James Pethokoukis

What Ben Nelson didn’t tell Nebraskans

December 31, 2009

Suddenly down some 30 points to a hypothetical 2012 challenger, Ben “60th vote” Nelson — a guy who won his 2006 race with 64 percent — is taking to the airwaves to explain his decision to vote for ObamaCare.

Healthcare vote may wound some Dems, like Ben Nelson

December 29, 2009

Truly shocking numbers onĀ  Sen. Ben “60th Vote” Nelson from Rasmussen:

Repealing healthcare reform

December 29, 2009

Assuming ObamaCare passes, the GOP is already making a pledge to repeal it ASAP part of their 2010 (and beyond) electoral strategy. But Igor Volsky over at the Wonk Room makes some good points indicating the political difficulty of doing so, putting side an Obama veto of any attempts:

What’s $62 trillion in deficits anyway?

December 28, 2009

The great Andrew Biggs makes a great point about the Medicare advisory commission in the Senate healthcare bill, a cost-control measure that Peter Orszag calls one of the most potent in the bill:

Surprise! Gaming CBO rules masks how healthcare reform may actually make deficit worse

December 23, 2009

[See update at bottom] A group of Republican senators, led by Jeff Sessions and Judd Gregg, are accusing the Democrats of double-counting Medicare tax hikes and spending cuts as both extending the solvency of the program and paying for expanded healthcare coverage. So they asked the CBO for its opinion. Here is the CBO’s response:

Why surtaxes are foolish

December 23, 2009

A surtax to pay for healthcare? Not good. Former Bush White House economist Alan Viard explains:

The bear case on healthcare reform

December 22, 2009

So now what? My pal Rich Lowry takes a crack at the bear case for healthcare reform. His main points:

The political blowback from healthcare reform

December 18, 2009

Kim Strassel of the WSJ states her case:

1) Consider North Dakota. A recent Zogby poll showed 28% (you read that right) of state voters support “reform.” A full 40% said they’d be less likely to vote for Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan next year if he supports a bill. In a theoretical matchup with Republican Gov. John Hoeven (who has yet to announce), Mr. Hoeven wins 55% to 36%. Mr. Dorgan has been in the Senate 17 years; he won his last election with 68% of the vote.

What healthcare reform 2.0 might look like

December 16, 2009

Let’s assume, for the moment, that the latest version of the shape-shifting U.S. healthcare reform legislation may not worsen U.S. finances in the short term. But do the deficit math, and it doesn’t reduce long-term spending enough. The curve won’t get bent.

Winging it on healthcare reform

December 15, 2009

“Armchair Economist” Steven Landsburg had a chance to talk with Obama healthcare guru David Cutler of Harvard. His conclusion: