James Pethokoukis

The next big political issue? The U.S. dollar

October 12, 2009

The state of the dollar probably hasn’t been a first-tier political issue in the United States since, say, the presidential election of 1896. Back then, it manifested as whether or not America would stay on the gold standard or switch to a bimetallic one. (The William Jennings Bryan “cross of gold” speech and all that.)

Study: Democratic healthcare reform could increase costs

October 12, 2009

America’s Health Insurance Plans, an insurance industry trade group, paid for this PricewaterhouseCoopers study that found Democratic healthcare reform would sharply raise the price of private healthcare insurance. The typical premium could rise by $4,000 by 2019. Here is the executive summary:

Zandi: Unemployment headed to 10.5 percent

October 12, 2009

Moody’s Economy.com economist Mark Zandi likes the stimulus (via Fox News) but still thinks unemployment is headed higher. In his own words:

A VAT danger for Democrats

October 7, 2009

A good point on the political dangers of a VAT from David Henderson of EconLog:

But here’s what’s not a quibble: what happened to the political fortunes of the Canadian government that imposed that tax, something that Leonhardt doesn’t mention. Brian Mulroney, the Canadian prime minister at the time, imposed the tax at an initial whopping 7%. It’s true that it replaced a narrower hidden 13.5% tax on manufacturing and that it was designed to be revenue-neutral. But precisely because the GST was visible, it generated enormous opposition. The Liberal Party made repeal of the GST one of its main issues in the 1993 election. By then, Mulroney’s party, the Progressive Conservatives, had kicked him out and replaced him with Kim Campbell. Granted that Campbell ran one of the most incompetent campaigns in Canadian history and granted that there was a recession on at the time. But do you care to guess what happened to the number of seats in Parliament that the Progressive Conservatives won in that election? Let me give you a hint. They started with 169 out of 295 seats. And they ended with a number that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. To be precise, they ended with 2 seats, a 99% drop, and, a few years later, the Progressive Conservative Party disappeared via merger.

When the US labor market will begin to recover

October 5, 2009

Ed Yardeni has been crunching the numbers:

Based on the previous two cycles, employment might recover within the next 11-21 months after June, or between May 2010 and March 2011! It fell 289,000 during the 11 months following the recession trough of March 1991 and 1.08mn during the 21 months following the November 2001 trough. So far, it is down 768,000 from June through September. A similar analysis suggests that the unemployment rate should peak 15-19 months after June, or sometime between September 2010 and January 2011!

September jobs report: -263,000, unemployment at 9.8 percent

October 2, 2009

The silver linings here are tough to find, at least according to this summary from IHS Global:

IMF ups its estimate for 2010 global growth

October 1, 2009

Another unsurprising economic forecast that portends continued high US unemployment next year.

Charlie Cook: 33-50 percent chance Dems lose House in 2010

September 30, 2009

I was at a Center for American Progress conference on the deficit this AM where respected political analyst Charlie Cook talked about the 2010 congressional midterms.  He said he thought there was a 1-in-3 to 1-in-2 chance that the Dems could lose the House of Representatives. Among his reasons:

Awful healthcare poll for the White House

September 18, 2009

Some polling results from a healthcare poll from global branding firm Siegel+Gale:

What liberals think of BaucusCare

September 16, 2009

Are they excited that Congress is moving a step closer to fulfilling decades of their healthcare dreams? Nope. This, from the liberal Health Care for American Now group: