Friday, October 7, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | Europe crisis could cause major damage: Geithner
A severe crisis in Europe could cause significant economic harm by undermining confidence and weakening demand, but the United States has limited exposure to the situation.
WSJ | Central Banks Step Up Battle to Contain Crisis
The Bank of England made a surprise decision to buy government bonds to try to bring down interest rates and spark growth, while the European Central Bank revived measures from last year to try to keep capital flowing to Europe's ailing banks.
CNN: Money | Home ownership: Biggest drop since Great Depression
The rate of home ownership fell to 65.1% in April 2010, 1.1 percentage points lower than it was in 2000. The decline was the biggest drop since the 1930s, when home ownership plunged 4.2%.
National Journal | EPA Modifies Cross-State Air-Pollution Rule
The modifications were largely technical, and EPA said they would have little effect on the regulation's effectiveness in curbing air pollution. The rule affects mostly Eastern states.
WSJ | The Multibillion-Dollar Leak
Draft of 'Volcker Rule' Hits Internet, Rocking Wall Street, Washington; 'Proprietary Trading' on Line.
Washington Times | Mortgage rates hit record lows in weak market
For the lucky few with good jobs and stable finances, it’s a rare opportunity to save potentially thousands of dollars each year. For most people, it’s a tease and a reminder of how weak their own financial situation is.
WSJ | Buck Up, America: China Is Getting Too Expensive
Certain jobs have been dribbling back to the U.S. for a few years. But now the sectors most likely to repatriate production may be coming into focus.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Bill Clinton: How to fix the economy
Our former president's remedy for our fiscal woes? Focus on jobs and mortgage relief - and clean up the tax system.
Politico | A wider view of U.S. role in world.
It’s time to erase the old map. End nation-building, engage our allies and fix our economic core. This is how we will fight the enemy we have — and renew American exceptionalism.
Washington Post | Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’
The collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness.
Washington Post | Our one-sided trade war with China
Both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations have pushed China to let the RMB increase enough to reduce its huge export surpluses. Negotiations have failed.
American Spectator | Is Keynes Finally Dead?
One would think so -- yet under this presidency he will never be allowed to rest in peace.
RCM | What Steve Jobs Did for Capitalism
Capitalism has always been about creators, about revolutionaries, about iconoclasts who set out to transform and improve the way we live. Jobs was our era's reminder of this fact.
Financial Post | Terence Corcoran: Apple under Jobs was quintessentially corporate
Nothing can take away from Mr. Jobs achievement as a creator and one-man economic transformer who made billions of dollars and millions of people happy. But he could not have done it outside the corporation-dominated economic system that is American capitalism.

Heritage Foundation | Tales of the Red Tape #21: USDA’s Affirmative Action for Vegetables
First they came for the donuts, and few dared to defend partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Then they came for the soft drinks, declaring high-fructose corn syrup verboten. Now they’re after lima beans, peas, and corn, moving us ever closer to a national diet of tofu and kale.
NRO: The Agenda | We Are the 99 Percent—Even Rich People
The 99th percentile of Americans, by income, starts with households earning incomes of $593,000. The “We Are the 99 percent” branding puts somebody making $500,000 per year on the oppressed-and-downtrodden side of the wage divide. Indeed, “99 percent” is so expansive a designation that it includes most of the bankers working on Wall Street.
Marginal Revolution | A simple theory of regulations, new and old
The number of laws grows rapidly, yet the number of regulators grows relatively slowly. There are always more laws than there are regulators to enforce them, and thus the number of regulators is the binding constraint.
Reason Foundation | Free Trade as Economic and Social Development Driver
There are currently three free trade deals pending approval from Congress. We looked at each of them this past week on the OOC blog, noting the positive and negatives in the deals.
NRO: The Corner | Does Stimulus Spending Work?
First, contrary to what stimulus advocates like to claim, there really isn’t a consensus among economists about the impact of spending on economic growth.

RCM: Wells Fargo | RCM: Wells Fargo Real Home Prices: A Metro-Area Look
Home prices have now fallen back down to trend in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms.

