James Pethokoukis

Secret GOP plan: Push states to declare bankruptcy and smash unions

December 7, 2010

Congressional Republicans appear to be quietly but methodically executing a plan that would a) avoid a federal bailout of spendthrift states and b) cripple public employee unions by pushing cash-strapped states such as California and Illinois to declare bankruptcy. This may be the biggest political battle in Washington, my Capitol Hill sources tell me, of 2011.

How to make sure Uncle Sam doesn’t bail out states

December 6, 2010

Here is a bit from latest Reuters Breakingviews column (more on this topic to come):

Even Obama’s debt panel doesn’t buy Obamacare

December 6, 2010

President Barack Obama’s debt reduction commission defined tough fiscal choices for Washington, though its members weren’t unanimous enough to force the ideas on lawmakers. But even if they had, the panel pulled punches on healthcare cuts. Reducing that burden may be central to the next presidential election.

Freeze the (pay)day!

December 1, 2010

Here is a bit from my Reuters Breakingviews column on the Obama federal pay freeze:

The Obama debt panel’s vision in one chart

December 1, 2010

As you can see from the chart below, this plan — if you exclude interest savings — actually depends quite a bit on revenue as opposed to spending cuts — 45 percent to 55 percent. The UK austerity plan is more like 3-to-1 spending over tax increases. Of course, when healthcare is basically off limits, it kind of limits your options:

Final report of Obama debt panel

December 1, 2010

The final report, which won’t get the 14 “yes” votes needed to nudge Congress to consider it, from the Obama debt panel is here. And here is  the chart which shows what it would do:

Just how much defense spending can be cut?

November 23, 2010

This chart from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget shows that while there may be some room to reduce defense spending, the instrument of choice should be a scalpel rather than a hatchet:

Should Republicans refuse any tax increases?

November 22, 2010

Steve Moore and Richard Vedder think raising tax revenue in exchange for spending cuts is a mug’s game (via WSJ):

Paul Ryan’s pro-market healthcare reform

November 19, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan, along with fellow Obama deficit panel member Alice Rivlin, has put together a plan to cut the growth of government healthcare spending. This is the heart of it:

Now it’s the Domenici-Rivlin plan to cut the deficit

November 17, 2010

Alice Rivlin (who is on the Obama deficit commission) and former Senator Peter Domenici have cooked up their own plan to restore America’s long-term fiscal solvency. But first, a chart from the plan itself that says a lot: