Tuesday, August 30, 2011

General Economics

Bloomberg | European Economic Confidence Falls Most Since December 2008
European confidence in the economic outlook in August plunged the most since December 2008 as a persistent debt crisis roiled markets and clouded growth prospects across the 17-nation euro region.
CNN Money | Wind power makes greenhouses greener
From the outside, it looks like a crash-landed blimp. On the inside, it feels like a wind tunnel. For inventor David Chelf, this strange structure -- a high-tech greenhouse with no skeleton, whose lightweight skin is held aloft on breezes from giant fans -- looks like the future of agriculture.
National Journal | Ron Johnson Slams Obama, Puts Forward Own Economic Plan
Johnson blamed economic stimulus, health care reform, the Dodd-Frank bill, and an “explosion” of regulations for unsettling markets, businesses, and consumers. He accused the president of being “blinded by ideology” and noted that few in the administration have private-sector experience.
Fox News | Lean' Manufacturing Takes Root in U.S.
A century after Henry Ford developed the assembly line production method for the manufacture of Model-T Fords, a Japanese automaker has pioneered the next evolution on the concept – and begun a revolution that is quietly spreading beyond the business world.
National Journal | House Republican Fall Agenda Takes Aim at Regulations, Taxes
While the spotlight will be on the workings of the new deficit-reduction “super committee” after Congress returns next week, House Republican leaders said on Monday they also have set a legislative agenda for fall and winter that concentrates heavily on regulatory and tax relief.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | BLANKLEY: Obama’s economic-policy last chance
Only a dramatic switch to free-market principles can save his presidency.
NYT | Manufacturing a Recovery
Rebuilding our manufacturing capacity requires the demolition of the idea that the United States can thrive on its service sector alone. We need to create at least 20 million jobs in the next decade to offset the effects of the recession and to address our $500 billion trade deficit in manufactured goods.
WSJ | Mr. Sunstein Can't Be Serious About Cutting Red Tape
Regarding regulatory czar Cass Sunstein's Aug. 23 op-ed, "Washington Is Eliminating Red Tape": The savings outlined by Mr. Sunstein don't even represent one-quarter of 1% of total private-sector compliance costs—and that assumes that the savings are realized and not just bureaucratic finagling for political purposes.

Cato @ Liberty | Disaster Relief Is Not Free
Disaster relief is a form of welfare — transferring assets from some to others. We can do that voluntarily, or through government.
Heritage Foundation | White House’s New Top Economist: Unemployment Benefits Are Not Stimulus
President Obama’s pick as chairman of the White House Council on Economic Advisors co-authored a paper that showed that extending unemployment benefits will likely exacerbate joblessness.
Minyanville | Why There's No Reason to Fear a Double-Dip Recession
While the world wrings its collective hands about a second recession clouding the US economic recovery, don't waste your time -- it's not there.
Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 988 Institutions
Here is the unofficial problem bank list for Aug 27, 2011.

NBER | Time Use During Recessions
We use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), covering both the recent recession and the pre-recessionary period, to explore how foregone market work hours are allocated to other activities over the business cycle.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Spending Bounces Back in July but Income Is Still Lagging
Consumer spending jumped 0.8 in July, more than making up for the 0.1 percent drop in June. Spending for services and durable goods accounted for most of the increase. Income growth continues to lag, however.

Health Care

National Journal | Voters Know Even Less About Obamacare Than They Did in 2010
Today, 49 percent of Americans think that the health care overhaul will make things better for the uninsured; in April 2010, just after it became law, 67 percent of Americans believed that Yet the law's approval rating is about the same as it was a year ago, with 44 percent holding an unfavorable view of the law.
WSJ | Steep Rises in Health Premiums Scrutinized
A new federal and state program on health-insurance rates will determine whether bad publicity alone is enough to stop insurers from levying steep increases.
National Journal | Insurers Say Rewards, Education Can Prevent Pricey Errors
Rewarding hospitals and clinics for improving hygiene practices can pay off with fewer infections, America’s Health Insurance Plans reported on Monday. So can simple education about the need to wash hands, carefully handle catheters, and move patients to prevent bedsores.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | FEULNER: Prescription for Obamacare’s faults: Repeal
American taxpayers can’t afford the price tag of a nanny state.


CNBC | China Says Inflation Pressures Stay High
Persistently high global prices for commodities and other goods are fueling consumer inflation in China and may put Beijing's full-year inflation target out of reach, the country's top economic planner said on Monday.

Daily Capitalist | Martin Feldstein Advocates Trashing The Dollar
Aside from some built-in momentum from past inventory build-up and effciencies related to technology, one can only look to the dollar and its benefit to U.S. exporters as being the key factor behind corporate profits. By devaluing the dollar multinationals have done well abroad.
Free Banking | What modern free banks might look like
It has not been discussed so far in this blog what modern free banks might look like. Partly that is because several of us who blog here have the same picture in mind. It would be good for the rest of you to know what it is and decide what you think of it.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Buffett's Latest Tax Break
For a guy who spends a lot of time advocating for higher taxes, Warren Buffett does a remarkably good job of minimizing his own corporate tax bill.


National Journal | Some Possible Proposals in Obama's Big Jobs Speech
President Obama is slated to deliver a major speech on job creation next week. He may propose steps to increase hiring directly, perhaps through tax credits and new work-training programs, and indirectly, by backing measures to stimulate consumer demand, said the forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers.
Bloomberg Businessweek | Job Offers Increased for Class of 2011
As the economy sputters, undergraduate hiring is up for the first time since the crisis. Those with business skills are better positioned than most.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Investors | Krueger's Keynesian Leftovers
Just a week before he unveils a new, improved jobs plan, President Obama has named a new person to be his top economic adviser, Princeton University's Alan Krueger. This doesn't bode well for job creation.
Bloomberg | Shlaes: Support Workers, Not Pushy Unions
For although unions may be good for a worker, singular, they are not always good for workers, plural. Especially when it comes to finding a job.
WSJ | Krueger vs. Obama
The new chief White House economist on jobless benefits.

Cato@Liberty | For U.S. Multinationals, More Jobs Abroad Mean More Jobs at Home
Like many U.S. multinational companies, Caterpillar has been expanding its sales and profits by selling its products in rapidly growing emerging markets while spreading its production facilities around the world.
WSJ | White House This Week to Provide Unemployment Forecast
Before President Barack Obama unveils a plan to grow jobs next week, his administration will provide a new economic forecast for unemployment and the nation’s deficit.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Another Deficit Standoff This Year? Maybe Not
If you want to be an optimist—and are willing to risk sounding na├»ve—there actually are reasons to think this effort can work better than the summer's follies.
Politico | Which balanced budget amendment?
If conservatives had a real victory in the debate about raising the debt ceiling, it was in getting Congress members of both parties to support a balanced budget amendment.
CNBC | How Debt Shrinks the Economy
...spending constraint comes from the realization that too much government spending disorganizes and crony-izes the economy.