Wednesday, August 10, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Oil demand could be hurt by sluggish economy
The International Energy Agency, in the wake of the recent plunge in oil prices, warned Wednesday that continued global economic weakness through next year could slow demand for oil.
RCM | Chance of U.S. recession rises to 1-in-4
The United States faces one-in-four odds of slipping back into recession, and a weaker economic outlook is raising the likelihood the Federal Reserve will soon do more to boost growth, a Reuters poll shows.
Fox News | Banks shares recover, but remain down
Investors remain worried about regulatory probes, investor lawsuits and additional problems that could emerge as big banks continue to work through toxic mortgages and other remnants of the financial crisis.
National Journal | Global Markets Recover Some Ground Following Fed Announcement
Investors will be keeping an eye on Wednesday morning’s economic indicators, which include job openings and labor turnover and wholesale trade data for June.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: Red-tape timeout
President Obama stubbornly clings to the idea that adding government regulations will help the economy. Even the dire economic conditions won’t get in the way of his ideology.
WSJ | A New Strategy for Economic Growth
Growth is not just about economics. Growth unleashes human potential.
Daily Caller | Was Obama’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve release the best way to lower gasoline prices?
On June 23, the Obama administration, in conjunction with other governments, announced a plan to release a total of 60 million barrels of oil from strategic oil reserves in the U.S. and other countries, at a rate of 2 million barrels per day for 30 days.
WSJ | China's Economy Is Headed for a Slowdown
Beijing's export-oriented strategy can't continue forever.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | How Free Trade Helps Employment and the Economy
Since 1989, the United States has enacted numerous free trade agreements with countries around the world. These agreements have increased trade, improved international relations, and strengthened the U.S. economy. But don’t let the facts stop a good political fight.
Econlog | How Capital Regulation Creates Systemic Risk
Were each bank to do the analysis itself, their errors would be more r andom and less likely. Unfortunately, with a comprehensive system of regulations, identical errors pervade all banks.
Calculated Risk | MBA: Mortgage Refinance Applications Increase Significantly
The Refinance Index increased 30.4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.9 percent from one week earlier.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Fox News | Republicans Prepare for Next Phase of 'Obamacare' Battle
Just because Congress spent the last several months locking horns over the debt ceiling doesn't mean Republicans have forgotten how much they hate the health care overhaul. They haven't.
National Journal | Kansas to Return Federal Insurance Exchange Dollars
GOP Gov. Sam Brownback said the state would return the federal dollars because of doubts surrounding the federal government’s ability to pay for the grant in the future. Kansas was one of six states to receive extra funding in February.
National Journal | Physician Argues Colleagues Should Play Role in Reducing Waste, Cost
In the commentary to be released Wednesday, Dr. Robert Brook, RAND's distinguished chair of health care services, says that doctors could identify and eliminate waste by categorizing all services as one of four types of care: inappropriate, equivocal, appropriate, or necessary.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Econlog | Administrative Costs of Medicare
...raw numbers show that, using Medicare's own accounting, its administrative expenses per enrollee are higher than private insurance. They are lower only when expressed as a percentage - but that may be because the average medical expense for a senior is so much higher than the expense for non-seniors.
Cato @ Liberty | Kansas Returns a $32 Million ObamaCare Grant, Plus More Bad News for ObamaCare
The debt deal was none too kind to ObamaCare. Here’s more bad news for this misguided law:
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | Medicare Regulation Causes Shortages of Cancer Drugs
For months, I've been hearing about shortages of drugs--ADHD drugs, cancer drugs, various other generics. The shortages have been variously attributed but Ezekial Emmanuel had an op-ed in the New York Times this weekend which offered those most compelling explanation I've yet seen for the phenomenon.

Taxes

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Obama renews call for more stimulus
Pummeled by ghastly economic news, President Obama called Monday for more spending and extended tax cuts that he said would help stimulate the economy — but these also could deepen the deficit problems that helped the federal government earn its first-ever debt downgrade last week.
Politico | Close the tax loopholes
After watching Standard & Poor’s performance in the Enron and housing debacles, it’s hard to stomach their decision to downgrade America’s credit. But even coming from S&P, there is a message we should hear: The finger pointing and hyper-partisanship has to stop. If it doesn’t, we really will be on the road to ruin.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Mercatus Center | The Economics of the Airline Tax
Every so often, policy makers stumble into a natural experiment which permits economists to test their theories (and journalists to generally ignore their theories). Such was the case with the recent suspension of airline taxes.

Reports                                                                                                                         
NBER | Tax Policy and the Efficiency of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad
Deferral of U.S. taxes on foreign source income is commonly characterized as a subsidy to foreign investment, as reflected in its inclusion among “tax expenditures” and occasional calls for its repeal.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Fed to keep interest rates low until 2013
Among those surprises were dissension among the ranks of the central bank, a "considerably slower" reading on the economy, and a bold statement that the Fed stands ready to enact further stimulus measures if needed.
Market Watch | Fed is as paralyzed as Congress is
Type the sentence(s) summarizing the link here.The U.S. economy is slumping, and the word Tuesday from the Federal Reserve is that the central bank is just as paralyzed as Congress is.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Doubling Down on Zero
The Federal Reserve has kept its short-term interest-rate target at near-zero for 32 months, and yesterday its Open Market Committee announced that it'll keep the rate there for at least another 24 months. This is what a central bank does when it wants to appear to do something to help the economy but has already fired most of its ammunition.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Economists React: Fed ‘Bunts’ With Timeframe for Low Rates
Economists and others weigh in on the Fed’s statement and its decision to keep rates low through mid-2013.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Fed Statement Following August Meeting
The following is the full text of the statement following the Fed’s August meeting:
Econlog | Kipper- Und Wipperzeit Update, August 9
In essence, resolving the crisis in confidence needs the current ad hoc approach to be replaced with the structure of a more formal mechanism that will generate the confidence in the world financial system needed to restore stability in world markets.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Why Fed Move May Have Pushed Investors Into Stocks
Whether the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep rates on hold into 2013 will make banks any more comfortable lending is an open question. But for the moment, it seems to have made investors more willing to hold stocks. Here’s why.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Fox News | States have closed $527B budget gap since 2007
When drafting budgets for the upcoming year — and in some states the next two years — lawmakers forecast slow to moderate economic growth and expect to make fewer cuts. But that was before the recent political turmoil over the debt ceiling, a precipitous drop in the stock market and the downgrading of government bonds.
Roll Call | Reid Taps Murray, Baucus, Kerry for Deficit Panel
The Joint Select Committee has been charged with forging the balanced, bipartisan approach to deficit reduction that the American people, the markets and rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s are demanding.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Post | A debt call we should have seen coming
I kept waiting throughout the debt-ceiling debate for Wall Street to wake up to the fact that Washington is not nearly as functional as the market calculated. Instead, Wall Street assumed that because default was unthinkable, it did not have to price that possibility into its risk assessment.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | For U.S. jobs, it pays to look overseas
Let's face it: The American consumer is bad for business right now. Smart CEOs are betting on emerging markets for growth at home.
RCM | Missing Jobs and How We Can Find Them
A reduction in the corporate tax rate would cause an increase in capital flows and investment in the U.S., as well as higher worker productivity and higher wages for workers - resulting in higher corporate tax revenues which in turn would benefit the economy.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | How to Close the Skills Gap
Small-business owners say that they have jobs but can't find qualified people.
Washington Times | SCOTT: Pivoting to jobs, Mr. Obama?
Today, union leaders continue to seek far-reaching changes in the law to help them keep up the pressure. In fact, union-sponsored card-check legislation sought to eliminate union elections altogether.