James Pethokoukis

Is this the economic key to Obama’s reelection?

January 5, 2011

As a follow up to my post on how the tax deal might affect Obama’s reelection chances, here is a bit of insight from superanalyst Dan Clifton of Strategas Research:

The debate has shifted …

November 23, 2010

James Capretta is dead on:

But what’s really important about the last month is not that any reform plan is about to pass. It’s that the terms of the budget, entitlement and health care debates have shifted dramatically, and very likely on a permanent basis. The fundamental elements of the Ryan Roadmap are sweeping tax reform; changes in health care which emphasize a marketplace and consumer choice; and modifications to retirement programs that reflect demographic reality. All of these elements can now be found in budget plans endorsed by prominent Democrats, including Democrats the president himself turned to find solutions to the nation’s budget problems. Consequently, it will be much harder in the future for Democrats to demonize these ideas as they have tried to do in the past.

Beyond tax cuts

November 22, 2010

Nick Schulz says Republicans need a broader policy portfolio than lower taxes and less spending:

The ‘mirage’ economic recovery

December 15, 2009

Gallup’s chief economist, Dennis Jacobe:

We’ve just gone through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and economies don’t recover from that kind of thing overnight.

Washington and the 2010 stock market

December 10, 2009

Here is how economic analyst  Ed Yardeni sees things:

Could the S&P 500 rise back to its record high next year? I was in Boston on Tuesday, and met with the first money manager on Planet Earth to ask me this question. That is definitely a contrarian’s scenario. I am currently predicting a 2010 high between 1300-1350, and more specifically 1332 by March 6, which would be up 100% on a y/y basis, from the Da Vinci Code bottom of 666. Then I see a nasty correction on growing concerns that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts might depress the economy in 2011. That selloff could last until the November Congressional elections. If Gridlock wins, with the Democrats losing their majority control of one or both houses of Congress, then stocks might resume the bull market.

Here is what’s wrong …

June 26, 2009

From IHS Global: “Reduced wealth, high debt, tight credit, and a weakening labor market are all weighing on consumers. Wages and salaries were down in May, and have fallen in four out of five months this year. And higher gasoline prices are biting into spending power.”

A phony recovery?

June 16, 2009

From former Morgan Stanley economist Andy Xie:

Contrary to all the market noise, there are no signs of a significant economic recovery. So-called green shoots in the global economy are mostly due to inventory cycles. Stimuli might juice up growth a bit in the second half 2009. Nothing, however, suggests a lasting recovery. Markets are trading on imagination. … The noise would be to emphasize the “temporary” nature of the stimulus. The market will probably be fooled again. It will fully wake up only in 2010. The United States has no way out but to print money. As a rational country, it will do what it has to, regardless of its rhetoric. This is why I expect a second dip for the global economy in 2010. … The world is setting up for a big crash, again. Since the last bubble burst, governments around the world have not been focusing on reforms. They are trying to pump a new bubble to solve existing problems. Before inflation appears, this strategy works. As inflation expectation rises, its effectiveness is threatened. When inflation appears in 2010, another crash will come.

A salad of green shoots and mustard seeds

June 8, 2009
Brian Wesbury and Bob Stein of FIrst Trust Advisers offer some sunshine on the U.S. economy:
1) Since bottoming in February, consumer confidence has had the fastest three-month increase on record. 2) The ISM manufacturing index, which fell to historic lows over the winter, has climbed from its hole to signal that the overall economy is now expanding. 3) The Richmond Federal Reserve index, a measure of manufacturing in mid-Atlantic states, is showing growth. 4)  Container shipments both into and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – key measures of international trade – have traced a V-shaped recovery. 5) In the financial markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note is back up to 3.86%, almost exactly where it was in August 2008, just before the crisis hit. 6) The VIX Index – a measure of stock market volatility and risk – has also traded back to levels not seen since August 2008. 7)  Meanwhile, key commodity prices, such as oil, copper, lumber, and gold are well off crisis-period lows.
Their bottom line:
In the last full calendar quarter before September (the second quarter of 2008), real GDP grew at almost a 3% annual rate. This is exactly what we expect for the third quarter of 2009 – 3% real GDP growth – with even faster economic growth in Q4 and then in 2010.

The end of the U.S. consumer. Maybe not

June 5, 2009

Interesting note from Bruce Kasman of JPMorgan on the supposed retrenchment of the US consumer as Americans save, save, save (bold is mine):

Does the jobs report mean a V-shaped recovery?

June 5, 2009

I will give the last word (for today) on the jobs number to Wesbury & Stein:

The jobs report strongly supports our call that the economy bottomed in May and is now in the early stages of a V-shaped recovery. Businesses are shedding jobs at a much slower pace than earlier this year and we would not be surprised to see payrolls start to increase by the end of the summer. The speed of the turnaround cannot be ignored. …  After the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September, monetary velocity plummeted, with both businesses and consumers pulling back from any activity they deemed unnecessary. Now, restaurants and bars are adding payrolls again, a sign that consumer behavior is returning to normal. While some analysts may focus on the rise in the unemployment rate to 9.4%, much of the increase was due to an increase in the labor force, which has risen by more than 1 million workers in the past two months. Without this increase the jobless rate would be a much lower 8.7%.