Monday, October 17, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Large U.S. firms outpace tepid U.S. growth
Small business needs a customer more than credit or tax breaks.
WSJ | Shoppers Spend More Despite Dreary Outlook
Americans shrugged off deepening gloom about the health of the economy and stepped up their shopping last month, but it's unclear how long they can keep spending without stronger job growth in the months ahead.
Fox Business | NY Fed Manufacturing Contracts in October
The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index was little changed, up a hair at minus 8.48 from minus 8.82 the month before. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of minus 4.0.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NY Times | EDITORIAL: Corn-fueled politics
EPA mandate destroys car engines, voids warranties.
Washington Post | Why our children’s future no longer looks so bright
A Pew survey earlier this year found that 48 percent of respondents felt that their children’s living standards would exceed their own. Although that’s down from 61 percent in 2002, it’s on a par with the mid-1990s. But these expectations could be dashed.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: The income problem
Big-government economic policies are impoverishing America.
Bloomberg | Occupy Wall Street Loves Capitalism’s Pearls: William D. Cohan
It was probably inevitable that the Occupy Wall Street movement would be rife with contradictions. Back on Sept. 15, two days before the first protest began in lower Manhattan, an organizing principle of sorts appeared on the Adbusters website. “Hey President Obama, get ready for our one demand!” the post announced.
WSJ | The Steve Jobs Model for Education Reform
If we can engage a child's imagination, there's no limit to what he or she can learn.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Daily Capitalist | Which Country Is No. 1 In Manufacturing?
What you see in the charts is the application of capital in an economy. Our workers are three times more productive than Chinese workers.
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of Oct 16th
Three key housing reports will be released this week: October homebuilder confidence on Tuesday, September housing starts on Wednesday, and September existing home sales on Thursday.
TheMoneyIllusion | Varieties of Inequality
I’d like to make some observations about inequality. The various inequalities are not meant to be equally important; indeed I’ve purposely added a few trivial ones for perspective.
Heritage Foundation | Freer Trade, Greater Prosperity
Some critics of free trade say that trade agreements just help the “rich” get richer while making the “poor” poorer, but in fact, free trade benefits everyone.
NRO: The Corner | Who Is Getting Loan Guarantees from DOE?
As you know, the rationale behind the government acting as a venture capitalist in the green business is that if it didn’t, no one would, since these investments are just too risky.

Reports                                                                                                                         
RCM: Wells Fargo | Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary
Modest Recovery Is Still Under Way.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Retirement health-care costs: How to deal
The numbers are staggering: Even with Medicare coverage, a married couple needs to save more than $280,000 to be sure of covering their health-care costs in retirement.
National Journal | CLASS Dismissed: U.S. Drops Controversial Long-Term Care Program
With no money, no staff, and no way to make the program fiscally solvent, a controversial long-term disability insurance program established under the 2010 health-reform law is officially over.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | ObamaCare Starts to Unravel
The real story behind the Class program failure, and what to do now.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
AEI: American | After CLASS: What to do next about ObamaCare
Rather than just crow briefly “we told you so,” ObamaCare opponents on Capitol Hill should think more strategically about how to exploit and expand this political opportunity:
Marginal Revolution | CLASS Dismissed
It was obvious that the late expenditures would quick overwhelm the early taxes but the CLASS act added some $80 billion to projected health-care savings which helped to pass the bill. Now the bill is passed, however, reality is setting in and the program has been scrapped.
AEI: American | Let’s bury the CLASS Act cadaver (after a full autopsy)
Up to now, the primary political reasons for keeping the fiction of implementing the CLASS program alive involved not just maintaining the longtime dream of its primary congressional supporter (the late Senator Edward Kennedy) and like-minded liberal advocates that it could eventually mutate/metastasize into a larger, permanent entitlement program for all Americans.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Beijing to Keep Yuan Stable, Premier Says
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China will keep the yuan basically stable to avoid hurting exporters, the highest-level statement yet from Beijing on its currency policy since the U.S. Senate approved a bill that would take China to task over the issue.
CNN: Money | Dollar's biggest risks: Europe and the Fed
Unemployment has been stuck above 9% for months, consumer spending has been stuck in a rut, and overall growth has slowed. Yet, the dollar has still managed to make substantial gains against other major currencies.
WSJ | Central Banks Strain to Fill Gaps in Fiscal Policy
Political gridlock is preventing rich-country governments from responding to what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has delicately described as an economy that is "close to faltering."

