Friday, November 4, 2011

General Economics

NY Times | Bleak Portrait of Poverty Is Off the Mark, Experts Say
When the Census Bureau said in September that the number of poor Americans had soared by 10 million to rates rarely seen in four decades, commentators called the report “shocking” and “bleak.” Most poverty experts would add another description: “flawed.”
CNN: Money | G20 agree to 'action plan' for global economy
The leaders of the world's most powerful economies have agreed on an "action plan" to boost economic growth and strengthen the global financial system, according to an official statement from the Group of 20.
WSJ | China Singled Out for Cyberspying
U.S. Intelligence Report Labels Chinese 'Most Active' in Economic Espionage; Russia Also Named.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Baum: You Can’t Fix a Burst Bubble With More Hot Air
It’s almost six years since the air started to leak, then gush, out of the U.S. housing market, and the best one can say is that residential real estate is bouncing along the bottom.
Washington Post | The world economy is adrift
The 2007-09 financial crisis, having started in the United States, discredited American ideas and competence. The sluggish economy, heavy government debts and constant partisan haggling sap the nation’s financial power and political will to aid others.
RCM | The Consumer Is Back, But In the Wrong Place?
For now we will ignore the alarmingly large 1.7% decline in real disposable personal income and the obvious slowing of GDP when viewing the numbers year-over-year to simply focus on how these headline numbers might fit into the basic ideas of a recovery and a healthy economic system.

Minyanville | Why the MF Global Crisis Matters More Than You Think: 3 Key Lessons
The fall of MF Global doesn't portend doom for the global economy -- at least not yet -- but there are three key lessons that we can learn from it.
Daily Capitalist | Capitalism: Death By A Thousand Cuts
Capitalism died when they decided to subsidize railroads for the sake of national prestige in the mid 19th century.
AEI: The American | Do government innovation policies actually work?
Does all the federal government funding for research and development, direct and indirect subsidies, tax credits and other tax benefits, such as deductibility of research expenses, actually boost economic growth and American prosperity?
Daily Capitalist | Consumers Most Pessimistic Since Recession Bottom
Consumer confidence declined last week to its lowest level since the depths of the recession in the first quarter of 2009.
Econlog | Quote I Will Use Often
Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.
Marginal Revolution | Should redistributionists feel compelled to give more of their own money away?
There are plenty of redistributionist goals which do not require concerted collective action or threshold levels of contribution. One person’s giving can make a big difference, especially if that person is wealthy.

Health Care

National Journal | Health Insurers Plan to Pass Along New Tax to Patients
Health insurers are not pulling any punches. They say they plan to pass new taxes under the 2010 health reform law directly to consumers through higher premiums.
National Journal | Grading Doctors With Electronic Medical Records
So electronic records may not be a great investment for a hospital if you are just looking at the bottom line. But they are good for whoever is paying the bill.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | WOLF: Save America: Repeal Obamacare
Congress and the states should act now to stop this cancer.

Heritage Foundation | House Panel Hears How HHS Mandate Tramples on Conscience Rights
Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health held a hearing asking the question, “Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Conscience Rights and Access to Care?” Many of the panelists responded with a resounding “yes.”


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Project Syndicate | A Gravity Test for the Euro
Although I appreciate that exchange rates are never easy to explain or understand, I find today’s relatively robust value for the euro somewhat mysterious.
Financial Post | NGDP targeting: the very latest econo-fad
Targeting nominal growth is the new idea sweeping monetary policy.
WSJ | Obama's Perplexing Populism
Inflation hits lower-income people especially hard. So why is the president ignoring rising food prices?

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Inflation Adjustments Fall Short for Social Security
Annual cost of living adjustments for Social Security are falling short, reducing the real level of benefits paid out to retired Americans, research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago argues.
Cato @ Liberty | More on Nominal Sales and Monetary Policy
Fed should focus on keeping the economy growing at a nominal rate of around 5 percent per year. This allows for an average annual growth rate of around 3 percent and an annual inflation rate of around 2 percent.


WSJ | The Tobin Tax Mirage
Sarkozy and Merkel lean on Obama for a levy on financial transactions.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | U.S., Again, Says It Won’t Join EU on Financial Transactions Tax
European Union leaders are using the G-20 forum to push for a tax on trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives to raise money for taxpayers who have bailed out their financial systems.


Washington Times | Third Obama jobs bill blocked in Senate
The loss follows defeats last month for Mr. Obama’s full $447 billion jobs plan, and a separate slice of that plan that would have funded salaries for state and local teachers and emergency workers, all paid for by tax increases on Americans with annual incomes of $1 million or more.
Politico | Barack Obama: Jobs numbers 'positive'
In economic news on Friday that President Barack Obama called “positive” but said shows the economy is still growing much too slowly, the unemployment rate ticked down to 9 percent in October, while the country added a less-than-expected 80,000 jobs last month.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
The American | What If Middle-Class Jobs Disappear?
Structural change is an important factor in the current rate of high unemployment. The economy is in a state of transition, in which the middle-class jobs that emerged after World War II have begun to decline.
City Journal | Unleash the Entrepreneurs
As of August 2011, America employed 6.6 million fewer workers than it did four years earlier.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Vital Signs: Modest Private-Sector Hiring
The ADP National Employment Report showed employers added 110,000 jobs in October, down slightly from the revised 116,000 jobs added in September.
EconLog | Sentences I do not Understand
From a PSST perspective, when a job is destroyed, that means that a person leaves the market work force, unable to find a job at an acceptable wage. When a job is created, someone is pulled out idleness or home production and into market work.

Heritage Foundation | Heritage Employment Report: October Jobs Numbers Slowly Rise
The private sector added 104,000 jobs, while government jobs fell by 24,000.


Washington Times | Debt panel’s inactivity stirs unease on Hill
As deadline looms, pressure mounting on supercommittee.
WSJ | G-20 Looks to Aid Italy
While Greece was consumed by political turmoil, leaders of the Group of 20 industrial and developing countries on Thursday were scrambling to insulate the next most vulnerable economy: Italy.
CNN Money | Obama budget aide doesn't see shutdown
White House budget director Jacob Lew said Thursday he's optimistic that Congress will avoid any more threats of federal shutdowns later this month over a 2012 budget.
Politico | Balanced budget amendment to be pushed by GOP
There are two options, which the House Republican Conference is mulling Friday morning in a closed meeting. One balanced budget amendment would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product, while requiring a two-thirds supermajority for raising taxes.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Debt committee pressure points
Republicans still appear resistant to taxes as a significant deficit-reduction measure. And Democrats remain resistant to any plan that lacks a meaningful tax component and threatens to upend the economic recovery.
National Journal | Why the ‘Go Big’ Letter Could Be a Big Deal
...the coalition of legislators at least open to an ambitious deal that includes both entitlement reductions and revenue increases—the brightest redlines for each party—may be larger than often assumed.

Political Calculations | 180 Years of the U.S. National Debt Burden per Capita
In 1831, the National Debt Burden per Capita, or rather the ratio of the United States' national debt per capita and GDP, multiplied by 1 billion), dropped below a value of 3 for the first time in its history [1]. In 2011, the U.S.' National Debt Burden per Capita has risen above that level.

CBO | CBO's Use of Evidence in Analysis of Budget and Economic Policies
CBO Associate Director for Economic Analysis Jeffrey R. Kling's presentation at the Annual Fall Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.