James Pethokoukis

Obama’s reverse stimulus on its way

November 27, 2009

Jed Graham of IBD highlights the coming fiscal drag in a pretty picture:

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Me: What would that mean for GDP growth? A pre-financial crisis analysis by Goldman Sachs predicts, for instance, found that getting rid of all the Bush tax cuts at the end of 2010 would cause a 3 percentage point drop in the economy in 1Q 2011.  In any event, anti-growth fiscal policy is one more reason to believe in the dreary New Normal

The Afghanistan war surtax gambit

November 24, 2009

Why is passing healthcare reform so difficult? One big reason is that Democrats are trying to pay for a broad-based new entitlement without enacting a broad-based new tax.

Might the Bush tax cuts be repealed before 2011?

November 23, 2009

I have to admit, this scenario does make a lot of sense:

In a word, yes. Back in August 1993, President Clinton passed the largest tax increase in history – the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA) – and made it retroactive to January of that year.

6 healthcare taxes that violate Obama’s tax pledge

November 20, 2009

These seem pretty indisputable. From Keith Hennessey:

1. The clearest violation is the 5% excise tax on cosmetic surgery and similar procedures (including teeth whitening). I assume that cosmetic surgery and similar procedures are skewed toward the high end of the income distribution, but there certainly are many people getting these treatments with annual family income less than $250,000.

Is Obama planning a $3 trillion income tax increase?

November 17, 2009

Did I just see a trial balloon launched? Over at a Wall Street Journal conference, Christina Romer, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers had this to say about deficit reduction:

An economic counter-factual

November 4, 2009

Scott Grannis, the Calafia Beach Pundit, outlines a different “stimulus path”:

Larry Summers: Tax increases won’t hurt economy

November 2, 2009

Here is Obama economic guru Larry Summers at the Economic Club of New York: “I don’t find there to be much evidence that suggests that raising top marginal tax rates from 35 to 39 percent that will be implicit in the repeal of the Bush tax rates will do substantial damage to incentives in the economy.”

Harvard study: Obama stimulus should have focused more on tax cuts

October 28, 2009

Now they tell us. A new NBER paper from Harvard’s Alberto F. Alesina and Silvia Ardagna (“Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending”) makes the case for tax cuts over spending as stimulus:

VAT Attack! Another reason it is a bad idea

October 28, 2009

One reason many free-marketeers want to take a pass on a value-added tax is that it would only fuel bigger government via higher tax revenues. Indeed, the good folks at TaxVox find new research that helps make that case (bold is mine)”

VAT Attack! The mysterious Christina Romer and higher taxes

October 28, 2009

Christina Romer’s speech on Monday had this overlooked bit, which I put into bold: