Wednesday, March 23, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Yahoo Finance | Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars
Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.
Politico | Libya, Japan crises could rock the economy
The punishing allied airstrikes in Libya, coupled with the continuing nuclear crisis in Japan, threaten to push high oil prices even higher and undermine the fragile economic recovery in the United States and abroad.
CNN Money | Japan earthquake could cost $309 billion
Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami could cost up to $309 billion, making it the most costly disaster in the country since the end of World War II, the Japanese government said Wednesday.
Fox | New homes are becoming a bad deal in weak markets
A new home, the dream of many would-be buyers, makes less and less financial sense in many places.
Bloomberg | Japan's Quake Damage May Swell to $309 Billion
Japan’s government estimated the damage from this month’s record earthquake and tsunami at as much as 25 trillion yen ($309 billion), an amount almost four times the hit imposed by Hurricane Katrina on the U.S.

Econ Comments                                                                                                            
Washington Times | TONELSON: Obama doesn’t get trade finance
President Obama wants to use international trade policy to generate a sustainable, private-sector-led recovery, and that’s a good idea.
WSJ | More Spectrum, Please
AT&T bids $39 billion to get around FCC bottlenecks.
RCM | President Obama's Crony Capitalism
Obama critics were quick to link U.S. loans for Brazil oil to benefits for his investor pal George Soros. There was no link in this case, but considering how this president operates, it's no wonder suspicions ran high.
Washington Times | Gas pains, Midwest farmers’ gains?
Rising shipping costs put westernmost growers at competitive disadvantage.

Blogs                                                                                                                          
Consumer Reports: Money Blog | Banks roll out higher ATM fees
The fee you pay for getting cash from an ATM not with your bank just got steeper. Banks are looking to make up for revenue lost because of the implementation of new federal regulations that limit the fees they can attach to banking actions like overdrawing your debit account.  
Café Hayek | Made on Earth
Writing in the Finanical Times, Gillian Tett muses on the meaningless of “Made in….” labels.  Here’s the concluding half of Tett’s excellent essay:

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Health care's hidden costs: $363 billion
That amounts to $1,355 per consumer, on top of the $8,000 the government says people spend on doctor fees and hospital care.
Fox News | High-Profile Conservative Group Files Lawsuit Against Obama Administration Over Health Care Waivers
On the first anniversary of President Obama's health care reform act being signed into law, the Washington based GOP super think tank known as Crossroads GPS plans to file a federal lawsuit Wednesday in D.C. District Court against the Department of Health and Human Services.
NationalJournal | Jindal Will Not Create Insurance Exchanges in Louisiana
“ 'Obamacare' is a terrible policy that needs to be repealed and replaced,” Kyle Plotkin, press secretary for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, said in an e-mail. “It creates enormous new costs and future unfunded liabilities for states financing their Medicaid programs.”

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Health care law a bad prescription
The law is expected to increase federal health care spending by nearly a half trillion dollars in the next decade, according to the CBO. Privaet employer health care costs also are rising in part because of mandates that took effect last fall.
WSJ | Unhappy Anniversary
ObamaCare's cost jumps 8.6%.
AEI | One Year In, Americans Want a Divorce from ObamaCare
We are one year into this Alice in Wonderland journey toward further implementation of Obamacare, in which plain words, established facts, and basic economic relationships have struggled to retain their normal meaning. We should put the individual mandate out of its misery. It eventually will be repealed, but it also needs to be replaced. There are less onerous but more effective ways to ensure necessary health insurance coverage for more Americans.
Washington Times | FODEMAN & GRATZER: Obamacare: One year later
Look carefully at the legislation signed into law by President Obama last March, and you’ll discover a not-so-subtle campaign to dramatically reshape the doctor-patient relationship. From compensation to autonomy, Obamacare represents something of a war on doctors.
Politico | 'Obamacare' is a failed experiment
After a year of learning what is in the law and seeing its effects on families, small businesses and our economy it is now clear that Obamacare is a failed experiment. Sadly, this failure was predictable and very expensive.
Washington Times | GRAVES: Small business isn’t celebrating Obamacare
Small businesses are America’s job creators - responsible for creating seven of every 10 new jobs in the United States. But Obamacare’s job-destroying regulations and taxes are strangling businesses and, along with them, millions of quality American jobs.
NRO | Wrong, Baby, Wrong
How to undo the Obamacare disaster and do health-care reform right.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
NRO: The Corner | If I Were President: Obamacare, One Year In
If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states. The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.
Heritage Foundation | Happy Birthday, Obamacare? What it Really Means for Consumers
Obamacare has increased government control of Americans’ health care choices, raised the cost of insurance, forced insurers to stop offering child-only policies, broken the promise that an individual can keep his insurance unaltered, and bailed out underfunded union early-retiree health care plans. The early results suggest that Obamacare’s ‘benefits’ are not worth their costs.”

