Thursday, March 24, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Why homebuilders may never fully recover
The housing market, to put it mildly, still stinks. But have homebuilder stocks finally hit bottom?
WSJ | New Zealand Averts New Recession
New Zealand narrowly avoided a fresh recession in the fourth quarter and most economists are guardedly optimistic about the economy's prospects in the second half of this year.
Fox Business | Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Drop
New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods unexpectedly fell in February after a strong showing in January, a government report showed on Thursday, hinting at decelerating manufacturing activity.
WSJ | Income Data Reflect Recovery's Fitful Path
Personal income, hit hard by the recent recession, rebounded across the U.S. last year, but only 10 states saw individuals' earnings surpass their prerecession peaks.
MSNBC | US role in Libya costs hundreds of millions so far
Analyst: Initial cost of operation was between $400 million and $800 million.
WSJ | New Phase in Europe Crisis
Portugal Is Seen Needing Bailout as Austerity Plan Fails, Prime Minister Resigns.

Econ Comments                                                                                                            
Cato Institute | Ignorance Makes Us Poorer
Last week, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, again came out against the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, claiming they would cost U.S. jobs. Yet every respectable economist, from Adam Smith way back in 1776 until the present, has argued the virtues of free trade.
NRO | A Man-Made Energy Crisis
Obama’s policy is working . . . to raise energy costs.
Future of Capitalism | Rift on Right Over Reaganomics' Future
Leading figures in supply-side economics are heading into the 2012 election sharply divided over the future direction and emphasis of the movement, with one faction pushing for Reagan-style tax rate cuts while another faction advises a focus on a sound dollar, including a return to a gold standard.
WSJ | Pull the Plug on Electric Car Subsidies
They are costly and don't do enough to protect the environment.
Reason | The Rosy Scenario System
Optimism won't fix America's fiscal problems.

Blogs                                                                                                                          
The Economist: Free Exchange | The limited Mr Osborne
UK inflation and public borrowing
The Hill: On the Money | Business groups press Treasury to shift on corporate tax holiday
A coalition of American-based corporations calling for a tax holiday on overseas profits say the Obama administration is looking at the issue from the wrong perspective.
Forbes: Moneybull | The Obama Administration’s Sidewalk To Nowhere
The Obama administration’s stimulus package is leading us into a ditch.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Recession Caused Sharp Decline in Start-Ups
The recession caused a sharp decline in new business start-ups, intensifying job market losses and potentially putting future economic growth at risk.

Reports                                                                                                                          
AEI | Taking the Government Out of Housing Finance: Principles for Reforming the Housing Finance Market
We recommend that the US housing finance market of the future should be governed by four basic principles.
RCM: Wells Fargo Economics Group | New Home Sales Tumble in February
New home sales tumbled 16.9 percent in February to a series low 250,000-unit annual rate. Harsh winter weather and the onslaught of foreclosure sales likely cut into new home sales and also pulled prices lower.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Anthony Weiner: Waiver might work for New York
Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because of the city's special health care infrastructure, his office was looking into alternatives that might make more sense.
CNN: Money | Med students rush to primary care programs
This year, family medicine residency programs not only saw a record 94% enrollment rate, they also added an additional 100 slots to accommodate the increased demand.
Politico | Where are the health care all-stars?
Democrats are under siege as they mark the first anniversary of health care reform Wednesday - and they won't get much help from the star-studded, $125 million support group they were once promised.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
AEI | "ObamaCare": A Health Care Business Killer
Central to Obamacare is a vision that rearranging market power in the healthcare system will spring fresh business arrangements that will deliver better outcomes. A big part of this premise is the creation of “integrated delivery systems” like “accountable care organizations.”
NRO | Year One of the Obamacare Era
A look back, and a look forward.
Las Vegas Review-Journal | One year later, ObamaCare still in ICU
President Obama and Washington Democrats pursued seismic health care reforms for two stated reasons: expanding coverage while controlling costs.Today, one year to the day after the president signed what he considered his crowning legislative achievement -- and three years before its controversial individual mandate and other major provisions take effect -- the legislation has not met either goal.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato@Liberty | At First Anniversary, ObamaCare on the Run
One year ago today, President Barack Obama signed ObamaCare into law. I recap ObamaCare's first year in my latest Kaiser Health News column. Here's some additional news surrounding the law's anniversary.
Heritage Foundation | Doctors Give the Practice of Medicine under Obamacare a Grim Prognosis
Type the sentence(s) summarizing the link here.
Heritage Foundation | I Don’t Care, You Don’t Care, No One Cares for Obamacare
Advocates of Obamacare were utterly disconnected from Americans’ concerns about the bill—most especially their concern that it violated the Constitution. 

