Monday, March 14, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | U.S. Seizes Two Banks; Year's Total at 25
U.S. regulators Friday seized an Oklahoma bank, as well as a bank in Milwaukee.
The Economist | The elephant in the waiting-room
Politicians are ignoring a big, dysfunctional programme
Washington Times | Obama urged to tap strategic oil reserves
Democrats cite gas prices
Fox Business | Japan: The Economic Consequences of the Disaster
The toll in human misery wrought by the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan tests the imagination of economists, but the effects on Japan's GDP and wealth are a different matter.

Econ Comments                                                                                                       
WSJ | Beyond Charter Schools
Vouchers advance in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
Daily Caller | Tsunamis are not stimulus
There is nothing good about a natural disaster. The tsunami that hit Japan today is an unmitigated tragedy. Still, there is a certain optimism in the human condition that tries to find the upside even during the worst of times. This is one of our species’ nobler attributes. But sometimes it leads smart people to say dumb things.
Fortune | Obama has a mortgage plan (or three) worth reading
The president has three plans on the table.  Which one is going to fix the mess we're in?
WSJ | Democrats vs. Obama on Trade
A 'no brainer' for everyone except the White House.
RealClearMarkets | Hillary Clinton Knows How Economies Grow?
We may as well ask a plumber about quantum physics.
Ludwig von Mises Institute | How Real Estate Came to Own Us
Cheap money, buyer tax incentives, lack of new supply, nothing seems to keep home prices elevated.
National Journal | Greenspan's Flimsy Explanation for a Tepid Recovery
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, armed with charts and data, says he has fingered the primary culprit for the sluggish recovery: government activism.
Minyanville | Housing Market: Foreclosure Relief Programs Under Fire
Data continue to show that loan modification and short sale initiatives are floundering, and foreclosure relief programs are now on the chopping block.

Blogs                                                                                                                          
The Economist: Free Exchange | Eleven things I learned at work this week
IN THE course of writing this week's Economics focus about the 20 best papers ever published in the American Economic Review, I learned that:
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of March 13th
The key releases this week will be industrial production and the consumer price index on Thursday. The Federal Reserve FOMC meets on Tuesday. For housing, the NHAB housing market index will be released on Tuesday, and housing starts on Wednesday.
NRO: The Corner | More on State Pensions
Here is a piece I wrote for Reason.com on state pensions. I look at three common misconceptions and illustrate them with examples from three states: New Jersey, Connecticut, and Ohio.

Reports                                                                                                                         
RCM: Wells Fargo | Economics Group
Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary
AEI | Bailouts or Bankruptcy: Are States Too Big to Fail?
In any sensible discussion of the fiscal crisis of the states, Pollock’s and Stein’s laws should serve as a rock-bottom foundation. But they also suggest further questions: who will not get paid, and on what terms will things come to stop? The answers will depend on political decisions in the states and in Washington, DC. We had better get those answers right, and we may not have a lot of time.
Ludwig von Mises Institute | The Rationale for Total Privatization
I have three goals. First, I want to clarify the nature and function of private property. Second, I want to clarify the distinction between "common" goods and property and "public" goods and property, and explain the construction error inherent in the institution of public goods and property. Third, I want to explain the rationale and principle of privatization.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Health care fight: Round 2
Unless the situation changes, the 2012 campaign could easily be one in which the republican presidential candidates talk aobut the health care law more than Obama does and so will the GOP challengers to the 23 Senate Democrats up for reelection.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | Daniels and Obamacare, Round Two
To recap, the Healthy Indiana Plan, which Daniels signed into law in 2007, bears the following similarities to Obamacare:
NRO | Health-Care Waivers and the Courts
Are the constitutional defenses of health-care waivers persuasive? Do they even reflect an understanding of the realities of the health-care statute? And if the waivers are unconstitutional, could there be remedies in the courts?
Politico | Health coverage is freedom
One year ago this week, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, ensuring quality, affordable health coverage to all Americans, cracking down on the worst abuses by health insurance companies and placing a new emphasis on wellness and disease prevention.
NationalJournal | Get Me Rewrite: Hatch Wants a Do-Over on Health Care Reform
Facing what could be a tough path to reelection in a state that has shifted further right, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the senior Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, pitched a conservative health care reform blueprint that starts with repealing the law and building a replacement package with state governments at the center.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Side Effects: Obamacare Creates More Unnecessary Work for Already Swamped Doctors
One provision of Obamacare has already spawned a nightmare for doctors, pharmacists, and patients. As of January 1, Americans with health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible savings accounts (FSAs), and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) can no longer purchase over-the-counter (OTC) drugs using these tax-exempt accounts. After only a couple of months, health care providers are already experiencing the negative consequences of the change.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Fox | Wisconsin labor protesters refuse to quit
Thousands of pro-labor protesters turned out for more demonstrations at the Wisconsin Capitol on Saturday, seemingly undeterred by the fact that a contentious collective bargaining bill had been signed into law the day before.

