Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7/13/10 Post

New Ban Hits Oil Drillers
Administration's Call for Halt Comes as BP Installs New Cap on Damaged Well.
New Orleans Mayor: Future 'in Peril'
New Orleans is facing a $67 million budget deficit, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced Thursday, in an unflinching "state of the city" address in which he decried a litany of daunting problems, old and new, and said the future of the city is "in peril" unless it changes the way it does business.
U.S. Trade Gap Widens
U.S. exports grew 2.4% to a 20-month high of $152.25 billion, from $148.72 billion in April. Imports increased at a greater rate... 2.9% to $194.52 billion from $189.04 billion.
Snowe, Brown provide crucial GOP support for Wall Street regulation
Snowe of Maine and Brown of Massachusetts join Susan Collins of Maine as three crucial Republican votes for the legislation. The three lawmakers appeared to give Democratic leaders the 60 votes needed to overcome hurdles facing the legislation.
Bernanke: Bolstering small business lending crucial to economic recovery
While big companies have stockpiled cash and are expected to report strong profits starting this week, small businesses have struggled to secure loans to expand and hire.
4 reasons why Texas beats California in a recession
The reason is that Texas powered through the global fiscal crisis, while The Golden State's economy is forecast to remain tarnished for some time.
Wall Street reform and the price of milk
Congress is expected to finally pass the massive Wall Street reform bill later this week. For the first time, regulators will rein in speculative bets in the energy and commodities futures markets -- something that could affect what you pay for gasoline and milk.
Moody's downgrades Portugal's debt
Moody's downgraded Portugal's government bond ratings to A1 from Aa2, saying this stemmed from "ongoing deterioration in the country's debt metrics."
Out of jobless benefits? There's more government aid
A growing number of jobless Americans are maxing out their unemployment benefits. There are a handful of other lifeline benefits that the unemployed may qualify for.
Job openings drop in May
Job openings at U.S. workplaces fell to 3.2 million in May from an upwardly revised 3.3 million in April. There were 4.7 unemployed people for every job opening in May.
The real green solution: Tax the bad stuff
"The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now." from one of President Obama's speeches about BP

Fighting Unemployment With a Stick
As the U.S. struggles with the problem of persistent long-term unemployment, a study of incentives in the Netherlands suggests a stick is more effective than a carrot.
The Growth of Federal Regulation
While taxes typically get the lion’s share of attention in popular discussions of government drags on the economy (and taxes are important), heavy-handed regulation is often a more pernicious drag.
Summer Reading
This Time is Different is sweeping in its compass and I have only just begun my reading. The aphorism is an “old saw” in the marketplace: “More money has been lost because of four words than at the point of a gun.”
Small Businesses Get More Pessimistic
Small businesses continue to feel highly pessimistic about the U.S. economic outlook, according to a report Tuesday that showed a monthly indicator of their sentiment turning weaker in June.
Department of Awful Statistics: How Much of the Government's Revenue Goes to a Few Programs?
I don't know who got this mangled, the reporter or the heads of the budget commission. But I sure hope it's the former, because if it's the latter . . . well, we're in even bigger trouble than I thought.
Dodd-Frank: Gift to Trial Lawyers, Feminists, and Hollywood The provisions of Dodd-Frank that mandate diversity and ban movie box-office futures support Paul Atkins’ observation that “This poorly drafted hodgepodge—most provisions have nothing to do with the true causes of the financial crisis—will drastically expand the power of the federal government, create new bureaucracies staffed with thousands, and do little to help the struggling American citizen.”
BLS: Low Labor Turnover in May
Layoffs and discharges have declined sharply since early 2009 - and are near a series low - and that is a good sign.
Should the U.S. Restrict Immigration?
Recent debates about Arizona’s new immigration law have taken as self-evident that immigration restrictions are good policy, with the only question being which level of government should enforce the law, and how.
Free Trade Begins at Home
It may surprise you to learn, then, that in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, proprietors of a 40-year-old family farm that yields flowers, pumpkins and Christmas trees, are facing fines and 90-day jail sentences for attempting to sell their products in that town.
Morning Bell: The Obama Tax and Spend Threat to Economic Recovery
Remember President Barack Obama’s promise to the American people not to raise taxes? Forget about it. While the President has already raised taxes on cigarettes and tanning beds, none of that compares to what could happen in January.

Research, Reports & Studies
The Effect of Corporate Taxes on Investment and Entrepreneurship
In a cross-section of countries, our estimates of the effective corporate tax rate have a large adverse impact on aggregate investment, FDI, and entrepreneurial activity.
Gates's Last Stand?
Few would say the current export control system adequately achieves its objectives--that is, protecting U.S. national security and facilitating U.S. technological leadership.
American Fairness Means Equality of Opportunity, Not Income
The intellectual and political leaders of the 30 percent coalition prefer a world in which we all end up in roughly the same economic place regardless of our abilities and efforts.
Further Medicaid Bailout: Unfair and Irresponsible
Many states are lobbying the Senate to extend the Medicaid bailout enacted in the February 2009 stimulus bill. While several attempts by Senate leaders to extend the bailouthave failed, it is likely to be brought to the floor again.

Economists’ Comments & Opinions
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Deficit Myth
Runaway government spending, not declining tax revenues, is the reason the U.S. faces dramatic budget shortfalls for years to come.
Obama's 'Export' Strategy Is a Laugh...we import more goods than we export precisely because a great deal of what we export is shares in some of the world's leading companies that don't count as exports. In short, our trade deficit results from a surplus of capital flowing into the U.S. thanks to investors viewing the U.S. as the best place to invest. All trade once again balances.
Obama's Immigration Fakery
In 2007, then-Sen. Obama helped derail an immigration bill he claimed to support. He's no more serious about a bipartisan bill today.

Graphic of the Day
Mercatus Center: Total Welfare Cost of the VAT
See: Dow vs GDP
See also: Food Consumption in America
See also: Social Security Spending Soon to Rise Rapidly
See also: May Trade Balance

Book Excerpts
"The consumers are merciless. They never buy in order to benefit a less efficient producer and to protect him against the consequences of his failure to manage better. They want to be served as well as possible. And the working of the capitalist system forces the entrepreneur to obey the orders issued by the consumers." - Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy (1944)

Did You Know
"The Capitol and other congressional buildings are rife with fire traps and other pervasive problems of age and dangerous design, with an estimated 6,300 safety hazards lurking on Capitol Hill this Congress... Workplace safety experts say that if Congress were a private-sector business, it would be at risk for massive fines from government regulators."