Tuesday, August 9, 2011

General Economics

National Journal | Obama to Announce Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks
The standards, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year, would require reductions of between 7 and 20 percent from current fuel consumption and greenhouse gas-emission levels for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2018.
Market Watch | Downgrade won’t hurt consumers; the economy will
Watching a market that seems to be running away from everything but the safest investments, it’s hard to be a mutual-fund shareholder and not worry that you’re being left holding the bag.
National Journal | Fannie and Freddie Downgrades Obscure Real Trouble in Housing Market, Analysts Say
Standard & Poor's Monday downgrade of the credit ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation's largest mortgage lenders, shook the housing market and contributed to plummeting stocks, but, ultimately, analysts say the market dive may just be a sideshow to the housing market's biggest risk—the weak economy.
Politico | An excuse for slashing the safety net
What’s really happening is an attempt by both parties to justify slashing Social Security and Medicare. Republicans have long wanted to roll back the New Deal. What is relatively new is that a Democratic president is now dead-set on cutting these programs as well.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
National Journal | Obama Says Downgrade Should Prompt 'Renewed Sense of Urgency'
“My hope is that Friday’s news will give us a new sense of urgency,” the president said in a statement from the White House, promising to bring forward his own recommendations in the coming weeks on how a special congressional committee should proceed to further reduce the deficit.
Daily Caller | Texas has discovered the formula for economic growth
Amid huge corporate losses, massive job layoffs, government bailouts, unsustainable national deficit spending, state bonds rated as junk and discussions of states filing for bankruptcy, Texas stands out as a shining example of economic stability and growth.
Financial Times | Banks need a holiday away from Basel
Here’s an idea for dealing with the second leg of the global financial crisis before it’s too late – abolish Basel.
Washington Times | FEULNER: Fueling higher gas prices
Obama works overtime to keep oil underground.
WSJ | The Global Economy Is Still Growing
The recent sell-off in global equity markets is not justified by either economic or political fundamentals.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Markets to Obama: shut up
Even the prospective future budget “cuts” in the debt ceiling agreement still institutionalize $7 trillion in spending beyond the government’s means over the next ten years. This is the problem, not earthquakes.

Minyanville | The 2 Positive Developments That Prove the US Isn't Headed Into Recession Yet
If we really were in recession we would already see it in hundreds of leading indicators, but the signs are simply not there.
Ludwig von Mises Institute | Why Is the Stock Market Plunging?
Investors the world over are still reeling from last Thursday's massive plunge in the US equity markets, in which the major indices all gave up more than 4 percent. It was the worst day for the US stock market since December 2008.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Secondary Sources: Consumer Spending, China-U.S. Prices, Uncertainty and Recession
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
Minyanville | Coal and Ethanol Are Not Alternative Energy Policy
The US needs to be a leader in producing electricity with renewable sources, not embrace red herrings like "clean coal" and corn ethanol.

Health Care

National Journal | Study: Insurance Coverage Doesn’t Decrease Patients at Safety-Net Hospitals
Increasing access to health insurance in Massachusetts increased the number of patients at hospitals and clinics that offer care to a large number of poor and uninsured, according to a study released Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Politico | Health care reform rules have GOP mum
Republicans who swept to power last year vowing to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law have been nearly silent about new rules that will force health insurance companies to cover birth control and other women’s health services without co-pays.
WSJ | Confusing Medical Ailments With Mental Illness
More than 100 medical disorders can masquerade as psychological conditions, according to Harvard psychiatrist Barbara Schildkrout, who cited these examples among others in "Unmasking Psychological Symptoms," a book aimed at helping therapists broaden their diagnostic skills.

Heritage Foundation | Obamacare Limits Children’s Access to Care
Of the 50 states, 17 reported that there are currently no carriers selling child-only health plans to new enrollees. Thirty-nine states indicated at least one insurance carrier exited the child-only market following enactment of the new health care laws.”


