Wednesday, June 15, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Boeing urges judge to toss NLRB case
South Carolina aircraft plant at issue in lawsuit.
Bloomberg | U.S. Industrial Production Rose Just 0.1% in May
Output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.1 percent after no change the prior month, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today. Economists projected a 0.2 percent gain, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Factory production climbed 0.4 percent, led by the biggest gain in business equipment output in four months.
Washington Times | CBO: ‘Great deal of the pain’ of downturn still to come
Congress’ official scorekeeper said Tuesday that the United States will continue to see slow economic growth for the next several years as job openings and a lack of demand for goods and services continue to block a speedier rebound.
Fiscal Times | Hidden Costs of College Raise Total to Extreme Levels
Numbers don’t lie, but they can cheat. Experts say the average cost of tuition, room and board, and general fees is $16,140 for a public four-year university and $36,993 at a private school.  Meanwhile, the average student debt graduates with $24,000 — if they make it through four years. Those numbers may sound big, but as any parent with a child (or two) in college can tell you, they represent only a small part of the overall tab.
Bloomberg | Crude Oil Futures Rise After Bigger-Than-Forecast Decline in U.S. Supplies
Supplies fell 3.41 million barrels to 365.6 million last week, according to the department’s weekly report. Inventories were estimated to decrease by 1.8 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Demand for distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, tumbled 5.2 percent to 3.6 million barrels a day, the lowest level since January.
Market Watch | June home builder index falls to nine-month low
Home builder confidence deteriorated in June, hurt both by the glut of cheaper existing homes on the market as well as rising building material prices, a trade association said Wednesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | A Welfare State or a Start-Up Nation?
After one generation, a one percentage point difference in growth rate becomes a 25% difference in per capita income.
Financial Times | How China could yet fail like Japan
Until 1990, Japan was the most successful large economy in the world. Almost nobody predicted what would happen to it in the succeeding decades. Today, people are yet more in awe of the achievements of China. Is it conceivable that this colossus could learn that spectacular success is a precusor of surprising failure? The answer is: yes.
Politico | The real costs of U.S. energy
But the dirty little secret behind America’s energy policy is that the real price we pay for gas or electricity is far larger than what we see at the pump or on our utility bills. The less obvious costs of our energy choices affect our health, the environment and national security.
Washington Times | RYUN: Republican energy crisis
Genuine conservatives shouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to subsidize natural gas.
Politico | Repeal withholding of small-business payments
Imagine you own a business that puts a new roof on the local high school. After you do the work, the school pays only 97 percent of what it owes you. Why? On the off chance you may not pay your federal taxes.
Minyanville | Why Leading Indicators Are Lagging: Economy to Accelerate in Second Half 2011
Leading indicator models are misinterpreting the recent "soft patch" because such indicators are essentially blind to the factors that have actually caused it.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CafĂ© Hayek | This Was the Heart of What Hayek Warned Against in his ‘Road to Serfdom’
Challenging George Will’s case against trade-adjustment assistance, Eric Salonen analogizes such assistance to compensation that government pays to people whose properties are taken by the building of a hydroelectric dam.  This analogy is faulty.  Unlike with land, almost no one has a property right to a job – for to have a property right to a job would be to have a property right to the manner in which other people spend their money. 

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
NY Times | Effort to End Tax Credit for Ethanol Fails in Senate
The Senate beat back a challenge to ethanol fuel subsidies on Tuesday in a demonstration of how the drive to cut the federal deficit can run headlong into a favored interest on Capitol Hill.
WSJ | Payroll Tax Cut Idea Joins Debt Talks
White House Floats the Notion of Extending and Widening the Breaks to Stimulate Economy; Lukewarm GOP Response.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Why Are Taxpayers Paying for Wine Tasting?
At a time of crisis a wasteful federal agency gets $200 million more.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | GOP Governors Push Washington to Ease Medicaid Rules
President Obama has the power to relax the rules, allowing states to tighten eligibility requirements to ease their commitments to the hugely expensive program. But doing so, the Post reports, would alienate the left and undermine the primary goal of Obama’s health-care law, expanding health insurance coverage. Still, GOP governors are getting fed up.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Atlantic: Megan Mcardle | How Superbugs Will Affect Our Health Care Costs
Remapping Debate has a very, very sobering piece on antibiotic resistance, and what it means for the future of health care.  Two graphs sum up the problem.  The first shows the rise of antibiotic resistance in various common infections.
Heritage Foundation | Obamacare’s Premium Subsidies Will Stifle Small Business
As small business goes, so goes the economy. They have been responsible for creating almost two-thirds of all net new jobs over the last 15 years. Indeed, one reason Obamacare is such a concern is that it will significantly reduce the incentive for small businesses to hire. Especially once the premium subsidies become available in 2014.

Reports                                                                                                                         
CBO | Changes in Payments to Physicians
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that, under current law, payment rates for physician services will be reduced by 29.4 percent in 2012. That large reduction called for under current law follows several years of legislative action to either maintain or increase physician payment rates under the Medicare program when those rates were otherwise scheduled to decrease under the provisions of law known as Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) mechanism. Such legislative actions have overridden the SGR.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Euro sinks to lowest this month vs. dollar
The U.S. dollar rallied against the euro after the inability of European officials to resolve their differences on how to respond to the Greek debt crisis pushed the single currency to the lowest level this month.
Market Watch | U.S. consumer prices climb 0.2% in May
The price of consumer goods rose in May as the cost of food, clothing, autos and housing all accelerated, offsetting the first decline in energy prices in 11 months, according to the latest government data.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
MarketWatch | Bernanke: Don’t play politics with debt limit
The White House and Congress should work together in “good faith” to solve the nation’s budget crisis and shy away from using a necessary increase in the debt ceiling as a tool to bend the will of opponents, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ: Real Time Economics | U.S. vs. Greece, Is Debt Situation Even Comparable?
Though their overall economic situations are vastly different, both the U.S. and Greece could be looking at near-term defaults on their national debt.
NRO: The Corner | Three Serious Cost Underestimations
The cost of the health-care law is grossly underestimated, by $1 trillion according to a McKinsey report.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Grim outlook for small business jobs
Small business owners have a grim outlook on the economy, with a gathering number planning to reduce jobs over the next three months, according to survey results from an industry group.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama’s euro-style unemployment
Welfare-state mentality fosters permanent joblessness.
WSJ | The Jobless Insurance Mess
How to help states now paying the bill for Congress's stimulus.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Obama’s Green Policies Will Turn the Lights Out on Job Creation
President Obama liberally uses the word investments when he talks about government funding for green technologies, and when he does, he commits the “free lunch” fallacy that plagues our politicians who believe we can use taxpayer funds to spend our way to an economic recovery.