Friday, February 20, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S. Treasury urges Greece, Europe to find 'constructive way forward'
The U.S. Treasury again Thursday urged Greece and its international creditors to find a constructive way to extend its bailout package. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and his team have held regular talks with all the parties, including German officials, a senior U.S. Treasury official said.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | White House Sees Workforce as Best Bet to Tackle Deficits
Rather than seek to balance the budget and sharply reduce the debt, President Barack Obama ’s economic advisers now say the focus should be to stabilize the debt through the aging of the baby boomers, or those born roughly between 1946 and 1964.
The Telegraph | Don’t panic: The sky won’t fall in if Greece decides to leave the euro
Slowly but surely, we are moving to a denouement in this latest incarnation of the eurozone crisis. Nobody knows for sure what is going to happen – but there is a greater chance than ever before that Greece will eventually quit the eurozone and default on its debts. Greeks and Germans are refusing to move back from the brink, which means that a complete breakdown now looks eerily possible.
Wall Street Journal | Economy’s Supply Side Sputters
For most of the past six years, the U.S. economy faced a demand problem as tight credit, economic pessimism and a fixation on reducing debt discouraged consumers, businesses and government from spending.
Wall Street Journal | U.S. Lawmakers Press Japan’s Abe on Free Trade
A visiting U.S. congressional delegation on Thursday pressed Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a bold market opening amid growing expectations that an agreement can be reached for creating a free-trade area across the Pacific.
CNBC | Why oil is the 'canary in the coal mine': Analyst
Since economies drive commodity prices, not the other way around, the collapse in oil is more of a demand issue than it appears, said Stephen Schork, founder and editor of The Schork Report newsletter.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Millions of Americans in danger of losing key Obamacare tax subsidy
On March 4 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear King v. Burwell, the case challenging health insurance-premium subsidies for those who buy their insurance on the 37 federal exchanges.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | The U.S. government’s stupid tax war on expatriates
The U.S. government’s stupid, hateful and dishonest war on Americans living abroad claimed its latest scalp this week.
Market Watch | Business group sees narrow window for tax deal
Time is short for a deal on tax reform in Washington, an official with an association of chief executives from top U.S. companies said Thursday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | The Wal-Mart pay rise may not even show up in jobs report
The country’s largest private-sector employer is lifting wages for 500,000 employees. But it still may not show up in the nation’s economic reports.
TIME | This Chart Shows What Walmart’s Pay Raises Mean for the Minimum Wage
In a move set to reignite the debate over increasing the federal minimum wage, Walmart said Thursday it’s giving half a million of its employees a raise.
Forbes | If We Knew Why WalMart Raised Wages Then We Could Decide Upon The Minimum Wage
Yesterday Walmart rather shocked everyone by announcing that wages would rise to a minimum of $9 an hour this year and to $10 an hour for those who have finished their training next. This will mean pay raises for 500,000 of their staff and will cost the company, in the first round of effects, some $1 billion. What we’d really like to know though is precisely why Walmart did this. For if we knew the answer to that then we could make up our minds on the closely related point of the minimum wage. One possible reason for this wage rise means we are left just as we are on the minimum wage. The other major serious reason means that we can leave the minimum wage pretty much alone: or, another way of looking at the same point, it won’t matter very much if we do raise it.

Wall Street Journal | What Wal-Mart’s Pay Raise May Mean For Other Workers
The pledge by the nation’s largest private employer to hand raises to 500,000 workers amps up pressure on other low-wage employers that are already seeing labor costs climb in a tightening labor market.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims fall 21,000 to 283,000
The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits sank by 21,000 to 283,000 in the seven days from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14, signaling that layoffs remain low and the pace of the hiring in the U.S. is still strong.
Market Watch | Germany rejects Greece's loan-extension proposal
Germany has rejected Greece's request for a six-month loan-extension agreement, saying the letter is not a "a substantial proposal" for a solution.". The Greek government earlier on Thursday submitted its loan proposal, but made clear it wouldn't accept all the strict austerity measures required under the current bailout program.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
White House - Council of Economic Advisers | The 2015 Economic Report of the President
This morning, the Council of Economic Advisers released the 69th-annual Economic Report of the President, which reviews the United States’ accelerating recovery and ways to further support middle-class families as the recovery continues.
New York Times | Inequality Has Actually Not Risen Since the Financial Crisis
The notion that income inequality has continued to rise over the past decade is part of the conventional wisdom. You’ve no doubt heard versions: The rich just keep getting richer. Inequality is higher than ever. Nearly all of the gains from the economic recovery have gone to the top 1 percent.
Reason | No Gatekeepers
For years, people assumed encyclopedias had to be created by professionals. Then Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales attempted to create an encyclopedia without central planners.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Urban Institute | Health Care Spending by Those Becoming Uninsured if the Supreme Court Finds for the Plaintiff in King v. Burwell Would Fall by at Least 35 Percent
If King v. Burwell is decided in favor of the plaintiff, additional coverage resulting from the ACA’s premium tax credits would be reversed, and some of those purchasing nongroup insurance fully with their own funds would become uninsured due to large increases in premiums. | 11.4 Million ObamaCare Signups Is No Big Deal - Just Ask Obama
The Obama Administration says more than 11 million signed up for ObamaCare this year. Should anyone believe this number?
Forbes | Should Employers Be Required To Provide Health Insurance To Their Employees?
The Obamacare mandate for large employers kicks in this year and for smaller employers it kicks in next year. But an increasing number of economists – both on the right and the left — are saying that mandated health insurance benefits at the work place are a bad idea. Are they right?