Tuesday, November 15, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | Road to U.S. recovery goes through Rome
The U.S. economy is huffing and puffing, but at least it’s moving in the right direction. Not so in Europe, and that poses a problem on both sides of the Atlantic.
CNN Money | Retail sales: Consumers still spending
The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that retail sales were up 0.5% compared to September, just above the 0.4% forecast of economists surveyed by Excluding auto sales, retail sales shot up 0.6%, three times stronger than expected.
WSJ | Euro Zone Ekes Out Growth
The euro-zone economy grew at a meager pace in the three months to the end of September, aided by pickups in consumer spending in Germany and France.
Market Watch | ‘Put-back’ relief at center of HARP mortgage fix
Lenders hoping they won’t need to repurchase faulty mortgages when they refinance home-loans are focusing on a new Obama administration effort that wants to help them out.
WSJ | Data Help China's Case for Yuan
A key measure of China's surplus with the outside world fell sharply in the third quarter, adding to evidence that the country is rebalancing away from dependence on exports and undermining the case for faster yuan appreciation.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
LA Times | California — toxic for business
Unless Sacramento moves to improve the business climate, California's reputation as one of the country's most toxic business environments will make it hard for the Golden State to regain its luster.
Washington Times | RAHN: Rich China, poor China
Reds’ refusal to share prosperity with underclass jeopardizes future.
WSJ | Is South Korea Headed for Trouble?
Politics are shifting leftward and birthrates are plummeting. Japanese-style malaise could be the result.
RCM | Generation Zero: An Obnoxious Repeat Of GenX
"Generation X" was the blanket adjective foisted on college graduates of the early ‘90s period, and with the U.S. economy still on weak footing following the 1990-91 recession, conventional wisdom said my supposed crowd had menial labor of the clothes-folding variety to look forward to, and that we wouldn't live better than the relatively well-to-do parents who had conceived us.
Cato Institute | Tariff Lesson for Obama – and Us
The US should follow Australia's example in dealing with protectionist pressures. United States President Barack Obama will pay a long overdue visit to Australia this week. Hopefully, his hosts will shed light on Australia's trade policy history, which is instructive for US policy.
WSJ | China and the Rules of Trade
Obama is frustrated with China but makes the wrong demands.

Heritage Foundation | First-time Homebuyers Tax Credit Shows Government Can’t Fix Housing
Government programs cannot stop the decline in housing prices. The latest evidence of this comes from a study of first-time homebuyers who took advantage of an $8,000 tax credit available between 2009 and September 2010.
Calculated Risk | State by state exports to Europe
Here is a map from the referenced report by economist Mark Vitner and Michael Brown at Wells Fargo. The map shows European exports as a percent of state GDP.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Vital Signs: Home Heating Costs to Decline
Home heating costs for many Americans will be lower this year. Natural gas futures closed on Friday at $3.58 for a million British thermal units, down 20% from early June. In a typical November.
ThinkMarkets | Energy Policy vs. Market
No matter how thoroughly public policy fails, there is no end to efforts in the same area. Energy is a case in point. Reviewing the history of US energy policy in his new book, Columbia University legal scholar Michael Graetz writes: “The book is, then, in one sense a story of failure…”
Political Calculations | Income Inequality by Age Group in 2010
We see that the level of income inequality drops dramatically for adults between the ages of 25 and 34, which corresponds to individuals who have fully entered into their careers. The amount of income inequality by age group then increases through Age 65-74.

Health Care

USA Today | Study examines how doctors and patients see health care
Doctors and patients agree on many of the key issues facing the future of health care, a study to be released today shows, but that's where much of the agreement ends.
National Journal | White House Announces $1 Billion in Health Care Grants
The Obama administration said on Monday it would free up as much as $1 billion in grants to help groups, doctors, and communities hire and train health care workers as a way both to create jobs and improve health care. The goal is to experiment with ways to expand the health care work force while reducing the overall cost of services—and to get around Congress, which has stymied his suggestions for a jobs bill.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | ObamaCare Goes to Court
The "constitutionality" of the Obama health care law, Harvard Law School's Laurence Tribe wrote in the New York Times earlier this year, "is open and shut," adding that the challenge against it is "a political objection in legal garb."
Roll Call | GOP Sees Opening in Health Care Case
Congressional Republicans are moving to re-establish health care as a political weapon against Democrats, as the Supreme Court prepares to consider President Barack Obama's reform law on the cusp of the 2012 elections.
WSJ | ObamaCare and the Limits of Government
When asked if the health law was constitutional, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi sneered, 'Are you serious?' Now the Supreme Court has decided it's a worthy question.


