James Pethokoukis

Obama’s unemployment forecasts

February 2, 2010

Brad DeLong looks at the Obama unemployment forecasting record:

delongchart

So-so growth for 2010?

January 29, 2010

That is how IHS Global calls it:

The fourth-quarter GDP surge was produced by a sharp turn in the inventory cycle. Firms still cut inventories in the fourth quarter, but much less severely than in the third. That led to increased production, which boosted GDP. Final sales growth, a better guide to the underlying path of the economy, was much more sedate, at 2.2%, but that was still an improvement on the third quarter’s 1.5% pace.

5.7 percent 4Q GDP growth … then a slowdown

January 29, 2010

Or so says RDQ Economics:

The recovery from the Great Recession firmed in the fourth quarter as real GDP increased at its fastest rate since the third quarter of 2003.  However, also as expected, a sharp slowing in inventory liquidation accounted for 3.4 percentage points (or 60%) of the 5.7% increase in real GDP.  We are particularly impressed by the 13.3% increase in nonresidential investment (upside risk in this area was flagged by yesterday’s durable goods report).

Brown win could spark Obama war on Wall Street

January 20, 2010

Scott Brown’s stunning capture of the Massachusetts Senate seat held for decades by Ted Kennedy was a political black swan, a near-unpredictable event.

Wow, Obama bank tax may actually pass

January 15, 2010

The U.S. Congress, particularly the Senate, has been a graveyard for aggressive financial reform. And banks are hoping President Obama’s new bank levy will suffer a similar fate. They shouldn’t count it. A clever design and a determined White House push mean Wall Street may have to pay up.

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.

Will Obama extends all Bush tax cuts?

January 13, 2010

That’s the DC buzz, that the WH will use bank tax to de facto pay for a 1-2 year extension of ALL the Bush tax cuts, including capital gains. The assumption was that the wealthier folks would be left out. But this would give Ds a tax cut to vote. With unemployment high and maybe going higher, Ds are scrambling for ideas.

9 reasons why the Dec. jobs report is bad news for Dems

January 8, 2010

Talk about one last gasp from the horrible year that was 2009. On the political front, the December jobs numbers were terrible news for the White House and congressional Democrats in a midterm election year. Here’s how it plays out:

What the December jobs report means

January 8, 2010

I think the “jobless recovery” meme stays firmly in place. Beyond the 85k jobs loss was the sharp drop in the labor force participation rate. If another 600k+ workers had not dropped out of workforce, unemployment rate would have been 10.4 percent. Here is what I have tweeting on the subject this AM:

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.