Friday, October 21, 2011

General Economics

Politico | Poll: Most blame Obama for economy
A majority — 53 percent — said Obama deserves “a great deal” or a “moderate amount” of the blame for the economic problems that the United States currently faces, the USA Today/Gallup poll from mid-September shows.
Bloomberg | Transport Shares May Outperform as U.S. Consumer Spending Rises
Companies transporting holiday merchandise may outperform the stock market as a rise in consumer spending indicates seasonal shopping may be better than forecast.
Politico | Poll: 72% say U.S. headed wrong way
The majority of those polled in an AP-GfK poll, 72 percent, said that they believe the country is generally headed in the wrong direction, while 24 percent said it is headed in the right direction

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | VERSACE: Economic data, consumers remain glum
In terms of other key news out this week, the combination of government statistics and those from other parties continue to paint the picture of a weak domestic economy that will continue to feel like a recession for the near term.
Washington Times | BRANNON & BATKINS: Absurdity of regulatory Keynesianism
Belief that hiring more workers to implement rules can lift economy is fanciful.
Washington Times | PULLMANN: Waiver avalanche uncovers flaws of No Child Left Behind
Federal control can’t replace key to student success: Parental involvement.

NRO: The Corner | Stimulus Spending Explained
If you are interested in understanding how Keynesian economists (the good ones) think government spending triggers economic growth, if and when economists disagree on the issue of stimulus, and whether or not World War II stimulated the economy, you should listen to this great conversation between economists Russ Roberts and Garett Jones on EconTalk.
EconLog | The Construction Sector and the Economy
One concern I would have is that a decline in the demand for an input to construction should reduce the price of that input and thereby increase its demand in other sectors. This will not be picked up by input-output analysis.

Mercatus Center | Accountability at FEMA: Is Quality Job #1?
Maurice McTigue testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs on ways FEMA can become more effective and efficient in reacting to disasters. 
Mercatus Center | Housing Finance Reform: Continuation of the 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage
Anthony Sanders testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs about 30-year fixed rate mortgages.

Health Care

NY Times | Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits
After trying to mollify its critics in recent years by offering better health care benefits to its employees, Wal-Mart is substantially rolling back coverage for part-time workers and significantly raising premiums for many full-time staff.
WSJ | Medicare Program for Doctor Groups Gets Looser Rules
The Obama administration on Thursday loosened the rules for a new program that encourages doctors and hospitals to coordinate care for groups of Medicare patients, after providers complained preliminary guidelines were unworkable.


WSJ | Fed Is Poised for More Easing
Federal Reserve officials are starting to build a case for a new program of buying mortgage-backed securities to boost the ailing economy, though they appear unlikely to move swiftly.
CNN Money | Fed's thinning toolbox lacks oomph
The Federal Reserve has very little left in its bag of tricks to help stimulate the economy. And experts say whatever comes next may not have enough of an impact to pull the economy out of its slump.


American: Enterprise Blog | Death and Tanning Taxes
Apparently many fewer establishments pay the tax than predicted and it is bringing in far less revenue than originally estimated.


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 roadblock to transportation funds?
Opponents of President Barack Obama’s proposal for $50 billion in stimulus-style transportation spending, along with $10 billion to capitalize a national infrastructure bank, say it’s akin to putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Atlantic | The Spread of Start-Up America and the Rise of the High-Tech South
Start-up culture is taking root in lots of places -- and not just the usual suspects. Some of the hottest hotbeds are in the South.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Which States Are Poised for Jobs Growth?
Most of the states expected to see the largest employment gains are also states that have seen big gains in population. That’s good news for places like Texas and Utah that have relatively low unemployment rates compared to the national average.
Political Calculations | Over 50% Probability of New Jobless Claims Over 400,000 Each Week Through End of 2011
And since that slowly downward trending line is currently projected to stay above the 400,000 level through the end of 2011, we can therefore expect that there is over a 50% probability that the number of new, seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims will be above the 400,000 mark through the end of the year.


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                                                                                                             
Washington Times | LAMBRO: Supercommittee’s insuperable timidity
Cutting the budget takes guts, not hand-wringing.
WSJ | An End to Budgetary Trickery
When is money it spends considered money saved? When Congress says so.
Washington Times | MURDOCK: It’s official: Obama is spending champ
Barack Obama is the Barry Bonds of big government. He offers America liberalism on steroids. While he earns grand slams for spending and debt, his pitiful results constitute strikeouts.

The American | Raising taxes vs. cutting spending: Which is the better path to debt reduction?
These two charts (via recent congressional testimony from AEI’s Kevin Hassett) offer some needed perspective.