Wednesday, September 7, 2011

General Economics

Washington Times | Parties clash at hearing to vet new consumer bureau chief nominee
Senate Republicans said Tuesday the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has too much unfettered power and President Obama’s choice to head the agency should not be approved.
CNN: Money | Infrastructure Bank: Fixing how we fix roads
The I-Bank, or infrastructure bank, has support of both Democrats, Republicans and big business. Legislation has been co-sponsored in the Senate by Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts and Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas.
Politico | America, 10 years after Sept. 11
A decade later, we are crippled by debt, depressed by a jobs crisis and drained by an endless war waged against an invisible enemy. Our president is ill-prepared and our Congress is incapable of grasping the great challenges that now confront us.
WSJ | CEOs Call for Less Regulation, Better Infrastructure
Chief executives of some of the world's largest companies would support a U.S. effort to update aging infrastructure, financed in part by private money, as a way to create jobs and make U.S. business more competitive.
Politico | No consensus on fixing housing woes
President Barack Obama and Congress are confronting a historic obstacle in their efforts to revive the stalled economy: a crippled housing market unlikely to rebound for several years.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | Gov. Perry and the 'Race to the Bottom' Myth
Gov. Rick Perry's entrance into the Republican presidential field has sparked intense debate on Texas' economic performance, including provocative claims that Perry and the state are engaging in a ‘race to the bottom' to attract jobs and people by keeping taxes and regulations low.
AEI: The American | Why I’m ‘Ginned Up’ about Regulation
President Obama seems to be unaware of any regulations that would concern farmers and equally ill-informed as to the source of those regulations. | Two Different Worlds
Americans in general -- whether rich, poor or in between -- have one of the most remarkable records for donating not only money but time to all sorts of charitable endeavors.
AEI | Can the Middle Class Be Rebuilt?
It seems unlikely that the president has been saving the real solutions until now. There is not much he can do.

Heritage Foundation | Exxon Storming the Arctic
Last week, oil giant ExxonMobil announced an agreement with Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, to explore for oil in the Arctic continental shelf in the Kara Sea. America’s largest oil company is taking the place of BP (British Petroleum), whose dealings with Rosneft earlier this year collapsed.
Café Hayek | My druthers
Don’t increase federal spending, it’ll be wasted on cronies, make our deficit worse and have little lasting effect on reaching recovery. Instead, better to make the tax system more transparent and fix the demographic train wreck of Social Security and Medicare now rather than later.
Heritage Foundation | Case in Point: When the Law Is Used to Limit America’s Freedom of Action
The law, increasingly, is becoming a tool used by opponents of American power to harass American officials and, through the courts, limit America’s freedom of action.
Daily Capitalist | ‘Regime Uncertainty’ — Not Just A Theory
That is the nature of regulation. Government leaves it up to the agencies, the actual regulators, to flesh out the law through voluminous regulations. You can never be sure what they mean. Any lawyer can testify to this truth.
Atlantics: Megan McArdle | Whither the Post Office?
Congress has to decide whether universal mail service is valuable enough to subsidize, or whether it wants the post office to be set free to actually compete.
Café Hayek | The Curious Task
Your productivity is a function of your skills, your investments in knowledge, your work ethic, and the capital that you have to work with. Laws that mandate higher wages don’t affect any of these things. They just make low-skilled workers more expensive.

AEI | The Error at the Heart of the Dodd-Frank Act
The financial crisis was not caused by one firm's failure, but by a common shock to all firms: the decline in mortgage values after the housing bubble collapsed, exacerbated by mark-to-market accounting.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Welcome Respite: ISM Non-Manufacturing Picks Up in August
Sentiment among purchasing managers at the nation’s service companies picked up modestly in August, suggesting that, despite other bad news, the economic recovery is not completely stalling.

Health Care

National Journal | Texas, Massachusetts Book-End Health Insurance Stats
Texas residents are the least likely to have health-insurance coverage, while those in Massachusetts are by far the best-covered, according to a Gallup poll published on Tuesday.

Atlantic: Megan McArdle | What A Toothache Says About National Healthcare
It is not true that national health insurance will mean that no one ever dies of something that could have been prevented. Human error, we will always have with us.


