James Pethokoukis

How a VAT would affect growth

October 14, 2010

Just how would tacking a 10 percent value-added tax onto the current tax system affect the economy? Well, an Ernst & Young study commissioned by the National Retail Federation came up with this result:

The Obama recovery vs. the Reagan recovery

October 13, 2010

Expect to see this chart from the Heritage Foundation all around the blogosphere. I don’ t think it is completely fair given the different flavors of the two recessions. But I certainly don’t think the current recovery is a robust as could possibly be expected. I think even the POTUS would concede that.

9.6 reasons why the jobs report is bad for Democrats

October 8, 2010

How bad was the September jobs report? Even the White House had trouble spinning it. As economic adviser Austan Goolsbee wrote on his WH blog: “Given the volatility in the monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” But this chart sort of says it all:

Can Obama be deprogrammed?

September 27, 2010

Some interesting stuff in this piece by Michael Lind:

Instead of the updated Rooseveltonomics that America needs, Obama’s team offers warmed-over Rubinomics from the 1990s. Consider the priorities of the Obama administration: the environment, healthcare and education. Why these priorities, as opposed to others, like employment, high wages and manufacturing? The answer is that these three goals co-opt the activist left while fitting neatly into a neoliberal narrative that could as easily have been told in 1999 as in 2009. The story is this: New Dealers and Keynesians are wrong to think that industrial capitalism is permanently and inherently prone to self-destruction, if left to itself. Except in hundred-year disasters, the market economy is basically sound and self-correcting. Government can, however, help the market indirectly, by providing these three public goods, which, thanks to “market failures,” the private sector will not provide.

What’s wrong with the U.S. economy in one chart

September 27, 2010

Tax rates matter. You tend to get the stuff you tax lightly and don’t get what you tax heavily. Wonder why America had a housing boom and why we are wallowing in debt? Here is why:

Obama vs. the hedgie

September 21, 2010

Here is a bit-o-goodness from my Reuters Breakingviews column on the Obama-CNBC town hall yesterday .

The midterms and the markets, take two

September 21, 2010

A bit more from Ed Yardeni on one of my favorite topics:

Yesterday, I reviewed the outstanding performance of the market three months after midterm elections. I also noted that the third years of the presidential cycle tend to be very bullish. The fourth year of presidential terms, along with first and second years, tend to be much less consistently bullish than third years.

The oh-so-slow recovery

September 21, 2010

A great chart from David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff showing just weak this recovery has been:

Obama on CNBC

September 20, 2010

The president participated in a town hall meeting earlier today on CNBC. A few thoughts on the event: