Tuesday, April 12, 2011

General Economics

ABC | 5 Shocking Gas Prices Around the Globe
Surprised by Gas Price of $4 a Barrel? Try $8.35 in Germany.
NY Times | Gas Prices Rise, and Economists Seek Tipping Point
Gas prices are approaching record highs, but so far most Americans do not appear to be drastically cutting back their driving or even their spending as they did in 2008.
CNN Money | U.S. trade deficit narrows
The U.S. trade gap narrowed in February, as both exports and imports declined during the month.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Net Neutrality Override
The House votes to stop the FCC's Internet power grab.
Washington Times | Welfare reform redux
Expand opportunity by applying ‘96 lessons to 76 programs.
EconLog | Garret Jones on IQ and Economic Growth
I'm at the same APEE meetings in Nassau that Arnold's at and I saw another paper presented by Garret Jones. It was titled "A Political Coase Theorem for the Intelligent." It was on how high-IQ pairs in experimental games do significantly better on trust and cooperation.
WSJ | Systemically Confused
Even the regulators can't agree on which firms pose a financial risk.
NRO | America’s Next Top Energy Slogan
What, exactly, does “clean energy” mean?
Politico | The Social Security sacrifice
The debate about changes to Social Security ignores its most important benefit: a longer and healthier life span for America’s seniors.

Cato@Liberty | Challenging the Trade-Deficit Orthodoxy
Tomorrow morning the U.S. Commerce Department will release its monthly report on U.S. exports, imports, and the trade balance. That’s a safe bet, barring some unforeseen calamity.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Small-Business Optimism Declines
Small business owners became more worried about the economy in March, according to data released Tuesday. Even so, hiring remained positive and more businesses planned to increase prices.
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Midwestern population shifts
Metropolitan areas the cities and the suburbs that suround them have grown by 10.8 percent over the last decade. Rural areas only grew by half as much in the same period.
Calculated Risk | NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index decreases in March
From National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): Hiring Up, But Optimism Down in March.

Health Care

NYT | Democrat in Missouri to Oppose Health Care Law
Missouri’s Democratic attorney general broke with his party on Monday and urged a federal judge to invalidate the central provision of the new health care law.
NationalJournal | FTC, DOJ Fight Over Health Care Law
Turf dispute is latest in long line of squabbles between antitrust agencies.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NationalJournal | Medicare Chief Berwick: 'I'm Not for Cutting. I'm for Changing.'
“Our country is facing a choice,” Berwick told the American Hospital Association’s annual membership meeting. “(There are) two strategies to control health care costs: We can either cut or change. I’m not cutting. I’m for changing.”

American: Enterprise Blog | Romneycare at Year Five: Happy Birthday?
In a release this weekend, the New Hampshire Democratic party thanked former Governor Mitt Romney “for providing the critical momentum necessary to get President Obama’s vision of health reform through Congress and signed into law.” President Obama has also said good things about the Romney plan.
Volokh Conspiracy | Democratic AG Opposes Individual Mandate
The New York Times reports that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit opposing the constitutionality of the individual mandate. This is significant because Koster is a Democrat.


Fox | Obama Putting Tax Increases Back on Budget Table
Higher taxes have been missing from the fierce budget battle that nearly shut down the federal government.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Examiner | The liberals' plan: Gut defense and tax, tax, tax
The pundits are fond of saying that Republicans are deeply divided over cutting federal spending.
Washington Times | RAHN: Tax inequity
Counterproductive system punishes success but claims to be progressive
Investors | Cal Vs. Krug
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's bold entitlement reform plan goes beyond taming spending. It recognizes that the history of cutting taxes vindicates Calvin Coolidge, not Paul Krugman.
Investors | Taxes & Politics
Someone once said that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. That may have been true when he said it, but today taxes are mostly the price we pay so that politicians can play Santa Claus and get reelected.
Fox | Corporate Tax Crackdown Faces Big Obstacles From Lobbyists
Millions of average Americans are preparing to file their tax returns, most without the help of powerful lobbyists working to make sure the tax code is tailored to minimize their obligations to Uncle Sam.

Carpe Diem | Tax Deadline Approaches: Bring Us Back to 1913
This post has become an annual tradition at CD as the tax deadline approaches.  


