Thursday, September 8, 2011

General Economics

WSJ | OECD Cuts Growth Forecasts
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Thursday slashed its growth forecasts for this year, painting a gloomy picture of the outlook in the world's richest economies and putting pressure on central banks to intervene if there is continuing weakness or signs of recession.
NYT | U.S. Slips to Fifth Place On Competitiveness List
The United States is slipping and emerging markets are improving, but European economies still dominate the list of the most competitive economies in the world, according to a World Economic Forum report released Wednesday.
Bloomberg | Trade Gap Narrows in Bright Spot as U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Climb
The gap shrank 13.1 percent, the most since February 2009, to $44.8 billion from a revised $51.6 billion shortfall in June, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Economic Plans Unlikely to Deliver a Fix
For all the time spent on the stimulus-versus-austerity debate, the most likely outcome is neither. Lately, U.S. policy makers have shifted from taking a half-step toward austerity to a half-step back toward stimulus.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Stimulus Jr.
President Obama can’t shake his stimulus addiction. In his Thursday joint-session speech, he’s expected to announce $300 billion in additional spending, adding to the $4 trillion he’s already borrowed from future generations since taking office.
Washington Times | Why the Stimulus Failed
New research on what actually happened to a trillion dollars.
NYT | Fair Lending and Accountability
The banking industry is complaining loudly in Washington about the growing number of fair-lending investigations started by the Obama administration.

Calculated Risk | CBO: An Evaluation of Large-Scale Mortgage Refinancing Programs
Some economists have proposed a large scale mortgage refinancing program for homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie, Freddie or the FHA, and who are current on their mortgages but who can't refinance - usually because of Loan-to-values (LTV) much greater than 100%.
Daily Capitalist | Gallup Reports Rich Folks’ Spending Down
Gallup reported today the consumer spending was down for August, but the most distressing statistic was the spending by upper income consumers (incomes of $90,000+) was down:
WSJ: real Time Economcis | Calculating the Oomph From Big Government Refi Effort
How much economic oomph would be produced by a big federal government push to refinance mortgages for borrowers who can’t refinance because their incomes are too low or because their mortgages are bigger than the shrunken value of their homes or because the fees are prohibitive?
Heritage Foundation | Trade Deficit Decrease May Reflect Weak Economy
Historically, decreasing trade deficits are often a sign of economic weakness. When workers are unemployed, they have less money to spend. As a result, fewer goods are imported and the trade deficit may decrease.

NBER | Why didn't Canada have a banking crisis in 2008
The financial crisis of 2008 engulfed the banking system of the United States and many large European countries. Canada was a notable exception. The Canadian concentrated banking system that had evolved by the end of the twentieth century had absorbed the key sources of systemic risk—the mortgage market and investment banking—and was tightly regulated by one overarching regulator.

Health Care

National Journal | Potential Super Committee Health Cuts Would Hit Everyone
The entire health industry, from doctors to hospitals to beneficiaries, would pay more out of pocket or make less off Medicare under a menu of cost-saving changes prepared by the House Ways and Means Democrats for the congressional super-committee that will begin hammering out budget changes this week.
National Journal | Health Expenses Eat Up Income Gains - Study
An average U.S family of four with employer-supplied health insurance, earning the median income of $76,000 a year in 1999, would have earned an average of 30 percent more in 2009, or $99,000. But that same theoretical family would only have taken home $95 more a month in 2009, David Auerbach of the nonprofit RAND Corporation and colleagues found.
National Journal | Feds Arrest 91 for Medicare Fraud
The federal government indicted 91 people on Wednesday for Medicare fraud worth an estimated $295 million. Most were doctors and nurses in Miami, where Medicare fraud has been a special problem.

Heritage Foundation | Want to Help Job Creation? Don’t Forget to Repeal Obamacare
Obamacare is perhaps the most damaging of the Administration’s policies that are impeding the country’s recovery. At a time when there should be a focus on cutting spending, reducing regulation, and lowering taxes, Obamacare does the complete opposite.
Cato @ Liberty | Biggest Crackdown Ever Shows Medicare's Anti-fraud Efforts are a Fraud
The Obama administration somehow continues to garner positive coverage for arresting (alleged) Medicare fraudsters who bilk the program for, say $295 million.
Cato @ Liberty | Latest ObamaCare Glitch Enables States to Block New Entitlement Spending
The wonderful thing about this newly discovered feature of ObamaCare is that states don’t have to wait for Congress to act. They can reduce federal spending simply by not creating a health insurance Exchange.


