Thursday, November 3, 2011

General Economics

CNN: Money | Consumers are scared? Really?
With all the worries about Europe being on the brink of financial disaster again and increased nervousness about the U.S. economy, you'd think consumers would be cowering in a closet in fear and stuffing their money in the mattress.
Politico | Report: Poverty hits record level
The number of Americans below poverty level has hit a new record, making up about 20.5 million people, The Associated Press reports.
WSJ | Europe's Greece Ultimatum
France, Germany Say the Nation Must Decide Whether to Stay in Euro or Go.
CNN: Money | TD Bank adds $9 savings account fee, hikes others
As other banks recoil from the customer wrath they faced after attempting to introduce debit card fees, TD Bank is rolling out a brand new fee and hiking others.
WSJ | Euro-Zone Data Add to Signs of Slump
Manufacturing activity in the euro zone contracted in October at its steepest rate since July 2009, adding to signs that growth in the region is grinding to a halt just a day before the European Central Bank decides whether or not to cut its key interest rate.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Financial Times | Five grim and essential lessons for world leaders
The depression that looked possible then has been avoided but the outlook is hardly satisfactory. What can be learnt from the past three years as the G20 gathers in Cannes? The world’s leaders, especially the Europeans, will ignore the following lessons at their peril.
Washington Times | DECKER: The China surge
Beijing is running circles around a limping U.S. economy.
CNN: Money | The telltale symptoms of troubled companies
A recently published list of 10 troubled corporations highlights just how difficult it is to address rampant cronyism on many major companies' boards.
Atlantic | Welcome to America's Lost Decade
The U.S. may face a prolonged period of stagnation. That's the warning from a Reuters op-ed written earlier this week by PIMCO CEO and co-CIO Mohamed El-Erian. | You Want More Equality? Support More Capitalism
A person can't go but a few clicks on the Internet these days without tripping over some shocking item about the "explosion" of income inequality that has, like the dark smog of capitalistic excess, been choking the life out of this unjust nation.
The Street | Cramer: CEOs Fret More About Obama Than Europe
Can this economy turn without Washington's help? Can it turn even with Washington hurting it? Those are the two questions I am asking industrial CEOs and the answers are a little surprising.
Market Watch | 5 ways to improve the U.S. retirement system
U.S. has 10th best pension system of 14 countries studied.
USA Today | Could Japan's economic malaise strike here in U.S.?
Japan has suffered more than two decades of subpar economic growth, made all the more miserable by falling consumer prices, a stagnant real estate market and a moribund stock market. The worry: that the U.S. economy devolves into something like Japan's.

Daily Capitalist | Free Trade: The Giant Sucking Sound
Ross Perot in his ill fated presidential run back in 1996 predicted that the passing of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) would result in a “giant sucking sound” of jobs going to Mexico. Of course he was and is wrong.
Café Hayek | Breaking news: creditors lose money in MF Global collapse!
The collapse of MF Global, a highly leveraged gambler on Europe’s fate using other people’s money means that those who funded those gambles have lost virtually all of their money.
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | Could Smarter Rules Have Protected MF Global's Clients?
There are some kinds of problems that seem like an indictment of the system--like, say the 2008 mess. No matter what your political persuasion, you probably think that the chaos of 2008-9 indicates that we need to somehow change the rules that goverened those markets.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country
Purchasing managers' index were mostly lower across the globe.
NRO: The Corner | Who Is Optimistic About the EuroZone?
I can see a scenario where Greece gets a better deal from EU leaders thanks to this referendum move. But I doubt a deal acceptable to all parties, including the private sector, that could fix Europe exists at this point.
Daily Capitalist | Manufacturing Is Not “OK” And Will Decline In Coming Months
The U.S. ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for October showed mixed results.

Health Care

National Journal | Thune Makes First Attempt to Repeal CLASS Program
Republicans have gleefully seized on its failure as evidence the whole law should be repealed, but Democrats have fought back.
NY Times | Health Guideline Panels Struggle with Conflicts of Interest
In all, about 20 of the three panels’ members, including some co-chairmen, have been advised that they should not vote on crucial issues as they prepare to issue the health guidelines next year — because they are too closely connected to industries with a keen interest in the panels’ recommendations.
National Journal | Wellness Programs Save Money, Nonprofit Group Argues
Want to lower government health insurance costs? Try a wellness program.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | ObamaCare — The Way of the Dodo
Stimulating both the federal debt and the unemployment rate is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as "ObamaCare," a moniker even its namesake now embraces.

Cato @ Liberty | Yes, ObamaCare Will Eliminate Some 800,000 Jobs
The CBO projects the law will eliminate an estimated 800,000 jobs. The fashionable retort is to note that this effect “primarily comes from workers who choose not to work because they no longer have to work at jobs just for the health insurance.”

AEI | The Bleeding Edge of Rationing: Obama’s Health Plan and the New Power of the United States Preventive Services Task Force
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a previously obscure government advisory body has acquired vast authority to decide which health care services Americans will have access to. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) was created in 1984 as a government advisor with the mission of assessing the clinical utility of preventive health measures such as screening tests and issuing nonbinding recommendations about which measures doctors should incorporate into routine medical care.


