Monday, September 12, 2011

General Economics

WSJ | White House Regulation Shift Is a Political Bet
Republicans and some business groups say Mr. Obama must jettison a host of other proposed regulations to reverse what they argue is an antibusiness perspective.
CNN: Money | Sweeping patent changes poised to become law
Congress on Thursday passed legislation that will reform the U.S. patent system for the first time since the Truman administration.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | GHEI: Pension pitfalls
Lavish retirement benefits create economic crisis for state and local governments.
RCM | Obama, the Veg-O-Matic President. Act Now!
The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: I have 14 months to save my job and I'm willing to spend unlimited amounts of your money to make sure that happens.
NY Times | How to Make Business Want to Invest Again
During the last week, the nation has witnessed much partisan wrangling over the economy. So it might be worth stepping back and assessing what we know and what we don’t. Let’s start with five propositions about which there is little doubt:
Washington Times | WOLF: Obama more telegraph than iPhone
The Democratic governing class, however, is stuck in an era long since cast aside. It stands astride the 21st century bitterly clinging to its monolithic, government-control mindset. Its miscalculation - the epic political miscalculation of our lifetime - is the belief that free Americans who demand bottom-up, personalized phones and individualized music playlists will accept top-down, one-size-fits-all government rule.

Cato @ Liberty | Davis-Bacon Rules Damage D.C.
The Washington Post reports on a Labor Department decision that applies pro-union Davis-Bacon rules to the CityCenter development in Washington D.C. The ruling could push up costs on the project by $20 million by forcing firms to pay artificially high wages.
Fox Business | Regulation and the Unseen
I have written several blog posts explaining why Dodd-Frank creates more problems than solutions. But, I was shocked to see my friends at the New York Times are now calling the legislation a jobs program, of all things, because it has created work for accountants and compliance officers.
Marginal Revolution | Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?
The beauty of social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound. Everyone who reaches retirement age is given benefit privileges that far exceed anything he has paid in — exceed his payments by more than ten times (or five times counting employer payments)!
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of Sept 11th
Several key reports will be released this week: Retail Sales, Industrial Production, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Coordination Problem | It's the Investment, Stupid
The economy remains moribund not because consumption spending has failed to recover and not because government spending has failed to increase, but because the true driver of economic growth—private investment—remains deeply depressed.
Café Hayek | Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?
“Social Security is worse than a Ponzi scheme, because it is not voluntary, and everyone suffers, not just Ponzi’s greedy participants.”
Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 986 Institutions
Here is the unofficial problem bank list for Sept 9, 2011.
Café Hayek | Questions About Imports
Proponents of imposing heavier tax burdens on Americans who purchase goods and services from abroad should look at this graph and ponder the following questions:

Mercatus Center | The Essential Stimulus
The administration promised that ARRA would “create or save” 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, mostly in the private sector. The administration also promised that under ARRA not only would unemployment not increase beyond 8.25 percent, but that it would also drop to 7.25 percent by end of 2010. Unfortunately, the stimulus has failed to live up to the promises.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary
While it was a fairly light week for economic data, speeches by President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke dominated headlines. The president outlined a plan that calls for payroll tax cuts and spending initiatives. Although the proposal could boost growth somewhat, we do not believe it fully addresses the core issues of weak consumer demand and structural unemployment.


MarketWatch | Congress may take only tax cuts from Obama plan
President Barack Obama’s jobs plan is unlikely to survive intact as Congress will likely strip out and pass tax breaks while leaving other proposed spending programs on the cutting room floor, analysts said Friday.
WSJ | Treasury Weighs New Tax Scheme
The Treasury Department is considering a proposal to eliminate some but not all taxes on the overseas profits of U.S. multinational companies, a central element of the administration's broader plans to overhaul the corporate-tax code, according to two people familiar with the deliberations.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
National Journal | The Small-Bore Solution
Extending the payroll-tax cut beyond 2012 is an anchor of Obama’s jobs plan. Good luck with that.

Cato@Liberty | President Obama’s $447 Billion Tax Increase
When the details are revealed on September 19, the President will be proposing large and permanent increases in the highest income tax rates − mainly to “pay for” a small and temporary cut in payroll taxes (which accounts for 54 percent of his $447 billion package).


