James Pethokoukis

Why only 41 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance

August 18, 2010

The latest Gallup numbers are not good for the White House or congressional Democrats. The overnight tracking has Barack Obama’s approval-disapproval rating at 41 percent-52 percent. Based on the Rahm Emanuel formulation that for every point below 50 percent, the Dems lose five House seats, it looks like the GOP will take the lower chamber. This bit from a Weekly Standard piece I did pretty much explains it:

How U.S. stimulus is being exported

August 18, 2010

Interesting to see if any politicians pick up on this argument from former Morgan Stanley economist Andy Xie:

Forecasting the Bush tax cuts

August 17, 2010

Wall Street’s conventional wisdom is that markets like political gridlock — but not if inaction means hitting a weak economy with a big tax hike. When Congress returns from vacation, it needs to deal with the expiring tax cuts signed by President George W. Bush. The Obama deficit panel, however, could limit any extension of them.

Black Wednesday and the 2010 midterms

August 11, 2010

I think we can officially declare Recovery Summer dead. Here is today’s tale of the economic tape.
Here is IHS Global:

Once more on Blinder-Zandi and the Obama stimulus

August 10, 2010

Great piece by Lawrence Lindsey in The Weekly Standard on the stimulus bill and the recent Blinder-Zandi analysis of it:

Poll: Americans dubious of government forgiving mortgages

August 9, 2010

Superpollster Scott Rasmussen apparently noticed my recent column:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that:

1. 58% oppose a proposal to have the federal government forgive a portion of the mortgage debt owned by troubled homeowners.

Soak the rich?

August 9, 2010

It worries me when I hear folks, mostly liberals, speak fondly of the 1950s economy and its 90 percent marginal tax rates. In this piece, James Surowiecki advocates soaking the super-rich:

Ezra Klein: Welcome to the Recovery

August 9, 2010

WaPo blogger Ezra Klein yet again comes rushing to the defense of the Obama administration by making the case that the economy is pretty much as good as can be expected given the nature of the financial meltdown and recession.

Can mortgage relief become a free-lunch stimulus?

August 5, 2010

And while we are on the topic of mortgages, I wrote this piece for Reuters Breakingviews yesterday:

Obama’s August (Housing) Surprise, Part 2

August 5, 2010

The Treasury Department has officially denied it is planning the mother of all mortgage bailouts. And I have no reason to doubt Team Geithner. But of course that assumes that the whole idea was not being cooked up by the White House political team (Rahm and Ax) and not the good folks at Treasury. During the financial reform debate, banking lobbyists continually complained that Geither and Summers had been usurped by R&A in policymaking. And I have gotten zero pushback from the WH. Food for thought. More to come.