Friday, March 11, 2011

General Economics

WSJ | Temblor Hits Already Weak Japanese Economy
The massive earthquake that struck northern Japan has also hit an economy that has been struggling to recover from long-running deflationary pressures and a government that has little room to borrow the funds that may be needed for rebuilding efforts, economists said.
Fox | Foreclosure activity slows sharply in February
The number of U.S. homes receiving a foreclosure-related notice fell to a 36-month low last month, as lenders delayed taking action against homeowners amid heightened scrutiny over banks' handling of home repossessions.
CNN Money | Why banks are fighting over 12 cents
The banking industry and the Federal Reserve are about to do battle. And they're squaring off over 12 cents.
MSNBC | If it's solvent until 2037, why pick on Social Security?
If nothing is done, benefits would need to be cut by 22 percent to keep the system in balance
CNN Money | Households grow $2.1 trillion richer
Don't look now, but you and your fellow Americans are now worth trillions more, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.
WSJ | Pain in Spain Is Hard to Ascertain
Spain's central bank said the country's lenders will need €15.15 billion ($21.07 billion) in new capital, but Moody's Investors Service published a far higher estimate that spooked markets and called into question the credibility of Spain's figures.
MSNBC | Retail sales rise for the eighth straight month
Shoppers snapped up cars, clothing and electronics gadgets in February
The Economist | Bamboo capitalism
China’s success owes more to its entrepreneurs than its bureaucrats. Time to bring them out of the shadows
Fox | Retail Sales Up in February for Eighth Straight Month
Shoppers snapped up new cars, clothing and electronics gadgets in February, pushing retail sales up for the eighth straight month. 
The Economist | Rustbelt recovery
Against all the odds, American factories are coming back to life. Thank the rest of the world for that.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Public-sector unions claim outsized share of U.S. pension assets
More than a third of the nation’s $9.3 trillion in pension assets belong to state and local government employees, even though they make up only 15 percent of the U.S. work force, a study shows.
Project Syndicate | Will Next Time Be Different?
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, in their excellent, eponymous book on debt crises, argue that the most dangerous words in any language are “This time is different.” Perhaps the next most dangerous words are “Next time will be different.”
Washington Times | STANEK: Two years of epic stimulus failures
Keynesian spending creates nothing but a wealth of debt
Washington Times | PENCE: Ensure limited-government victory by empowering states
Failed Reagan effort points the way to needed reforms
Bloomberg | I Know the Secret to Economic Growth: Hillary Rodham Clinton
One of the biggest growth markets in the world may surprise you.

Marginal Revolution | "Common mistakes made by economists"
Ezra's post is worth reproducing (after the intro) in full:
Cato@Liberty | Wasting Time on Government Waste
A recent poll found that 60 percent of those surveyed believe that problems with the federal budget can be solved by simply eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. In fact, 40 percent strongly agreed with this erroneous position.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Key to Prosperity: Fix Immigration Policies, Says Dallas Fed
The U.S. runs the risk of falling behind in the global race for talent if its immigration policies aren’t fixed, says a study in the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’s annual report.
Cato@Liberty | The Cost of Delaying Foreclosures
Further foreclosure delays impose significant costs, not just on the economy and lenders, but also on other borrowers.

Well Being Index | State of Well Being 2010
City, State and Congressional District Well Being Reports

Health Care

NationalJournal | This Year's Medicare Cut to Docs: 29.5 percent
Physicians will get a pay cut of 29.5 percent in 2012 unless Congress makes a fix. Each year since 2002, the Medicare payment formula has factored in reductions that Congress has overturned almost every time.
NY Times | 20% Rise Seen in Number of Survivors of Cancer
The numbers, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute, indicated that the number of cancer survivors increased by about 20 percent in just six years, to 11.7 million in 2007, the latest year for which figures were analyzed, from 9.8 million in 2001. In 1971, the number of cancer survivors was three million.
NationalJournal | Pelosi Confident About Health Law, Sort of
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is “pretty confident” that the year-old health care law will remain intact even as Republicans, state leaders, and conservative interest groups attempt to dismantle it, wholesale or piecemeal.
NationalJournal | HHS Regulations Follow Obama Waiver Endorsement
The Department of Health and Human Services rolled out proposed regulations Thursday laying out exactly how states can apply to get a waiver from major pieces of the health care law, including state insurance exchanges and a requirement that individuals buy health insurance.