WSJ | Mixed Reviews on Effects Of Obama's Jobs Proposal
Mr. Obama's $447 billion proposal, a combination of tax cuts and spending programs worth about 3% of gross domestic product, is intended to spur expansion as the economic recovery is at risk of stalling.
Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | How to Fight Black Unemployment
The tragedy of the failed stimulus is felt hard in minority communities. There's a better way.
Washington Times | DANNER: Speech failed to revitalize job creators
Gushers of federal cash, temporary tax breaks don’t help small business.
WSJ | Canada's Oil Sands Are a Jobs Gusher
Canada has recovered all the jobs it lost in the 2009 recession, and Alberta's oil sands are no small part of that.
Forbes | Obama's Jobs Plan: He Should Have Stayed On Vacation
Ever certain of his transformative skills, the President continues to miss the essential truth known to many of us, but totally lost on the political class. Specifically, Washington can’t create jobs, but it certainly can destroy them.
Washington Post | Job Creation 101
...government is less a job creator than a job changer. It supports jobs (soldiers, teachers, scientists) by taxing, borrowing and regulating.
Washington Times | TIMMONS: The NLRB’s anti-jobs plan
Labor board forces rules on employers that wouldn’t pass Congress.

Marginal Revolution | How many unemployed teachers are there?
This BLS graph (look under “And which industries show declining employment over the summer?”) shows a strong seasonal trend which may confound some month-specific citations, but still the number seems to be back to where it had been in earlier years (admittedly the scaling and visuals are not what I would wish for) and more importantly it is hard to spot much effect of the recession at all.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Debating the Obama Jobs Plan: Bernstein vs. Holtz-Eakin
President Barack Obama’s latest set of proposals to get employers hiring more readily has stimulated one thing already: critiques, analyses and defenses of the strategy and its components.


NY Times | Pressure Builds on Deficit Panel to ‘Go Big,’ Beyond Its Mandate, in Cuts
A group of at least 57 prominent business executives and former government officials have signed a petition in support of a greater deficit reduction, which they are to release at a news conference on Monday.
CNN Money | Pentagon sweats out budget upheaval
The senator -- Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona -- is a staunch defender of the Pentagon's budget, and it's no surprise that he is protecting the military's interests.
Market Watch | Greece adds property tax to budget plan
Greece will add a new property tax to austerity measures to help curb its deficit, the cash-short government said on Sunday, according to published reports.
Roll Call | Size of CR Puts GOP At Odds
...the Republican Study Committee — which squared off with Boehner during the debt deal in a losing effort to force deeper cuts — is considering submitting its own CR and actively opposing the appropriations bill.
Politico | Deficit panel eyes good ol' options
With just 10 weeks to figure out how to slash $1.5 trillion, the bipartisan panel of 12 lawmakers seems more content to flip through a menu of old options, recycling proposals from bipartisan groups and commissions that have come before it.
CNN Money | Paying for Obama's plan: It's complicated
Obama asked the 12-member debt super committee, already charged with proposing between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, to add the cost of the American Jobs Act to its goal.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | GHEI: Pension pitfalls
Lavish retirement benefits create economic crisis for state and local governments.

Health Care

National Journal | Survey: Americans Say Health Care Reform Isn't Working... Yet
Respondents were split on the question being most debated in the courts – whether Americans should be required to have health insurance – and believed media reports of the issue are distorted and misleading.
National Journal | Obama Says Medicare Needs Saving
President Obama conceded that his signature health reform law did not fix Medicare in a congressional address Thursday night, calling on his Democratic colleagues to allow “modest adjustments” to ensure Medicare exists for future Americans.
Politico | Could Obama bill bleed health jobs?
Health care providers are warning that President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan could actually siphon jobs from one of the few industries still hiring — because the only way to pay for it would be to make deeper cuts in the health care entitlement programs.

NBER | Do Hospitals Cross Subsidize?
Cross-subsidies are often considered the principal mechanism through which hospitals provide unprofitable care. Yet, hospitals’ reliance on and extent of cross-subsidization are difficult to establish. We exploit entry by cardiac specialty hospitals as an exogenous shock to incumbent hospitals’ profitability and in turn to their ability to cross-subsidize unprofitable services.
Heritage Foundation | Congress Should Not Undermine What Works in the Medicare Drug Benefit
Over the past several years, one small corner of America’s vast entitlement superstructure—the Medicare drug benefit—has been working well, satisfying program participants, and holding cost growth to a bare minimum. This is unheard of in the entitlement arena, where cost overruns are the norm.


Minyanville | Brazil Inflation High Following Interest Rate Cut
Last week's rate cut surprised analysts, and even reportedly Brazil's president. With Inflation at a six-year high, many are questioning the reasoning behind it.