Friday, August 5, 2011

General Economics

CNN: Money | The end of Big Oil? Not so fast.
Splitting up energy giants may make sense while oil prices are as high as they are today, but it may not be worth the organizational headache for Big Oil to break apart.
WSJ | Mortgage Rates Reach Record Lows
U.S. mortgage rates dropped to new lows after the latest round of gloomy economic data hurt Treasury yields, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of mortgage rates.
WSJ | Homeowners Can't Hop on Low Rates
Many in U.S. Could Lower Their Mortgage Rates but Don't Qualify.
WSJ | The Global Rout The Keynesians have fired all their ammo and here we are..
WSJ | Dow Tumbles 513 Points, Putting It in Red for Year
U.S. stocks plunged in the biggest selloff since the financial crisis, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 500 points, as investors appeared to lose faith in the ability of the world's policy makers to revive the global economy and stave off a rolling debt crisis in Europe.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
National Journal | Obama on Economy: 'Things Will Get Better'President Obama sought to reassure Americans that the recent economic turmoil will settle and that the country is on the road to recovery, despite a spate of bad economic news from the last few weeks that concluded in a major drop in the markets.
Daily Finance | Is Social Security Ripping You Off?
As with most government programs, Social Security has winners and losers. It provides at least basic subsistence-level benefits for most retired workers regardless of their income level. On the other hand, many workers would be better off if they were allowed to invest their own Social Security in private accounts.
Washington Post | Let’s move on to our bigger economic problems
The debt-ceiling fight generated enough hyperventilation and heartburn to replace a coal-fired power plant. The resulting product? It’s starting to look kind of puny and irrelevant.
AEI | Environmental Consequences of Energy Choices: Horton Hears a Who
Thus, when government favors technology A over technology B, what is seen are the profits from sales of technology A. What is not seen are lost profits from lower sales of technology B. What is also not seen is the net drain of administrative cost, inefficient diversion of capital, reduced consumer choice, and generally reduced individual freedom.
National Journal |
Europe has the tools to stabilize and grow
Europe still has several ways to stabilize the debt situation, but it’s not moving fast enough. A salvage plan would have the European Central Bank (ECB) buy periphery bonds now in large quantities, in effect funding the fiscal deficits and debt rollovers.
Washington Times | LAMBRO: Obama out of ideas, Americans out of luck
The flatlining Obama economy is at the tipping point of another recession. Economic growth has plunged to a near standstill, consumer spending has hit the brakes and the pace of job layoffs is rising.

Café Hayek | Hoover and DeLong
I am happy to find out that the numbers I cite aren’t the right ones for some reason and will post any corrections that show, corrected for changes in the price level, that fiscal policy was contractionary (according to the standard interpretations of government spending) during Hoover’s Administration. But the numbers I see show the opposite.

Heritage Foundation | Heritage Employment Report: July Jobs Grow Slightly
The context of this month’s jobs report, of course, is the worldwide meltdown of financial markets and staggering economic activity. Not only is today’s report a reminder of how weak the U.S. employment market remains—the nation would need twice today’s gains to make a dent in the population of the unemployed—but it also challenges Congress to change course in its effort to stimulate the economy.

Health Care

National Journal | Study: U.S. Can Learn About Health Care Savings from Canada
Want to cut billions in spending on health care? The U.S. can take cues from its neighbors up north, Canadian researchers said Thursday.
Market Watch | Medicare fears haunt drug stocks
Drug stocks have had a particularly painful ride this week as investors took to heart speculation the U.S. government might soon cut back on drug reimbursement payments, which would push down sales, as part of an aggressive effort to rein in public spending.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | The Individual Mandate: An Unprecedented Expansion of Federal Power
What is there to say about this topic that hasn't already been said repeatedly and in every conceivable medium? The arguments on both sides have been debated on TV and radio and spilled across blogs, op-ed pages, professional bulletins, and academic journals.

AEI: American | How Most Health Spending Is Hidden from Families: Healthcare Fact of the Week
Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its latest report showing how the burden of health spending is divided between government, private business, and households. What may surprise some readers is just how little of health spending is paid directly by households: 28 percent of the total in 2009.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Tax Reform's Moment?
Where else is the growth going to come from?
WSJ | A City Upended by Unions
Central Falls's receiver raised taxes, which drove people out of town.

