Wednesday, March 30, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | House votes to kill Obama mortgage plan
The House passed a bill Tuesday to kill a signature Obama administration program that helps homeowners stay in their homes but has faced criticism as ineffective.
WSJ | Regulators Unveil Mortgage-Lending Rules
Federal regulators proposed far-reaching changes to lending rules that eventually could raise the cost of borrowing for most homeowners, kicking off what is likely to be a furious effort by the housing and banking industries to soften the proposal.
MSNBC | Type the Title You Want People to See
Falling home sales, prices create fresh headwinds for recovery
WSJ | Korean Economic Growth Hits 8-Year Peak
South Korea's economic growth in the final quarter of last year slowed slightly from the prior three months but accelerated from the year-earlier period, bringing the full-year growth rate to the highest in eight years, which will likely add to rising inflation pressures.
Fox Business | Obama to Lay Out Plan to Curb U.S. Oil Imports
President Barack Obama will set an ambitious goal on Wednesday to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on energy security amid high gasoline prices that could stall the U.S. economic recovery.
CQ | GOP Unveils Bills to Wind Down Fannie, Freddie
House Republicans unveiled a series of bills Tuesday to hasten the federal government’s departure from the mortgage market, a move that acknowledges a single major piece of housing legislation would be unlikely to advance.
WSJ | Housing Market Shivers
January's 3.1% Price Drop Stirs Fears of 'Double Dip'; Only Two Big Cities Gain.

Econ Comments                                                                                                            
Financial Times | Dodd-Frank Fails to Meet Test of Our Times
The financial system on which Dodd-Frank is being imposed is far more complex than the lawmakers, and even most regulators, apparently contemplate. We will almost certainly end up with a number of regulatory inconsistencies whose consequences cannot be readily anticipated.
Investors | Community Reinvestment Act: Separating Fact From Fiction
Acorn clones using the Community Reinvestment Act to shake down banks aren't happy with our campaign to expose the truth about the CRA's central role in the financial crisis.
WSJ | 'Skin in the Game'
But not for Fannie, Freddie and the FHA
Washington Times | LUGAR: Sweet deal for Big Sugar
Government interference costs billions in higher prices and lost jobs

Blogs                                                                                                                             
AEI: The American | Why Ezra Klein’s ‘Easy Solution’ to Social Security Is No Such Thing
So this “easy solution” to Social Security relies on ignoring everything we’ve learned about the trust fund over the past three decades and imposing marginal tax rates that most countries in the world long ago abandoned. The worrying thing, and the thing that prevents a truly bipartisan solution to Social Security, is that to too many people on the Left these issues just don’t occur to them.
The Atlantic | The Rich Really Are Different: Their Incomes Fluctuate More
This is one of the reasons that we can't fix all our budget problems with higher taxes on the rich--if we do that, revenues are going to collapse dangerously every time there's a recession.
AEI: The American | Income Mobility in the Dynamic U.S. Economy
The dynamism of the U.S. economy is frequently underappreciated. Several recent studies provide new evidence that American households experience considerable mobility over time in income, earnings, and wealth.
Political Calculations | How Much Do Public School Teachers Really Make Compared to Private School Teachers??
Mark Perry put up the public vs private school teacher income data for 2007-08 in a table format. We took that data and put it into graphical form, then added the median income data for full-time, year-round workers from the U.S. Census just to compare.
NRO: The Corner | Pension-Crisis Deniers Never Sleep
The question of whether states will be allowed to change the benefits for current retirees will depend on the courts, but the reality is that when there is no more money, there is no more money.
NRO: The Corner | Oil, Oil, and Not a Drop . . .
Gasoline at the pump has risen 67 percent since inauguration day 2009, although it has just been announced that the United States has the largest reserves of recoverable fossil fuels in the world (gas, oil, coal, etc.).
Washington Times: Water Cooler | Cash for Clunkers 2: The Return of Government Motors
Ready for another cash for clunkers program? It looks like General Motors is attempting to replace it's own consumer incentives with tax payer money.

