Tuesday, October 4, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | Oil ends at worst in over a year on demand worries
Crude-oil futures on Monday ended at their lowest in more than one year as stumbling U.S. stocks and concerns about the global economy trumped upbeat reports on U.S. manufacturing and construction spending.
NY Times | Fannie Mae Knew Early of Abuses, Report Says
Fannie Mae, the mortgage finance giant, learned as early as 2003 of extensive foreclosure abuses among the law firms it had hired to remove troubled borrowers from their homes. But the company did little to correct the firms’ practices, according to a report issued Tuesday.
National Journal | White House Sends Trade Pacts to Capitol Hill
After months of negotiations and political fights, President Obama on Monday submitted to Congress ratifying language for the long-stalled trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, paving the way for final ratification before the end of the month.
CNN: Money | Minimum wage to rise in eight states
Minimum-wage workers in eight states could see their paychecks grow by hundreds of dollars next year, thanks to automatic annual increases in the rates.
WSJ | Frontier of Frugality
Retailers Face Reality That Many People Can't Trade Back Up.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | We're Still At the Front End of a Recession
The stronger-than-expected ISM manufacturing-index reading for September might normally suggest that the economy, at least for now, has dodged a recession bullet.
CNN: Money | To fix the economy, first fix the housing market
There's no way the U.S. can get back on track without a cure for what's killing real estate.
Washington Times | FEULNER: The power of civil society
Tapping into Tea Party values is what ‘progressives’ fear most.
Market Watch | China says U.S. yuan bill may spark trade war
China criticized a U.S. Senate decision to move ahead with a bill designed to pressure Beijing on its currency policy, saying the move fosters distrust and could spark a trade war.

Reason Roundation | Regulators Are Supposed to Prevent Bank Runs, Not Cause Them
To clarify, Bank of America has problems upon problems, and any one of them can be attributed to its ultimate failure (should if fail), but if the nail in the coffin comes as a result of regulation, one can only hope that anger over another major bank failure be directed at its rightful cause.
Marginal Revolution | Why I do not like the IS-LM model
. It fudges the distinction between real and nominal interest rates, so it can put the two curves on the same graph.
Café Hayek | The Presumptions of Ptolemaic Economics Die Hard
So let’s mention some other ways in which the dollars in the U.S trade deficit come back as spending power to America:
AEI: American | The Chart That’s Supposed to Kill the GOP’s Uncertainty Argument? Epic Fail
The Economic Policy Institute is trying to debunk claims from Republicans and many right-of-center economists that policy uncertainty is holding back the recovery.
Café Hayek | The Great Stagnation?
The other challenge to the Great Stagnation is that per-capita GDP is way up since the 1970′s. The left argues that the rich got all the gains. The mechanisms they propose to explain this are not convincing.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country
Global manufacturing stalled across many countries in September, with countries in the euro zone hit hardest. The U.S., China and the U.K. managed improved expansion.

RCM: Wells Fargo | ISM: Manufacturing Gains Remain Modest—Prices Steady
U.S. manufacturing continues to inch out a modest gain, with orders, output and employment remaining around breakeven. Meanwhile, prices paid are rising and suggest small relief ahead for input prices.

Health Care

NY Times | Report on Medicare Cites Prescription Drug Abuse
Medicare is subsidizing drug abuse by thousands of beneficiaries who shop around for doctors and fill prescriptions for huge quantities of painkillers and other narcotics far exceeding what any patient could safely use, Congressional investigators say in a new report.
National Journal | More Than 10 Percent of Parents Delay Kids' Vaccines, Study Finds
More than 10 percent of U.S. parents use an “alternative” vaccination schedule for immunizing their children, putting their kids and others at risk of becoming infected with diseases such as measles and whooping cough, researchers reported on Monday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Definition of Insanity
Why no one wants to repeal a program that everyone knows is a fraud.

Cato Institute | Heritage Scholar Urges States: Don’t Implement ObamaCare Exchanges, Send Back Grants
Many states, including some that are suing to overturn ObamaCare as unconstitutional, saw this as a green-light from the free-market groups and forged ahead with creating an ObamaCare-compliant Exchange.


WSJ | OECD Inflation Rate Rises
The annual rate of inflation across developed economies picked up for the second straight month in August as food prices continued to rise sharply.
WSJ | Senate Moves to Punish China for Yuan's Low Value
The People's Bank of China said Tuesday that factoring in inflation, the yuan has appreciated "greatly" and is close to a balanced level. China's Foreign Ministry said the bill violates rules of the World Trade Organization and that its passage would severely affect U.S.-China economic and trade relations.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNBC | Inflation Will Fall To 2%: Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher
The Fed president said growth for the remainder of the year would probably be “positive but anemic,” at less than two percent. However, “we could slip,” he warned.

Market Watch | Five questions for Bernanke
Rather than try to predict what will be asked, here’s MarketWatch’s stab at what could be timely questions for the central bank chief.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Guest Contribution: How to Value a Currency
Now, because the analytics are not straightforward and there is considerable scope for reasonable disagreement, we can be more confident in our assessments of currency valuation the more consistent are the verdicts from the different approaches.
Minyanville | US Dollar Purchasing Power in the Wake of Depressions: Putting Things Into Perspective
There is much to learn about the value of curriences in the wake of a market crash.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Investor's | Set Cap Gains At A Permanent 15%
What can we do to make America the most competitive environment in the world for job creation?
WSJ | The Obama-Romney Tariff
Unlike America's last great trade blunder, the Tariff Act of 1930 (aka Smoot-Hawley), the China bill wouldn't raise tariffs across the board, but would instead allow companies to seek countervailing duties by treating a "misaligned" currency as a subsidy.

WSJ | Heritage: Repatriation Tax Holiday Wouldn’t Create Jobs
While the tax break would likely prompt companies to bring home overseas profits, those companies wouldn’t use the extra cash to hire workers, launch mergers or make other new investments they wouldn’t already undertake, argue senior fellow J.D. Foster and senior policy analyst Curtis Dubay.

Heritage Foundation | The Buffett Rule: Fair to No One
This massive tax hike would fall mostly on families and businesses earning more than $250,000 a year. The President argues that these job creators should pay higher taxes out of “fairness.”


National Journal | Cantor: Obama’s Jobs Bill Is Dead
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said definitively on Monday that President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill will not be brought to the floor as a package, despite repeated calls from the White House to move on his legislation.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Sarbox and Immigration Reform for Jobs
The National Federation for American Policy says that for every H-1B worker requested, U.S. technology companies hire five workers.

Political Calculations | How Many People Are Employed by Small Businesses?
The SBA considers 500 employees to be the dividing line between small business and big business, but really, it varies by industry - it can be 500, 750, or even 1000 depending upon what business we're talking about.


CNBC | Big Debt Relief Needed to Kick-Start US Growth: Economists
More than three years after the financial crisis struck, the U.S. economy remains stuck in a consumer debt trap.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Forbes | Given an Opportunity to Cut Spending, the President Sings of the Buffett Rule
With the federal budget deficit cruising along at some $1.5 trillion a year – a gargantuan number – a consensus has gathered across the country that something serious has got to be done about it. Something appropriate to the magnitude of the problem.
Washington Times | MILLER: Democrats resist another Obama stimulus
It’s not just the American people who are abandoning President Obama in droves.

Mercatus Center | Institutions and State Spending
U.S. fiscal policy at the federal, state, and local level is on an unsustainable path. While reformers should look for ways to reduce spending on particular budget items, tomorrow’s legislatures may easily reverse these cuts.