Wednesday, November 9, 2011

General Economics

CNN: Money | Italian bond yields exceed 7%
Italian 10-year bond yields exceeded 7% on Wednesday, a record high and a critical psychological benchmark that represents the need for a bailout.
WSJ | U.K. Goods Trade Deficit Hits Record
The U.K.'s goods trade deficit widened to a record level in September, official statistics showed Wednesday, as a modest rise in exports was more than offset by record imports of goods including chemicals, silver and works of art.
CNN: Money | A slow, slow return to growth
After a spate of speed bumps this year, the U.S. economy is starting to pick up the pace -- but the 2.5% growth forecast for 2012 still seems sluggish to most Americans, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce economist said Tuesday.
Washington Times | Beijing ups R&D competition with U.S.
Stepping up its long-running struggle with the United States over access to technology, China this year embarked on a campaign to target advanced industries such as aerospace, medicine and information technology for its next stage of development.
CNN: Money | OPEC ups oil demand forecast
OPEC now expects demand for oil to grow even more than it projected just a year ago, as the oil cartel said the recovery from the Great Recession took place faster than it expected.
USA Today | Foreclosure backlogs could take decades to clear out
Foreclosure sales are moving so slowly in half the states that at the current pace, it will take more than eight years on average to clear the 2.1 million homes in foreclosure or with seriously delinquent mortgages, new research shows.
WSJ | Global Liquidity 'on the Cusp' of Drying Up
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said Tuesday that global liquidity is about to dry up again as the European banking system deleverages, and warned that the real economy will soon feel the impact.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | CARLUCCI & HAMILTON & RIDGE: America at a global crossroads
Cutting diplomacy would be foolish policy in time of turmoil.
Washington Times | LAMBRO: Bill lectures Barack on growth
New Clinton book criticizes Obama’s failed economic plan.
WSJ | Europe's Entitlement Reckoning
From Greece to Italy to France, the welfare state is in crisis.
Washington Times | LUGAR & STUTZMAN: Reform farm programs and harvest savings
It’s time to stop subsidizing farmers even when they’re profitable.
Bloomberg | Orszag: Winds of Change Blow Away College Degree
Many parents in the U.S. are legitimately concerned about the prospects for their college-age children. After all, today’s students face three overlapping challenges: a long-term structural shift as the world’s effective labor supply expands; rising tuition and growing concerns about the quality of public higher education; and the misfortune of graduating into a weak labor market.
Market Watch | The great $26 billion real estate swindle
Call it whatever you want. But as foreclosures surge again and house prices continue to slide, new data out Monday reveals more of the grim verdict on the $26 billion federal program in 2009 and 2010 to offer tax credits to home buyers.
Fox Business | Volcker: Volcker Rule Too Complicated
"It's much more complicated than I would like to see," said Paul Volcker during a university talk in Singapore on Wednesday. The Volcker rule is meant to prevent American banks from making big bets on markets with their own money or from backing private equity and hedge funds.

Free Banking | Talking points for the Keynes-Hayek Debate
Here is the prepared version of my opening statement for the Keynes-Hayek debate sponsored by Reuters that was held in New York City tonight.
Daily Capitalist | How to Fix the Housing Crisis
The foreclosure crisis has crawled on for going on four years now with no end in sight. The S&P/Case-Shiller index for August fell 3.8 percent from a year ago. The index includes home prices for 20 US cities.

Heritage Foundation | Obama’s Red Tape: Tsunami or Ripple?
Are regulations being produced by the Obama Administration at a significantly faster rate than under previous administrations? Not at all, say White House officials, arguing that the growing spool of red tape from Washington is just business as usual.