Econ Comments                                                                                                        
WSJ | EPA Tangles With New Critic: Labor
The Obama administration's environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party's most reliable supporters: Labor unions.
National Review | Why the ‘Wage Gap’?
Feminists say, “You shouldn’t have to choose.” In fact, making choices is part of being human.
Washington Times | SIMBERG: Space isn’t a jobs program
Let NASA focus on mission, not pork politics and landscaping.

Blogs                                                                                                                          
EconLog | Minimum Wage: The Missing Explanation
Let Them Work

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
ABC News | Vt. House Approves Internet Sales Tax Crackdown
Vt. House approves Internet sales tax crackdown despite worries it will hurt businesses.
NY Times | Amazon Pressured on Sales Tax
Across the country, state officials struggling with big budget shortfalls are trying to get Amazon.com to take on a role it does not want: tax collector.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato@Liberty | Norquist Is Right, Coburn Is Wrong: Tax Increases Undermine Good Fiscal Policy
First, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem or a deficit/debt problem. Red ink is undesirable, to be sure, but it is a symptom of the underlying problem of a government that is too big and spending too much.

Reports                                                                                                                         
Tax Foundation | Countdown to #1: 2011 Marks 20th Year That U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Is Higher than OECD Average
This will leave the U.S. rate a full 10 percentage points higher than the weighted average of our major economic competitors.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Japan Adds $183 Billion to Stabilize Markets After Quake
The Bank of Japan poured a record 15 trillion yen ($183 billion) into the world’s third-biggest economy today as the strongest earthquake in the nation’s history triggered a plunge in stocks and surge in credit risk.
Bloomberg | EU Puts Burden on Bailout States to Stop Crisis: Euro Credit
European leaders are betting their retooled bailout plan can defuse the region’s debt crisis as they reject costlier remedies and put the onus for stopping the turmoil on cash-strapped governments.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Minyanville | Will the Yen Rise? Explaining the Currency's Movements
Events like the earthquake in Japan and subsequent threats to nuclear reactors increase demand for money by the businesses, individuals affected.
Ludwig von Mises Institute | Three Flawed Fed Exit Options
Austrian economists know that the Fed's creation of new money can distort markets by pushing interest rates below their natural market level. This is a subtle point that most commentators ignore. Instead, the thing that has more and more people worrying at night is the potential for runaway price inflation.
Minyanville | Inflation and Hyperinflation: An Excerpt From John Mauldin's "Endgame"
In this chapter of his new book, John Mauldin explains how hyperinflation is an extreme case of inflation -- and a nightmare for anyone living it.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Lawmakers predict new stopgap budget will pass
Lawmakers from both parties said Sunday that a new compromise federal budget deal is likely to be approved this week despite lingering questions from freshmen Republicans in the House.
CNN Money | States kick grandma to the curb
...lifelines for seniors may disappear as governors and lawmakers slash spending to close an estimated $112 billion in budget shortfalls, advocates say.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
The Examiner | If we don't get federal spending under control, who will?
At a time when Washington is borrowing about $4 billion a day, the Democrat proposal to cut about four and a half billion dollars in government spending for the rest of the fiscal year was an insult to the voters who demanded in November that we get our fiscal house in order.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Congress needs a chainsaw
Tuesday’s vote would keep the government open until April 8 while making another $6 billion in noncontroversial cuts.
Barron's | Cost-Cutting With Dull Knives
If we are serious about reducing the federal budget, we need to look all over, including at our nearest and dearest. Senator Grassley's hard choices.
NRO | There Aren’t Enough Millionaires
Capital is sensitive — it just wants to be loved! — and it will go where the love is, where it can be fruitful and multiply.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Bankrupting America | U.S. household debt down while national debt on the rise
Contrast that with the fact that state and local government debt rose at a 7.9 percent annual rate and federal government debt increased at a 14.6 percent annual rate.
Political Calculations | Repaving The Sidewalk to Nowhere
So which part of the 2009 Stimulus Package was the stupidest thing that the federal government funded in 2010?... In our opinion, it was perhaps a little construction project we'll call "The Sidewalk to Nowhere".