James Pethokoukis

How Obama redefines the ‘Chicago School of Economics’

July 22, 2009

Joel Kotkin writes a great, great piece for The American on why Red State economies have better long-term prospects than Blue State economies. But this excerpted hunk is especially insightful:

Bad economy overwhelming Obama’s agenda

July 22, 2009

Just how much trouble is President Obama and his economic agenda in?  Allies will point to the president’s still-robust 55 percent approval rating, according to pollster Gallup, but that number has been declining steadily from a high of 65 percent in early March. (He’s actually a point lower than George W. Bush at similar points in their presidencies.) And while the House of Representives has passed historic cap-and-trade legislation, the bill seems to be going nowhere in the Senate and the president may have little to crow about at the December climate change conference in Copenhagen. Even his plan for a consumer financial protection agency looks like it’s in doubt. Then, of course, there’s healthcare reform, which Obama again will be making the case for during a prime-time news conference tonight.

Did the Blue Dogs just rollover on healthcare?

July 22, 2009

Pelosi seems upbeat, but Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross less so:

The Blue Dogs share the President’s goal of providing the American people with quality, affordable health care reform that’s deficit neutral, and we have put forth a number of substantive policy proposals over the past several months aimed at achieving this goal.

What healthcare reform might actually look like …

July 21, 2009

One Capitol Hill watcher sends me this on what a Democratic fallback position on healthcare might look like:

Where cap-and-trade and healthcare are heading …

July 20, 2009

While both healthcare and cap-and-trade look to be in various degrees of trouble, some savvy Capitol Hill watchers make this point to me: Democrats look at failure to do something about healthcare as an Extinction Level Event, with a failure on cap-and-trade also incredibly damaging, particularly with the Dem base.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told wavering Dems that a cap-and-trade failure was a dagger in the Obama presidency. She pushed them to the wall. Healthcare even more so.  Expect a full-court press in the Senate on both. At the same, either of those issues slipping into 2010 is fatal to their chances. The next five months may make or break the Obama presidency.

Another free-market fix for healthcare

July 20, 2009

I can tell you the pro-Obamacare Washington wonks I chat with are pretty down right now about the chance of “real reform” getting passed. And as the costs and inadequacies of Obamacare become more apparent, I expect to here more ideas like this one by economic analyst Ed Yardeni:

The chances of a US debt default

July 17, 2009

This is one way of showing the change in America’s fiscal situation — what it costs to ensure against a debt default (via Brookings) using credit default swaps:

Two years into the credit crunch: a status report

July 17, 2009

Where is the US economy, some two years into the credit crunch (numbers gathered by David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff)?:

Ouch! CBO says Dem healthcare plan worsens budget picture

July 16, 2009

Is history repeating itself?  High-cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office helped kill Clintoncare back in the 1990s. Now here is what Doug Elmendorf of the CBO said today about Obamacare:

Obama’s self-defeating war on the wealthy

July 16, 2009

The push by the Justice Department, along with the Internal Revenue Service, to compel UBS  to fork over the names of some 52,000 American taxpayers with banking accounts in Switzerland may produce an important benefit for the Obama administration — or so it might think. How so? Those presumably wealthy 52,000 taxpayers, along with some two million other upper-income Americans, can be drafted to help pay for U.S. healthcare reform.