Friday, April 29, 2011

General Economics

National Journal | Don't Panic
Disappointing GDP growth isn't a sign of another slowdown ... yet.
Market Watch | More Than Half Still Say U.S. Is in Recession or Depression
Democrats rate the economy better than Republicans or Tea Party supporters.
Fox Business |
The final reading on the overall index came in at 69.8, up from 67.5 in March and up a hair from the preliminary reading of 69.6.
Washington Times | High gas, food costs grind back growth
State budget cuts also nick recovery.
Fox Business | Personal Spending, Incomes Rise in March
U.S. consumer spending rose as households stretched to cover the higher cost for food and gasoline as inflation posted its biggest year-on-year rise in 10 months.
CNN: Money | Gas spending and prices by state
How much you actually pay for gas is affected by your income and local economy, not just what price is at the pump. Mississippi residents spend a whopping 13.2% of their income on gas.
Bloomberg | Treasuries Poised for Best Monthly Returns Since August on Slowing Economy
Two-year note yields headed for their biggest monthly drop since January 2010 as business activity in the U.S. grew less than forecast and growth slowed in consumer spending. The Fed said this week it will finish $600 billion of debt purchases in June, as planned, while holding interest rates near zero, where they’ve been since December 2008.
The Economist | What's wrong with America's economy?
Its politicians are failing to tackle the country’s real problems. Believe it or not, they could learn from Europe.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Admit it, Obamanomics has failed
Forecasts predict no economic improvement in 2011.
WSJ | The Keynesian Growth Discount
The results of our three-year economic experiment are in.
National Journal | Ryan Says Oil Subsidies May Need to Go
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on Thursday he would support rolling back the billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies now enjoyed by the oil industry – a huge shift from the views held by most of his party.
WSJ | Bipartisan Target: Oil-Sector Tax Breaks
Soaring oil company profits and yawning federal deficits are making long-protected industry tax breaks a bipartisan target in Washington. Democrats have rebranded $4 billion a year in oil-industry tax incentives as a subsidy big oil companies don't deserve.
Minyanville | Brazil Economy Booming But Delicate
The interest rate rise to 12% highlights the fragile nature of Brazil's fast-growing economy.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Economists React: First-Quarter GDP ‘Stutter’ Likely Temporary
Economists and others weigh in on the 1.8% increase in first-quarter gross domestic product at a seasonally adjusted annual rate.
NRO: The Corner | American Income Inequality in Perspective
Debate over the data aside, the most striking point on this chart is that even the poorest 5 percent of Americans are among the richest people in the world — richer than nearly 70 percent of the world’s population.
The Economist: Free exchange | Slower growth, for now
America's recovery slowed in the first quarter of 2011. At a seasonally adjusted annual rate, real GDP grew by 1.8% in the first three months of the year, down from the 3.1% growth performance in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the advance estimate of output released this morning. This deceleration came as no surprise; indeed, some recent forecasts projected an even slower rate of growth.

NBER | When Fast Growing Economies Slow Down: International Evidence and Implications for China
The evidence suggests that rapidly growing economies slow down significantly, in the sense that the growth rate downshifts by at least 2 percentage points, when their per capita incomes reach around $17,000 US in year-2005 constant international prices, a level that China should achieve by or soon after 2015. Among our more provocative findings is that growth slowdowns are more likely in countries that maintain undervalued real exchange rates.
RCM: Wells Fargo | GDP Growth Sputters at the Start of 2011
Rising at a slower-than-expected pace, real GDP grew 1.8 percent in the first quarter. Weather disruptions, higher food and energy prices and a sizeable decline in government outlays weighed on economic growth.

Health Care

National Journal | Berwick: Health Care Reform Provides Best Way to Fix Medicare
The way to reform Medicare isn’t shifting costs to seniors and people with disabilities -- it's improving the quality of care provided, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick writes in a Wall Street Journal editorial published on Friday.


Bloomberg | Geithner Says Tax System Must Be Overhauled to Curb Debt, Spur Growth
He has said that Congress needs to act in June, before the Treasury exhausts its techniques for maintaining borrowing room.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Fortune | Bring on the corporate tax holiday!
Giving companies a tax break on repatriated profits may not lead directly to new jobs, but it would likely boost the economy by propping up the dollar and fueling stocks.
Washington Times | ENLOW: School Choice: Alive and well
More states join as tax credits and vouchers mean large savings.
Cato Institute | WSJ-NBC Poll: Making the False Case for Tax Increases
We profess to worry about the burden we are leaving to future generations. At the same time, we insist that no current Social Security recipients should be affected by cutbacks. We cannot have it both ways.
Reason Foundation | “If you focus on the deficit, then tax increases are on the table.”
Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist on why deficits are a distraction, why Republicans shouldn’t compromise on the budget, and why low taxes are the key to cutting spending.

CRS | A Breakdown or "Receipt" of How Individuals' Federal Taxes Are Spent
Similar to a consumer's itemized receipt for the goods purchased in a store, a taxpayer receipt would provide information about what government goods and services their tax dollars pay for.


WSJ | Officials Unfazed by Dollar Slide
In recent days, the nation's top two economic policy makers—Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner—have publicly expressed their desire for a strong dollar. But there is little indication of a change in policy from either the Fed or Treasury—or in underlying economic conditions—that would alter the currency's downward course.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Minyanville | Fall of the Dollar Mirrors Financial Collapse of 2008
As the US Dollar collapses against hard assets, those trying to "catch a falling knife" may want to reconsider.
NYT | The Intimidated Fed
Last month more than 14 million Americans were unemployed by the official definition — that is, seeking work but unable to find it. Millions more were stuck in part-time work because they couldn’t find full-time jobs. And we’re not talking about temporary hardship. Long-term unemployment, once rare in this country, has become all too normal: More than four million Americans have been out of work for a year or more.
Minyanville | Five Things You Need to Know: US Dollar Collapse Intensifies
Also, a look at Yum! Brands' emerging markets exposure, how investors herd, and Wal-Mart shoppers running out of money!


WSJ: Real Time Economics | Rise in Jobless Claims Bears Watching
New filings for jobless benefits unexpectedly jumped 25,000 in the April 23 week. The increase could hint that businesses are cutting labor costs to offset the prolonged surge in raw-material costs. But the strength of the U.S. recovery — which slowed in the first quarter — is highly dependent on stronger job growth.
Cato@Liberty | Good Jobs for Everyone!
In my quest to downsize the government, I’ve been looking at the Department of Labor budget recently. My vision is to cut federal spending to create a freer and more prosperous society. James Madison’s vision was for a federal government of “few and defined” powers.


National Journal | Gallup: Americans Prefer GOP on Budget
Republicans have a 12-point advantage over Democrats on budget issues, with 48 percent of Americans saying Republicans are better suited to handle the issue.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Post | How to add teeth to Obama’s plan for a debt fail-safe
The president’s debt fail-safe would mandate cuts to government spending and tax breaks if by 2014 — notably, not until after the election — deficits were not projected to be declining as a share of the economy.
Washington Times | DELL: What fiscal pain?
Fundamental reforms necessary to resolve the nation’s long-term fiscal gap equitably and efficiently would produce large gains for little pain.
Cato Institute | Budget-cutting Like It's 1995
The takeaway is that cuts are inferior to terminating entire agencies and programs.

Mercatus Center | The Debt Ceiling: What is at Stake
The United States should not consider defaulting on its debt, nor should it put itself in a position where it has to postpone payment to contractors or “manage” other non-debt obligations. Neither, however, should Congress be forced to raise the debt ceiling under false pretenses.