Tuesday, March 22, 2011

General Economics

National Journal | Costs of Libya Operation Already Piling Up
With U.N. coalition forces bombarding Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi from the sea and air, the United States’ part in the operation could ultimately hit several billion dollars -- and require the Pentagon to request emergency funding from Congress to pay for it.
Roll Call | Cantor Outlines Economic Growth Plan in Speech
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called for sweeping tax reform and a rollback of Obama administration regulations of the business sector during a speech on the economy Monday.
Fox | Japan Expected to Take Up to 5 Years to Rebuild, With History in Its Favor
The Japanese economy has been staggered by an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear crisis. But history suggests it will bounce back with no lasting damage.
WSJ | Japan Damage Cost: $300 Billion
Among Costliest Events Ever for Insurance Industry; East Asia Export Concerns
Washington Times | Treasury sees billions in profit on sale of securities
The Treasury Department announced Monday that it will begin selling its remaining $142 billion in holdings of mortgage-backed securities purchased during the financial crisis.
WSJ | Europe Sets Pact on Bailout Fund
European finance ministers sealed a detailed agreement establishing a new bailout fund able to lend €500 billion, or about $710 billion, to troubled euro-zone countries.

Econ Comments                                                                                                           
National Review | Q1 Slowdown: Caveat Emptor
We can do a whole lot better.
Barrons | Is the Government's Mortgage Mission Accomplished?
The Treasury announces sale of its MBS holdings while existing home sales plunge.
WSJ | Michigan's War on the Middle Class
That battle was lost long ago—and now the young and talented are leaving.
Washington Times | RAHN: Ignorance makes us poorer
Trade boosts jobs by letting us focus on advantages
Mercatus Center | AT&T/T-Mobile Merger - Spectrum Shortage?
The proposed merger of AT&T with T-Mobile will probably bring the nation a second 4G network faster than it otherwise would have appeared. But Jerry Ellig, Jerry Brito, and Adam Thierer point out that the underlying issue driving the merger is the lack of additional spectrum available for wireless communications.

American: Enterprise Blog | Are Federal Policies Toward Small Business Contracting Succeeding?
If the goal is to help historically disadvantaged groups get a larger share of federal dollars, the answer is yes. But if the goal is to encourage federal bureaucracies to shift their contracting dollars from large businesses to small businesses, the answer is no.
The Economist: Free Exchange | Today in financial journalism
Why do you suppose oil is rising? The financial press knows.
Time: Curious Capitalist | T-Mobile's Dropped Call Will Cost You
What's in the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile USA cell phone industry merger for you? Nothing.

RCM: Wells Fargo | Existing Home Sales Decline In February
Sales of existing homes fell 9.6 percent in February, with declines evident in every region. Distressed sales accounted for 39 percent of all transactions, which pulled median and average home prices lower.

Health Care

ABC News | Health Care Law's First Anniversary: Why Haven't Americans Seen Changes Yet?
Many New Provisions Already in Effect; Many Affect Only a Narrow Range of Population.
NationalJournal | Democrats Take to the Heartland With Their Case for Health Law
The Obama administration began a series of low-key events this week to note the first anniversary of the health care law, first focusing on small-business tax credits that federal officials say not enough employers are claiming.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | ObamaCare, One Year In
Of course, I imagine that at this point supporters are saying that the best is yet to come--that ObamaCare just hasn't really gotten going yet.  Perhaps so!  But this is the one year report card, and the first-year grades are pretty underwhelming.
Politico | Starbucks CEO rethinks health law position
Starbucks chief executive Haward Schultz says the health overhaul law's employer requirements will impose "too great" a pressure on small businesses.

