James Pethokoukis

The Obama debt plan, lightly dissected

April 14, 2011

Here is a pretty good rundown of President Obama’s plan  from Goldman Sachs (with my comments in bold):

New Obama budget plan leaves U.S. fiscal future fuzzy

April 13, 2011

This is my quick take on President Obama’s budget speech that went out to Reuters clients (more to come):

The anti-Paul Ryan plan

April 12, 2011

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has finally released its response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity.  ”The People’s Budget”  is almost like a parody of a liberal Democratic plan. It proposes raising taxes by $4 trillion over ten years and cutting spending (mostly defense) by $900 billion. (Ryan would cut spending by $6 trillion.) It would take tax revenue as a share of GDP to 22.3 percent vs. a previous all-time high of 20.9 percent in World War Two. Even worse, the plan only goes out a decade since its tax hikes still wouldn’t balance the budget long-term because it ignores healthcare reform.

Just how worrisome is the U.S. growth slowdown?

April 12, 2011

After taking a look at the new trade numbers, Wall Street firms are slashing their GDP growth forecasts for the first quarter of this year. Both Macroeconomic Advisers and Morgan Stanley now think growth will be just 1.5 percent. We are getting into dangerous territory, so says the Dallas Fed:

Will Obama endorse Bowles-Simpson debt plan?

April 12, 2011

Will President Obama finally endorse the debt plan of his own debt commission in his big speech tomorrow?

Romney 2012: Is U.S. ready for its first buyout president?

April 12, 2011

Mitt Romney’s campaign launch for the Republican presidential nomination predictably avoided mentioning the Obamacare-like health plan he created as Massachusetts governor. But it also gently tiptoed around his financially successful career as a buyout boss. With the financial crisis still raw to voters, selling them on the first president to be drawn from the buyout barony will be tough.

Why Obama’s tax pledge is bogus

April 12, 2011

Who does Team Obama think it’s fooling? Budget experts are already scoffing at the idea that the White House can somehow deal with America’s long-term budget woes without either a) raising taxes on the middle-class or b) adopting a Paul Ryan-style restructuring of entitlements.

Is the Ryan Plan a 73-page suicide note?

April 8, 2011

Charles Krauthammer asks the question:

In 1983, the British Labour Party under the hard-left Michael Foot issued a 700-page manifesto so radical that one colleague called it “the longest suicide note in history.” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has just released a recklessly bold, 73-page, ten-year budget plan. At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history.

Just how fragile are Obama’s approval ratings?

April 8, 2011

Quite, says my pal Jay Cost over at TheWeeklyStandard:

President Obama’s overall job approval is split 47-47, but the numbers underneath it are not good at all. On the economy, AP-GfK has him at -6, Gallup at -17, Quinnipiac at -26, and CBS at -14. On health care, AP-GfK has him above water (+4), but Gallup and Quinnipiac have him at -17 and -16, respectively. Meanwhile, check out the right track/wrong track numbers, which are as negative as they have been at any point during Obama’s tenure.

Why a government shutdown is even possible

April 8, 2011

What a very different political world it would be right now if President Obama had a) supported his own debt commission, b) devised a 2012 budget that made deep spending cuts over near and medium term, and c)  listened to his own economic team and suggested a Social Security fix. But with no leadership from the White House on the horizon, it made all that much more important for the Tea Party wing of the GOP to dig in and push real spending cuts now.