Tuesday, July 19, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Business, labor groups clash over new organizing rules
Business and labor representatives clashed sharply Monday over a National Labor Relations Board proposal that would greatly shorten the time needed to hold a vote on whether to organize a worksite.
Market Watch | Housing starts rise 14.6% to five-month high
U.S. home builders sharply increased construction in June, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Commerce Department.
CNN: Money | BofA posts $8.8 billion loss
Bank of America posted an $8.8 billion second-quarter loss as the biggest U.S. bank by assets tries to put its disastrous acquisition of Countrywide in the rearview mirror.
Fox Business | Calif. pension funds grow more than 20 percent
Public pension costs have drawn political pressure and efforts to drastically revise the system at the Capitol or at the polls. Public employees have been pushing back, arguing that pensions can be fixed with relatively minor changes to curtail abuses and that the recession's effects would dwindle over time.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Tides of March: Did U.S. economy crest this spring?
Did the U.S. economic expansion wilt this past spring, allowing another recession to take root?
Politico | GOP is bad for business
Republicans stress the important economic role of business, but when the chips are really down, they take a walk. They are now the party of “no” when the U.S. economy’s stability, growth and preservation are at stake.
Daily Caller | New urbanism isn’t going to save the economy now or ever
Liberals can sing the praises of an urban lifestyle and talk about herding more Americans — and families — into the city all they want, but as long as they stand foursquare with the government unions that make cities costlier to live in, it amounts to mere posturing.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama’s gas stunt comes up empty
Type the sentence(s) summarizing the link here.Siphoning oil from strategic reserve fails to cut prices.
Barron's | The Hour Before Dawn
There's reason to be optimistic about home prices in the wake of recent data.
Financial Times | Conditions for the next crisis are firmly in place
Financial crises occur when debt levels are excessive and asset prices fall. The severity of the recession that ensues can then be mitigated by large increases in government deficits and large cuts in interest rates.
Washington Times | RAHN: The end of progress?
Government overregulation threatens innovation.
Bloomberg | Boeing’s Uniquely American Right to Take Flight: Glaeser
The profound role that mobility has played in our country, enabling repeated reinvention, causes me to be deeply worried about the possibility that a National Labor Relations Board complaint will prevent Boeing Co. (BA) from moving plane production from Washington state to South Carolina.
WSJ | The Treasury-Bund Yield Puzzle
Why U.S. and German government bonds remain low—for now.
Cato Institute | A Beacon for US Trade Policy
Indeed, the lack of transparency about the true costs and benefits of trade explains America's increasingly unenlightened policy. But for an American whose government peddles the fallacy that increased exports are the benefits and increased imports the costs of trade liberalisation, developments in Australia offer a beacon that could guide US policy away from the rocky shores.
CNN: Money | Surprise! We still believe the big bad bailout is paying off
Our recent analysis of the U.S. bailout caused quite a ruckus. Here is our response to the critics who say we omitted some key details.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Greg Mankiw's Blog | The Always Quotable Larry Summers
Never forget, never forget, and I think it’s very important for Democrats especially to remember this, that if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.
Market Watch | Goldman Sachs slashes economic forecast
Following another week of weak economic data, we have cut our estimates for real GDP growth in the second and third quarter of 2011 to 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively, from 2% and 3.25%. Our forecasts for Q4 and 2012 are under review, but even excluding any further changes we now expect the unemployment rate to come down only modestly to 8¾% at the end of 2012.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Weak Growth Is Not Only in Rear-View Mirror
The U.S. economy’s weak growth rate was supposed to end with the first half. After all, temporary drags, particularly high energy costs and disruptions related to the Japanese disaster, were key headwinds last quarter.

Reports                                                                                                                         
AEI | Is Obama's New Deal Better Than the Old One?
The New Deal failed to reduce unemployment, and the policies of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress since the financial crisis look to be a repeat performance. These similar outcomes seem to rest on a similarity in policies.
Heritage Foundation | Evaluating Federal Social Programs: Finding Out What Works and What Does Not
Federal social programs are rarely evaluated to determine whether they are actually accomplishing their intended purposes. As part of its obligation to spend taxpayers’ dollars wisely, Congress should mandate that experimental evaluations of every federal social program be conducted.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Net Foreign Flows Turn Negative on Decline in Bank Liabilities
Net TIC flows turned negative in May as the decline in bank liabilities far outweighed a small increase in net long-term holdings. Despite all the talk about the U.S. debt ceiling, foreigners continued to buy Treasuries.

Taxes

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Beltway's Favorite Tax Metaphor
Why is it that a president who is described as 'the adult in the room' never asks the government to live within its means?

