James Pethokoukis

Explaining the Oregon tax hike

January 27, 2010

What does it mean that voters in the state voted for higher taxes in companies and wealthier residents? Megan McArdle take a crack at explaining it:

Taxing investments to pay for healthcare reform is a bad idea

January 14, 2010

Labor unions are balking at President Barack Obama’s move to pay for healthcare reform by taxing their gold-plated health benefits. So Democrats are considering also taxing investment income. Not only would that approach make reform more costly and potentially worsen the U.S. fiscal deficit, it could politically doom the whole plan.

Will Obama extends all Bush tax cuts?

January 13, 2010

That’s the DC buzz, that the WH will use bank tax to de facto pay for a 1-2 year extension of ALL the Bush tax cuts, including capital gains. The assumption was that the wealthier folks would be left out. But this would give Ds a tax cut to vote. With unemployment high and maybe going higher, Ds are scrambling for ideas.

The new Washington Consensus: taxes, taxes and more taxes

December 29, 2009

This depressing WSJ article outlines some possible solutions to America’s long-term fiscal problems:

Why surtaxes are foolish

December 23, 2009

A surtax to pay for healthcare? Not good. Former Bush White House economist Alan Viard explains:

An interview with Rep. Paul Ryan

December 15, 2009

I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the ranking GOPer on the House Budget Committee. Ryan’s a rising Republican star (he’ll be just 40 next month), a guy some folks were pushing to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008.  If there’s a young Jack Kemp in today’s Congress, he’s it. And if you’re wondering what the 21st century Republican Party will stand for, many of the ideas will probably come from Ryan. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Peter Orszag vs. the WSJ

December 14, 2009

OMB director Orszag didn’t much like a WSJ editorial about the lack of  fiscal prudence of ObamaCare. And he said so on his blog. I think Orszag makes a few reasonable points, like not counting on cost savings from the pilot programs.  But he side-stepped that fact that America will be spending more on healthcare, even if paid for. Then there is this:

VAT Attack! Will deficit commission lead to a VAT?

December 11, 2009

That is one theory offered up as the eventual outcome of the C0nrad-Gregg deficit commission. And today in the NYT, there is a story extolling the virtues of a VAT.  Indeed, it is a great revenue raiser, and liberals love it because they think Americans are undertaxed and don’t want to cut spending to reduce the long-term structural budget deficit.

The risk of a supertax on banker bonuses

December 11, 2009

U.S.-based bankers shouldn’t worry too much about their bonuses. Even though Wall Street remains wildly unpopular and Washington needs more revenue, it’s unlikely U.S. authorities will follow their UK counterparts with a giant windfall tax on banker payouts.

10 ways to cut the U.S. budget deficit

December 3, 2009

How to put the budget on a “sustainable path” from Jeffrey Frankel of Harvard (some excerpts):