Wednesday, September 14, 2011

General Economics

Bloomberg | Retail Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Stagnate
The unchanged reading followed a 0.3 percent gain for July that was smaller than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was a 0.2 percent rise.
WSJ | How to Accurately Measure The Poor Remains Elusive
America's poverty rate clicked up again last year and now stands at its highest level since the early 1990s. But what exactly does it mean to live in poverty in one of the richest countries on earth?
Bloomberg | Crude Oil Drops From Six-Week High on Concern Economic Recovery to Falter
Futures fell as much as 1.9 percent after technical indicators signaled gains of more than 3 percent in the past two days may have been excessive.
CNN: Money | Government aid keeps millions out of poverty
Unemployment insurance helped keep 3.2 million Americans out of poverty in 2010, according to new statistics released Tuesday. Without this vital lifeline, which lasts up to 99 weeks, these jobless folks would have joined the roughly 46.2 million people now considered in poverty.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | CASS: When to regulate and when not to?
Regulators especially should steer clear of intruding into parts of the economy that are working well, most obviously the high-technology sector.
WSJ | Growth and Inequality: 2010
The latest news on spreading the wealth.
AEI: American | From Ponzi to Perry: The Truth about Social Security
In both Social Security and a Ponzi scheme, early participants receive payments, not from interest on their own investments, but directly from inflows from later participants.
AEI | Housing Finance Reform: Should There be a Government Guarantee?
Although the government's overall debt position is not an issue that is usually part of the debate on housing finance policy, the fiscal position of the United States has deteriorated so seriously in recent years that the question whether to increase the national debt in order to support the U.S. housing market has now become highly germane. | Who's Accountable For Failure?
The data are in, and they aren't pretty: The economy continues to fall apart, with seemingly little immediate hope for a turnaround. If you were looking for a referendum on the failures of Obamanomics, this is it.
Forbes | Infrastructure Follies: Railroads, Cleantech And Crony Capitalism
It was more fitting than President Barack Obama could have imagined when he invoked the memory of Abraham Lincoln’s backing of the first transcontinental railroad in his bid to boost his latest infrastructure spending stimulus.

Minyanville | The Key to Economic Growth
America needs cheap energy, less regulation, a new tax code, and debt reduction -- all while addressing spending and entitlements.
Cato @ Liberty | Dramatic Increase in Poverty Rate: One Small Step for Obama, One Giant Step for the So-Called War on Poverty
I fully agree that the president’s policies definitely have made—and will continue to make—matters worse. But the fundamental problem is 40-plus years of a misguided “War on Poverty” by the federal government.
Political Calculations | The Distribution of Income for 2010: Households
In 2010, the median household income in the United States was $49,445, which was down from the $49,777 that had been recorded in 2009.
Marginal Revolution | New vs. old Keynesian macroeconomics
interpret the old Keynesians as holding an attitude something like: “We know from the Great Depression that an AD problem can be very bad for a very long time. Maybe there are mysteries in how that happened but we need to double down on traditional Keynes, Hicks, and IS-LM.”
Daily Capitalist | Some Of Us Aren’t Getting Poorer
The Census Bureau announced that for the most part, we are getting poorer since the Crash. That shouldn’t be news, right? The point being is that because of these business cycles we keep experiencing, we are going backwards.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Vital Signs: Small Business and Skills Shortage
The number of small businesses seeing a skills shortage has crept up this year. In August, 33% of small businesses reported having few or no qualified applicants for job openings.
Café Hayek | More scientism from the defenders of stimulus
Now Mr Zandi calculates the new Obama plan would create 1.9m jobs in the next year and add two percentage points to gross domestic product. The Republican alternative – slamming on the brakes – would have the opposite result.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Manufacturing Drove Cities’ Growth in 2010
Last year was a good one for cities that make things.

Cato Institute | Can We Determine the Optimal Size of Government?
The massive spending programs and new regulations adopted by many countries around the world in response to the economic crisis of 2008 have drawn renewed attention to the role of government in the economy.
Heritage Foundation | Heritage Foundation Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor
Understanding poverty in America requires looking behind these numbers at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor.
RCM: Wells Fargo | RCM: Wells Fargo Import Prices Fall in August
Import prices fell by 0.4 percent in August, pulled down by declines in prices of petroleum imports. Excluding fuels, import prices rose 0.2 percent. Export prices rose 0.5 percent due to increased food and beverage prices.
Census Bureau | Census Bureau Income, Poverty, andHealth Insurance Coverage inthe United States: 2010
This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2011 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Health Care

National Journal | District Judge Rules Against 2010 Health Care Law
U.S. District Judge Christopher Connor made the ruling in Harrisburg, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Just last week, a federal Appeals Court upheld the law in the third major decision resulting from challenges brought against the legislation. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the issue.

AEI | Does Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?
"Our health care system has forced too many uninsured Americans to depend on the emergency room for the care they need," said Secretary Sebelius. "We cannot wait for reform that gives all Americans the high-quality, affordable care they need and helps prevent illnesses from turning into emergencies."