Heritage Foundation | Breaking Health Care Research: After One Year, the Effects of Obamacare Are Grim
Though most of the major provisions of Obamacare do not go into effect until 2014, Americans are already experiencing its harmful effects.
Heritage Foundation | Happy Birthday, Obamacare? What It Really Means for American Businesses
Today, the argument is that Obamacare is good for American business. Though there are sure to be those who experience some benefit under the new law, its overall effect will be to cause great harm to job growth and the economy at large. By and large, Obamacare will also fail to remove the obstacles that smaller employers face to provide health insurance for workers.
American: Enterprise Blog | Healthcare at Year One: Opinion Has Not Improved
When asked about expanding, repealing, or replacing the law, people’s answers bounce around depending on the information provided in the questions. Americans rarely give specific legislative advice. They speak about their general concerns through the polls.
Heritage Foundation | IHOP Owner Fears Obamacare’s Impact on Jobs and Economy
Womack estimates the cost of the law to his company will be 50 percent greater than his company’s earnings — in other words, beyond his ability to pay.
Fox News | Health Care Repeal Still on Republican Radar
The fact that some Republicans are looking to the Continuing Resolution for their next health care repeal move shouldn't lead people to think the strategy is set in stone. What's more, Republicans might not even get a vote on repeal this time around.
Heritage Foundation | Happy Birthday, Obamacare? What It Really Means for Seniors
Today, liberals will argue that Obamacare is good for America’s seniors. The truth is that the few perks Medicare beneficiaries will experience under the new law are overshadowed by the negative consequences of the far-reaching, fundamental changes it makes to the program.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Reagan's Legacy and the Current Malaise
Lower taxes and a strong dollar could spur growth once again.

Tax Policy Blog | No Country Leans on Upper-Income Households as Much as U.S.
Interestingly, countries with top personal income tax rates that are higher than in the U.S., such as Germany, France, or Sweden, have ratios that are closer to 1 to 1. Meaning, the share of the tax burden paid by the richest decile in those countries is roughly equal to their share of the nation's income.
Fox News | Democratic Senator Reveals Nearly $300,000 in Unpaid Property Taxes
For one-term Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., up for re-election in 2012, that's the amount of personal property taxes she failed to pay since 2007 on a plane she and her husband, a millionaire businessman, partially owned.

AEI | The Case against Raising the Social Security Tax Max
If they raise Social Security’s maximum taxable wage—a common proposal—individuals will respond by working and saving less, which weakens the economy and does not fix the problem.


WSJ | White House Budget Blowout
Republicans are pointing to a new Congressional Budget Office report which seems to confirm that President Obama is AWOL on the budget crisis.
Daily Caller | Welfare reform plan aims to cap spending
...spending on the 77 welfare programs administered by the federal government and the states has skyrocketed over the past 15 years.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Investors | Six Scary, Inarguable Truths About The New Red Menace
Recent reports from the Congressional Budget Office highlight six indisputable truths, each arguably scarier than the last, that promise to shape the contours of the coming debate over how to handle this menace.
CNN Money | When to cut the deficit: Sooner or later?
The debate among economists is not whether to reduce the more than $14 trillion of federal debt. It's when.

Cato@Liberty | Rand Paul’s Balanced Budget Plan
While Obama intends to continue spending at a historically high level, Paul would reduce spending as a share of the economy.
Reason: Out of Control Policy Blog | CBO's Take on the Obama Budget Confirms It's Just As Bad As You Thought
...the President has forgotten about the necessary counterweight to a pro-growth fiscal policy: spending restraint.
Heritage Foundation | A Voodoo Baseline Won’t Reduce the Deficit
By assuming an unrealistically rosy economic outlook, the White House was able to rely on phantom revenue from economic recovery for “deficit reduction,” even absent any policy changes.


NationalJournal | Federal Reserve Stress Tests Stoke New Transparency Debate
The Federal Reserve completed its latest round of stress tests on the nation's biggest banks last week, and many of them are now gearing up to sharply increase their dividend payments to shareholders.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Does the dollar dig inflation?
Maybe Ben Bernanke isn't such a debaser after all.

NRO: The Corner | ‘Time to End the Fed?: The Origin of Central Banking and Possible Alternatives’
The Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell makes the case that the Federal Reserve has a dismal track record and bears significant responsibility for almost every major economic upheaval of the past 100 years, including the Great Depression, Seventies stagflation, and the recent financial crisis. And yet it always seems to get more powerful over time.


Cato | Recession of 2008 Exposed True Cost of Public Employee Unions
A silver lining in the dark cloud of the recession that began in 2008 is that it has awakened the nation's beleaguered private-sector work force to the fact that government employees are prospering at their expense.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | College Grad Hiring Suggests Unemployment Issues Are Cyclical
The fate of job-seeking college graduates indicates the economy’s high levels of unemployment are cyclical in nature, giving hope continued growth and stimulative policy should help bring down the nation’s unemployment rate.