Friday, July 22, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | Factory activity rebounds in Philly region
Factory activity rebounded in the Philadelphia region in July, suggesting the stark weakness seen in June might indeed have been temporary.
National Journal | Offshore-Drilling Bill Stalls Over Revenue Sharing
Currently, all royalties and revenues from energy production in federal waters – about $5 billion to $10 billion annually – goes to the Treasury. Under a 2006 law, Gulf Coast states – chiefly Louisiana – do enjoy a 37.5 percent share of revenues from some Gulf drilling, and Landrieu has long sought to extend that privilege to all coastal states in order to promote further drilling.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | VERRET: About-face on consumer protection
Democrats dump support for five-member board in favor of one powerful director.
Washington Post | Tea Party would defeat Obama by supporting McConnell plan on debt
Thanks largely to the Tea Party, today, more than at any time since Reagan’s arrival 30 years ago, Washington debate is conducted in conservatism’s vocabulary of government retrenchment. The debt-ceiling vote, an action-forcing mechanism of limited utility, has at least demonstrated that Obama is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.

Heritage Foundation | Natural Gas: Boom or Bust? All Signs Point to Boom
Natural gas in the United States is an important source of energy, and increasing production can help meet rising energy demand, increase jobs, and drive economic growth. Several states have already tremendously benefited from increased production.
Econlog | The Wisdom of CPK
If I were writing a blurb for the fifth edition of Charles P. Kindleberger's classic Manias, Panics, and Crashes, I would say that "This is the best narrative that has been written about the 2008 financial crisis, and it was written in 2005."
Heritage Foundation | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Opens Its Doors. America, Look Out
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) officially opened its doors in Washington, making it the first major new federal agency in nearly 10 years.
Marginal Revolution | The new Greek bailout plan, digested
The EU pledges that Greek creditors will take a hit but that this will never ever happen again, not with Spain or Italy in particular. That’s not a credible promise, if only because of the magnitudes involved, and so over time it shouldn’t influence the borrowing rates of those countries very much. It’s worth a small amount to have the promise made at all, but the comparable promises made about Greece were just broken so who is being fooled here?
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Only Certainty in Impact of U.S. Default Is More Uncertainty
Clearly, a sustained federal shutdown would cut gross domestic product growth. If Washington could only spend current revenues, it would subtract about $100 billion in economic output just in August, say most economists. What’s unclear is the negative multiplier impact on the private economy.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN Money | 3 stealth tax traps
Congressional gridlock over whether to cut or raise income taxes is obscuring a different threat to six-figure earners: a host of stealth taxes implemented in the name of deficit reduction.
AEI | The Terminology of Taxation
Democrats have a tough time selling "revenue increases" to the public.

Heritage Foundation | Heritage’s Bill Beach: Fix the Debt, or Taxes Will Double for Millennials
“If we don’t immediately act to solve the debt crisis, what will happen is tax rates will basically double by the time the current millennial generation is in their 50’s—which isn’t that far away.“
Atlantic: McArdle | A Tax Loophole for Republicans colleague Clive Crook points out that there may be an opening for the GOP to find some revenue...
NRO: The Corner | Does the Gang of Six Deal Increase or Reduce Taxes?
To think that some Republicans may be tempted by this deal is stunning, especially after they rejected the president’s grand-bargain deal.
Heritage Foundation | The U.S. Chamber of Tax Hikes
Some national business leaders are outright opposing measures of fiscal responsibility. Fortunately, fiscal conservatives in Congress are fighting back.
NRO: The Corner | Why Is the President So Adamant on Raising Taxes?
Via the Wall Street Journal’s Notable & Quotable, here is columnist James Pethokoukis explaining why, contrary to Keynesian theory, President Obama wants much higher taxes.

Health Care

National Journal | States Could Decide Benefits for Exchanges
States may be able to determine which benefits health insurance companies will have to provide in order to be included on state insurance exchanges, the federal government’s top insurance regulator said on Thursday.
Politico | For Medicare and Medicaid, debt default means uncertainty
One longtime Washington health hand said he had not contemplated the overall picture of what happens after Aug. 2 without a deal because, “I think it’s unlikely, but it’s also kind of [too] horrible” to think about.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | HOWARD: How to wreck a prescription-drug program
Democrats should abandon plans to impose price controls on Medicare Part D.

Think Markets | Healthcare as Social Planning
To reduce unintended pregnancies, the panel said, insurers should cover the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as sterilization procedures and “education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”


Market Watch | Dollar rises on rivals as euro euphoria fades
The dollar rose against most major rival currencies Friday, clawing back losses against the euro as initial euphoria over fresh aid for Greece faded and as investors considered other risks in Europe.
Bloomberg | Canadian Dollar Falls as Inflation Rate Slows More Than Forecast
“Every aspect of the release was a big miss in light of the market’s expectation that core inflationary pressures were rising, dovetailing with the bank’s guidance provided earlier this week,” Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank of Canada, said by phone from Toronto. “We’re already seeing it in terms of the Canadian dollar.”
National Journal | GAO Completes Its First Top-to-Bottom Fed Audit
The Government Accountability Office completed its first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve on Thursday and recommended, in benign language, seven ways the Fed could better itself.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Minyanville | The Double-Edged Sword of a Weak Dollar
The Fed has taken the approach that the weaker dollar is an answer to economic growth problems, but the double-edged sword of a weak dollar is the lack of job growth.


National Journal | House Republicans, White House Discussing $3 Trillion Budget Deal
The White House and House Republican leaders are discussing a large deal to raise the debt ceiling that would include about $3 trillion in deficit cuts over 10 years, according to several congressional aides.
CNN Money | Debt ceiling: House GOP gets lowdown on fallout
More than 40 House Republicans on Thursday met with a top official from Standard & Poor's and representatives of other Wall Street groups to hear what could trigger a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Post | The Half-Trillion Plan
The debt ceiling looms. Confusion reigns. Schemes abound. We are deep in a hole with only three ways out: the McConnell Plan, the G6 Plan and the Half-Trillion Plan.
WSJ | Obama's Debt-Ceiling Scare Tactics
The Social Security 'coffers' are very far from running dry.
Washington Times | MILLER: Fiscal responsibility’s last stand
Conservative debt-reduction plan moves to the Senate.
WSJ | Out of the Way, Please, Mr. President
The Gang of Six puts forward some ideas worth pursuing.
Daily Caller | We must conquer our debt disease
There is no small amount of irony that Washington swelters in hell-like temperatures as leaders sweat out the devils in the details of the debt-ceiling deal.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Secondary Sources: Rent vs. Buy, Debt Thresholds, Gang of Six Plan
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.


NY Times | Hiring and Manufacturing Remain in a Summer Slump
The economy’s spring slump appears to be extending into the summer, according to a series of reports released Thursday.
WSJ | Job Search Stretches Past a Year for Millions
More than one in three of the unemployed workers in several of the largest U.S. states have been out of a job for more than a full year.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Baum: Ailing U.S. Economy Seeks Jobs Doc
Since when is it government’s job to create jobs?

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Long-Term Unemployment, by State
More than one in three jobless Americans were out of work for at least a year in a handful of U.S. states that appear to be disproportionately caught up in the nation’s long-term unemployment problem.