James Pethokoukis

VAT Attack! The mysterious Christina Romer and higher taxes

October 28, 2009

Christina Romer’s speech on Monday had this overlooked bit, which I put into bold:

Healthcare Reform: The Day After

October 27, 2009

Paul Krugman takes a look at the impact of  healthcare reform:

Like the bill that will probably emerge from Congress, the Massachusetts reform mainly relies on a combination of regulation and subsidies to chivy a mostly private system into providing near-universal coverage. It is, to be frank, a bit of a Rube Goldberg device — a complicated way of achieving something that could have been done much more simply with a Medicare-type program. Yet it has gone a long way toward achieving the goal of health insurance for all, although it’s not quite there: according to state estimates, only 2.6 percent of residents remain uninsured.

The deficit’s risk to the dollar

October 26, 2009

Allan Meltzer on deficits and the dollar:

The administration admits to about $1 trillion budget deficits per year, on average, for the next 10 years. That’s clearly an underestimate, because it counts on the projected $200 billion to $300 billion of projected reductions in Medicare spending that will not be realized. And who can believe that the projected increase in state spending for Medicaid can be paid by the states, or that payments to doctors will be reduced by about 25%?

Study: US healthcare system wastes $800 billion a year

October 26, 2009

This study from the healthcare analysis unit of Thomson Reuters has a high degree of truthiness, it seems to confirm what many Americans intuitively think and believe:

Is another ‘Perot Moment’ on its way?

October 23, 2009

I found this to be a very interesting quote from Even Bayh (in the WaPo):

People understand that we’re stealing from future generations …We’re setting the stage for another Perot moment.

How the Baucus bill pays for healthcare reform

October 22, 2009

If those Medicare cuts don’t happen, forget about it, gang (via the Tax Foundation):

America’s Blade Runner economy

October 21, 2009

In the 1982 sci-fi film “Blade Runner,” it appears as if Japan is the world’s leading economy and culture. It is a cinematic portrayal of the future sketched by many economists in the 1980s who wanted America to adopt Japanese-style industrial policy. But America may yet have an economy that resembles Japan’s. This NY Times story looks at how Japan amassed such a huge national debt, twice the size of its economy:

America’s banana republic economy

October 20, 2009

Is the decline in the dollar merely a “return to normalcy” story, as many bulls contend, and not a harbinger of a coming currency crisis?

Healthcare math doesn’t work

October 20, 2009

Ed Yardeni runs the numbers:

Nominal GDP rose at a compounded rate of 4.2% from 1999-2009. It isn’t likely to grow any faster over the next 10-20 years. However, extrapolating the same growth rate of per capita retirement spending (5.1%) and adding the higher projected growth of the senior population (3.0%) suggests that social welfare outlays might grow by 8%. That’s significantly higher than the likely growth of nominal GDP (say 5%). Since the tax base can’t grow faster than nominal GDP on a sustainable basis, something has to give on the per capita spending side.

Closing the budget gap

October 19, 2009

TaxVox tells us why the budget deficit is much worse that what the government is projecting: