Thursday, August 18, 2011

General Economics

Bloomberg | Morgan Stanley Lowers Global Growth Forecast
The bank estimates expansion of 3.9 percent, down from a previous forecast of 4.2 percent, according to an e-mailed report dated today. Morgan Stanley cut its China growth forecast for next year and Deutsche Bank AG reduced its estimates for the nation for 2011 and 2012.
CNN: Money | American idiots: How Washington is destroying the economy
What's ailing us? It's not just unemployment. It's not just Europe's debt woes. And, no, it's not Wall Street this time. It's the takeover of the economic debate by fanatics who are up to no good. Fix that -- and maybe you fix the economy.
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Fox News | Energy in America: Keystone XL's Oil Sands Pipeline Up in the Air
While supporters say it would create up to 20,000 construction jobs, generate tens of billions of dollars a year in tax revenue and improve energy security, opponents argue it would harm the environment and feed the nation’s addiction to oil.
Fox News | Gallup: Obama Economic Approval Hits New Low
Approval of President Obama's handling of the economy has hit an all-time low of 26 percent. That number falls in between the 24 percent who favor his handling of the federal budget and the 29 percent who view him favorably on job creation.
National Journal | Biden in China to Tackle More Intractable Economic Issues
Vice President Joe Biden, fresh from a key role in partisan wrangling over the U.S. economy at home, has landed in China as part of a weeklong tour of Asia aimed at strengthening diplomatic ties and reassuring the nation's trading partners that the American economy is in good hands.
WSJ | Downgrades Felt at Local Level
To city officials in Manassas Park, Va., Standard & Poor's one-notch downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating was relatively mild compared with what the firm sprung on them last month. The tiny city's credit rating was reduced to triple-B from double-A minus—a five-notch tumble.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Smart Path for the Shale Gas Revolution
Reassuring the public on environmental concerns is crucial.
Financial Times | Tripped up by globalisation
A failure of economic strategy and leadership lies behind the near simultaneous collapse of market confidence in the eurozone and US economies. No need to blame the rating agencies: governments in Europe and America have been unable to cope with the realities of global capital markets and competition from Asia – and deserve the lion’s share of the blame.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: The eurozone stalls
Old World needs to change its ways to avoid double-dip recession.
WSJ | Raising Hell in Subsidized Housing
Section 8 rental subsidies have long helped ruin neighborhoods. Obama administration policies are making things worse.
National Journal | Obama: We're Not In Danger of Another Recession
"I don't think we're in danger of another recession," Obama told CBS News. Obama did note that the recovery has not been fast enough, blaming the Arab spring, high gas prices, and March's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Marginal Revolution | Facts about Texas household debt
…Low debt levels do not necessarily make Texans better credit risks, however. Texas has the nation’s second-lowest credit scores. (Mississippi ranks last.) On a scale of 500 to 990, Experian says the average Texan’s score is 717. The national average is 749.
Political Calculations | US, China Trade Decelerates Faster
What can international trade data tell us about the current state of the U.S. economy?

RCM: Wells Fargo | Producer Prices Surprise on the Upside in July
The producer price index increased by 0.2 percent in July after dropping by 0.4 percent in June. However, the core producer price increased twice as much, 0.4 percent. Both came in higher than market expectations.


Politico | Warren Buffett's congressman: No higher taxes on rich
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett wants to pay higher taxes, but his congressman won’t support efforts to raise rates on the wealthy.


National Journal | Super Committee Faces High Hurdles
Widespread calls for compromise unlikely to change Washington.
MarketWatch | ‘Super committee’ Democrat: Jobs key to debt cuts
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, one of 12 members of the new congressional “super committee” charged with cutting the budget deficit by $1.5 trillion, believes the panel must do two things at once: stem the government’s red ink and help the economy get back into “high gear.”

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Raising Hell in Subsidized Housing
Section 8's budget soared to $19 billion this year from $7 billion in 1994. HUD now picks up the rent for more than two million households nationwide; tenants pay 30% of their income toward rent and utilities while the feds pay the rest.

Forbes | $10 In Spending Cuts For $1 In Tax Increases? No Thanks.
Imagine Peanuts’ Lucy Van Pelt’s shock, dismay and disbelief if Charlie Brown were to refuse to try to kick the football, denying her yet another opportunity to pull it away at the last second and watch him fall on his butt.  Well, that’s pretty much how The New York Times reacted after the House Republicans refused to agree to “revenues” in return for raising the debt ceiling: shock, dismay and disbelief.


Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Top Forecast
More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the labor market is struggling two years into the economic recovery.
CNN Money | Where the jobs are
Especially now, plentiful job opportunities are key to making a great place to live. These 25 counties have experienced the most job growth over the last 10 years.
NY Times | Obama to Press Committee on Jobs
President Obama will deliver a major address soon after Labor Day seeking to pressure a special Congressional committee to propose new measures to promote job creation as well as larger long-term deficit cuts than mandated, aides said Wednesday.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Fed’s Fisher Takes On The Texas Question
On the Texas jobs miracle, Fisher provided data of various sorts, all agreeing that in Fisher’s words, “Texas has accounted for a significant amount of the nation’s employment growth both over the past 20 years and since the recession officially ended.”
Heritage Foundation | Foreign Investment Creates Jobs in the United States
America’s bleak jobs picture would be even worse if not for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the U.S. economy.

Health Care

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: Get back to work
Verizon strikers don’t have a right to free health care.

Heritage Foundation | A Blueprint for Medicare Reform
The Heritage plan would replace the current “defined benefit” structure of Medicare with a defined contribution for seniors to offset their costs, whether they choose to enroll in traditional Medicare’s fee-for-service program, keep their existing private health insurance and bring it with them into retirement, or purchase another private plan that better suits their personal needs.
Cato @ Liberty | Supreme Court Should Review Obamacare Case Now
The government should file for, and the Supreme Court should grant, a petition for certiorari (review). Any delay by the government would be base political strategery, an attempt to push the eventual Court decision — whatever it is — past the November 2012 presidential election.


Bloomberg | Consumer Prices in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast
The cost of living in the U.S. climbed in July by the most in four months, led by higher energy and food prices. The consumer-price index increased 0.5 percent from June, more than twice the 0.2 percent median forecast.
CNN: Money | Fed dissenters speak out
Three Federal Reserve officials are starting to speak out about why they disagree with Chairman Ben Bernanke on the central bank's latest policy move.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Plosser Says Federal Reserve May Have to Increase Rates Before Mid-2013
Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, said the Fed will probably need to raise interest rates before mid-2013 and that policy makers should have waited to see how the economy performed before pledging to hold rates at record lows for two years.