Tuesday, October 25, 2011

General Economics

WSJ | Fresh Worries of Recession Grip Europe
Berlusconi Fires Back at Germany, France as Political Tensions Mount.
CNN: Money | Refinancing plan won't help housing market
It might get easier for some homeowners to refinance their mortgages, but that won't do much to help the broader housing market.
Politico | Transportation's future a rocky road
As Congress looks at nontransportation revenue to maintain current spending levels, two ambitious reports sit on the desk of policy experts. One includes a radical idea — that the country should eventually shift to a vehicle miles traveled fee. But some transportation experts said the federal program needs a major shake-up before lawmakers revamp how motorists are charged for road use.
WSJ | Plan Highlights Sharp Political Split
President Barack Obama on Monday went where his Republican White House rivals have so far refused to go. He asserted that Washington should help Americans refinance their mortgages at lower rates.
Fox Business | Home Prices Edge Up Slightly in August
U.S. single-family home prices were unchanged in August, pointing to a market that continued to stabilize but has yet to gain traction, a closely watched survey said Tuesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | And Baby Makes Seven Billion
Human beings are minds, not mouths.
WSJ | The Phony Success of China's Stimulus
Easy money has delayed Beijing's day of reckoning. Expect to see a lot of bank loans go bad.
Forbes | Why Politicians Lose So Much Money Trying To Pick Winners
The Solyndra scandal offers us a reminder that government isn’t very good at picking winners and shouldn’t try to do it.

Marginal Revolution | Italy’s growth disaster
At the risk of sounding like a broken record player, we are not sufficiently thinking through what it means for an advanced society to have basically zero net economic growth for a ten to twenty year period. It’s very possible.
Politico | Poll: Regulations top issue for small businesses
As the White House and Republicans battle over regulations, a new poll finds that small-business owners rank “complying with government regulations” as the most important problem that they face.
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Trust Me On This One
Progress depends on the extent of the market, the extent of the market depends on trust, and trust can be facilitated with familiarity with markets.

NBER | The Fiscal Stimulus of 2009-10: Trade Openness, Fiscal Space and Exchange Rate Adjustment
This paper studies the cross-country variation of the fiscal stimulus and the exchange rate adjustment propagated by the global crisis of 2008-9, identifying the role of economic structure in accounting for the heterogeneity of response.
Mercatus Center | The Economics and Regulation of Bank Overdraft Protection
Available evidence indicates that those who rely on overdraft protection tend to have low credit ratings, use overdraft protection because it is sometimes less expensive, to maintain short-term liquidity needs, and more convenient than available alternatives.

Health Care

National Journal | Burgess Highlights State-Based Solutions
Before Republicans can replace the 2010 health care reform law, they need to float ideas for improving the health care system. That’s the logic that led Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, to bring spokespeople for two successful nongovernment initiatives to Capitol Hill on Monday.
National Journal | CLASS Dismissed, But Maybe Not Repealed
Of course, just because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there is no viable path forward for CLASS doesn’t mean the program can never be implemented.


WSJ | Fed Official Backs New Growth Push
A top Federal Reserve official suggested Monday that the central bank could take further action to try to boost economic growth, including more securities purchases.
NY Times | In Cautious Times, Banks Flooded With Cash
Bankers have an odd-sounding problem these days: they are awash in cash.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NY Times | The Beauty of Institutions
When humankind fails, the best institutions save it from the brink. The forging of the European Union is up there with the U.S. Constitution as an act of creative genius.
Washington Times | RAHN: Abolish central banks
Monopoly on money means a never-ending cycle of boom and bust.
Washington Times | FEULNER: Focusing on the Fed
It’s time to ask hard questions about the central bank’s role.


WSJ: Real Time Economics | Secondary Sources: Home Affordable Refinance Program, Flat Tax, Small Business
Len Burman says a flat tax is no different than a value-added tax.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Error:
And you thought the stimulus didn't work.


Market Watch | Europe plan may fall short, U.S. experts worry
European leaders may fall short in their efforts to defuse the region’s debt crisis, and any failure is likely to have a major impact for the U.S. economy, according to expert testimony to a House subcommittee released Monday.

NRO: The Corner | What a $1.2 Trillion Sequester Could Look Like
The CBO estimates that about 70 percent of mandatory spending would be exempt from sequestration, virtually all of it in non-defense mandatory spending, such as Social Security and Medicaid.