Thursday, July 8, 2010

7/8/10


News
Weekly Jobless Claims Fall
The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by 21,000 to 454,000, more than analysts expected.
Apartment Vacancies Fell in Quarter
People Who Moved In With Others Are Getting Their Own Places as Economy Improves, Driving Rents Slightly Higher.
Europe presents main threat to global recovery, IMF says
Europe's weakened economy is now the central threat to global recovery, as its countries struggle with heavy debt, banks face a reckoning over their lack of capital and growth is slowing, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday in its first assessment of the world economy since a crisis over government borrowing in Greece.
U.S. Retailers Weathered a Bumpy June
June is usually a month for clearing out merchandise, but many retailers this year seemed to go especially heavy on the discounts.
Australia Employment Soars; Currency Up
Australia's employment soared in June as 45,900 jobs were added to the labor force, ramping up pressure on the central bank to resume policy tightening on the back of a surging commodities boom.
Obama: New Export Initiative off to Good Start
President Obama declared good progress on his pledge to double U.S. exports over the next five years.
Dow Roars Past 10000 Again
Stocks rallied, reversing a three-week slide and pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average through the 10000 mark as investors grew hopeful for the approaching earnings season.
Returns on U.S. TARP Investments May Decline
Now, with financial stocks sliding, the Treasury and taxpayers are facing the prospect of diminishing returns as more companies repay their public support.

Blogs
Why are corporations saving so much?
Corporations with cash surpluses are not destroying real resources, nor are they stuffing cash in their mattresses. They are investing in financial assets.
“Unions Outspending Corporations on Campaign Ads”"Unions have spent $9.7 million (or 39 percent of the total), compared with $6.4 million (26 percent) spent by individuals and $3.4 million spent by corporations."
Confirmation Bias and Stimulus
...outside of economics models where you can hold every variable but one constant, ceteris is rarely paribus.
All the news that’s fit to print (plus some more)
How can the economy recover without government stimulus? Let’s keep an eye on Ireland.
Are stimulus skeptics logically incoherent?
...businesses may be reluctant to invest in an economy that they expect to be distorted by historically unprecedented levels of taxation in the future. The more the government borrows, the higher taxes will need to go, the more distorted the future economy will be, and the less attractive is investment today.
NYTimes Cluelessness Part IX
...the SBA likes to think that the taxable revenue from the businesses that they “produce” will offset the cost of the program overtime. Their website is forced to make it clear: on average, the SBA loses about 6% a year, and taxpayers are currently owed $9,971,048,478.
A Speed Bump on the Road to Universal Broadband?
Section 254 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 lays out criteria the FCC is supposed to consider when it decides whether to provide universal service subsidies for new services in addition to phone service. One of the criteria is that the new service must be subscribed to by a “substantial majority” of residential consumers.
Cut Medicare first
"...if we’re going to cut spending on retirement programs then it makes much more sense to reduce Medicare outlays by $1 than to reduce Social Security benefits by $1."

Research, Reports & Studies
The Importance of Startups in Job Creation and Job DestructionA relatively new dataset from the U.S. government called Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) confirms that startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.
Trade, Taxes, and Terroir
High internal tax rates generated Alchian-Allen effects that biased consumption and production towards local producers who sold higher priced wine.

Graphic of the Day
Mapping the EU's debt, jobs and growth worries
See: Taxes and Growth
See also: America's Birthday by the Numbers

Economists' Comments & Opinions
Both Krugman and Wesbury Get It Wrong
About the only thing policymakers can do is responsibly enact laws that set the stage and provide the environment for the free society unfettered by central government planning that the founding fathers envisioned.
The Berwick Evasion
Obama dodges a Senate debate on his ideal Medicare chief.
The Next Bailout: Save USPS or Its Padded Pensions
The US Postal Service is in a deep financial hole with liabilities and obligations over $88 billion last year alone. With the decline in the use of mail, the USPS may need a taxpayer bailout.
Unemployment Benefits Aren't Stimulus
Let's not reduce the incentive to find work. A federal tax holiday is a better way to cut the high jobless rate.
The Rout of Obamanomics
The top 1% of income earners in the U.S. pay more in income taxes than the bottom 95% combined.
Obama and the Spending Volcano
An eruption of public spending from Mount Obama has caused deep anxieties among the voters in America's villages.
Baptists & Bootleggers: Red-light-camera manufacturers lobby for red-light cameras
Local governments tell us red-light cameras make us safer. Of course they fill local government coffers. But they also enrich private industry, too — private industry that fights for more cameras.

Book Excerpts
"Those who wish to destroy the conditions which allow for a strong democratic nation can do little better than to reduce the self-reliance of citizens and of their families by converting them into dependants of the state. Inevitably the result is the strengthening of state bureaucracy and the weakening of civil society." -Sir James Goldsmith, The Trap (1994)

"Did You Know"
The most severe polluter of the US is the Department of Defense.