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
Omaha World Herald | Suttle unrolls toilet paper tax
Mayor Jim Suttle went to Washington Tuesday flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.
WSJ | Tax Holiday Rejected On Overseas Profits
Treasury officials said they would only consider letting U.S. companies pay a reduced tax rate on as much as $1 trillion of profits earned overseas as part of a broader overhaul of the U.S. corporate tax code.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Fox News | After Gas Pains, Consumers Hit With Skyrocketing Grocery Bill
Now, a trip to the local supermarket can be as shocking as a stop at the gas station. According to the U.S. Labor Department, food prices climbed 3.9 percent last month. It's the biggest spike since November 1974.
CNBC | Euro's Collapse is not 'Unthinkable'
I know some people think its unthinkable…I don’t think its unthinkable," Buffet said in an interview.
CNBC | Portuguese Premier Resigns After Austerity is Rejected
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates submitted his resignation Wednesday after parliament rejected his minority Socialist government's latests austerity measures.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Fox News | Bernanke says bank overhaul will help small banks
Bernanke said it would be important for the banks to adapt to the changing regulatory environment, in remarks to the annual convention in San Diego of small and medium sized banks. Baernanke acknowledged their concerns about the new law. But he said most of the requirements are aimed at the country's biggest banks and not them.
CNN: Money | Fed testing inflation-busting tool
The world is awash in dollars, but the Fed wants you to know it hasn't forgotten about the need to clean up after itself -- one of these days.
CNN: Money | Bernanke vs. the robo-banks
Computers making lending decisions don't sit well with Fed chief Ben Bernanke.
Bloomberg | Japan Earthquake Might Hasten Bernanke's Exit: Caroline Baum
A natural disaster qualifies as a supply shock. For the graphically inclined, this is represented by an inward shift, to the left, of the supply curve. It describes what happens when producers provide fewer goods at any given price than they did before. The result is lower output and higher prices.
The Atlantic | Should We Celebrate the Fed's Record $82 Billion Profit?
This week the Federal Reserve announced that it made a profit of $82 billion in 2010. That's a new record, breaking last year's previous record high of $53 billion. On pretty much any level, $82 billion is a lot of money. Where did it come from, and who should celebrate these profits?
WSJ | Don't Keep Rates Too Low for Too Long
The ECB will do what's necessary to maintain price stability in the euro zone.
Ludwig von Mises Institute | The Japanese Currency Intervention
How Does Disaster Promote a Strong Currency?
Ludwig von Mises Institute | Over to You, H. Parker Willis
"Commercial banks have seemed to apply themselves to the pursuit of illiquidity, while the Federal Reserve has devoted itself to the black arts of central planning."

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CalculatedRisk | Report: Portugal Bailout may be between 50 billion and 70 billion euros
It appears a bailout is inevitable and imminent. Here are the 2 year (6.7%), 5 year (8.2%) and 10 year (7.7%) yields on Portuguese government debt - all at new highs.
Curious Capitalist | Portugal and the political perils of austerity
The implications of what has just happened in this small European nation are huge for the developed world. Portugal gives us a glimpse into the political dangers facing the budget-cutting leaders of the indebted industrialized economies, while also showing us the folly of how Europe is trying to resolve its sovereign debt crisis. Here's what I mean:

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
The Telegraph | Budget 2011: George Osborne fuels economy with surprise cut in petrol duty
George Osborne has announced a surprise cut in fuel duty in a Budget statement designed to help families and deliver growth and jobs.
CNN Money | Budget pain taking a toll
After six months of coping with stop-gap funding measures, federal agencies have quietly started instituting hiring freezes, withholding grants and curtailing work on critical projects.
WSJ | Former White House Economists Say Deficit Is 'Severe Threat'
Ten former chairmen of the White House Council of Economic Advisers called on politicians to get to work soon on reducing the federal budget deficit...
NY Times | States Pass Budget Pain to Cities
The state budget squeeze is fast becoming a city budget squeeze, as struggling states around the nation plan deep cuts in aid to cities and local governments that will almost certainly result in more service cuts, layoffs and local tax increases.
WSJ | Moody's Welcomes U.K. Budget
Moody's Investors Service Inc. on Thursday said the U.K. budget indicates the government is tackling the current economic and fiscal challenges with plans to significantly reduce its budget deficit and levels of debt.

Econ Comments                                                                                                            
Cato Institute | Are We Broke?
With the United States running a $1.65 trillion budget deficit and getting ready to hit the $14.3 trillion national-debt limit, a strange new mantra has surfaced among advocates of big government: We're not really facing a budget crisis.
NRO | Revenge of the Deficit Commission?
The looming entitlement crisis is making some strange bedfellows.
NRO | Ohio’s Jobs Budget
Buckeye State governor John Kasich is slashing spending to encourage economic growth.
WSJ | Social Security's Glimpse Into the Left's Priority
A recent episode involving Social Security shows how difficult real deficit reduction really is. The day before the State of the Union address, liberal activists held a conference call to inoculate America's largest single program from inclusion in any deficit reduction discussion. The left's unilateral attempt to remove the nation's largest spending program from even a discussion begs the question: What is there to discuss?
Politico | Unsustainable budget threatens nation
Repeated battles over the 2011 budget are taking attention from a more dire problem—the long-run budget deficit.

Blogs                                                                                                                          ;
Heritage: The Foundry | Obama Budget Adds $80,000 per Household to National Debt
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has completed its initial review of President Barack Obama’s budget request and found that the White House significantly understated the cost of and red ink in its budget.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | First-time unemployment claims fall
The government added about 5,000 fewer newcomers to its unemployment benefit rolls last week.
CNN Money | More summer jobs - and they'll pay better
After suffering through several years of dismal summer job markets, not only will there be more hourly positions this year, but they will pay better.
Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell by 5,000 Last Week to 382,000
Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the labor market is mending.