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | State-Tax Deadbeats Face Tough New Measures
Here's a wake-up call for state-tax scofflaws: On Oct. 4, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring the Golden State's motor vehicle department to suspend the driver's licenses of its worst delinquents.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Illinois Shows that Taxing and Spending Has Consequences
In January 2011, newly elected Illinois governor Pat Quinn imposed a 67% income tax increase on citizens and a sharp increase in the corporate tax rate to satisfy missed and unpaid bills.

Reports                                                                                                                         
CBO | Use of Tax Incentives for Retirement Saving in 2006
Two features of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 also are analyzed: increases in contribution limits and an additional incentive, known as the “saver’s credit,” that was created to encourage lower-income taxpayers to save for retirement.

Employment

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | KNIGHT: Obama’s jobs machine
Milk taxpayers and - poof - you get new workers.
WSJ | Three Policies That Gave Us the Jobs Economy
Capital gains tax cuts, deregulation to allow easier investment in growth companies, and the protection of intellectual property created a boom.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: The income problem
Big-government economic policies are impoverishing America.
Washington Times | MURRAY & BIER: A plan to chill employment
Raising minimum wage in recession makes it less likely employers will hire.
WSJ | Where the Jobs Are
Democrats are wrong to oppose the president on permitting new energy projects.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
EconLog | The Myth of the Median Worker
Russ Roberts continues to engage with Tyler Cowen on whether there has been stagnation.
Marginal Revolution | The decline in gross job gains
The levels of gross job gains and gross job losses prior to the 2001 recession are noticeably higher than the levels following the 2001 recession.
Greg Mankiw's Blog | The Increased Role of the Minimum Wage
The minimum wage has a much larger role now than it did three years ago, in large part because of the legislated increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. 
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Number of the Week: Millions Cut Off Without Unemployment Extension
2,153,700: The number of jobless people currently receiving unemployment benefits who will lose them by Feb. 11, 2012 if an extension isn’t enacted by Congress by the end of the year.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Debt Panel Hears What Not to Cut
Congress's deficit-cutting supercommittee was deluged with recommendations on Friday. Unfortunately for the panel, much of it was advice about what not to cut.
Politico | GOP leaders prepare for deficit deal
House Republican leaders are planning to brace conservatives for another budget showdown, warning them that the product that emerges from the supercommittee is the best possible outcome of this budget fight.
WSJ | G-20 Welcomes Progess on EU Debt Plan
PARIS—Finance officials from the Group of 20 leading economies closed ranks Saturday, giving a cautious welcome to signs of progress by the euro zone towards tackling its deepening sovereign-debt crisis.
Bloomberg | Germany Shoots Down ‘Dreams’ of Swift Crisis Solution
Germany said European Union leaders won’t provide the complete fix to the euro-area debt crisis that global policy makers are pushing for at an Oct. 23 summit.
WSJ | Greece Fighting to Secure Permanent Debt Solution
ATHENS—Greece is fighting to secure a permanent solution to its debt crisis, Prime Minister George Papandreou said Sunday, adding that the ruling Socialists have the strength to push through tough measures as Greek lawmakers get ready to vote on the next round of cutbacks.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Time for Congress to do right
Further, we believe the super committee should use its power to direct and require the regular congressional committees to meet the prescribed spending and revenue targets in an expedited fashion.

Reports                                                                                                                         
CRS | Budget "Sequestration" and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules
"Sequestration" is a process of automatic, largely across-the-board spending reductions under which budgetary resources are permanently canceled to enforce certain budget policy goals. It was first authorized by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (BBEDCA, Title II of P.L. 99-177, commonly known as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act).