Bloomberg | Bank of England Resists Calls for More Monetary Stimulus to Boost Growth
Bank of England officials resisted calls to extend economic stimulus as they attempt to navigate a path between accelerating inflation and a faltering recovery.
WSJ | Fed Prepares to Act
Officials Consider Unusual Steps to Avert an Economic Stall.
Bloomberg | Fed Policy Makers Prepare for Action This Month
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said yesterday the Fed should consider adding “very significant amounts of policy accommodation” and attacked the notion it should abide by a 2 percent ceiling on inflation.
CNN: Money | Federal Reserve: Economy still 'subdued'
The latest Beige Book released Wednesday shows economic activity slowed in the Chicago, Richmond and Philadelphia regions, and continued at a sluggish pace in other districts.

Daily Capitalist | What “Stagflation” Means
When we talk about stagnation or “stagflation” we are not necessarily meaning an abrupt decline in economic activity, but rather flat-to-declining activity. In this sense we can view our economy as “Japanese” as the likelihood is that we will face long-term gradual decline and stagnation in economic activity.


WSJ | Tax Cut Extension May Be Tough Sell
President Barack Obama's push to extend the payroll tax holiday to spur economic growth may not be an easy sell, in part because some economists and lawmakers question if it's delivering enough bang for the buck.
CNN Money | Tax reform could be too big for super committee
Everyone agrees -- fixing the tax code is imperative.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Connecticut Tax Roulette
Dannel Malloy's big business favors.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Overseas Tax Break Won’t Fire Up U.S. Job Machine
If the past is prologue, then a new Homeland Investment Act won’t help the U.S. economy much.
Macroadvisers | Extended Unemployment Benefits Cloud Interpretation of Labor-Market Data
We estimate that the behavioral channels are currently boosting the reported labor force by roughly 1 million, and the reported unemployment rate (and the NAIRU) by about 2⁄3 of a percentage point.

Heritage Foundation | Doubling Down on the Payroll Tax Holiday Still Won’t Create Jobs
The August jobs report showing exactly zero net job creation and an unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent have reinforced the imperative among Washington policymakers to focus on job creation policies in the waning months of 2011.


WSJ | The Long Search for Full-Time Work
At last count, nearly 4.5 million Americans had been unemployed for 52 weeks or longer and were still looking for work.
CNN Money | Unemployment filings show weak jobs picture
About 414,000 Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, showing hiring remains weak.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Why the Stimulus Failed
New research on what actually happened to a trillion dollars.
RCM | Don't Forget the Job Killing EPA, Mr. Obama
President Obama, in a preface last Friday to his speech tonight on creating jobs, instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to refrain from adopting stricter standards on ozone.
FT | How to attack America’s jobs depression
Barack Obama will unveil his plan for US jobs on Thursday evening.
Forbes | The Jobs Speech Obama Dares Not Deliver
As job growth in America decelerates to zilch, President Obama promises a bold new speech on Sept. 8 to a joint session of Congress on ways to stimulate job creation – his sixth speech on jobs since early 2009.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Stimulus Jr.
Funneling taxpayer money to teachers unions won’t create jobs.

Political Calculations | Why Small Businesses Aren't Creating Jobs
...lending institutions are carrying over half the financial risk associated with the operation of U.S. small businesses.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Vital Signs: Companies Slow to Fill Job Openings
There were 52.8% more job openings in July than there were two years earlier, according to the Labor Department.
Minyanville | Unemployment Benefits' Effect on Jobless Rate
Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best commentary from around the Web.

Heritage Foundation | Energy Exploration Would Create Jobs and Raise Revenue Without Raising Taxes
Although it is not the be-all and end-all, there is a solution that would help lower energy prices, create jobs, and bring revenue into the financially strapped government: Increase access to America’s energy.


WSJ | The Long Slog of Paring Debt
The U.S. went on a borrowing binge in the 2000s and is now in the deleveraging phase.
National Journal | Senate Coughs Up $50 Million for FDA Food Safety Efforts
Senate appropriators cut the budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, leaving meat inspection funding flat, but added $50 million for the Food and Drug Administration to staff up with a few food-safety inspectors.
Washington Times | Debt reduction ‘supercommittee’ to meet
Bipartisan panel will seek ways to cut deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving.
National Journal | Cantor: Month-Long Continuing Resolution Likely
Majority leader says bill could be taken up in less than two weeks.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: USPS, R.I.P.
Government mail monopoly is too big not to fail.
AEI | National Debt Is Larger, More Subtle Than Thought
In his scholarly "A Short Primer on the National Debt" (op-ed, Aug. 29), John Steele Gordon gets most things right. Unfortunately, he (like many others) understates by a huge amount, the total federal government debt.