Friday, February 25, 2011

General Economics

CNN Money | Gas prices: 'Most expensive February ever'
Gas prices jumped 6 cents overnight, as the recent spike in oil prices begins to hit filling stations across America.
Fox News | Freddie Mac posts $1.7B loss for Q4
Government-controlled mortgage buyer Freddie Mac managed a narrower loss of $1.7 billion for the October-December quarter of last year. But it has asked for an additional $500 million in federal aid — up from the $100 million it sought in the previous quarter.
CNN Money | Economy faces new threats
Just when the U.S. economy seemed to be getting its footing, a number of new obstacles risk tripping it up.
Fox News | Gov. Scott Rejects Revised Florida High-Speed Rail Plan
Despite assurances from the federal government that Florida would not be at financial or legal peril, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday rejected a revised $2.4 billion offer to build a high-speed rail system between Tampa and Orlando. 
CNN Money | GDP report: Economic growth revised sharply lower
Budget cuts by state and local governments hurt the economy more than originally thought, according to a government release Friday.
The Economist | Taiwan's commonsense consensus
Economic integration with China is not doing what China hoped and the opposition feared

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Truth About U.S. Manufacturing
The average American factory worker today is responsible for more than $180,000 of annual output, triple the $60,000 in 1972.
Reason Foundation | 4th Quarter Shows Strong Demand Growth
Revised GDP numbers for the fourth quarter of 2010 were released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis today, showing the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent, slightly lower than the previous estimate of 3.2 percent. That's not great news, but buried in the data are continued signs that demand is strengthening.

AEI: The American | More Equity, Less Government: Rethinking Bank Regulation
What would Milton Friedman and Adam Smith have thought of the Dodd-Frank Act?
CSM: Stefan Karlsson's Blog | Why the uprising in Libya will affect the world economy
Libya is a big oil exporter, and if exports are cut off, the price of oil will increase.
The Economist: Free Exchange | A disappointing day
The Ameriacn and British GDP data came out.
CafĂ© Hayek | Don’t follow the money
One of the arguments of the buy local movement is that buying local “keeps the money in the community.” This seems like a good idea but it’s a red herring that misleads.
The Economist: Daily Chart | Relying on Libya
Which countries depend most on Libyan oil?

Heritage Foundation | Housing Finance Reform: No Need for a New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Given the task of producing a plan to develop a new housing finance system in light of the 2008 crisis and the failure of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—a task that everyone agrees will be extremely complex—the Obama Administration decided to punt. Rather than one detailed plan, it produced brief summaries of three very different ones, leaving the nation to wonder what the Administration really wants.

Health Care

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Another ObamaCare Concession
And now a reprieve for a private insurance option Democrats despise.


WSJ | Lien on Me: IRS Eases Debt Rules
In a rare show of leniency, the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced new rules designed to make it easier for people struggling with tax debts to climb out of the hole.
Bloomberg | Geithner Seeks to Broaden U.S. Corporate Tax Overhaul Debate
[The recommendation] ...would affect income earned by the nation’s largest law firms, investment partnerships and so-called S corporations. It would more than double, to about $3 trillion, the amount of business income potentially affected by tax-law changes.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Barron's | Close the Online-Sales-Tax Loophole
Amazon seems to have the capability to collect tax in every state.
WSJ | The State Business Tax Revolt
Governors get a jump on corporate tax reform.

Consumer Reports: Money Blog | Taxpayer Advocate: IRS's new tax lien policy doesn't go far enough
The IRS hasn't gone far enough to change its tax-lien policy, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said today.

Cato Institute | New Estimates of Effective Corporate Tax Rates on Business Investment
We find that the U.S. effective corporate tax rate on new investment was 34.6 percent in 2010, which was the highest rate in the OECD and the fifth-highest rate among 83 countries.


The Economist | Back from the dead
The world has forgotten about Japan’s banks. Both Western and Chinese bankers should refresh their memory.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Ludwig von Mises Institute | Inflation Is Here, and It Is Going to Get Worse
As compared to September last year, the growth momentum of price indexes shows visible strengthening. Year on year, the rate of growth of the consumer price index (CPI) rose to 1.6 percent in January from 1.5 percent in the month before and 1.1 percent in September last year.

Mises Economics Blog | Inflation: It’s Getting Crazy
Why is it that by the time price inflation comes around, everyone seems to forget about the money question? It doesn’t matter that the monetarists once seem to dominate the day with the quantity theory or that the Austrians have been talking about this issue for 100 years.
CSM: Mises Economics Blog | Turnaround for US banking?
The US banking industry earned more in 2010 than it has since 2007. But will these changes stick?
ThinkMarkets | Let Them Eat Chips
Unfortunately for defenders of Fed policy, today’s paper is filled with stories of rising inflation.
Daily Capitalist | The Fed Will Never Go Broke
The Fed must be worrying about the possibility that it could go broke, otherwise it wouldn’t have sneaked through an accounting trick that makes it impossible for them to become insolvent.


The Economist | Tick, Tock
Time is running out to avert a government shutdown.
WSJ | Shutdown Preparations Begin
A 1981 White House memo outlined activities that would likely be exempted in a government shutdown, including medical care, air-traffic control, border protection and activities key to the safe use of food and drugs. Also exempted would be the essential elements of the banking system and tax collection activities.
National Journal | Senate Dems Put 7-Month CR on The Table
Democratic aides said the bill would cut $8.5 billion by eliminating previously approved earmarks. The bill would also accelerate about $24.7 billion in program eliminations or reductions sought by President Obama in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Budget Battles Roil Straitened States
The states' fiscal woes have sent chills through the municipal bond market and are prompting the biggest clash between government and their union-represented workers in at least 30 years.

CSM: The New Economy | Too much US debt? Blame the 'shopping' spree.
Crafting a federal budget is like a teenage shopping spree for boomers, seniors.
NRO: The Corner | The Impact of Not Reforming Entitlements Today
The simple translation of that is that if we wait, the future will be very painful, and we will be poorer.
Heritage Foundation | How Deep Are the Government Spending Cuts?
By contrast, the House-passed bill not only rejected the President’s proposed $39 billion hike but actually $61 billion cut off the 2010 level.
Fox News | Congressional Budget Chief Warns of Burgeoning U.S Debt
In 1970, net interest made up only three-tenths of one percent of the annual budget deficit. By 2007, that figure rose to 1.2 percent. And Elmendorf predicts it will erupt to 3.2 percent by 2021.


CNN Money | Obama to business leaders: Let's brainstorm jobs
President Obama called a new team of business and labor leaders to the White House Thursday to brainstorm about how to create jobs and boost the economic recovery.
CNN | Public union battles spread across U.S.
The fight over public union benefits and collective bargaining is spreading across the United States. Here is a state-by-state breakdown:

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
AEI | Build Roads, Save Money with Private Investors
The fact is, the tools to boost our economy and revitalize our infrastructure are already within reach--without adding to the deficit.

AEI: The American | The Real Problem with Government Employee Unions
Although collective bargaining by government employee unions may offend one’s sense of justice, what’s truly unacceptable is government labor’s stranglehold over the local, state, and federal governments with which they bargain.
AEI: The Enterprise Blog | Despite Recent ‘Mancovery,’ It’s Still a ‘Mancession’
By any standard measure of labor market conditions, it is women who have fared much better during the “mancession.”