Wednesday, April 13, 2011

General Economics

CNN Money | G-20 finance chiefs to tackle global imbalances
Financial ministers from G-20 nations head this weekend to Washington, where they will brainstorm a new set of standards to tackle global economic imbalances.
Yahoo | Big Banks are Government Backed: Fed's Hoenig
Big banks like Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc should be reclassified as government-sponsored entities and have their activities restricted, a senior Fed official said on Tuesday.
CNN Money | Cotton prices heat up this summer
This summer, shoppers will be paying 10% to 15% more on all cotton products, according to a new industry survey.
Gallup | U.S. Economic Optimism Plummets in March
Confidence drops across income, gender, age, and political party categories
CNN Money | Store sales post slight increase
Store sales rose slightly in March, aided by a surge in furniture and home furnishings, and robust gains in electronics and gasoline sales, the government reported Wednesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | KEISER: Baucus vs. free trade
Democrat brandishes pro-trade rhetoric but banishes real trade deals
Reason | A Bankrupt Option
States should not be allowed to file for bankruptcy.
Washington Times | Kagan’s government money grab
Obama team makes feds, not citizens, supreme
WSJ | The Facts About American 'Decline'
In absolute terms, the U.S. increased its GDP, population and military spending from 2000 to 2010. In relative terms, the story is not always as good, especially in GDP.
AEI | President Obama's Flawed Energy Blueprint
Ever since Richard Nixon's call for "energy independence," U.S. Presidents have talked about energy policy, mostly incoherently. Continuing that tradition, President Obama is now crisscrossing the country and giving speeches touting his administration's energy plan, the "Blueprint for Energy Security."
NRO | Make 70 the New 65
There are plenty of reasons to raise the retirement age.

CafĂ© Hayek | There’s no their there
Using the Census data over time tells you NOTHING about what “they” (the top whatever percent) had happen to “them” over time.
Cato@Liberty | Obama Needs to Look at the Other Side of the Ledger
In his speech this afternoon, President Obama is expected to call for, among other things,  an increase in taxes on investors, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and other “rich” people who make over $250,000 a year.  The goal, the President claims, is to reduce deficits.
Cato@Liberty | Negotiators Wield the Emery Board against Massive Education Waste
Now that details of the please-no-shutdown budget deal are emerging, at least one thing is clear: Republicans caved on education spending.

RCM: Wells Fargo | Import Prices Rise Further in March
Recording the sixth consecutive monthly gain above 1.0 percent, total import prices jumped 2.7 percent in March. Large gains were recorded in food and fuel. Export prices also rose substantially on the month.

Health Care

NationalJournal | U.S. to Spend $1 Billion on Patient Safety
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that her agency was dedicating $1 billion from the health care law to two programs to reduce preventable errors that harm and often kill patients in hospitals.
Washington Times | Ryan’s plan for Medicare, Medicaid is game-changer in benefits debate
As the House begins debate this week on the Republicans’ budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year, provisions that call for massive cuts to Medicare and Medicare will dominate - a precursor to the battles over entitlement spending expected to define the 2012 elections.
NationalJournal | Lost in Translation: Interpreters Can Tackle Health Disparities
Not being able to communicate effectively with patients harms their care and can also end up costing everyone more, argued Dr. Joseph Betancourt, the director of the Disparities Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Politico | Obama's challenge: Health reform was the easy part
The problem is, the health care law is already trying most of the changes that could get rid of wasted medical spending painlessly and the experiments aren't even under way yet.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Welfare Reform Model for Medicaid
Critics predicted disaster for block grants in 1996. They were proven wrong. | Editorial: Mitt Romney’s RomneyCare Problem
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney begins his second bid for the presidency with an albatross around his neck. The sooner he admits his state version of ObamaCare was a mistake, the better.

Heritage Foundation | Brace for Larger Deficits as Lawmakers Rethink Health Care Law’s Medicare Cuts
Obamacare will cost Americans trillions of dollars in the decades to come. To help pay for its new coverage provisions, the plan makes sweeping cuts to Medicare. But as it turns out, serious doubts exist about the likelihood of these cuts actually occurring, and evidence has already shown that lawmakers may shy away from some of the cuts.


Fox News | Obama Eyes Tax Increases in Debt Plan, Faces GOP Opposition
Obama's speech comes on the heels of a Treasury Department report showing the federal deficit soared 15.7 percent in the first six months of fiscal 2011.
Politico | John Boehner toughens his tax-hike stance
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had been staking out slightly different stances on whether tax increases should be a part of the discussion on entitlement reform, with Boehner leaving a small window and Cantor taking a hard line.
Washington Times | Senator to introduce two bills to help combat tax evasion
Offshore abuses cost U.S. $100 billion in lost revenue.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Tax the rich! OK, but then what, Mr. President?
Certainly, continuing to promise low taxes for 98% of the country will help his newly launched 2012 re-election campaign. But it wouldn't be a great path to reining in debt.
Bloomberg | Paul Ryan Plan or Higher Taxes, Take Your Pick: Amity Shlaes
The best move for anyone of either party who wants even a shot at blocking tax increases before it’s too late ought to line up behind House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan like a recruit at basic training.

