Monday, April 18, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Poll: U.S. economy improving despite global events
Survey of business analysts signals solid environment for sustaining jobs.

Econ Comments                                                                                                            
AEI | I Owe U
Student Loan Debt Isn't a Big Deal--It's a Good Deal
NRO | Obama’s Fake Energy Policy
Flex fuel is the solution to our reliance on foreign oil.
RCM | How Risk Regulation Is Killing Risk Takers
One of the more fascinating, yet largely ignored, characteristics of human psyche is something called "loss aversion." This blip in human psychological development means that, generally, people are more afraid to lose something they have than they are motivated to gain something they don't have.
National Journal | Zoellick: Impoverished Nations 'One Shock Away from a Full-Blown Crisis'
World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned this weekend that spiking food prices have pushed poor countries to the brink -- just "one shock" from tipping into crisis.

Blogs                                                                                                                          
Cato@Liberty | Who’s Saving the New Deal?
This week National Review takes a different approach, portraying House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan as the architect of a new deal. (Hat tip to Charlie Spiering.)
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Fastest growing cities in America
Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox have an analysis in Forbes of new Census data about where Americans are living. They look at metro regions not only central cities. Las Vegas and Raleigh, N.C. were two of the fastest growing regions this decade due in part to job growth.
Reason Foundation | Beijing Running Out of Options with its Real Estate Bubble
Can the Chinese government stop the runaway (bullet) train of housing and infrastructure overinvestment before it's too late? That's the question NYU Stern's Nouriel Roubini asks in his latest column at Project Syndicate.

Reports                                                                                                                          
RCM: Wells Fargo | Economics Group
Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
Fiscal Times | Super Rich See Federal Taxes Drop Dramatically
The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.
Washington Times | 60-year-low tax revenues contribute to deficit growth
Revenues plunged from their peak of $2.57 trillion in 2007 to reach $2.1 trillion, or 14.8 percent of economic output in 2009 — the lowest level since the 1950s — and taxes remain that low today, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Fiscal Times | IRS Approved: 8 Crazy Tax Deductions
Almost 34 percent of tax returns claimed itemized deductions for the tax year 2008, according to tax publisher CCH. Some are totally legit; others are completely ridiculous…

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Taxes Are Not Too Low: It’s the Spending, Stupid
Income taxes accounted for $900 billion of collections, or about 40% of all tax receipts. The federal government spent around $3.5 trillion; the resulting deficit of $1.3 trillion was made possible by borrowing.
Barron's | Corporate Tax Hurdles: A World of Difference
A study finds that, among major nations, the U.S. has the second-highest effective tax rate for corporations. At the bottom of the list: a nation that few equate with low taxes.
WSJ | Where the Tax Money Is
Obama targets the middle class while pretending to tax only the rich.
RCM | Tax the Rich! Tastes Great, Less Filling
Do you really want to challenge the rich into demonstrating their tax avoidance skills while the economy struggles to climb out of recession? Wouldn't you rather have these people use their smarts to grow their businesses?
WSJ | The 30-Cent Tax Premium
Tax compliance employs more workers than Wal-Mart, UPS, McDonald's, IBM and Citigroup combined.
Washington Times | SCOTT: Refocus corporate taxes to grow jobs
American business faces uncompetitive tax rates.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Enterprise Blog | Happy to Pay Taxes?
According to the Tax Foundation, in 2012 there will be 53 million people with no federal tax liability in the United States.
Cato@Liberty | The IRS: Even Worse Than You Think
...needless complexity creates an added burden – sort of like a hidden tax that we pay for the supposed privilege of paying taxes.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
NationalJournal | Chipping Away at the Health Care Law
After three months of unrelenting attack, Republicans have succeeded in chipping away small pieces of the health care law.
NationalJournal | Obama Signs Into Law First Changes to Health Reform
President Obama signed into law the first major change to the health care law on Thursday—the repeal of the hated 1099 tax-reporting provision.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
USA Today | Another view: Ryan's way is the better way
Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal represents a different way out of the crisis. He would not touch Medicare for anyone on the program today or anyone getting close to retirement. No one would be thrown off of the program.
WSJ | New Efficiencies in Health Care? Not Likely
If the British experience is any indication, generic drugs and expert commissions will do little to lower costs.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
NRO: The Agenda | How to block grant Medicaid
First, it’s important to step back and think about why Medicaid is a state-federal program. The federal government has a couple of key advantages in providing means-tested entitlements like Medicaid.