Reports                                                                                                                          
RCM: Wells Fargo | Consumer Confidence Slips in March
Consumer confidence dropped to a three-month low as consumer expectations dropped 16 points, likely reflecting consumer concerns about higher gasoline prices.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Boston Herald | Fraud contaminating free health-care pool
Inspector general uncovers millions paid for fake claims.
NationalJournal | For Senators, a Focus on HHS Budget, Reform
President Obama put the fiscal 2012 HHS budget at $79.9 billion, including money needed to implement the year-old health care law. The budget also allocates $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $740 million more than in 2010.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Medical Progress, Please
Your next melanoma, courtesy of the FDA.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Corporate Split: Tax Holiday or Real Reform?
Even as many multinational corporations, particularly in the tech sector, clamor for a temporary tax holiday on their international earnings, a few major companies are sending the opposite message: focus on comprehensive reform of the corporate tax code...
WSJ | Tax Revenue Snaps Back
States Book More Inflows but Face Tab for Higher Spending, End of Federal Funds.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Café Hayek | On State- and Local-Government Revenues
...converting all dollars into 2010 dollars, we find that the $378,312,000,000 raked in by state and local governments in the final quarter of 2010 is 88.2 percent more real revenue than these governments raked in during the first quarter of 1988…
Atlantic: McArdle | Did GE Really Pay No U.S. Taxes in 2010?
GE Capital lost billions in the financial crisis, which I assumed gave them a nice, fat, NOL carryforward to lessen their tax burden in future years.
Heritage Foundation | Does Obama’s Tax Plan Help Those Who Help Those in Need?
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for President Obama’s proposed 2012 federal budget.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Utah: Forget dollars. How about gold?
Gather 'round, gold standard enthusiasts. There is a new law in the state of Utah that might be of interest.
Bloomberg | History Backs Bernanke Betting Volatility Variable Won’t Hurt
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is betting that surging prices for food and fuel won’t wind up breaking the cost of living for Americans. The historical record shows the odds are in his favor.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Minyanville | Inflation: Are World Governments Doing "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" to Keep Investors Happy?
Inflation's threat to world markets is just one of 21 worries facing investors this week.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Balanced budget amendment: 'Irresponsible'
More than a dozen leading Republican senators are co-sponsoring a bill that would require a balanced budget; cap spending below the historical average; and require a supermajority of lawmakers to approve tax hikes or most increases to the debt ceiling.
WSJ | Portugal Hints at Deficit Revision
Portugal's statistics agency said it plans to make "accounting changes" in a report to be submitted to the European Union's statistics agency by week's end, a revision that could indicate a wider 2010 budget deficit and which would further undermine the credibility of the country's embattled government.
Politico | Eric Cantor and John Boehner diverge on budget
...Cantor distanced himself Tuesday from spending compromises discussed with the White House and took a harder line on whether Republicans should keep the government open absent a budget deal next week.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | RIEDL: Farm subsidies ripe for reform
Defenders assert that the $25 billion annual cost of farm subsidies (a bit less than 1 percent of federal spending) is too small to bother reforming. Yet one-third of the federal budget — $1 trillion total — consists of programs that each cost $25 billion or less.
WSJ | Why I Won't Vote to Raise the Debt Limit
Everyone in Washington knows how to cut spending. The time to start is now.
Washington Times | KUHNER: Shut the government down
GOP’s timid strategy of incremental cuts betrays conservative values.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato@Liberty | A New Low for GOP’s ‘YouCut’
This week the House Republican leadership finally put the Pentagon on the YouCut chopping block. However, the possible cuts suggested by the GOP are pathetic
Bankrupting America | NEW VIDEO: Who’s more responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington?
At first thought, Charlie Sheen hardly seems like a model for fiscal responsibility. But, somehow, Washington has managed to be far worse.
Cato@Liberty | Budget Battle Update: It’s About Preparing for the Inevitable Fight, not Forcing a Shutdown
...if a shutdown battle is inevitable, advocates of smaller government should decide whether it's better to have that fight sooner rather than later.
NRO: The Corner | What $20 Billion Offer?
...senior Republican aides tell NRO that they still haven’t seen this alleged offer from the White House. Even assuming the offer is legitimate, some are skeptical of what it might contain in terms of cuts.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Jobs picture shows some positive signs
In a sign of continued improvement in the job market, private sector employers added over 200,000 positions in March and the number of planned job cuts fell, according to two reports released Wednesday.
CNN Money | Obama patent czar: 'Millions of jobs lying in wait'
Overhauling the United States' outdated and flawed patent system has been talked about for decades, but reform could finally be around the corner -- for real, this time.
Fortune | A tough job market for teens, thanks to Grandpa
New research reveals just how tough the job market is on America's youngest workers, and they may have their grandparents to blame.

Econ Comments                                                                                                            
Politico | Pass patent reform to create jobs
Earlier this month, the Senate took an important step toward modernizing our patent system. It voted overwhelmingly to support much-needed reforms that can help spur economic growth. It’s now the House’s turn