Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 16, Hearing: "Manufacturing in the USA: Paving the Road to Job Creation"

"A good infrastructure is vitally important to the U.S. economy, providing Americans with millions of miles of roads; hundreds of thousands of bridges; tens of thousands of airports, dams, waterways and transit lines; and hundreds of train stations and ports. Pro-growth policies such as low taxes, balanced regulation and free market innovations drive the need for additional infrastructure in America. As a former local Chamber of Commerce executive, I can attest to the need for infrastructure as a critical precursor to spark economic development and attract businesses in communities large and small across America.

Though America’s infrastructure remains among the most advanced in the world, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our infrastructure a letter grade of “D,” highlighting that we have a long way to go until we can meet the current and future infrastructure needs of Americans....."

Opening Statement
Vice Chairman
Joint Economic Committee
Rep. Kevin Brady

See the rest of Mr. Brady's opening statement and witness testimonies HERE

General Economics

Market Watch | Housing starts show signs of life in October
Home construction is starting to show some small signs of improvement this fall, the latest government statistics released Thursday show.
CNN Money | The 1% more pessimistic about U.S. economy
Pessimism toward the U.S. economy -- particularly concerning the near future -- is rapidly growing among America's wealthy, according to the PNC Wealth and Values Survey released Wednesday.
USA Today | U.S. economy showing signs of life by several measures
U.S. industrial production rose in October at the fastest rate in three months. Factories made more trucks, electronics and business equipment, a sign that manufacturing is recovering after slowing this spring.
WSJ | Fitch's Warning Spooks Investors
In the latest sign of jittery markets racked by hair-trigger selling, investors on Wednesday took fright at a credit-firm report that contained little new information but warned of escalating risks facing U.S. banks in the European debt crisis.
Market Watch | Home-builder index hits best level in 17 months
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose in November to the highest level in 17 months — albeit to a still-weak level — as hope builds in the industry with mortgage rates around record lows.
USA Today | Gas prices likely to reach holiday high
Regular gas is likely to average $3.37 a gallon next week — up a whopping 51 cents over last Thanksgiving, according to price tracker Adjusting for inflation, that's about 1 cent higher than 2007's previous holiday high of $3.08.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Minyanville | Pick a Side or Stand Aside
The world sits at a critical crossroads.
Washington Times | DECKER & TRIPLETT: China’s ruling elite
The People’s Republic is run by an untouchable aristocratic oligarchy.
Politico | Congress must stay in session
We were sent here to do the American people’s business and we haven’t. What are the great accomplishments of the 112th Congress?

Political Calculations | The 2011 Microrecession in U.S.-China Trade Data
To put it bluntly, the falling value of the dollar is making it relatively more expensive to buy imports from China than it was a year ago. And that's why U.S. port traffic is down, and U.S. port employees are working less, even though the U.S. appears to be spending more money on Chinese imports this year as compared to last.
Café Hayek | Keynes and Consumption
I have no time to do an exegesis of Keynes and the Keynesians in order to distinguish the nuances of serious Keynesianism from the vulgar Keynesianism that has been around for at least as long as mercantilism; that has never died out; that thrives today.
AEI: The American | The case for exploding income inequality continues to crumble
It’s becoming clear to me that the media and left-of-center bloggers will only cite studies that support the idea that a) U.S. income inequality is going supernova, and b) the American middle-class has stagnated for the past 30 years.
USA Today | Obama seeks to double auto fuel economy by 2025
In an historic move to boost fuel efficiency, the Obama administration proposed Wednesday to nearly double the required miles per gallon for passenger cars and light trucks by 2025.
Café Hayek | An Asymmetry
The point, rather, is to provide background for asking why the free-rider, collective-action, externality problems that are regularly identified as sufficient reason for restricting the role and scope of markets are so seldom identified as reasons for restricting the role and scope of government.
Minyanville | This Isn't the Economic Recovery We've Been Waiting For
This current recovery isn't better than the previous one, but it sure is different.


WSJ | Prices Edge Lower As Demand Wavers
Consumer prices fell 0.1% in October from September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The report, at least for now, eased inflation fears and opens the door for the Federal Reserve to take additional steps to reduce unemployment.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Market Watch | China regulators may be loosening monetary strings
China’s tight-minded policy makers have taken what appear to be the first, cautious steps away toward a more relaxed monetary course.

