Thursday, October 20, 2011

General Economics

CNN Money | Who are the 1 percent?
Last year, it took just $343,927 to join that elite group, according to newly released statistics from the Internal Revenue Service.
WSJ | Washington Area Is Tops in Income
Census data for 2010 show median household income was $84,523 in the D.C. area, compared with $83,944 for the San Jose region, the epicenter of Silicon Valley.
CNN Money | Lawmakers: Repeal rule that spurred bank fees
Several lawmakers announced Wednesday that they will again try to get rid of the provision in the Wall Street reform law that blocked big banks from charging retailers more than 24 cents for processing a swiped debit card. That was a reduction from the previous average of 40 cents.
WSJ | Foreigners' Sweetener: Buy House, Get a Visa
The reeling housing market has come to this: To shore it up, two Senators are preparing to introduce a bipartisan bill Thursday that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S.
CNN Money | Fed: Economy weakening but no sign of recession
The economy is losing steam across much of the nation, but is still growing and not in recession, according to the latest outlook from the Federal Reserve.
Bloomberg | Consumers Most Negative Since Recession
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index’s monthly expectations gauge dropped to minus 45, the worst reading since February 2009. The weekly measure of current conditions was minus 48.4 for the period ended Oct. 16, up from minus 50.8 the prior week that was close to a record low.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | How to Clean Up the Housing Mess
Millions of foreclosures are ruining millions of lives. We can do better than Social Darwinism.
American Spectator | Visible Projects, Hidden Destruction
In fact, once creating jobs is viewed as the chief purpose of government spending, said Hazlitt, a project with more waste and more inefficiency in its implementation, and less labor productivity, will be viewed as superior to a less wasteful project.
Real Clear Markets | The Economic Disappointment of Generation O
Generation O voted for Barack Obama believing him to be a new kind of leader, but he has delivered them an Old Economy with European-style mandates (think Obamacare), sclerosis, and dysfunction.

Atlantic: McArdle | The 1% Ain't What It Used To Be
Note that this is not an argument about who suffers more during a recession; it is self-evident that a worker who loses a third of their $20,000 annual paycheck is much worse off than an owner who loses two thirds of their $500,000 annual draw.  But the measured gap between their incomes will still shrink dramatically.
Daily Capitalist | Americans Blame Government More Than Wall Street For Economy
As the article notes, this has important political implications. It is a significant shift in Americans’ perceptions of the problems we face.

RCM: Wells Fargo Economics Group | Housing Starts Jump In September
Housing starts rose to a 658K-unit pace in September on the heels of an upwardly revised 572K-unit pace in the month of August. The gain was driven primarily by a 51.3 percent increase in multifamily starts.

Health Care

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: CLASS Act dismissed
Long-term care insurance scheme was doomed from day one.


CNN Money | Six-Figure Salaries But Homeless
In the town of Williston, N.D., America's newest oil boomtown, more than 6,000 job seekers have come from every corner of the country looking for work. Yet, oil companies and other developers haven't been able to build housing units fast enough.
Politico | W.H. jobs focus focus roadblock to transportation funds?
The Obama administration continues to fight for its American Jobs Act as a way to boost the sagging transportation construction sector. But Democrats, Republicans and the construction industry have all said the White House’s focus is misdirected

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
The Atlantic | The Spread of Start-Up America and the Rise of High-Tech South
The United States has been and continues to be one of the world's great start-up incubators, but with innovation no less than with agriculture, some places are much more fertile than others. What gives some cities and regions such extraordinary creative and entrepreneurial vitality -- and what holds others back?

WSJ | Which States are Poised for Jobs growth?
Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight looked at which states will have the strongest rates of expansion through 2017. The company’s regional economic group made forecasts determined by the macroeconomic outlook, including demographic assumptions, historical and cyclical trends and other factors such as oil prices and tax policy.
Political Calculations | Over 50% Probability of New Jobless Claims over 400,000 Each Week Through End of 2011
You know, we're really not sure why so many people seem to be surprised that new, seasonally-adjusted, weekly jobless claim filings persist in clocking in at levels above 400,000, or that the adjusted values for the previous weeks tend to be revised upward.


The American | Death and Tanning Taxes
Many fewer tanning establishments pay the new tanning tax than predicted and it is bringing in far less revenue than originally estimated.


WSJ | Fed Official Discusses Securities Purchases
Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, made his comments Wednesday in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, just hours after a Fed report showed the economy picked up a little in recent weeks.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Blame the Fed for the Financial Crisis
The Fed fails to grasp that an interest rate is a price, the price of time. Attempting to manipulate that price is as destructive as any other government price control.

Daily Capitalist | The Fed Doesn’t Believe We Have Inflation
The CPI for September came out showing year over year price inflation at 3.9%, up from last month’s 3.8%. Prices increase 0.3% over August.


WSJ | Germany, France Delay Euro Rescue Plan
Leaders of Currency Zone's Two Largest Economies, at Odds Over Rescue Plans, Say No Pact Possible by Sunday Deadline.
NYT | Amid Protests, Greece Adopts New Austerity Plan
After a day of violent demonstrations against government cutbacks, Greek Socialist lawmakers on Thursday gave their final approval to a raft of tough new austerity measures, taking a critical step toward securing crucial foreign aid and averting a default.
WSJ | Top Lawmakers Push Debt Panel to Wrap Up
Senate and House leaders are becoming more directly involved with the supercommittee responsible for delivering a sizable deficit-reduction plan by Thanksgiving, amid growing concern the panel's members could be deadlocked.
Bloomberg | EU Said to Weigh Use of $1.3 Trillion as Franco-German Discord Mars Talks
European governments may unleash as much as 940 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) to fight the debt crisis, seeking to break a deadlock between Germany and France that is forcing leaders to hold two summits within four days.
WSJ | Senate Blocks Funds for State Workers
The Senate blocked a proposal Thursday to send $35 billion to states to retain or rehire teachers and other public sector workers, marking a second setback for President Barack Obama's jobs package.
Bloomberg | Japan to Sell $10.4 Billion More Debt to Pay for Earthquake Reconstruction
Japan will sell about 800 billion yen ($10.4 billion) of additional government debt to the market this fiscal year to fund earthquake reconstruction and help companies cope with a strong yen, the Ministry of Finance said.
Politico | Senate leaves unfinished business
Capping the night was an 84-15 vote embracing a populist amendment denying farm subsidies to individuals with an average adjusted gross income of over $1 million. But left unfinished was the underlying $182 billion spending bill, which the leadership had vowed to pass this week and must now revisit in November when members return.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
IBD | Krugman's Not-So-Excellent Adventure
Despite a nearly 20% increase in federal spending and $4 trillion in deficits, the country has suffered the worst recovery since the Great Depression.

American: Enterprise Blog | EU debt crisis could devastate U.S. economy, crush housing
Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned the Senate Banking Committee that a full-blown EU financial crisis would be bad for America. Really bad.
NRO: Michael Tanner | Math vs. Myth
There is no austerity, only more uncontrolled spending.