Monday, August 29, 2011

General Economics

Bloomberg | Consumer Spending Rises in July, Beats Forecast
Consumer spending climbed more than forecast in July as Americans dipped into savings to buy cars and cool their homes, showing the biggest part of the economy is holding up.
WSJ | Mousetraps, Maybe, but Can You Build a Better Paper Clip?
U.S. Manufacturers Churn Out Billions Each Year; Hoping a New Model Clicks.
Bloomberg | Treasuries Decline as Personal Spending Rises in July More Than Forecast
Treasuries fell as stocks advanced after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last week that the U.S. economy isn’t weak enough to warrant immediate additional stimulus, sapping demand for a refuge.
WSJ | Labor Economist to Fill Key Post
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Krueger, a labor economist, is likely to provide a voice inside the administration for more-aggressive government action to bring down unemployment and, particularly, to address long-term joblessness.
Market Watch | Republican on need for government role in housing
To maintain the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and to allow the housing finance system, and economy, to recover, the government needs to provide a guarantee for mortgages, according to Republican Representative John Campbell.
National Journal | Can Dow Chemical’s CEO Sell Obama-esque Manufacturing Vision?
Last January, Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, published a book called Make it in America that laid out a path for the United States to reclaim its onetime manufacturing dominance. The book details an ambitious agenda to set U.S. manufacturing back on a course for success, arguing that if the country cedes production of all the high-tech gadgets it produces.
Roll Call | RSC Looks to Advance ‘Growth’ Agenda, Mend Fences
Republican insiders say they expect the effort to include a mash-up of tax and regulatory moves that could include an attempt to restrict the federal government’s ability to regulate oil and gas drilling and a long-term repatriation tax holiday, among other elements.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | An Entrepreneurial Fix for the U.S. Economy
Several reforms can make it faster and easier for new business startups.
NYT | Does America Need Manufacturing?
For decades, the federal government has generally resisted throwing its weight —and its money — behind particular industries. If the market was killing manufacturing jobs, it was pointless to fight it. The government wasn’t in the business of picking winners.
WSJ | An EPA Moratorium
Obama has the power to delay new rules that will shut down 8% of all U.S. power generation.
Washington Times | DREVNA: Cutting rules would spark economic growth
Obama should block EPA from restraining creation of energy jobs.
Bloomberg | Failing at Innovation? Bank on It
There's less entrepreneurship today than 20 years ago. Chris Farrell blames the rush for a fast buck.
Washington Times | GHEI: A Capitol crash course
Congress needs remedial instruction in basic economic principles.

Political Calculations | The Changing Distribution of Adjusted Gross Income for U.S. Households
If you had to guess, what adjusted gross income range would you say had the biggest gains in the number of households included within that range during the years from 1996 through 2009? Here are the choices:
Cato @ Liberty | Hurricane Irene as Economic Stimulus
No matter how many times economists debunk the broken window fallacy, not a natural disaster goes by that journalists don’t try to cheer us up by saying “at least it will stimulate economic growth.”
Heritage Foundation | Want Stimulus? Reduce Regulation
If President Obama needs to find 20 regulations to kill that would spur economic growth, then one need to look further than the Diane Katz report that identifies the biggest job destroying culprits: Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare and the global warming crusade of the EPA.
Minyanville | Key Indicators Suggest Fall Rally Is Coming
When the Pressure Factor indicator is deeply oversold -- as it is now -- the odds of a sharp rebound dramatically increase.

RCM: Wells Fargo | Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary
The Economy Continues to Grow at a Snail’s Pace.
AEI | What Drives Gas Prices: Cartels, Speculators, or Supply and Demand?
The public is unhappy with these high gas prices, and politicians are scrambling to find ways to reduce the pain--or, failing that, to publicly shoot the messenger by investigating, penalizing, or punitively taxing oil companies. This Outlook explores the true causes of oil price fluctuation and explains how policymakers can help lower gasoline prices.

Health Care

National Journal | U.S. Obesity Rates to Soar, Researchers Report
But good policy can bend the curve, a second study in Friday's Lancet says.
National Journal | How Medicare Managed Care Could Save Money
Medicare’s managed-care plans may be able to help the federal government cut costs, researchers said, by encouraging patients to have more appropriate, cost-effective courses of treatment than traditional plans.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
AEI | Better Prices--Through Competitive Bidding--Can Help Solve Medicare's Fiscal Crisis
Medicare faces a severe fiscal crisis and one reason is that it pays too much for the Medicare entitlement benefit. There is a way to fix the Medicare program without raising taxes: use market-like arrangements to set prices for both the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) program and for private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.


Market Watch | Low rates good — and bad — for consumers
Borrowers breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Federal Reserve said earlier this month that it would hold interest rates at rock bottom for the next two years. But savers were far from happy.
Bloomberg | Dollar Cheap in Purchasing Power as Investors See Shelter
The greenback has appreciated 1.2 percent in August against a basket of the developed world’s nine most-traded exchange rates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a decline of 14 percent in the world’s reserve currency from this time last year through July.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Financial Times | A lost chance to jolt ailing America
It would be best if the Fed could be explicit about its reasoning. Unfortunately the unannounced inflation target that is said to guide the Fed’s actions does not easily justify the required new stimulus.
Market Watch | Fed’s Bullard sees no need for easing
Economic conditions are not at the point now where the Federal Reserve should ease monetary policy further, James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed.

Minyanville | Hopes for Further Fed Easing in September Reignites Speculation
Last week's Jackson Hole speech didn't do much to assuage investor fears.

NBER | Stories of the Twentieth Century for the Twenty-First
A discrete-choice panel analysis using 1973-2010 data suggests that domestic credit expansion and real currency appreciation have been the most robust and significant predictors of financial crises, regardless of whether a country is emerging or advanced.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Forbes | Warren Buffett And The Other Anti-Rich Capitalists
Ignoring the fact that 47% of U.S. households pay no federal income taxes, he decried the fact that Washington taxes investors’ capital gains at 15%, below the top rate of 35% on “ordinary” income.
Cato Institute | How Property Taxes and the 'Curley Effect' Are Killing Baltimore
The city's main streets will be closed so that IndyCar racers can compete in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Much more than prize money is at stake.


CNN Money | Obama praises Georgia jobs training program
Participants don't get paid, but they do get to keep their jobless benefits and receive a stipend of up to $240 for transportation and other expenses.
CNN Money | Part-time workers: More fine with no full-time job
Since hitting a peak of 9.5 million last September, the number of part-time workers who tell the Labor Department they are doing so for economic reasons rather than personal reasons has dropped to 8.4 million in July.


Washington Times | Pentagon mulls ways to make major cuts
The Pentagon is considering a range of options to meet a bipartisan call to greatly reduce defense spending in what is a “perfect storm” rocking the military’s once-plump budget plans.
National Journal | Where Is Congress With Appropriations?
This is true in any calendar year, given that the federal government's fiscal year begins October 1, but may be especially pertinent this year with the new congressional super committee scheduled to meet. 

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | A Short Primer on the National Debt
With a return to 1990s growth rates, the debt-to-GDP ratio could drop to 56.7%, about where it was in 2000, in just one decade.