Health Care

National Journal | Schwartz Gives Super Committee 'Doc Fix' Details
Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., a senior member of the House Budget committee, sent the super committee a proposal to permanently end the flawed formula used to pay Medicare doctors, replacing it with new payment models tested out by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Schwartz’s proposal isn’t going anywhere soon.
National Journal | Health Premiums Up 50 Percent From 2003 to 2010 - Report
Health insurance premiums rose by an average of 50 percent nationwide from 2003 to 2010, the Commonwealth Fund found in a report released on Thursday. And costs went up even more for people covered at work—employee contributions to annual premiums increased by 63 percent, the report found.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | Will the Poor Be Able to Afford Obamacare?
A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper showed that in 2014, when the law will take full effect, 13 million low-income Americans may be unable to get subsidized health insurance through new state health care exchanges because one family member has employer-provided coverage for that person only.
Market Watch | Health care is a heavy weight for small businesses
Small firms that offer benefits face high costs, tradeoffs, uncertainty.


CNN Money | Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes
A group of two dozen millionaires stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday, demanding lawmakers raise their taxes.
National Journal | House Repeals Contractor Withholding Tax
In a rare show of bipartisanship, an effort to repeal a 3 percent withholding tax on government contractors passed the House by a vote of 422 to 0 just days after the bill was passed with similar bipartisan support in the Senate.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
City Journal | Cali to Business: Get Out!
Firms are fleeing the state’s senseless regulations and confiscatory taxes.
AEI | Pro-growth tax reform can be progressive
There is a tax plan that offers the best of both worlds: growth and progressivity. It's called the Bradford X tax.
RCM | A Super Tax Hike Spells Disaster
Democrats are pulling hard for higher tax rates, which would damage the economy, while Republicans are making no progress getting any meaningful health-care entitlement reform.

American: Enterprise Blog | 5 reasons why the GOP would be nuts to raise taxes
From Wall Street to Washington, the baseline economic case for 2012 is miserable 1-2 percent growth and around 9 percent unemployment.


Politico | First parts of jobs bill approved
Congress bucked conventional wisdom Wednesday and showed that it can agree – sometimes – on jobs-related measures.
Bloomberg | U.S. Initial Jobless Claims at Seven-Month Low
Fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments last week, an indication the labor market may be gaining traction.

Marginal Revolution | Why is teen employment down?
Christopher L. Smith, at the Fed, makes the best stab at this question to date…
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Workers Feel Pressure to Develop New Skills
Just over half of U.S. workers polled in a recent study reported they feel pressured to develop additional skills, though less than a quarter said employers are supporting that development with formal training.
Heritage Foundation | Do Regulations Kill Jobs? Not at All, Says Reid
Mass layoffs are only part of the job loss picture—job losses don’t always come 50 or more at a time. Most small businesses don’t even have 50 employees.


CNN Money | Congress faces funding deadline. Again.
Facing another deadline to fund the government, Congress is once again coming down to the wire.
WSJ | Deficit Stalemate Signs Rise
One week before Congress's deficit-cutting supercommittee hits its deadline, and with signs of stalemate increasing, lawmakers Wednesday grappled with the consequences of possible failure.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | Beware the Balanced Approach
In the end, the only thing that will actually kill the beast is killing the beast. That means actually cutting spending.
WSJ | The Balanced-Budget Backfire
Instead, House Speaker John Boehner plans to offer a vanilla amendment that merely calls for a balanced budget, with no spending limitation or supermajority tax requirements.
Politico | For fiscal sanity: Tea party budget
With less than a week before the supercommittee is to send its deficit-cutting recommendations to Congress, Americans are getting a crash course in Washington sausage-making.
Washington Post | Spending’s ascending — with or without a budget sequester
Without the sequester, spending will increase $1.7 trillion; with the sequester, spending will increase $1.6 trillion.

EconLog | One Scenario for Sovereign Debt
Of course, the IMF does not exist separately from its members. Some countries will have to supply this $2 trillion.