Fox News | Tax Incentives on the Block as Lawmakers Eye Deficit Reduction
President Obama and his Democratic allies have made clear they want additional tax revenues to be part of deficit reduction. Republicans have made clear they will not accept any increases in tax rates.But there's one possible strategy for both sides to get their way: cutting subsidies and deductions in the tax code.
WSJ | Republicans Push Back on Higher Taxes
House Republican leaders, facing a stock-market rout on the first trading day after the U.S. lost its triple-A credit rating, warned colleagues not to feel pressured into raising taxes when the next stage of deficit negotiations begin.
RCM | Why Taxing the Rich Does Not Work
President Obama has said that he wants to "spread the wealth". He proposes to raise taxes on "the rich" to get more money for "stimulus" spending, such as longer unemployment benefits. Let's look at how this "spread the wealth" thing would actually work.

New Republic | Why Republicans Don't Want To Extend The Payroll Tax Cut
Republicans oppose a payroll tax cut extension that does not add significantly to the long-term deficit on newfound anti-deficit grounds, unless it can be traded for another, far more regressive tax cut that does significantly add to the long-term deficit.


Market Watch | Euro-zone jitters send dollar higher
The dollar rose against the euro Monday on concerns the euro-zone’s sovereign-debt problems could turn into a solvency crisis, but remained down against the Japanese yen and Swiss franc following a cut to the U.S.’s credit rating.
Bloomberg | Fed May Boost Stimulus Pledge
Federal Reserve officials may strengthen their commitment to record monetary stimulus as soon as today after a faltering economic recovery and a U.S. credit- rating cut provoked a rout in global stocks.
Market Watch | QE3? Expect, at most, QE 2.1 at Fed meeting
The Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday, which just two weeks ago was expected to be an almost throwaway gathering, has suddenly morphed into a major event.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | China Inflation Quickening to 6.5% Limits Policy Response to Global Crisis
China’s inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in three years in July, limiting the scope for monetary easing to support growth as plunging stock markets signal the global recovery is weakening.

Coordination Problem | Assume for the Sake of Argument That There Were Missed Opportunities, Now What?
I don't think monetary expansion is a way to address a collapsing economy due to previous manipulations in money and credit.
Calculated Risk | FOMC Preview
There is a one day meeting of the FOMC tomorrow and no press briefing. In light of recent developments, the FOMC statement to be released around 2:15 PM ET Tuesday might be interesting.


Politico | The super committee's entitlement menu
The super committee is going to have to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by Nov. 23, and it’s going to be awfully hard to get that without dipping into the big health care entitlement programs — Medicare and Medicaid.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | Delusions of Grand Expenditures
Many in the establishment media and, in particular, some of the commentators on MSNBC have referred to members of the tea party and their supporters in Congress who did not vote for the debt ceiling compromise as delusional or worse.
WSJ | China's Debt Addiction
Who is Beijing kidding with its chest-thumping economic lectures?
Daily Caller | Balancing the budget in one difficult step
Our national hue and cry about balancing the federal budget is nothing new. Balanced-budget-amendment proposals emerge, cicada-like, about every 13 years. After 15 minutes of fame, they typically go underground again.

Heritage Foundation | It’s the Spending
Decades of over-spending and over-borrowing by the federal government have damaged America’s creditworthiness. Congress after Congress, President after President, the federal government spent every penny it took in—and borrowed over $14 trillion on top of that—to try to keep happy the voters to whom the government made promises it could not afford. The government kept shifting the burden of paying the bills forward onto future generations.


Market Watch | Second-quarter U.S. productivity falls 0.3%
The productivity of U.S. businesses fell in the second quarter, the government said Tuesday, while first-quarter figures were revised lower to show a decline as labor costs accelerated.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
AEI | Can Washington Find Jobs?
The slight uptick in employment numbers should not be seen as an up-to-date predictor of future growth; it could represent firms' out-dated optimism about an economic recovery.

AEI: American | How Do Jobs Numbers Work?
Here’s a rough guide to the numbers everyone is talking about.