James Pethokoukis

Becker on on what healthcare reform should look like

March 30, 2010

An amazing piece of healthcare analysis by the University of Chicago’s Gary Becker. The whole analysis deserves reading, but a few key points:

Don’t fund healthcare by taxing capital

March 25, 2010

Washington will have difficulty producing a stranger bit of public policy than raising investment taxes to pay for healthcare reform. Remember, the consensus critique of the U.S economy is that it’s been plagued by too much consumption and debt. O.K., fine. So the answer is penalizing savings and investment? Really? Pure Bizarro economics for that and a number of other reasons:

Health reform is faith-based deficit reduction

March 23, 2010

Healthcare reformers in Washington are asking America’s creditors to take a leap of faith. The plan is supposed to cut future budget shortfalls. But it depends on politicians following through on cuts and taxes, a deficit commission imposing additional discipline, and untested reforms working as expected. Owners of U.S. government debt shouldn’t bank on it.

15 healthcare winners and losers, in a phrase

March 22, 2010

1. Obama the Democrat. Achievement of 50-year Dem goal means no 2012 nomination challenge. W

How ObamaCare is killing free trade

March 10, 2010

Brazil’s threat of tariff retaliation over U.S. cotton subsidies is only the latest eruption of rising protectionism around the world. President Barack Obama isn’t doing much to quell protectionist sentiment in the U.S., either. His passivity could prove costly.

5 obstacles for ObamaCare

March 10, 2010

How is the healthcare reform endgame shaping up? The always insightful Dan Clifton of Strategas Research boils it down (as outlined by me):

ObamaCare’s budget chicanery

March 9, 2010

David Brooks in the NYT outlines many of the way Democrats are trying to game the CBO budget analysis of ObamaCare:

New Obama health plan moves hard in wrong direction

February 22, 2010

Well, let’s see: It costs $75 billion more than the Senate plan. It delays the one sure-fire cost-control measure, the tax on high-end plans. And it gives the federal government new authority to block insurers from increasing premiums. That last one is particularly wrong-headed. The policy thrust of ObamaCare was supposed to be to reduce costs by changing how healthcare was delivered, not through rationing. But price caps are nothing more than rationing. As Cato’s Mike Cannon puts it:

Taxing investments to pay for healthcare reform is a bad idea

January 14, 2010

Labor unions are balking at President Barack Obama’s move to pay for healthcare reform by taxing their gold-plated health benefits. So Democrats are considering also taxing investment income. Not only would that approach make reform more costly and potentially worsen the U.S. fiscal deficit, it could politically doom the whole plan.

Is a healthcare deal close? Maybe not

January 13, 2010

This compilation of opinion from the great Igor Volsky at the Wonk Room

- Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY): “Normally you’re just dealing with the Senate and they talk about 60 votes and you listen to them and cave in, but this is entirely different,” he said. “I’m telling you that never has 218 been so important to me in the House.”