James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington


Feb 12, 2010 20:48 UTC

BAILOUT BILL: Good piece in Daily Caller by Sam Zamarippa on how financial reform extends TBTF. If financial reform fails, that will be a big reason.

BILLONS AND BILLIONS: Actually, make it $300 billion in outstanding bailout money, according to Pro Publica.

THE WAY FORWARD: Yet another insightful analysis by Nicole Gelinas on how to restructure the banking system.

VETTING A VAT: Brett Swanson tries to explain the WSJ’s editorial board position on a VAT. It is not so much that board hates a VAT (indeed a Hall-Rabushka VAT-like tax would be OK) but that it hates a VAT on top of the current tax system:

The Journal has always opposed a European style VAT on top of our current anti-growth tax code. The point is not that they hate a VAT conceptually. The point is that they don’t want the federal government’s share of the economy to grow dramatically from its already too-large and too-intrusive level. But I doubt the Journal is fundamentally opposed to a VAT-like levy under any circumstances . . . because as they surely know, it is in fact an efficient way to collect revenue.

VON RYAN’S EXPRESS: Kim Strassel outlines the Dem attack on Paul Ryan’s deficit reduction plan. She also pushes the GOP to fully embrace the plan. Well, someone should.

SICK SYSTEM: Philip Klein helpfully explains why Anthem’s health insurance rate hike makes the case for free market reform.


Feb 11, 2010 19:21 UTC

What I think about what the blogosphere is thinking about.

No Pain Here: At the Enterprise blog, Mark Perry rounds up some great factoids about the boom in public sector wages. (“The number of federal workers making $150,000 or more has more than doubled since the recession started.”) As it happens, just read a great City Journal article on the role of the public employee unions on California’s economic problem. This is an issue with momentum.

Dubious Defender: The fabulous Fausta takes issue with the POTUS claiming he is a fierce advocate of free markets.

Growth Solution: Larry Kudlow has a great thought on the EU debt crisis: “Look, the problem here isn’t just debt. The problem also lies underneath the debt. In other words, there are no tax-rate incentives to promote economic growth. That, of course, would help dissolve the debt.”  American doesn’t need a Deficit Commission. It needs a Growth Commission.

VAT Valentine: Another MSM story singing the praises of value-added tax. Key bit: “The smart money says the VAT is America’s destiny, a destiny that comes closer with each passing budget.”

Credit Crisis: Like me, my pal John Tamny doesn’t think it would be such a bad thing for US debt to get a downgrade. This why Geithner should not have been so dismissive of the AAA rating threat.

White House Woes: Mike Barone gets its exactly right. The WH misread the election and electorate. And it started with the wrong-track stimulus plan.