From pollster Rasmussen:

Running under the Tea Party brand may be better in congressional races than being a Republican.