James Pethokoukis

Obama, crony capitalism and blue-collar jobs

November 11, 2009

Joel Kotkin has a great piece on how Obama can still save his presidency. The bit on jobs is particularly good:

An economic counter-factual

November 4, 2009

Scott Grannis, the Calafia Beach Pundit, outlines a different “stimulus path”:

A different take on Buffett’s new bet

November 3, 2009

Michael Mandel of BW doesn’t think the Oracle’s purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe should be interpreted as a positive economic sign:

A tale of two economic recoveries

November 3, 2009

Which one do you believe? John Hussman sketches them out:

1) One possibility, which is clearly the one that Wall Street has subscribed to, is that the recent downturn was a standard, if somewhat more severe than normal, post-war recession; that the market’s recent strength is an indication that it is looking forward to a full “V-shaped” recovery, and that the positive print for third-quarter GDP is a signal that the recession is officially over. Applying the post-war norms for stock market performance following the end of a recession, the implications are for further market strength and the elongation of the recent advance into a multi-year bull market.

And after the GDP report ….

October 29, 2009

Some cold water via economist Dean Baker of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research:

America’s Potemkin Economy

October 29, 2009

That the US economy has stopped shrinking is certainly good news. But what kind of recovery is this? Strip out Cash for Clunkers and 3Q GDP growth came in at 1.6 percent. Also strip out slowing inventory cuts and GDP would have been just 0.6 percent. Then you have a report that the WH has overestimated the number of jobs created by the stimulus.

US Chamber of Commerce and climate change

October 20, 2009

OK, here is the USCOC’s basic position on climate change from recent congressional testimony:

Follow the Japanese example on stimulus

October 16, 2009

The new Japanese government is redirecting the country’s stimulus plan (WSJ):

Venture capital firms are down. Hey, let’s raise their taxes

October 14, 2009

First this from Reuters:

In the first three quarters of this year, only 86 U.S. funds raised money, according to data compiled by the Venture Capital Journal and the National Venture Capital Association. It the trend is maintained, by year’s end there will be somewhere between 104 and 118 new funds. By comparison, even in the blackest days of the dot-com bust of 2001, investors averaged 234 funds a year.

VAT Attack! The perfect tax … or maybe perfectly awful

October 14, 2009

Greg Mankiw does a good explaining the value-added tax. But this is ominous:

From a strictly economic standpoint, a VAT is great. It is essentially a flat consumption tax, like the so-called FairTax, but implemented in a way to reduce compliance problems. Because it is collected in stages along the chain of production, rather than all at the retail level, tax evasion is more difficult. … My bottom line: If I could replace our current tax system (including the personal income tax, corporate income tax, payroll tax, and estate tax) with a VAT, I would gladly do it.