Wednesday, February 23, 2011

General Economics

MSNBC | 'I won't pay' movement spreads across Greece
In light of austerity measures, citizens ignore tolls, transit ticket costs, even bills for healthcare
CNN Money | Home sales inching up
Sales of existing homes recorded modest gains in January, the third straight month of month-over-month increases.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Myth of Corporate Cash Hoarding
Companies hire more workers when there's income to pay them. They don't liquidate financial assets.
Cato Institute | Fannie, Freddie Lose Relevance
On Feb. 11, the day that Hosni Mubarak resigned as president of Egypt, the Obama administration released its report to Congress on reforming America's housing finance market.
Real Clear Markets | Collective Bargaining Doesn't Work In the Public Sector
Although Walker is being demonized as a union buster, in truth he's only asking for the same powers to manage his budget and workforce that President Obama already enjoys.
Minyanville | What the Decline in Durable Goods Orders Says About Manufacturing Sector Health
December's report noted that aside from aircraft orders, durable goods orders were up 0.5%. But a few months of aircraft weakness doesn't explain the nine-month trend.
AEI | Public Unions Force Taxpayers to Fund Democrats
Wisconsin, which led the nation on civil service a century ago and on welfare reform in the 1990s, may be showing the nation the way ahead once again.
WSJ | Waiting for Hurricane Charlie (Crist)
All Americans will pay if Florida doesn't reform its insurance market.
Real Clear Markets | Controls On Bank Capital Are - Yet Again - Exposed As Worthless
In short, the only regulation so far not mentioned by the political and economic establishment is the only one that would actually work for banks, and all other economic entities: Let them fail.

Café Hayek | The power of the rich
I think fixing the relationship between the financial sector and the power of government, particularly the Fed, is the single biggest problem we face as a democracy and as an economy. The exploitive nature of this relationship, what is often called crony capitalism, has led to terrible misallocations of capital and to resentment from the body politic about the fairness of the political process.
Atlantic: McArdle | The Best Things in Workplaces Aren't Free
The people making this argument seem oblivious to the fact that all these things cost employers money.  I think they understand that pensions and health care are expensive, but they seem to view the last four as freebies.  Yet they obviously have monetary value to employees (who tout their willingness to give up pay in order to secure these things).  They also have monetary value to employers. 
Independent Institute | What’s Holding Back the Recovery?
What’s holding back the recovery? My answer: the failure of private investment to recover fully.
CSM: Growthology | Is American education getting worse?
Inequalities within the US education system are more important than differences with other countries.


National Journal | Conservative Group Proposes Curbing Medicaid by Using Private Insurance
“This report marks the first time that anyone has laid out a full alternative to Medicaid that is not a single-payer model,” TPPF Executive Director Arlene Wohlgemuth said. “A system where government makes all the decisions and holds all the authority is not the Texas way of doing things.”

Econ Comments                                                                                                           
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obamacare’s race against the cures
Misguided health care policy has serious side effects. As regulators refuse to approve new medical devices and medicines, venture capital for health care has dried up, and hospitals are running out of some important drugs. It has caused what one analyst has called a serious medicine crash.
WSJ | ObamaCare Is Already Damaging Health Care
Many of its changes don't kick in until 2014. But the law is forcing dramatic consolidation and reducing choice in the industry.

Heritage Foundation | Another Hearing Highlights Obamacare’s Problems
Sebelius opined that the new health care law will increase patient access to physicians and hospitals, provide more choices for Medicare beneficiaries, create jobs, and allow those who are happy with their current plans to keep them. However, reality paints a different picture.
Atlantic: McArdle | Unions and Medicaid
If we neither cut reimbursements, nor services, then the fight is between unions and taxpayers, most of whom are not corporations, or even particularly rich


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN | Who cares about the young and jobless?
To judge from our politics, you'd almost think we had put the recession behind us.

Heritage Foundation | Judge to Obama Administration: Get Moving on Drilling Permits
The Obama Administration hasn’t had their boot on the neck of just BP but also the entire Gulf economy. Federal Judge Martin Feldman is now doing the same to the Obama Administration.
Café Hayek | The alternative to unions
Stop whining about inequality, per se. If it bothers you, get to work, get a skill, start a business and tell your representatives to stop bailing out losers in the financial sector.
Heritage Foundation | Federal Workforce Continues to Grow Under Obama Budget
Since the beginning of the last recession (December 2007) the private sector workforce has shrunk by 6.6% while shedding more than 7.5 million jobs. Over that same time period, the federal government workforce (excluding Census and Postal workers) has grown by 11.7% while adding 230,000 jobs.


