Friday, September 30, 2011

General Economics

National Journal | Uncertainty Overshadows Week of Solid Economic Data
The economic data this week was pretty solid. Initial jobless claims dropped, durable-goods orders improved, and second-quarter gross domestic product was revised upward. Despite some bad news — personal incomes declined in August for the first time in nearly two years — the United States appears to be warding off a double-dip recession, for now.
Market Watch | Incomes fall for first time in almost two years
Americans dipped into their savings to spend in August as their incomes fell for the first time in almost two years, the Commerce Department estimated Friday.
NYT | Cash-Short, U.S. Weighs Asset Sales
Like Americans trying to raise quick cash by unloading their unwanted goods, the federal government is considering a novel way to reduce the deficit: holding the equivalent of a garage sale.
CNN: Money | 90% of Americans say economy stinks
The number, reported Friday in a new CNN/ORC International Poll, is the highest of Barack Obama's presidency and a significant increase from the 81% who said conditions were poor in June.
National Journal | Mortgage Delinquencies Climb During Second Quarter
Early-stage delinquencies, which count mortgages that are between 30 and 59 days delinquent, increased 0.4 percent in the second quarter, the report said.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Washington's Quietest Disaster
Student loan defaults are growing, and the worst is still to come.
Washington Post | Why Europe’s crisis matters to U.S.
An American economic recovery now faces only two obstacles. Unfortunately, they are considerable: the broken politics of the United States and the broken politics of Europe.
WSJ | Buy American' Redux
How to raise costs on U.S. construction.
Washington Times | VERSACE: Ending the September quarter deep in the red
As we come to the end of the third quarter of 2011, people will use various words to describe the overall market, But one word that I think we can all agree aptly describes what we have seen over the past 90 days is volatile.
WSJ | The Lessons of the Shale Gas Revolution
North American oil production can double by 2035.
Washington Times | MURRAY & BIER: Stimulus slows our economy
What Washington wastes costs more jobs.

Heritage Foundation | No Drilling, No Jobs, No Money
Our country faces a severe fiscal crisis as well as significant economic challenges related to private industry job creation. Revenue cannot be generated from lease sales that do not occur, and jobs cannot be created on leases that private industry cannot acquire.
AEI: American | Why Business Uncertainty Really Is Killing Growth
Maybe EPI should run its own survey and ask entrepreneurs whether they would like to operate in an economy where government spending was running at 28 percent of GDP, revenues 24 percent, and big budget deficits extended as far as the eye could see.
Heritage Foundation | Maine Conservatives Leading the Way on Welfare Reform
Proving they are serious about mitigating their citizens’ dependence on government welfare programs, conservative members of Maine’s state legislature continue to push the state towards meaningful welfare reform.

NBER | Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning, and Household Wealth
There is ample empirical evidence documenting widespread financial illiteracy and limited pension knowledge. At the same time, the distribution of wealth is widely dispersed and many workers arrive on the verge of retirement with few or no personal assets.
RCM: Wells Fargo | Housing Chartbook: September 2011
Given the severity of the recent financial market volatility in Europe and in the United States, home sales have held up better than what many would have been expected.

Health Care

National Journal | House Republican Bill Would Pause Funding of Health Care Reform
The Labor-Health and Human Services 2012 spending bill finally emerged on Thursday, making all of the cuts and policy changes expected from a GOP majority.
Fox Business | Hospitals Face Big Medicare Fight Under Health Reform: Study
The new study provides information that shows just how complicated it will be for the government to assess fines against hospitals under health reform’s push to make them more effective and efficient.
National Journal | Single-Payer Health Care In Montana
Montana's Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer wants his state to adopt a single-payer health insurance system, saying that care in the neighboring Canadian province of Saskatchewan is better and cheaper than the system that will be created in the U.S. by last year's health care reform law.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Fox Business | What Boomers Need to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment Season
The period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, is a good time to assess current coverage and shop around for other plans that might better meet your needs and financial situation.

Heritage Foundation | Obamacare’s Soaring Price Tag
The bad news is that Americans can expect costs to go even higher. For starters, the full force of the law won’t even kick in until 2014–in other words, there’s an onslaught ahead.


WSJ | Fed's Twist May Prompt Bigger Turn
As the Federal Reserve Bank of New York prepares to release on Friday new details about the central bank's rate-lowering program, some bond-market strategists have done their own back-of-the-envelope assessment already.

Daily Capitalist | Bernanke Hints At QE3
The Fed chief has shown a strong determination to do what is needed to fix a persistently weak economy.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Flat Is the New Fair
Is President Obama paving the way for GOP tax reform?
Forbes | The Rise Of The Flat Tax Gives Us Morning In Albania
...when you combine the typically high growth in nominal GDP with these stable revenue/GDP ratios, nine out of ten countries experienced an increase in tax revenue in the first year of flat-tax implementation.
Minyanville | Is Buffett's Tax for the Super-Rich a Fair Proposal or Class Warfare? 6 Answers
Left, right or center, everyone has an opinion about Warren's big idea.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama jobs plan: More bureaucrats
As bad as EPA regulations are already, more bad news is coming.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | CEO Survey Shows Less Confidence in U.S. Hiring, Outlook
Top business executives are less confident about the U.S. economic outlook and their ability to hire new workers than in previous quarters this year, according to a survey released Thursday by Business Roundtable.
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | A Bill to Increase Discrimination Against All Workers?
According to Robert Pear of the New York Times, the President’s latest stimulus bill includes a provision allowing unsuccessful job applicants to sue if they believe they were denied a position because they are unemployed.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | It’s Man vs. Machine and Man Is Losing
Since the recession ended, businesses had increased their real spending on equipment and software by a strong 26%, while they have added almost nothing to their payrolls.


CNN Money | What if the debt committee fails?
That's the threat facing lawmakers if the special debt committee fails to propose at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts, or if Congress rejects its proposals.
National Journal | 'Go Big' Sounds Nice, But It's a Long Shot
Super committee will have to struggle just to meet its $1.2 trillion mandate.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: Cutting Uncle Sam down to size
Budgetary reform is needed to end the culture of spending increases.