Heritage Foundation | White House Shirks Responsibility to Address Medicare Insolvency
If lawmakers are serious about tackling out-of-control government spending, they have no choice but to tackle entitlements.
Heritage Foundation | Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid Still Await Solutions
Spending on Medicare and Medicaid is on an unsustainable path due to rising health care costs and an aging population. Meanwhile, fraud within the program contributes to the program’s cost by an estimated $60 billion a year.


CNN Money | Tax refunds: More saving and splurging
Nearly 43% of consumers said they plan to save their refunds, according to the National Retail Federation's 2011 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, marking the fifth straight year of this sentiment.
WSJ | Amazon Takes Action in Illinois as War on Sales Taxes Continues
The online retailer on Thursday took action in Illinois, as it had threatened to do, to counter a new law aimed at forcing online retailers to collect sales taxes in the state.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Taxpayers Win in Wisconsin
The monopoly power of government unions can be broken.


Bloomberg | Fed Recovery Flawed as Companies Get Credit Consumers Don’t
The consumer loan market, particularly housing, remains a challenge for borrowers. Total U.S. consumer credit outstanding was $2.4 trillion in January, or 6.6 percent below its July 2008 level, the Fed said in a March 7 report.
Washington Times | Utah Legislature goes for gold, silver as currency options
Seen as hedge against dollar slide.
Bloomberg | Fed's Dudley Says Encouraged by U.S. Job Growth in February
Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said February’s increase in U.S. jobs gives him more confidence that January’s figures were dampened by harsh weather and reiterated the labor market will pick up.

NY Times: Economix | That’s One Way to Lift Your Economy
Looks like a town in Spain is resorting to the Zimbabwean strategy for growth — except instead of printing more money, they’re just taking an old currency out of retirement, according to the BBC:


WSJ | Three-Week Bill On Spending Seen
The new, short-term measure through April 8 would likely make additional cuts in spending from last year's levels at a rate of $2 billion a week.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NY Times | The Burden of Pensions on States
Having lost the battle on collective bargaining, they may soon be asked to make more financial sacrifices.
Washington Post | Et tu, Jack Lew?
Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - Social Security is the most solvable.
AEI | Dems' Dull Budget Scissors
...cut 2011 non-defense discretionary spending from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent of GDP. Under Bill Clinton, such spending averaged 3.1 percent of GDP.

NRO: Exchequer | Biggest Bond Fund Dumps U.S. Debt
With deficits running at insane levels but interest rates still low, the risk-reward ratio is out of whack, even compared to “emerging-market” countries…

Heritage Foundation | Obama's 2012 Budget Offers More Gimmicks, Not Reform
So while there is some legitimate deficit reduction, $1.7 trillion of the $2.2 trillion in claimed savings are pure gimmicks and magic asterisks.


CNN Money | Factories having trouble finding workers
GenMet is a growing Wisconsin metal fabricating company that would be growing much faster if it could find one thing -- skilled workers.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
National Review | The Right to Choose
It’s time for the National Right to Work Act.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | State Unemployment Gives Mixed Signals
Twenty-four states saw their unemployment rates drop in January while 10 registered increases, the Labor Department said Thursday.
NY Times: Bits | AOL Lays Off 20% Following Huffington Purchase
AOL said it would lay off 1,000 employees on Thursday in the wake of its acquisition of news and commentary site The Huffington Post.
Political Calculations | "Pretty Much"
How much is the minimum wage at fault?
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Okun’s Confounding Law … Here We Go Again
It’s still early days for the improvement, but it raises questions. Why did the drop in output cause such a big rise in unemployment during the downturn? And why is an apparently small increase in output now causing unemployment to fall so quickly?
The Economist | Where the jobs are
The Bureau of Labour Statistics has released the latest state-level employment data, for the month of December, so it's possible to get a look at which states enjoyed the most job growth in 2010