Reports                                                                                                                         
Heritage Foundation | Transforming Medicare into a Modern Premium Support System: What Americans Should Know
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R–WI) budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 would transform the Medicare program into a “premium support” system. Under the Ryan approach, the federal government would make a direct financial contribution to Medicare enrollees’ health care coverage, just as it does today for federal workers and retirees in the popular Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the nation’s largest and most successful example of a premium support system.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Associated Press | End of QE2 has some investors fearing fall in June
Could the financial markets be heading for a June swoon?
CNN: Money | Fed president calls for more regulation
As policymakers and regulators begin the process of building a more stable financial system, it is clear that we cannot rely on a single line of defense but instead need a series of safeguards.
Bloomberg | Bernanke Briefings May Offset Fed Hawks With Words as New Tool
When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke convenes his first press conference next week, he may emphasize a point the markets seem to have forgotten: He’s serious about keeping interest rates low for an "extended period."
Bloomberg | Greece Denies Restructuring Plan as Traders Raise Default Bet
Greece said it has no plans for a debt restructuring even as German officials openly discuss the possibility and investors charge a record amount to insure the country’s obligations.
Fox Business | Overheating China Threatens Global Inflation
China’s overheating may soon be the world’s problem. Data released on April 14 showed GDP rising at 9.7% in the first quarter, and consumer prices running at a too-fast 5.4%.
NYT | Inflation in China Poses Big Threat to Global Trade
As the United States and Europe struggle to get their economies rolling again China is having the opposite problem: figuring out how to keep its revved- up growth engine from generating runaway inflation.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Senate budget chief cool on Ryan plan
Says work will be based on 'Gang of Six' plan.
MarketWatch | Beijing inflation medicine not working
A view verging on consensus is that China’s mixture of loan curbs, moderately higher interest rates and administrative measures can successfully slow its giant economy and tame inflation.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The Economist: Free Exchange | Europe, courting trouble
Markets were jolted this morning as rumors spread that Greece had gone to the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to request a debt restructuring.

Employment

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | SCOTT: Refocus corporate taxes to grow jobs
American business faces uncompetitive tax rates.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Fiscal Times | House Passes Ryan's Controversial Budget Plan
...the Republican-controlled House passed a budget plan for the next decade that would dramatically shrink the role of the federal government.
WSJ | IMF Believes Greece Should Consider Debt Restructuring By 2012
The International Monetary Fund believes Greece's debt is unsustainable and has told European government and central bank officials that Athens should consider restructuring by next year…
Fox News | Geithner confident Congress will raise debt limit
"I want to make it perfectly clear that Congress will raise the debt ceiling," Geithner said in the interviews taped Saturday and aired Sunday.
WSJ | Moody's: Budget Debate "A Turning Point" For US Fiscal Position
Although getting political agreement on a final budget will be "extremely difficult" due to differences on taxes and healthcare, the "changed parameters" of the debate are positive for the U.S.'s Aaa rating.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NRO | Losing the Future
How do you “invest in the future”? By borrowing $188 million every hour. That’s what the government of the United States is doing.
Washington Times | WOLF: Obama’s spray-on hair of fiscal policy
A tax rate of zero percent would yield zero in revenues, while a tax rate of 100 percent would also yield zero in revenues because no one would work for nothing. Americans aren’t stupid. Clearly, then, simply increasing tax rates will not always increase revenues.
NRO | Not Tax Cuts, Not Wars, and Not Bailouts
The spending on the wars and the forgone revenue from the Bush tax cuts do not add up to much of that $1.6 trillion deficit: a little less than 16 percent.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Forbes: The Capitalist | Phantom Federal Budget ‘Cuts’
Obama effectively endorses a perpetual rise in the state’s parasitical share of the economy: not since the 1960s has U.S. real GDP come even close to growing 66% in a single decade.
Bankrupting America | President Obama’s Fiscal Policy Examined
Seeking to protect education and infrastructure spending and spur the economy, the President calls for a raise in taxes, which could have a negative effect on job creation.