Mercatus Center | Lessons from the 1986 Tax Reform Act
What Policy Makers Need to Learn to Avoid the Mistakes of the Past.
AEI | Public Opinion on Taxes: 1937 to Today
In seventy years of surveys, we can find no instance in which more than a tiny percentage of Americans said the amount they paid in taxes was too low.


Bloomberg | Bernanke Urges Republicans to ‘Deal With’ Debt, Lawmaker Says
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke urged Republicans during a dinner meeting yesterday to find a way to “deal with” the rising U.S. national debt without endorsing a specific plan, lawmakers who attended said.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | The Fed Rescue Program Too Bizarre to Be True: Michael Lewis
Last week the Federal Reserve bravely released 894 PDF files containing 29,346 pages that detailed its heroic actions during the financial crisis.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Kansas City, Dallas Feds Want Discount Rate to Rise
Ten of the Federal Reserve‘s 12 regional offices last month voted to keep emergency borrowing cheap for banks, judging that the rise in global commodity prices poses a bigger threat to U.S. economic growth than to inflation.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | U.S. Can No Longer Rely on Importing Low Inflation
For years, the U.S. counted on the rest of the world to supply loads of T-shirts, shoes and toys. The U.S. also imported an item not found on any ship’s manifest: low inflation.


CNN Money | Countdown on for budget cuts
Lawmakers who were not directly involved in negotiations are just now seeing the specifics. Reactions have been ... mixed.
Market Watch | U.S. runs $188 billion deficit in March
For the first half of fiscal year 2011, the deficit is $829 billion, or about $112 billion more than the first six months of the prior fiscal year.
The Hill | Hoyer joins Obama in calling past vote on debt ceiling 'a mistake'
His comment came two days after White House adviser David Plouffe said Obama made a mistake by voting against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator.
NY Times | Budget Deal Deeply Cuts High-Speed Rail Program details released Tuesday showed that the agreement will not only eliminate financing for high-speed rail this year, but will also take back some of the money that Congress approved for it last year.
Fox News | Spending cuts bill hits defense and foreign aid
Tea partyers insistent on cutting military spending and foreign aid will find plenty to like in the spending deal struck by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Paul Ryan and His Critics
Dissecting the liberal assault on the House Republican budget.
RCM | If Paul Ryan Is Ronald Reagan, We're All In Trouble
Some kind of transformation, and it should be said that Ryan's budget is only Reaganesque insofar as Reagan too failed to rein in Leviathan.
Washington Times | LAMBRO: Mr. President, a scalpel won’t do the job
Obama is unprepared to make the deep cuts fiscal necessity requires.
WSJ | Spending Cut Hokum
After separating out the accounting gimmicks and one-year savings, the actual cuts look to be closer to $20 billion than to the $38 billion that both sides advertised.
AEI | After Budget Battle, Negotiations Look Grim
This time, they are not demanding another $61 billion or $100 billion in the next year's budget (although brace yourself for a series of guerrilla battles ahead on the next wave of appropriations bills, with more threats of shutdowns this fall), but are aiming much higher.
NRO | Not Just the Size of the Debt
The size of the government matters, too.
Reason Foundation | A Bankrupt Option
States should not be allowed to file for bankruptcy.
NRO | Getting Started on the Deficit
...there are miles to go toward economic sanity.

USA Today: The Oval | Obama's budget moves draw fire from some supporters
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is calling for a "donor strike" by 2008 supporters of Obama if he puts Medicare and Medicare "on the table for potential cuts."
WSJ: Real Time Economics | IMF Fiscal Chief: Europe Debt Situation Improving Faster Than U.S.’s
The IMF expects the U.S. to post the biggest budget deficit among advanced economies this year, equal to almost 11% of gross domestic product. By contrast, the euro-zone budget deficit is seen falling to 4.4% of GDP from 6.0% of GDP in 2010.
Greg Mankiw's Blog | The Ryan Plan
...the choice we face is between historically high taxes (the left's unspoken preference) and a fundamental rethinking of the social safety net (such as the plan proposed by Congressman Ryan).

Mercatus Center | From Pleasant Deficit Spending to Unpleasant Sovereign Debt Crises
Economists became largely skeptical about the potential for actively using deficit spending to improve macroeconomic outcomes. With the sharp recession of 2007–09 the Keynesian side of the debate suddenly revived, and today the clash continues.


AEI: The American | Some Reactions to Equal Pay Day
Today is Equal Pay Day, which supposedly represents how far into 2011 the average women has to work to make the same pay that the average man earned in 2010. The National Committee on Pay Equity started Equal Pay Day in 1996 as “a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages.”