Wednesday, August 17, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Economy Not Double-Dipping Yet as Production-to-Consumer Spending Increase
Some of the gloom that settled over the U.S. economic outlook as stocks and sentiment plunged in recent weeks may soon dissipate as households keep spending and factories keep producing.
National Journal | Farm States Planting Seeds of National Recovery?
Rural areas are healthier than most, but they still need help.
Bloomberg | Oil Climbs in New York as U.S. Fuel Supply Drop Signals Increased Demand
Oil advanced to its highest price in eight trading sessions in New York as investors bet that shrinking fuel stockpiles in the U.S. indicate demand will increase in the world’s biggest crude-consuming nation.
WSJ | Fresh Plan for Europe Crisis
Merkel, Sarkozy Push for Euro Chief, Tighter Budget Controls as Growth Sputters.
NYT | On Economy, Raw Data Gets a Grain of Salt
A growing number of economists say that the government should shift its approach to measuring growth. The current system emphasizes data on spending, but the bureau also collects data on income. In theory the two should match perfectly — a penny spent is a penny earned by someone else.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Market Watch | China’s economic policy in a league of its own
The Shanghai A-shares index shuddered with other markets around the world while sliding nearly 4% the day after the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded American sovereign debt in early August.
WSJ | A Tale of Two Downgrades
Standard & Poor's lack of confidence in U.S. performance is risible. The Fed's is not.
BLoomberg | Markets Go From Nightmare to Bad Dream: Vincent R. Reinhart
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you probably haven’t been following global financial markets over the past few weeks.
Investors | Editorial: Did Bo (Obama's Dog) Eat The Recovery?
In his first two years, Obama had free rein to get his economic agenda through a heavily Democratic Congress: An $830 billion stimulus, billions more in auto bailouts, mortgage bailouts and cash for clunkers, ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. None of those packages worked. They produced the worst recovery since the Great Depression. That was true before the Arab Spring, the tsunami, Europe's debt crisis and before Republicans won back the House.
NYT | White Picket Fence? Not So Fast
THE United States spends more than $100 billion annually to subsidize homeowners. Renters get no breaks; homeowners get tons of them.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato @ Liberty | Ron Paul Talks Sense on Trade
“Countries that you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them,” he said. “I say a policy of peace is free trade. Stay out of their internal business.”
Minyanville | Handicapping the Global Economic Recovery
The obvious question must be begged: where do we go from here?
Heritage Foundation | Secretaries of State, Defense Acknowledge Entitlement Spending Crisis
During a joint press event today in Washington, the Secretaries of Defense and State agreed that politicians must tackle the elephant in the room to reduce America’s crushing debt: mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which account for more than 60 percent of the entire federal budget.
Cato @ Liberty | Americans Are Not Convinced of Top Down Economics
Several recent polls have shown Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical of of Washington’s economic planning capabilities.

Reports                                                                                                                         
Heritage Foundation | Flashing Red: European Debt Crisis Signals Collapse of Social Welfare State
Europe’s socialist (or “social democratic”) welfare state is collapsing under the load of unsustainable debt. There is no chance European politicians will ever make good on the many costly and unfunded entitlements they have promised their citizens.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Housing Starts Decline in July
Housing starts fell 1.5 percent to a 604,000-unit pace in July from a downwardly revised 613,000-unit pace in June. Single-family starts fell 4.9 percent, while multifamily starts rose for the second consecutive month.

Taxes

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Warren Buffett's Tax Dodge
The billionaire volunteers the middle class for a tax increase.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | CDC: Use of Electronic Medical Records Can Help in HIV Prevention
The CDC 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta this week brought together the agency and 40 other HIV/AIDS patient-advocacy organizations to discuss how to reduce HIV incidences and HIV-related health disparities in the country.
Politico | HHS may have to get ‘creative’ on exchange
A quirk in the Affordable Care Act is that while it gives HHS the authority to create a federal exchange for states that don’t set up their own, it doesn’t actually provide any funding to do so.
Washington Times | Health coverage, rates rise in Massachusetts
Five years after Gov. Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts’ groundbreaking health care legislation, it has met its chief goal of extending insurance coverage to most residents — but with costs rising faster than inflation, lawmakers face the challenge of how to pay for it all.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Medicare Reform: Obama vs. Ryan
The GOP plan is more effective but may work better if the spending limits are set the way the president proposed.
AEI | Will Health Care's Long Boom Go Bust?
Whether willingness to pay for health care is personal or mostly outsourced to third parties, more health spending appears to produce more jobs (almost 25 percent of total job growth in the past two decades).
Washington Times | GHEI: Life support for Obamacare
Federal court finds the key provision of the law goes too far.

Reports                                                                                                                         
National Journal | Study: Smoking Linked to Increased Risk of Bladder Cancer
Reasons for putting out that cigarette are mounting as a new study finds smokers are at a higher risk of bladder cancer than previously thought, according a new report from scientists at the National Cancer Institute.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Wholesale Prices Rose More Than Forecast
Wholesale costs in the U.S. rose more than forecast in July, led by higher prices for tobacco, trucks and pharmaceuticals, showing declines in commodity expenses have yet to filter to other goods.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CRS | Upcoming Rules Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act: Spring 2011 Unified Agenda
Congress delegates rulemaking authority to agencies for a variety of reasons, and in a variety of ways. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203, July 21, 2010; hereafter the "Dodd-Frank Act") is a particularly noteworthy example of congressional delegation of rulemaking authority to federal agencies. A previous CRS report identified more than 300 provisions in the act that require or permit the issuance of rules to implement the legislation.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Roll Call | U.S. Chamber Calls on Deficit Panel to Tackle Taxes, Entitlements
Overhauling the tax code and entitlement programs should be part of the deficit reduction proposal that a new bicameral Congressional committee is charged with developing, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Together We Can Beat the Deficit
We did it in the 1990s and we can do it again today.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Obama Plans Package to Boost Economy
President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress for billions of dollars in fresh spending to boost the economy and reduce unemployment, with a new focus on helping the long-term unemployed, an administration official said.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Should Obama extend the payroll tax holiday and jobless benefits?
Now that the debt ceiling crisis is behind him, President Obama is ready to focus on the top problem plaguing the American economy: weak job creation.
CNBC | Senior Citizen Explosion Could Be a Job Creator
For a struggling U.S. economy groping to create more jobs, the many needs of the retiring baby boom generation in the coming years will mean a flood of new employment opportunities.
RCM | Finally a Sensible Government Visa Policy
While Washington continues to dither on the unemployment crisis, it's nice to know that not all job-creating policies are subject to the circus of Congress. Sometimes all it takes is an agency thinking a bit creatively on how it can help put Americans back to work - in this case, by getting out of the way.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Marginal Revolution | In defense of Texas jobs performance?
This piece encompasses, and responds to, all of the “Texas critiques” we have seen so far.