James Pethokoukis

Healthcare endgame on Capitol Hill

July 28, 2009

A Capitol Hill source tells me that a public healthcare option is dead, dead, dead in the Senate and thus dead overall. While some healthcare reform proponents hope to use the August recess to rally support, more likely it will be that the Dems will be telling the troops and interest groups that if you want some kind of healthcare bill, give up pushing for a public option. At this point, it is a waste of time, energy and money. But this does not mean Dems still might not push through some pretty big changes. As another source put it:

More on the dangerous dollar …

July 24, 2009

It is the last part of this bit from Brad DeLong that really caught my attention (bold is mine):

Healthcare reform has to pass because … because … well, it just has to is all!

July 24, 2009

Ezra Klein does his gosh-darned best to help restore momentum to healthcare reform, which he is sure people will love to bits if only it passes:

Is Obama playing politics with the dollar?

July 24, 2009

A weak dollar is not always a bad thing. Stocks are up 43 percent from their March lows while the greenback is off 11 percent against major currencies. Scott Grannis explains the correlation:

Poll: Obamanomics has too much spending, too much government

July 24, 2009

Notice particularly the the stats for independents …

072409gallup

Public doesn’t like direction of ObamaCare

July 24, 2009

Why is Obama suddenly talking a lot more about healthcare costs? (And maybe he should do something more akin to a PowerPoint presentation when talking about this stuff. Remember those old Ross Perot presidential campaign commercials where he used charts?) Maybe because of this (from the WSJ):

What Obama forgot to talk about last night

July 23, 2009

Obama presented a false choice last night, either the status quo or Obamacare. But what about empowering consumers and letting markets work? A great post from the Health Care Blog makes some great points on this very issue. It looks at two fictional familes and shows how each deals with three different medical problems —  back pain, chest pain and dementia? The Smiths are passive and rely on the doctor while the Joneses aggessivey reserach their problems and question authority. Here is one example:

Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare

July 23, 2009

If President Obama’s prime-time speech and news conference were intended to push national healthcare reform over the political goal line, then the effort almost certainly failed. Do more Americans today better understand the still-evolving plans floating around Capitol Hill than they did yesterday? Unlikely.

That millionaire healthcare surtax would have to be …

July 23, 2009

… about 6 percent, according to the Tax Foundation, to theoretically raise the same amount of dough as also having surtaxes on those making over $350,000. Now this assumes wealthy Americans wouldn’t scramble to reduce their tax liabilities via all manner of tax-sheltering strategies. Of course, such behavior isn’t economically efficient as Obama himself knows:

4 reasons why a second stimulus is a bad idea

July 22, 2009

Wells Fargo/Wachovia economist John Siliva makes his case:

1) A second stimulus would add fuel to the already recovering economy and would create the false impression that all is now back to the “happy days” of an overleveraged consumer and strong growth. Therefore, estimates of top-line revenues are likely to overstate the true sustainable future pace of sales in a deleveraged economy.