James Pethokoukis

Obama’s CEO Meeting: the Uncertainty Principle lives!

December 15, 2010

So the POTUS met with a bunch of CEOs:

President Barack Obama, trying to improve strained relations with the corporate world, prodded America’s top business executives on Wednesday to spend more money to boost U.S. hiring and the economy. ”We focused on jobs and investment and they feel optimistic that, by working together, we can get some of the cash off the sidelines,” Obama told reporters after spending more than four hours with 20 company leaders to discuss job creation.

Obamacare doesn’t ‘bend the curve,’ it just breaks the law

December 14, 2010

Instead of “bending the curve,” Obamacare broke the law. Not only is the new healthcare law fiscally unsustainable, it’s unconstitutional — at least according to a U.S. judge in Virginia.

Sarah Palin’s huge 2012 move: She endorses Paul Ryan’s ‘Roadmap’

December 10, 2010

With one op-ed piece in the WSJ, Sarah Palin has made a lasting impact on the dynamic of the upcoming Republican presidential race — even if she doesn’t run. (Though I think she will.) By strongly endorsing Rep. Paul Ryan’s outstanding Roadmap for America’s Future, Palin has set a floor for how radical and sweeping an agenda the 2012 candidates can offer. Anyone offering less will look timid and inconsequential and most un-Tea Party-esque. One of the big knocks against Ryan’s plan is that few of his colleagues are supporting it. Now the most high-profile Republican in America has given it her seal of approval. The Ryan Roadmap is quickly becoming the de facto GOP economic platform.  And if Palin does decide to run, she immediately starts out with  a specific and coherent agenda.  Candidates beware: Bullet points and platitudes aren’t going to cut it.

Is the Obama-GOP tax deal about to collapse?

December 9, 2010

Things may be going swimmingly in the US Senate, but not so the House:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not bring President Barack Obama’s current proposed tax plan up for a vote in her chamber, an aide said on Thursday.

More on states going bankrupt, this time with added Felix Salmon goodness

December 8, 2010

Felix Salmon — who, like me, works at Reuters but, unlike me, is officially a citizen of no nation and operates from a specially modified Yakovlev “Yak” 77 that only lands to refuel and take on provisions — comments on my post about GOP plans to push states into bankruptcy:

Who is right on tax deal, Paul Ryan or Jim DeMint?

December 8, 2010

OK, I’ve already laid out the expanded Jim DeMint argument for voting against the Obama-GOP tax compromise.  So how does the GOP leadership see things? If I was John Boehner or Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor or some other top GOPer,  I might counter with something like this:

Is DeMint crazy to oppose Obama-GOP tax deal? No.

December 8, 2010

For many conservatives, the thumbs-up from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is reason enough to support the Obama-GOP tax deal — well, that and the fact so many liberals are in a purple rage about it. And certainly there is nothing wrong about letting individuals and businesses keep more of their money — even for a little while. But Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, another lover of tax cuts and hater of bloated big government, says he will oppose  and even filibuster the ginormous stimulus package. Here is DeMint on the Hugh Hewitt radio show:

Secret GOP plan: Push states to declare bankruptcy and smash unions

December 7, 2010

Congressional Republicans appear to be quietly but methodically executing a plan that would a) avoid a federal bailout of spendthrift states and b) cripple public employee unions by pushing cash-strapped states such as California and Illinois to declare bankruptcy. This may be the biggest political battle in Washington, my Capitol Hill sources tell me, of 2011.

A few thoughts on the Obama-GOP tax deal

December 7, 2010

Let’s assume for a moment that the Democrats don’t scuttle the whole thing. And that very well may happen. It’s all very good news from a Keynesian perspective. Unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut both score especially well in the sort of  demand-side economic models run by, say, the Congressional Budget Office. And I will certainly take even temporary tax cuts over more spending to prop up public employee unions and cater to the green lobby.

Krugman’s numbers on the Bush tax cuts don’t add up

December 6, 2010

Why is Paul Krugman being so  unhelpful here:

A few months ago, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the impact of various tax options. A two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, it estimated, would lower the unemployment rate next year by between 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points compared with what it would be if the tax cuts were allowed to expire; the effect would be about twice as large in 2012. Those are significant numbers, but not huge — certainly not enough to justify the apocalyptic rhetoric one often hears about what will happen if the tax cuts are allowed to end on schedule.