Marginal Revolution | Ukraine Modigliani-Miller tax arbitrage
Today I received some tax saving wisdom from a taxi driver in Ukraine. He told me that people who import cars to Ukraine sometimes cut the car in two separate pieces and carry it through the customs this way. By doing this, they save a fortune on import tax. A car carried in two pieces is seen as spare parts and therefore is taxed at a much lower rate than a normal car.


WSJ | Obama Reboots Jobs Plan as Hazards Loom
President Barack Obama is renewing his effort to push a jobs agenda as the economy sputters and financial markets stumble, but so far he's offering mostly modest proposals to a divided Congress focused on reducing the deficit.
CNN Money | Teaching jobs disappear
Friday's jobs report could kick off the worst quarter for state and local government jobs on record. And teachers are at the center of the bullseye.
WSJ | Payrolls Grow as Unemployment Ticks Down
The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in July and the unemployment rate edged down, a move that should help ease concerns that a new recession may be around the corner.
CNN Money | BLS website crashes
The Bureau of Labor Statistics website crashed Friday morning, and a highly anticipated monthly report on payrolls and the unemployment rate was not available online for about an hour.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | ENGLER: Obama’s discretionary jobs crisis
Looking for work? EPA plans to send you company.
WSJ | How Big Government Hurts the Average Joe
Job growth is very closely linked to GDP growth. If the economy is not growing, then jobs aren't being added.

Heritage Foundation | Heritage Employment Report: July Jobs Grow Slightly
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning that the U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs in July and that the unemployment rate fell from 9.2 to 9.1 percent, due in large part to people leaving the labor force.


DailyFinance | Debt-Ceiling Fallout: States to Take Another Hit
The debt-ceiling drama may be over, but -- for state governments -- the ramifications are just beginning to reverberate.
NY Times | Disapproval Rate for Congress at Record 82% After Debt Talks
The debate over raising the debt ceiling, which brought the nation to the brink of default, has sent disapproval of Congress to its highest level on record and left most Americans saying that creating jobs should now take priority over cutting spending, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | AGOSTINELLI: Astounding debt nightmare
The shining city on the hill is disappearing around us.
WSJ | Do We Really Need to Spend More on Schools?
If people aren't told that nearly $13,000 is currently being spent per pupil, or if they aren't reminded that there is no such thing as a free lunch, they can be persuaded to think schools should be spending still more.
Cato Institute | The Next Greece
America is on a path to becoming a Greek-style welfare state. Thanks to the Bush-Obama spending binge, the burden of federal spending has climbed to about 25% of national economic output, up from only 18.2% of GDP when Bill Clinton left office.

Daily Capitalist | The Eurozone Debacle: They Ate The Golden Goose
The European Central Bank is taking emergency steps to prop up eurozone banks by opening the money machine to member banks and by resuming the monetization of sovereign debt of weak economies. Bond vigilantes are targeting Spain and Italy, rightly so, as the condition of their banks and sovereign fiscal problems are dragging down their economies.
Political Calculations | Summer 2011 Update: To Whom Does the U.S. Government Really Owe Money?
Since we keep getting asked about an update of our chart showing the relative shares of U.S. debt owned by foreign powers, here's the picture as of 31 May 2011, the most recent period of time for which the U.S. Treasury has made the foreign ownership data available at this writing...


Bloomberg | Bernanke Models Tested as Forecasts Fail
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his Federal Reserve colleagues are preparing to meet next week as two-year Treasury yields near a record low signal a U.S. economy on the knife’s edge between growth and contraction.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Weak Dollar, Weak Economy
By choosing to pay savers nearly nothing, the Fed discourages thrift and limits income growth.
CNN: Money | The Fed can't (and shouldn't) save the day
Still, several experts said that the worst thing the Fed could do is overreact and launch a third round of bond buying. This so-called quantitative easing, which investors have already dubbed QE3, may do little to help what ails the markets and economy. It might even make things worse.
Minyanville | Is the Fed About to Make the Mistake of the Decade?
If Ben Bernanke initiates QE3, he's going to add a currency crisis on top of an economy that's sliding back into recession.

Free Banking | Monetary equilibrium, the goal of monetary policy
The goal of monetary policy is monetary equilibrium. This is true for any monetary arrangement that claims to serve a general interest among the population rather than to simply divert wealth to the ruler and his cronies.