James Pethokoukis

Geithner vs. Ryan on S&P’s debt warning

April 18, 2011

Here is what the Treasury Department has to say about S&P’s bomb:

“This morning, S&P affirmed the AAA rating of the U.S., but emphasized the importance of timely bipartisan cooperation and action on fiscal reform. In addition, Moody’s commented today that ‘we view the changed parameters of the debate, with broadly similar goals as to government debt levels, as a turning point that is positive for the long-term fiscal position of the U.S. federal government.’

Obama’s $2 trillion stealth tax hike

April 18, 2011

Talk about fuzzy math. President Obama claims higher taxes will account for a mere third — $1 trillion — of his proposed $3 trillion debt reduction over 12 years, not counting less interest expense. Wrong. The actual number is probably around 50 percent of $4 trillion in savings — some $2 trillion — and could be closer to 60 percent. (More details below.) Instead of offering a template for a Grand Compromise, Obama seems to have created a Grand Obfuscation.

Conflict of visions: Obama vs. Ryan

April 15, 2011

So the House just passed Paul Ryan’s highly-detailed “Path to Prosperity” Plan. It almost immediately achieves primary balance and reduces debt as a share of the economy. It balances the budget in the 2030s and eliminates outstanding debt in the 2050s by cutting and restructuring government healthcare spending. And it does all this without raising taxes while also lowering tax rates on companies and investors, both big and small. Even more impressive, the plan uses the slow-growth economic assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office, which, by the way, has scored the lengthy fiscal blueprint.

Obama’s new plan may actually rely 60 percent on tax increases

April 15, 2011

In his budget speech earlier this week, President Obama described his budget plan this way:

Obama’s upside-down tax reform

April 14, 2011

Larry Kudlow notices on part of the Obama budget/speech that doesn’t seem to echo Bowles-Simpson:

The big hole in Obama’s budget plan

April 14, 2011

Did the White House A/V dude load the wrong file into Obama’s teleprompter? While the president’s class-warfare attack on Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” would probably have earned rousing applause at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner, the speech failed to accomplish its advertised purpose: outlining Obama’s long-term blueprint to avoid a debt crisis.

The Obama debt plan, lightly dissected

April 14, 2011

Here is a pretty good rundown of President Obama’s plan  from Goldman Sachs (with my comments in bold):

The anti-Paul Ryan plan

April 12, 2011

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has finally released its response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity.  ”The People’s Budget”  is almost like a parody of a liberal Democratic plan. It proposes raising taxes by $4 trillion over ten years and cutting spending (mostly defense) by $900 billion. (Ryan would cut spending by $6 trillion.) It would take tax revenue as a share of GDP to 22.3 percent vs. a previous all-time high of 20.9 percent in World War Two. Even worse, the plan only goes out a decade since its tax hikes still wouldn’t balance the budget long-term because it ignores healthcare reform.

Is the Ryan Plan a 73-page suicide note?

April 8, 2011

Charles Krauthammer asks the question:

In 1983, the British Labour Party under the hard-left Michael Foot issued a 700-page manifesto so radical that one colleague called it “the longest suicide note in history.” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has just released a recklessly bold, 73-page, ten-year budget plan. At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history.

Why a government shutdown is even possible

April 8, 2011

What a very different political world it would be right now if President Obama had a) supported his own debt commission, b) devised a 2012 budget that made deep spending cuts over near and medium term, and c)  listened to his own economic team and suggested a Social Security fix. But with no leadership from the White House on the horizon, it made all that much more important for the Tea Party wing of the GOP to dig in and push real spending cuts now.