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | FDA Approves New Flu Vaccines
Health experts approved the three-strain cocktail to be used in the vaccines last winter, and companies are finishing the tedious process of making the vaccines. Every year, the mix changes slightly as the most commonly circulating flu strains mutate.
Politico | Can a federal health exchange work?
That question is nagging at some policy experts following last week’s release of the proposed federal rules on the new state health insurance marketplaces, which are supposed to be set up in every state by 2014 under President Barack Obama’s health reform law.
National Journal | Obama Administration Offers Loans for Health Insurance Co-ops
The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services says it wants to encourage groups to set up Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or CO-OPs, which would be private, nonprofit, consumer-governed health insurance plans. CMS is proposing standards for the CO-OPs and inviting groups to apply for money to start them up.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Mitt Romney: Carbon not a health threat
Mitt Romney says he doesn’t think carbon pollution threatens human health and would not green light EPA climate regulations if he were in the White House.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Canada’s Dollar Extends Gains as Central Bank Adjusts Rate-Increase Timing
The loonie, as the currency is nicknamed, reached a two- month high against the greenback as global stocks and crude oil rose, boosting demand for riskier assets.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Fox News | Lockhart: Fed in 'Wait and See' Mode on Further StimulusLockhart: Fed in 'Wait and See' Mode on Further Stimulus.
Minyanville | Monetary Stimulus, Lack of Will Could Doom US Economy
At some point you have got to remove the life support and determine if the patient can survive on its own breath.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Coburn Unveils $9 Trillion Deficit-Reduction Plan
The plan would cut $1 trillion from defense spending, while $1 trillion in savings would come from ending tax expenditures.
Fox News | US debt still attractive to overseas investors
The rest of the world still trusts Uncle Sam to make good on his word.
Washington Times | House GOP readies plan to ‘cut, cap, balance’
Democrats resist tying debt rise to constitutional amendment.
WSJ | Hope Fades for Much Good to Come From Deficit Fight
Regardless of precisely how the current wrangling over raising the government's debt ceiling is resolved, Washington now appears to be collectively squandering the opportunity to make something positive out of the crisis.
Washington Times | ‘Kicking the can’ threatens credit rating
Kicking the can down the road — a great Washington tradition when the two major political parties reach a budget impasse — is not an option this time if the U.S. is to maintain its privileged financial standing in the world.
WSJ | Debt Deal Search Intensifies
Top White House officials and congressional leaders are racing against the clock to devise a scaled-down deficit-reduction proposal that would get both President Barack Obama's signature and enough Republican votes to pass the House in time to avert a government default.
MarketWatch | Greece aid hopes ease Europe debt anxiety
ECB’s Nowotny hints ‘selective default’ may not be ‘major negative’.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | GOP Balancing Act
We certainly support the House GOP's plan today to vote to cut spending by $111 billion in fiscal 2012, and to cap spending in future years at a gradually smaller share of the economy.
Washington Post | Calling Jim DeMint — to warn GOP on debt plan
Jim DeMint can help put some steel in GOP spines — by making clear the consequences of throwing in the towel.
Washington Times | BLANKLEY: No more Washington tricks
It’s time to dump the political nihilists in favor of the budget realists.
RCM | Book Review: America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb by Peter Ferrara
As Ferrara correctly sees it, the U.S. doesn't presently suffer a lack of energy or ideas, rather its economic outlook has been weakened through bipartisan policy failure.
Washington Times | MILLER: Obama’s default
‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ puts the burden on Barack.
Fox Business | Ban the Debt Limit
Should there be a debt limit at all? Moody's Investors Service doesn't think so.
WSJ | America's Debt-Ceiling Opportunity
The GOP should demand business-like accounting as a part of a government budget deal.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | A “Can-kicking” budget deal in Minnesota
Instead of “raising taxes on the rich” (the preferred strategy of the Governor) Republicans prefer deferrals.
EconLog | Budget Arithmetic
I think that Bowles-Simpson is the best that either party can do right now. If one of them runs the table in the 2012 elections, then they can go for smaller or larger government, as the case may be.
Forbes: Politics of Plunder | It’s Time To Kick Farmers Off The Federal Dole
The U.S. government has no money.  Uncle Sam is borrowing 40% of this year’s $3.8 trillion in outlays. 

Reports                                                                                                                         
Mercatus Center | The Constitutional Budget Rule
According to Mercatus Center at George Mason University Senior Scholar David Primo (an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester), there are several key principles and goals that should drive legislators’ design of constitutional budget rules.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Borders liquidates: 10,700 jobs lost
Borders Group will liquidate its remaining assets after efforts to find a buyer fell through, the bookstore chain announced Monday.