Market Watch | Dollar slips against euro as stocks rise
The dollar fell Tuesday as U.S. stocks gained, indicating some calming of fears about European debt.
Bloomberg | Wholesaler Prices in U.S. Little Changed
The producer price index was unchanged after a 0.2 percent increase in July, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists projected no change, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The so-called core measure, which excludes volatile food and energy, rose 0.1 percent, less than forecast.

Free Banking | The Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011
It is widely understood that competition among private enterprises gives us technological improvements in all kinds of products, delivering higher quality at lower cost.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama’s latest tax proposal
American Jobs Act would further undermine U.S. economy.
WSJ | The 2013 Tax Cliff
Business had better enjoy the next 16 months.

Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Illinois’ Bad Habit Continues: More Targeted Tax Incentives
Illinois’ Community Development Commission is scheduled to meet today to discuss bringing the JMC Steel Group Inc to Chicago by means of tax incentives. The CDC’s plan includes providing the company with $1.1 million in tax-increment financing.
Heritage Foundation | Transportation Enhancements: A Waste of Taxpayer Dollars
Coburn is expected to offer legislation that would allow states to op out of the TE mandates that cost the taxpayer $928 million in fiscal year 2011.


Market Watch | Employment outlook still weak: Manpower
Employers’ hiring plans for the fourth quarter are “relatively stable” — slightly down from the third quarter, but a tick higher than in the prior year, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook survey released Tuesday.
WSJ | U.K. Public Sector Sheds Jobs
The Office for National Statistics said the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 111,000 in the second quarter to 6.04 million, the largest decline since records began in 1999. There are now 240,000 fewer people employed in the public sector than there were in the second quarter of 2010, the ONS said.
Politico | Hill staffers fear pay cuts, layoffs
...that’s life on Capitol Hill, where even the coffee pot is on the chopping block as senior staffers scramble to slash their office budgets to meet requirements the new Republican majority put in place this year.
Politico | Experts fret over workforce dropouts
About 44 percent of unemployed workers have gone without paychecks for six months or longer, according to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. It’s an unprecedentedly high number that had never climbed past 26 percent during the past 50 years.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | WOLF: Hey loser, get a job or else
If Obamacare prevails, then what’s to prevent Obamajobs?

Freakonomics | Examining the EPA Cave-in: Does the Broken Window Fallacy Apply?
Unless these businesses can take on debt, which is doubtful if they are cash constrained, then the new regulations force them to either shutter their businesses or make one-for-one reductions in other expenditures. Among those without savings, then, the broken window fallacy holds strong. In essence, creating a job for a pollution “abater” comes at the cost of a job for a shoemaker or for the shopkeeper, himself.
Atlantic: McArdle | The New New New Economy
The jobs that are being automated are the stable, well-paying jobs where you could settle in and know exactly what you'd be doing for years.

NBER | Labor Market Dysfunction During the Great Recession
This paper documents the abnormally slow recovery in the labor market during the Great Recession, and analyzes how mortgage modification policies contributed to delayed recovery.


Bloomberg | Wen: World Must Cut Deficits, Not Rely on China
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, facing calls to widen support for indebted European countries, signaled that developed nations should cut deficits and open markets rather than rely on China to bail out the world economy.
Fox News | Federal deficit totaled $1.23T through August
At that rate, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit will total $1.28 trillion when the budget year ends in September. That would nearly match last year's $1.29 trillion imbalance and come in below the record $1.41 trillion hit in fiscal 2009.
National Journal | Where Is Congress With Appropriations?
So far, the House has passed only six of the bills and the Senate only one.
Washington Times | Budget director cuts time for supercommittee to reduce deficit
Taxes will have to rise dramatically or entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, will have to be scaled back.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Post | ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee.
The panel followed that triumph by holding a hearing Tuesday morning devoted in large part to trading blame for the deficit.
Market Watch | Greenspan urges quick fix for U.S. debt
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of “devastating” damage to financial markets unless Congress quickly begins to address the soaring national debt. He also reiterated his call for an increase in taxes.
Cato Institute | Feeling Spent
The result: Three years and $1.5 trillion of spending later, we are back to the same gallimaufry of failed ideas.
WSJ | 'Grand Bargains' Are a Budgetary Dead End
The arithmetic of debt is simple: The taxes necessary to feed these deals will stifle economic growth.
RCM | Super Committee Vs. Fiscal Commission: It's Different This Time
...a closer examination of the two bodies' purpose, structure, and powers reveals a night-and-day difference - the Super Committee is designed to succeed, while the Fiscal Commission was not.

NRO: The Corner | More on Infrastructure Spending in the ‘American Jobs Act’ are some striking facts about government run public work projects. The most comprehensive study of cost overruns examines 20 nations spanning five continents.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Supercommittee Open to Finding Extra Savings to Pay for Parts of Jobs Plan
Still, there is broad support for some of the president’s proposals, such as a measure to extend a payroll tax cut, if there is also a way to pay for it.

CBO | Confronting the Nation's Fiscal Policy Challenges
As a result, putting the federal budget on a sustainable path will require significant changes in spending policies, tax policies, or both.