Health Care

National Journal | Insurance Companies Win Round One of Essential Health Benefits
The nonpartisan Institute of Medicine released its highly anticipated report on Thursday detailing how Health and Human Services should go about one of its hardest tasks in the 2010 health reform law: deciding what are “essential health benefits” for the country.
National Journal | Independent Medicare Commission Backs Doc Fix
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, known as MedPAC, voted 15-2 at an annual meeting to support a $200 billion plan that would undo the flawed Medicare doctor-reimbursement formula by cutting the pay of non-primary care physicians by 5.9 percent each year for the next three years, and freezing payment for primary-care doctors.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Freeze the Affordable Care Act
The costs of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have been escalating and are predicted to continue to rise as its provisions gradually go into effect.

Cato @ Liberty | On ObamaCare, David Frum Just Doesn’t Get It
In sum, Frum’s GOP-palatable alternative to ObamaCare is … ObamaCare. But maybe more coercive. And implemented sooner. With higher taxes. And less vulnerable to legal challenges. And with Republicans playing the bad guy.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | China isn't the only currency 'manipulator'
How can anyone with a straight face declare that China needs to be punished for keeping the yuan artificially low when the United States is also aggressively trying to devalue the dollar with its monetary and fiscal policies?

Free Banking | Achieving a Stable Dollar
I’m going to talk about some of the choices we face among monetary regimes, including choices among various types of gold standards.
Minyanville | The 4 Trillion Euro Fantasy
Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.


Market Watch | September data show improvement in jobs market
The nation’s labor market showed some small signs of improvement in September as job growth came in above market expectations and there were positive revisions to past months, U.S. government data showed Friday.
Politico | Obama challenges Congress to pass his jobs bill
President Barack Obama took his national campaign for a new jobs bill back to the White House on Thursday, repeatedly warning Republicans to line up behind the measure or step up to “explain” their opposition to anxious voters.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Jobs and Jobs
From Edison to Jobs, we know how to repeat the U.S. success story.

Political Calculations | The U.S. Layoff Picture in October 2011
When we last looked at seasonally-adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims (aka "new jobless benefit filings") at the end of August 2011, we found that the average rate of new claims was falling at a level of about 800 per week.
Calculate Risk | Employment Summary, Part Time Workers, and Unemployed over 26 Weeks
U-6, an alternate measure of labor underutilization that includes part time workers and marginally attached workers, increased to 16.5%; this is at the high for the year.
Political Calculations | Is Big Business Creating Jobs?
Previously, we investigated why small businesses haven't been creating jobs during the so-called economic recovery following the recession that began in December 2007, finding that their collective debt situation is the likely culprit keeping them from adding jobs to the U.S. economy.


CNN Money | State tax revenue falters as economy weakens
The looming specter of Recession 2.0 has forced several states to lower their estimates for revenue growth this fiscal year, just as many had finally started to see their tax collections rebound.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Cain's Tax Mutiny
Creating a new national sales tax on top of the income tax is a political killer.
Washington Times | LAMBRO: Plotting a winning tax divide
Obama, Democrats dispute where to draw line between haves and have-nots.
WSJ | Meet Moe the Millionaire
He worked hard and invested in his friends. Now the president wants to raise his taxes.

American: Enterprise Blog | Obama’s Millionaire’s Tax Is Double Trouble
Howard Gleckman over at TaxVox makes two great points about the Obamacrats’ new idea for a tax on million-dollar incomes, a levy the president says he’s “comfortable” with…
NRO: The Corner | Why the ‘Millionaire Tax’ Is a Bad Idea
On Wednesday, Senate Democratic leaders proposed a new 5.6 percent tax on people earning more than $1 million a year to cover the cost of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan.


National Journal | Wasted Small-Business Fund Adds to Administration's Stimulus Woes
At a time when policymakers must pinch every penny, the Obama administration’s squandering of special resources meant to stimulate the economy is frustrating community groups and financial-industry representatives. They fear allies in Congress will stop spending precious political capital on wasted efforts.
Politico | Report: $568M in foreclosure aid unspent
A $1 billion federal foreclosure aid program ended with $568 million unspent due to a restrictive application process and poor advertising, a result that some called “sad and shameful.”

Cato@Liberty | Going ‘Page by Page, Line by Line’ through the Budget
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing yesterday on President Obama’s pledge to go “page by page, line by line” through the federal budget to eliminate programs “we don’t need.”