MSNBC | Debt ceiling brawl threatens economy, consumers
Well before limit is reached, uncertainty could force interest rates higher.
WSJ | Fed Plays Down Inflation
Speeches Signal U.S. to Keep Credit Cheap as Others Tighten.
Telegraph | Eurozone ship is on the course that was set for it: heading for the rocks
Two events last week saw the crisis in the eurozone deepen - the Portuguese bail-out and the ECB's interest rate increase. But much more is brewing.
WSJ | Price Rises Sap Global Recovery, IMF Report Says
Global economic growth should slow to 4.5% this year and next, from 5% in 2010, as governments wind down their stimulus programs, the fund said in a forecast released before its spring meeting this week.
WSJ | Inflation Concerns Weigh on Treasurys
Worries that the central bank may be falling behind the curve on inflation weighed on U.S. Treasurys on Monday, even after a senior Federal Reserve official signaled that interest rates could stay low for longer.
WSJ | Inflation Cue: Follow the Money
Rising price indexes are just one piece of the inflation jigsaw puzzle. A glance at money-supply growth gives a different picture.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NationalJournal | Yellen: Loose Monetary Policy 'Continues to Be Appropriate'
Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen indicated on Monday that the central bank would continue its $600 billion round of bond purchases, and she fought back against charges that its actions helped spur a commodity price surge, despite a growing chorus of protest from inflation hawks. 
Forbes | Memo to Merkel: Stop Killing the Euro
In the name of saving the euro Europe is undermining it. Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl almost single-handedly created the political environment that brought the euro into existence. It would be a travesty to have another German chancellor, Angela Merkel, unwittingly destroy it.
WSJ | Iceland Says No
The island nation may serve as an example for those who want capitalists to operate at their own risk.
Barron's | Dollar Losing the Currency Wars
Greenback beats steady retreat as the advance of other currencies shows no signs of waning.
MarketWatch Why Europe’s debt crisis isn’t over
Political leaders in Europe have spent the last few days telling everyone who will listen that the credit crisis here is over.
Minyanville | The Abstract CPI: Going Beyond the Numbers of Inflation
The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis churn out numbers for categories and sub-categories beyond reason. But there are gaping holes in this exercise.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Yellen Says Fed Won’t Repeat Mistakes of ’70s
The Federal Reserve is unlikely to have to raise interest rates soon because the surge in global commodity prices should have a temporary impact on U.S. inflation, a key Fed official said Monday.
Marginal Revolution | Negative nominal interest rates
If currency disappeared, how might negative nominal interest rates come about? The market won’t do it automatically. 


CNN: Money | 2011 budget cuts revealed
Lawmakers lifted the curtain Tuesday on a 2011 spending plan that will slash nearly $40 billion -- cutting back on a wide range of programs and services including high-speed rail, emergency first responders and the National Endowment for the Arts.
MSNBC | White House: President regrets vote against raising debt limit
Obama in 2006: Fact that Senate is debating raising debt limit is 'sign of leadership failure'.
ABC News | Debt Ceiling Fight Takes Center Stage: What It Means For You
If U.S. Debt Limit Isn't Raised, Interest Rates Would Surge and Markets Would Crash.
MSNBC | Budget tricks helped Obama save programs from cuts
Details of $38 billion deal reveal a lot of one-time cuts, accounting sleight of hand.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | THUNE: Fixing Washington’s broken budgeting
Congress needs a committee devoted solely to deficit reduction.
RCM | On the Budget, Obama's a Real (Mis) Leader
With his speech Wednesday, President Obama will try to claim leadership in the fight against the debt tsunami. But he's already had his chance to lead - many of them, in fact - and he blew it.
Washington Times | BLANKLEY: Obama’s pretend budget cuts
Spending is the lifeblood of the president’s party.
AEI | $38 Billion in Budget Cuts? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
For all the drama surrounding the narrowly averted government shutdown, this was just the warm-up round. The real budget fight begins in a few weeks, when Congress must take up legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling.
NRO | Another Spending-Cut Plan
Cut subsidies to billionaires. | On The Budget, Obama's A Real (Mis)Leader
Obama might think that, with a nice new speech, he can wipe this sorry slate clean and redraw himself as a responsible and reasonable fiscal hawk. Republicans, and the public at large, would all do well not to take him at his word.

Cato@Liberty | Farm Subsidies to be Cut?
It’s shaping up to being another good year for farm incomes. As a result, policymakers looking for spending cuts are finally turning an eye toward farm subsidies. An emerging target is the $5 billion in annual payments made to farmers…for basically just being farmers.


CNN Money | Last-minute tax breaks for the unemployed
If you're unemployed, filing your taxes may be the last thing on your mind. But there are a handful of perks you don't want to miss.
Forbes | The Green Jobs Myth
Even if we could find evidence that green energy is more labor intensive than its brown counterpart, that's an argument against green energy.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | WSJ There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap
A study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that women earned 8% more than men.