Health Care

National Journal | Appeals Court Upholds Health Care Law
Two out of three judges on a conservative-leaning panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the law was constitutional.
WSJ | Health Law Survives Another Appeal
Requirement to Carry Insurance Is Found Constitutional in Ruling Written by Conservative Judge.
National Journal | Wal-Mart Plans to Enter Health Care Market
Wal-Mart Stores - the nation's largest retailer and biggest private employer -- now wants to dominate a growing part of the health care market, offering a range of medical services from basic prevention to management of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | ObamaCare: Flawed Policy, Flawed Law
Even if it were to survive the high court's judgment, the individual mandate would never work as the law's drafters intended.
AEI | Medicare Linked to the Health Care Overhaul
If Congress eliminates key elements of the Affordable Care Act, raising the Medicare age to 67 will leave more older Americans in insurance limbo for longer periods. The costs to the society, besides the cruelty to the individuals, will be high — people putting off treatment or medications or tests until treatable cancers or other ailments become untreatable and much more costly.


Market Watch | Chinese inflation cools in October
Chinese data released Wednesday indicated cooling inflation and still-robust economic activity, with analysts saying the results could prompt some policy easing.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NY Times | Euro Crisis’s Enabler: The Central Bank
Unlike any previous central bank in history, the bank has disclaimed any responsibility for the European financial system it effectively controls, or even for the viability of the euro as a currency. Instead, it has focused almost entirely on the formal objective of keeping inflation rates to a 2 percent target.
Fox Business | Fed's Plosser: Additional Stimulus Unnecessary
A top Federal Reserve official said Tuesday he sees no need for additional stimulus programs from the central bank at present because fear earlier this year that the economy was "at risk of falling off a cliff" has "pretty much been dissipated."

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Fed’s Plosser: Wrong to Allow Inflation to Rise to Cut Unemployment
A key Federal Reserve official struck back Tuesday against other central bankers willing to tolerate a higher inflation rate as the result of policies that would bring down the unemployment rate, and said improved economic prospects argue against further stimulus.


Politico | USDA OKs Christmas tree tax
The Obama administration has given the green light for a new fee of 15 cents on all Christmas trees.
National Journal | Senate GOP: Willing to Accept Up to $300 Billion in Net Tax Increases
Republicans say they could accept up to $300 billion in new taxes as part of a plan that cuts the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years—the goal the super committee must meet to stave off mandatory cuts under this summer’s Budget Control Act.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Do Americans Favor a Flat Tax?
Support for a single rate isn't high, but there's a big group of undecideds up for grabs.
Minyanville | Flat Taxes are Big in the Former USSR, but Have They Worked?
Economists caution that you can't necessarily translate flat tax success stories in Russia into an American context.

Heritage Foundation | Obama Couldn’t Wait: His New Christmas Tree Tax
Acting Administrator Shipman had the temerity to say the 15-cent mandatory Christmas tree fee “is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government” (76 CFR 69102).


Politico | Retailers could ring up jobs gain for holidays
There are signs for jubilation heading into the holiday shopping season, but the increased hiring tends to be the equivalent of unwrapping a mail-order fruit basket. It’s a healthy gift that often spoils by the middle of January.
WSJ | More September Job Openings Signal Employer Confidence in the Economy
U.S. employers say they are looking to fill a growing number of openings as the economic recovery slowly regains traction, the latest sign of improvement in the still-weak labor market.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | FEULNER: Unions 1, Workers 0
‘Micro-unions’ add risk of workplace turmoil in already hard times.



Market Watch | Supercommittee gridlock could hit your investments
The world is focused on Greece and Europe, but there’s another crisis brewing that we ought not overlook.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Realtor Subsidy
...Realtors, like the rest of the housing-subsidy crowd, are working hard to get Congress to reinstate a $729,750 loan-limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantees.
Politico | CBO figures throw cold water on cuts-only approach
When all the brush is cleared, a new Congressional Budget Office report Tuesday shows that government spending flat-lined in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 — leading to a modest dip in the deficit, thanks to an estimated $141 billion increase in federal receipts.
WSJ | Europe's Entitlement Reckoning
Successive governments on the Continent, right and left, have financed generous entitlements with high taxes and towering piles of debt.
Project Syndicate | Europe’s Darkness at Noon
European Union leaders failed at their summit two weeks ago to produce anything of substance. China and Brazil are clearly reluctant to come to the rescue by providing a large injection of foreign cash. And the recent G-20 summit in Cannes produced no agreement on steps that might have helped to resolve the crisis.