WSJ | U.S. Firms Pose Hurdle for Yuan
China's effort to make the yuan a global reserve currency has hit a snag: Few U.S. firms are taking advantage of easier access.
Bloomberg | ECB Cuts Rates as Risk of Greek Euro Exit Grows
The European Central Bank unexpectedly cut interest rates at Mario Draghi’s first meeting in charge as the new ECB head signaled officials have no plans to help bail out cash-strapped nations facing an escalating debt crisis that threatens to splinter the euro region.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Ben Bernanke defends Federal Reserve from attacks
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday called the economic comeback “frustratingly slow” as he defended the country’s central bank from attacks from both the left and the right.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September indicates that economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter, reflecting in part a reversal of the temporary factors that had weighed on growth earlier in the year.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Fed to Savers: No Help Coming
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had a message for savers who stick to the safest instruments such as U.S. Treasury securities or insured bank accounts: get used to microscopic returns.


Washington Times | Bill would tax trading by investment firms
Financial industry sees harm to U.S.
CNN Money | Many companies pay no income taxes, study finds
The corporate tax rate is 35%. But an examination of 280 of the nation's largest corporations suggests that many aren't paying anything close to that.
USA Today | Taxes on foreigners raise cost of business in China
The tax requires foreigners to contribute to China's social welfare system for pension, medical, unemployment, work-injury and maternity benefits.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | 'A Killing Field for Tax Measures'
It's still a tea party in Colorado.

American: Enterprise Blog | Why the Tax Policy Center is wrong: The U.S. can slash its corporate tax rate
My advice to congressional tax cutters is to cut the corporate rate whether or not they can “pay” for it.  And to at least 26 percent.
American: Enterprise Blog | United States united on a key tax issue
What’s especially interesting about the report Jim highlights from TPC/JCT is that for all the talk these days about how divided the nation is—from red state to blue, from GOP to Democrats, from Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party—one area of consensus involves cutting corporate tax rates.

NBER | Who Offers Tax-Based Business Development Incentives?
The evidence for 1999 indicates that communities are most likely to offer one or more of these business development incentives if their residents have low incomes, if they are located close to state borders, and if their states have troubled political cultures.


CNN Money | No relief for long-term unemployed
Nearly 32% of the 14 million Americans who are unemployed have been out of work for more than a year, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Daily Finance | Long-Term Unemployment Hits Older Workers the Hardest
To get an idea of how many Americans have been out of work for more than a year, envision the state of Louisiana. Yes, the state's population -- around 4.4 million -- is about the same as the number of people who have been jobless for 12 months and counting, according to the latest report from Pew Charitable Trusts.
CNN Money | Unemployment claims dip below key level
About 397,000 people filed for their first week of unemployment claims in the week ended Oct. 29, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number of claims fell 9,000 from the revised 406,000 in the prior week.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | Stop Blaming China For the Loss of Manufacturing Jobs
Indeed, as a recent USA Today editorial noted, "American companies are making lots of stuff", and in fact they're producing "about 80% more than in 1979 with nearly 8 million fewer workers."


NY Times | Deficit Committee Could Seek More Time, a Top Democrat Says
With no visible signs of progress, 6 of the 12 committee members have begun meeting privately in hopes of overcoming what appears to be the biggest obstacle to agreement: a deadlock over whether tax increases should be part of a deficit-reduction deal.
WSJ | Lawmakers Prod Panel on Deficit Agreement
One hundred House members from both parties Wednesday urged Congress's deficit-cutting supercommittee to trim the budget gap by $4 trillion over 10 years, with Republicans signaling that would require tax increases and Democrats acknowledging it would require cuts in the social safety net.
NY Times | College Graduates’ Debt Burden Grew, Yet Again, in 2010
Students who graduated from college in 2010 with student loans owed an average of $25,250, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to a report scheduled for release Thursday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Forbes | How To Gain Economic Stimulus Without Government Spending
The problem is that, before additional money can be spent, it must be borrowed.  First, bonds are sold.  Then, checks are sent out.  The incremental bond sales negate the impact of the incremental spending before it even occurs.
Washington Times | GHEI: A better European bailout
Solution to G-20 economic problems is less government, not more.

EconLog | The Balanced-Budget Multiplier
So my question for Keynesians and non-Keynesians alike. Is Professor Van Cott's criticism correct?
NRO: The Corner | Mini-bus Deception
I was sorry to read in Congressional Quarterly this morning that the so-called “mini-bus” spending bill that went through the Senate yesterday was “largely non-controversial.”
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Consumer Bankruptcies Decline
The 106,255 personal filings last month were 19.6% below year-ago levels, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research Center said Wednesday. Compared to September, filings were down 2.1%.
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Harrisburg, PA Bankruptcy Proceedings Continue
On October 11, Harrisburg, PA filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the first state capital to do so in several decades. Now, the city council must develop a plan for the city’s finances going forward.