James Pethokoukis

Will 2011 be the year of the tax cut or tax hike?

October 29, 2010

There’s a brewing debate among conservatives over whether they should favor some tax increases to close the budget deficit. Some Republicans on Obama’s deficit panel are talking about cutting various tax breaks for individuals. Possible presidential candidate Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana recently spoke favorably about a value-added tax and an energy tax.  And here is Kevin Williamson of the National Review Online’s Exchequer blog:

Obama deficit panel veers dangerously off track

October 26, 2010

Here’s the problem with President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction commission: Exploding debt caused by out-of-control healthcare spending is an Extinction Level Event for the U.S economy.  By 2050, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the national debt will likely be three times as big as the overall economy with Medicare and Medicaid gobbling up half the budget.

Austerity by default

October 26, 2010

Some folks want austerity in the worst way. They may just get it, says the NYTimes:

Obama deficit panel partying like it’s 1986

October 25, 2010

The WSJ says President Obama’s deficit panel is looking at cutting various tax breaks — also known as “tax expenditures” — as a way of reducing the budget deficit:

Pay attention: How New Zealand cut spending and taxes

October 19, 2010

A fantastic Reason article looks at how Canada and New Zealand cut government spending.  Since GOPers often cite NZ’s experience, I found that portion of the piece particularly interesting. Over the span of a decade from the mid 1980s on,  the government’s share of GDP  fell to 27 percent from 45 percent. Here is a bit on how they did it, according to former government official Maurice McTigue (but please read the whole thing):

U.S. states in a $3.2 trillion pension hole

October 12, 2010

Some scary numbers from new research by finance professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh, Associate Professor of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Uncle Sam has plenty of dough

September 16, 2010

Here is a point that has gotten lost in the Bush tax cut debate. Even with the tax cuts, Uncle Sam will have plenty of revenue. As I wrote earlier this week:

Here it comes … higher taxes on middle class

September 7, 2010

An NY Times op-ed by just-departed WH budget chief Peter Orszag is getting lots of play because he advocates temporarily extending all the Bush tax cuts. After that, though, he wants all of them to expire. This is the part that really got my attention:

The budget deficit examined

August 31, 2010

Nice chart from Jim Glassman over at JPMorgan on why we have a such a giant budget deficit: