Wednesday, September 28, 2011

General Economics

WSJ | For Some Companies, No Interest In Interest
A little-noticed provision of last year's financial-overhaul law gave companies something they had long wanted: a way to earn interest on large balances held in bank checking accounts.
Market Watch | U.S. durable-goods orders dip in August
Orders for U.S. durable goods fell slightly in August as demand shrank for motor vehicles and certain large defense goods, the government reported Wednesday.
CNN: Money | Financially-strapped cities cut jobs, services
One of the main factors contributing to the decline in revenue is a drop in property tax collections, which are projected to fall by 3.7% in 2011, the second straight year of declines. Last year's drop of 2.0% was the first year-over-year decline in city property tax revenues in 15 years.
National Journal | The Economic Impact of a Near-Shutdown
Some experts say budget brinkmanship will stir less fear as it grows more routine and yields long-term improvements.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | STEARNS: Sunstein’s dull red-tape shears
Czar’s regulatory pullback allows too much new regulation.
Bloomberg | Five Prescriptions to Heal Economy’s Ills: Laurence Kotlikoff
Desperate times call for creative measures. We’re in desperate times, but we’ve had little creative thinking from the Obama administration on how to fix the economy.
Washington Times | GRISWOLD: Yes to free trade, no to TAA ‘stimulus’
With federal debt piling up by the trillions and the “recovery” stuck in neutral, policymakers in Washington should focus on two overriding objectives: to shrink the public sector and grow the private sector. Trade legislation working its way through Congress offers an opportunity to advance both goals.
Forbes | Social Security is Much Worse Than a Ponzi Scheme
The facts about Social Security are these. Yes, it’s a Ponzi scheme, thus criminally fraudulent (as I’ll explain), but even worse, because it coerces us to be a part of it. Since the scheme began in 1935 the full force of the U.S. government has compelled a growing portion of citizens to suffer by it, such that we all do so by now.
Washington Times | DEMINT: Venture socialism
Obama agenda is about shoveling cash to cronies.
WSJ | The Real Solyndra Scandal
Solar technology has a market niche. It doesn't need subsidies.
AEI | HED: A Tale of Two Economies
It's useful to think of the American economy not as a single entity, but as multiple economies operating at differing levels of dynamism and efficiency.

Political Calculations | The Aggregate Distribution of U.S. Household Income in 2010
Here, we clearly see that most of the aggregate income earned by U.S. households in 2010 is to be found between the median household income figure of $49,455 and the mean household income figure of $67,530, which would put you in the neighborhood where Americans households collectively earn well over 50 billion dollars per year.
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | How Much Did GDP Numbers Matter?
The Bureau of Economic Analysis clearly vastly underestimated the depth of the contraction that we experienced during the financial crisis.
Daily Capitalist | Case-Shiller Home Price Index Continues Downward
The truth is more in line with what Bloomberg said and that is that home prices are still falling, the current gains are technical results from the foreclosure problems that lenders have, and that foreclosures will resume and increase shortly and the market will continue to be depressed.

AEI | The Eurozone Crisis and the US Economy: What Has Gone Wrong?
Recent US stimulus efforts have failed to boost the economy, and this pattern is likely to continue with future proposed stimulus plans.
NBER | Country Size, International Trade, and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies
We study a multi-country, multi-sector model with heterogeneous firms that are subject to idiosyncratic firm-specific shocks. When the distribution of firm sizes follows a power law with an exponent close to -1, the idiosyncratic shocks to large firms have an impact on aggregate output volatility.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Consumer Confidence Is Still Missing in Action
Consumer confidence was essentially unchanged in September as worries about job availability increased and expectations for income gains deteriorated. Buying plans also took a nasty tumble.

Health Care

CNN: Money | Employers bear brunt of health insurance hikes
While the annual cost for employee family health insurance jumped 9% this year, employers shouldered the bulk of that increase, according to a new industry survey Tuesday.
Market Watch | Some doctors think patients get too much care
Many primary-care physicians think they could be sued for not doing something, but few think they could be sued for doing something excessive or unnecessary. So says the lead author of a study that shows 28% of physicians polled said they personally were practicing more aggressively than they would like.
National Journal | Hospitals Flunk Readmission Test
Hospitals are about to get punished for so-called readmissions – when patients end up right back in the hospital after being discharged. Yet they’ve done very little to improve, researchers reported on Wednesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Beyond 'Repeal and Replace'
The core challenge, as Mr. Ryan laid out, is that "the health-care sector lacks most of the basic building blocks of a functioning market."


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | In Doing the Twist, Bernanke Leaves Out Production
In short, economic growth results from a productive idea being matched with capital; the scenario just described most stimulative in terms of real production when taxes are light, regulations largely non-existent, trade free, and money values stable.

Heritage Foundation | Restoring Economic Growth with a Stable Dollar
The United States and the world should not be condemned to struggle with depreciating and appreciating currencies, with inflationary and deflationary monetary policies that are out of control.


WSJ | Benefits Tax Hits Businesses Twice
State and federal taxes are rising for employers across the U.S. as states struggle to repay federal loans for unemployment benefits, including more than $1 billion in interest due Friday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: Obama’s tall tax tales
Numbers do not compute in presidential push for yet higher taxes.
Washington Times | CAIN: Economic crisis requires real tax reform
Half-measures and far-off fixes won’t mend our broken jobs engine.

American: Enterprise Blog | The Benefits and Limitations of Income Tax Reform
Done right, broadening the tax base by ridding the code of its many distortionary “tax expenditures” can promote economic efficiency. Done wrong, it can lead to a less neutral tax system and higher taxes on saving and investment.
NRO: The Corner | More on Taxing Millionaires
As you may recall, the top 1 percent of income earners pay 38 percent of income taxes and earn 20 percent of income, which makes our tax system highly progressive.


NY Times | Obama Proposes Protecting Unemployed Against Hiring Bias
...Lawrence Z. Lorber, a labor law specialist who represents employers, said the president’s proposal “opens another avenue of employment litigation and nuisance lawsuits.”
Market Watch | Where the jobs really are
Unemployment remains high and the job market is tough for many. But people still need other people to repair their cars, do their accounting, repair computers, write apps and even sell them things. And there currently are more opportunities in those occupations than others, according to online job postings.
NY Times | Low Consumer Confidence Suggests Hiring Is Still Weak
Confidence among the nation’s consumers stagnated near a two-year low in September, and the share of households that said it was difficult to find a job climbed to the highest level in almost three decades, a research group said on Tuesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur
Someone took risks to start every business—whether Ford, Google or your local dry cleaner.

Daily Capitalist | The State of Employment In America
McKinsey Global Research just came out with a study dealing with jobs in America, “An Economy That Works: Job Creation and America’s Future.” McKinsey loves to put put these big studies. It gives them the imprimatur of Big Thinkers and attracts clients.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Daily Caller | States need to prepare for massive cuts in federal funding
State legislators and governors fear that the super-committee will target the half trillion dollars that the federal government sends to states each year through a program known as Federal Aid to States (FAS).
Forbes | The U.S. Federal Deficit Reaches A Tipping Point
When nations accumulate a certain level of debt, growth suffers. For the United States, that moment is now.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | What Are We Spending Our Money On?
Average spending dropped 2% to $48,109 last year. Even as income and spending fell, consumer prices increased 1.6% in 2010.