Politico | Barack Obama unlikely to cash in on bank tax
The big bankers had thought this was dead: an administration proposal to levy a new tax on the nation’s largest financial institutions, ostensibly to help offset the cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
CNN Money | GM's sweetheart tax deal
The U.S. Treasury is giving up $14 billion in tax revenue because of a sweetheart deal it's giving U.S. automaker General Motors that's about to start paying off.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | RAHN: Spending for tyranny
Founders would decry the use of taxes to lobby for more taxes.
NRO | ‘Free’ Public Radio Is Anything But
For all NPR’s vaunted private donations, it is raising the battle cry to avoid losing a dime of taxpayer money.


National Journal | The Evolution of Bernanke's 'Global Saving Glut'
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has revised his famous theory of the “global saving glut,” which he now acknowledges was far less benign than he once thought.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Minyanville | Trade Services: Headline Inflation Is the Only Place That's Tame
The most important piece of information was buried in the PPI press release: Price increases are now continually eroding the profit margins for the trade services.
WSJ | The Federal Reserve Is Causing Turmoil Abroad
Few protesters in the Middle East connect rising food prices to U.S. monetary policy. But central bankers do.
Minyanville | Vietnam Employs Different Strategy for Battling Rising Consumer Prices
The Vietnam State Bank didn't raise rates; it allowed the three-month rate gap between Vietnam and the US to narrow even as the US was spraying money into the stratosphere.
Minyanville | China and the West Take Opposite Approaches to Inflation
While China is ramping up the fight against inflation, Fed Chairman Bernanke doesn't seem to think that deviating from quantitative easing, ZIRP are smart moves at this time.

CSM: ThinkMarkets | Is the Fed building sandcastles?
Even if Ben Bernanke's monetary policy looks good in the short term, it may not be sustainable.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Experts: U.S. Fed Mishandled International Dimensions Of QE2
The Federal Reserve initially mishandled its controversial effort to boost the U.S. economy with government bond purchases, but has since taken some smart steps to make up for the mishap, according to senior economists.
CSM: The Daily Reckoning | Behind Libya: rising food prices and US debt
Behind the popular discontent in the Arab world is food. And behind soaring food prices is Ben Bernanke.
The Economist: Free Exchange | The Bank does the splits
There are nine people on the Bank of England’s monetary-policy committee (MPC) and many opinions about what should happen to interest rates. The minutes to this month’s MPC meeting, published on February 23rd, revealed a four-way split in the vote on the direction of policy.


CNN Money | N.J. governor wants workers to pay more for benefits
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie introduced a $29.4 billion budget Tuesday that demands many concessions from state workers, as well as cuts spending and taxes.
MSNBC | Reid proposes 30-day bill to avert shutdown
Boehner says House will not pass stopgap plan at current spending rates.
CNN Money | Michigan approves plan to close half of Detroit schools
The goal is to eliminate the school system's current $327 million budget deficit, according to the plan's author, Robert Bobb, who was named emergency financial manager of the 87,000-student Detroit Public Schools in 2009.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NRO | Stay Unreasonable
The budget cuts of 2011 have to be defended if the real work of 2012 is to have any chance.
Washington Times | SCOTT: Florida ups the Wisconsin ante
Cuts government, reforms unions and slashes taxes, aiming for growth.
CNN Money | Delay on debt ceiling comes at a cost
The Government Accountability Office, which issued the new report, reviewed some of the "extraordinary" actions Treasury took in the past to keep the debt from hitting the ceiling, which has been raised 12 times since 1995.

NRO: The Corner | Social Security Is Part of the Problem
The current projections say that in 2015, the Social Security Trust Funds will run out of cash and the program will begin permanently paying out more benefits than it collects in taxes.
The Economist: Buttonwood's notebook | Do I hear $202 trillion?
[Kotlikoff's] calculation is that the Federal debt is not $8bn as the (net) figure officially states but $202 trillion.
Fox News | With Congress "Not Even Close" on Debt Reduction, Paul Tackles Entitlement Reform
...the senator said he intends, "in the next week or two," to introduce "a plan to reform Social Security where it will be solvent in perpetuity."
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Government Unions vs American Taxpayers
Recent studies show that state and local governments are severely underestimating their pension and benefit promises, including a $574 billion shortfall for the nation’s top major cities and a possible $3.4 trillion shortfall for the states.