James Pethokoukis

Back to recession in 2011? (Even kind of rhymes)

June 7, 2010

Tax-cut guru Arthur Laffer worries about next year. He attributes the economic rebound this year to workers and business pulling forward economic activity into 2010 to avoid more taxes and regulation in 2011. As he puts it in the WSJ today:

Here comes the iPad tax

June 7, 2010

It’s almost as dodgy a notion as nuking BP’s gusher. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is mulling ways to subsidize the flailing news industry. Paying for it could involve head-scratchers like taxing iPad sales. What the media industry needs is innovation not intervention.

Where Barry Ritholtz questions my tax analysis

June 3, 2010

Superblogger Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture takes issue with my claim that America’s wealthy have a high tax burden since they pay such a huge share of U.S. taxes. A bit from his email to me (in his own inimitable style):

5 reasons why “Son of Stimulus” is a bad seed

May 26, 2010

The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act? Really? Even by the disingenuous standards of Capitol Hill, calling the $174 billion spending package making its way through the House “a jobs bill” takes some real moxie.

Mankiw on the VAT

May 3, 2010

A nice primer on the issues surrounding a value-added tax from Greg Mankiw. This is the key part for me:

Kudlow: Profits today, politics tomorrow

April 28, 2010

The Great One opines thusly:

To be perfectly honest here, as much as I love to dig into all the money-politics issues — including the financial-reform bill — I’m much more interested in these big profits and capital gains. This V-shaped recovery is the most important item on my radar screen. It’s the single-biggest investor issue out there right now. I don’t think the bull market in stocks is over yet. Again, regarding taxes and regulations, I’ll warn about next year. But frankly, I think the prosperity theme is issue number one.

Has the Obama deficit panel already failed?

April 28, 2010

Well, if you define success as having the commission come up with solutions that can pass Congress, then yes. I am watching several commission members at the Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit.  They are all downplaying what the commission can accomplish, saying that as long as the panel educates the American public on the debt problem, they will consider it a success.  But will bondholders of U.S. debt agree? Downplaying expectations may avoid an adverse financial market reaction to failure, but I am not sure it should. We won’t cut spending. We won’t raise taxes broadly. And we ignore policies that would boost economic growth. What else is there?

Obama’s deficit commission and the politics of crisis

April 27, 2010

Good luck to the Obama deficit commission. In my heart, I do not believe Congress will pass huge entitlement cuts (preferable)  or tax increases without a  crisis.  (There needs to be a focus on boosting economic growth.) To quote Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom:

Becker vs. Posner on the VAT

April 26, 2010

The online conversation between Gary Becker and Richard Posner is one of my favorite things on the web. Currently they are taking on the the idea of the US implementing a value-added tax. First a bit from Becker, as excerpted by me:

American job insecurity

April 26, 2010

Two interesting polls from Gallup show why a few ticks in the unemployment rate here and there are really besides the point. (Thanks to Jim Geraghty of NR.)  This downturn has scarred the American psyche. The first chart shows how worried workers are about finding a comparable job if they ever lose their current one. The second chart shows that they are still pretty worried about losing their existing job.