WSJ | Swiss Franc-ensense
Central banking in a currency crisis.
Market Watch | Bernanke gets another shot to lay out QE3 options
With an economy barely growing and fiscal policy constrained by gridlock, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will get an opportunity Thursday in Minnesota to lay out what the U.S. central bank can do to revive the economy.
Market Watch | ECB expected to signal end to rate hikes
Jean-Claude Trichet always talks tough on inflation, but economists say the European Central Bank president is likely Thursday to signal an end to the rate-hike cycle on growing evidence the pace of price rises has peaked and the euro-zone economy could soon contract amid increasing turmoil related to the debt crisis.

Daily Capitalist | Worldwide Inflation Up 3.1%
Wait until the ECB starts pumping money into the eurozone. Then we’ll see real price “instability.”
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Dallas, Kansas City Feds Continue to Vote for Discount Rate Increase
Federal Reserve policymakers saw increased uncertainty about the likely pace of U.S. economic improvement, according to minutes of meetings on the central bank’s discount rate.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | Voters Beware Carbon Tax Seductions
I have concluded, however, that the chances of seeing a properly valued, revenue-neutral carbon tax are about as likely as the chances of seeing a unicorn-powered spaceship. Instead, I'm now convinced that the idea would cause nothing but misery.
Bloomberg | Tax Code Has Upside-Down Rewards for Good Behavior: Peter Orszag
As the supercommittee created by Congress to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the coming decade begins its work, one thing that is said to be on the agenda is tax reform.

EconLog | Warren Buffett--or Howard Buffett?
If you look at the expected values, you'll conclude that a higher tax rate will push some otherwise "sensible" investments below the threshold. Is Buffett really saying that he and his investor colleagues don't do those calculations?


WSJ | Private Ideas on How to Create Jobs
The Journal talked to four groups of people who analyze hiring and hire workers themselves.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Politics of trade hurt job creation
The reality is that the White House messaging on trade is misleading: While the president was on his taxpayer-funded bus tour, giving lip service to job creation, he was trying to obscure the fact that he has stalled these job-creating trade agreements because of partisan political concerns.
WSJ | Obama Tries to Rewrite Narrative on Jobs
These could amount to a significant stimulus of between $300 billion and $400 billion over the coming year, which is more than 2% of gross domestic product. But he won't use the word.
CNN Money | Big Oil: To create jobs, let us drill more
With looser restrictions, the industry says it could deliver 1.4 million new jobs, boost tax rolls by $800 billion, and increase domestic energy production almost 50%.
Washington Times | RAHN: Jobs-creation lesson from the past
When government spending goes up, employment goes down.
Forbes | President Obama's Green Jobs Pretense Is An Unmitigated Fiasco
About half of the $186 million of federal weatherization funds California has spent so far produced a total of 538 full-time jobs during the last quarter.
Investors | Gov't Is Job Killer, Not Creator
After wasting three years and more than a trillion dollars of "stimulus" money, the President has announced he has a new plan for creating jobs.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: What Obama should tell Congress - but won’t
It’s time to overrule the job-killing Clean Air Act.
Daily Caller | Want jobs? Have faith.
The answer can be found in one of my favorite parables about economic growth. I have shamelessly borrowed it from Paul Zane Pilzer.

Political Calculations | A Slightly Better Than Zero Jobs Report
The big news headline from the latest employment situation report from Washington D.C. was that there were zero net jobs generated in the month of August 2011 in the U.S. nonfarm payroll.
Daily Capitalist | Gallup Jobs Report Belies Government Data
On the eve of the President’s big job speech, Gallup came out with more data that adds to voters’ unease about employment which is translating into negative numbers for the President and the Republicans.
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Four Ways Obama Has Blocked Job Growth
During President Obama’s first 26 months in office, his Administration imposed 75 new major regulations, with reported costs to the private sector exceeding $40 billion, as The Heritage Foundation’s James Gattuso and Diane Katz document in ”Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report.”
Political Calculations | California vs Texas: Jobs in the 21st Century
The real question then is just what forces are keeping California's job market from really recovering that aren't also at work in Texas (at least, to the same extent)?


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | KEENE: Obama blows another billion on green fantasies
Crony capitalism may have lurked in the shadows of this solar-panel bust.

Cato@Liberty | Grading the Likely Components of Obama’s New Stimulus Plan
President Obama will be unveiling another “jobs plan” tomorrow night, though Democrats are being careful not to call it stimulus after the failure of the $800 billion package from 2008.