Taxes

Reports                                                                                                                         
Tax Foundation | New Analysis of Arizona Income Tax Reform
Revised Rates Would Be Lowest of Any State with an Income Tax.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Breitbart | Portugal tip of iceberg as Euro leaders tackle debt woes
With crisis-hit Portugal on the verge of government collapse and a cry for financial help, European leaders face an uphill task at a summit meant to seal defences against a year-long debt crisis.
CNBC | US Approaching Insovency, Fix To Be 'Painful': Fisher
"If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when."
CNN: Money | Fed posts income of $82 billion in 2010
In 2010, the Fed sent almost all of its profit -- $79 billion -- to Treasury, a $32 billion increase from the amount transferred in 2009.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | How the Fed's dividend daze could backfire
It's all gravy for the bankers now. But the rest of us could still get stuck cleaning up if the pot boils over.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Higher Inflation Expectations Are Spreading
The complication for the outlook is that investors think higher headline inflation will hang around in the medium term, defined as two to five years from now. When asked about medium-term inflation, the mean answer called for a 2.9% U.S. inflation rate.

Reports                                                                                                                         
Wells Fargo Securities | The Outlook for Central Bank Policy Rates
The developed economies of the world are faring very differently in the wake of the global recession. The economies of Australia and Canada are firmly in expansion territory, while economies in the Eurozone and the United Kingdom are still striving to get output back to pre-recession levels. The U.S. economy is somewhere in between, having just recently surpassed its pre-recession peak in real GDP. The already fragile recovery in Japan was dealt a serious blow by the recent earthquake and the still-unfolding developments related to that tragedy.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Unions at crossroads in states’ budget wars
Public employee unions, the last bastion of an American labor movement in decline, are facing the fight of their lives this year as strapped state and local governments seek to permanently downsize their pensions, pay, benefits and bargaining rights.
WSJ | Public Pension-Fund Squeeze
It Is Actuaries vs. Local Governments Over Return Rates; 'We Cannot Afford This'.
Bloomberg | Osborne Cuts 2011 U.K. Growth Outlook to 1.7% in Budget
...the British economy will more grow more slowly than forecast in 2011 and the U.K. will need to borrow more than previously thought in the next five years.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
American | Maybe Americans Really Are Ready for Spending Cuts
While some commentators despair of public receptivity to tough spending cuts, a review of the polls suggests the public is ready and willing to accept them. If only Washington would get on board.
NRO | Are We Broke?
On both measures of debt, we are in trouble.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato@Liberty | Return to Debt Mountain
Last year I noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget homepage featured a call from the president to “invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt.”
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Global Fiscal Positions: How Does U.S. Rank?
The U.S. was ranked 28 out of the 34 countries analyzed.
Cato@Liberty | Are Republicans Winning the Budget Battle but Losing the Budget War?
Among advocates of limited government, there is growing unease about the fiscal fight in Washington.

Reports                                                                                                                         
Heritage Foundation | Obama’s 2012 Budget: Higher Taxes, Slower Growth
President Obama recently unveiled his 2012 budget proposal and the 43 tax hikes it contains.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | State unemployment benefits in the crosshairs
The jobless may soon find their state unemployment check is not in the mail.
Washington Times | Unions at crossroads in states’ budget wars
Public employees are taking big hits.

Blogs                                                                                                                          
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Baby Boomers and the Labor Force
Retiring Baby Boomers are expected to leave the labor force over the next decade, but they may also be working later in life.