Market Watch | U.S. producer prices slide 0.3% in October
U.S. producer prices in October dropped by the largest amount in 20 months as a big drop in gasoline as well as a decline in vehicle prices offset higher costs for eggs, poultry and medications.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Fed’s Fisher Sees Declining Prospect of Easing as Recovery Gains Strength
ederal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said he sees decreasing odds the central bank will need to ease policy further amid signs the U.S. economy is “poised for growth."
Market Watch | IMF says China banking system vulnerable
China should speed up interest-rate reform and allow its currency to trade more freely, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, warning that the Chinese banking system “confronts a steady buildup of financial-sector vulnerabilities.”

Minyanville | Dollar Teetering On the Abyss
Commodities could be poised for a huge surge higher during the next two years as the dollar deteriorates.


USA TODAY | Economy could get bumpier if tax cut expires Dec. 31
Economists are growing more worried that Congress will not extend this year's payroll-tax cut past Dec. 31, pulling up to $120 billion out of consumers' pockets and cutting into already tepid forecasts for household spending in the first half of 2012.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
National Journal | QUICK TAKE: Coburn Study Targets Tax Benefits For The Wealthy
The findings are sure to resonate with congressional Democrats who embraced President Obama's recent call for a millionaires tax to plug the deficit hole.
Daily Finance | Even if Buffett Tax Passes, Middle Class Could Still Get Hit
Ultimately, there is no painless way to balance the budget: Doing so will require some combination of spending cuts, middle class tax increases and tax hikes on the wealthy. The solution, whatever it is, will leave everybody somewhat unhappy.
WSJ | Crony Capitalism, Chicago-Style
The new economy: Tax hikes for all, tax relief for the well-connected, campaign contributions for the politicians.

NRO: The Corner | Who Wants to Subsidize a Millionaire?
While I don’t think that millionaires should be targeted, as a group, for tax increases, I don’t think the government should be giving away money to them, either.


Washington Times | Obama: GOP lawmakers will pay for blocking jobs bill
Americans “aren’t feeling real good” about Republicans in Congress who have blocked his $447 billion jobs bill, President Obama said late Sunday night.
CNN Money | Wall Street's shrinking job pool
During what's left of 2011, Wall Street firms are expected to continue cutting employees.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | A State-by-State Look at Long Road to Jobs Recovery
When it comes to jobs, it’s going to take a long time to get over the Great Recession. How long depends on where you live.


Politico | Eric Cantor calls for tough balanced budget amendment
Majority Leader Eric Cantor sided with his party’s conservatives Monday, saying that he preferred that the House vote on a stronger balanced budget amendment than planned.
WSJ | Deficit Deal a Moving Target
A backlash by voters and markets is likely, and that outcome would be widely seen as a failure of this Congress.
Politico | Rare spending deal shapes up on Hill
A spending package of more than $182 billion took final shape late Monday after an intense week of House-Senate negotiations that posed a first test of how the two political parties will implement appropriations caps agreed to in the August debt accord.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | A Short Econ Quiz for the Super Committee
Why an extra trillion in 'irresponsible' deficit spending can't become 'responsible' if paid for by higher taxes.
Washington Times | MILLER: Supercommittee a super dud
Smoke-and-mirrors deal means higher taxes.
CNBC | European Debt Crisis: You Haven't Seen Anything Yet
Though the daily market gyrations might indicate otherwise, realization is beginning to creep in that the European debt crisis and its effect on the U.S. will not take days, weeks or months to unwind—but years.
AEI | Can we tame the budget without squeezing the middle class?
Can we get the country on a sustainable spending path without raising taxes or cutting benefits on Americans who make $30,000 to $200,000 a year?

American: Enterprise Blog | Five reasons why the FHA may need a $100 billion taxpayer bailout
Wharton’s Joseph Gyourko has released a stunning paper suggesting that the Federal Housing Administration may need $100 billion in direct recapitalization from Congress—something that has never been necessary since its founding in 1934.
American: Enterprise Blog | No good news from eurozone as debt crisis worsens
"It took Europe two days to go from fixed to fully broken all over again…"