Monday, November 21, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | Existing-home sales up 1.4% in October
The National Association of Realtors on Monday said sales rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million from 4.9 million in September.
CNBC | Economy for 2012 Likely to Grow Just 2.4%: NABE
The U.S. economy will muddle through the next year without a recession, but growth will be too weak to make much of a dent in the unemployment rate, forecasters believe.
CNN: Money | World markets slammed by bond warning
European stocks were getting slammed Monday, after Moody's Investors Service issued a dire warning on French bonds, and Asian markets were dampened by pessimistic remarks made by a high-ranking Chinese official.
Bloomberg | German Growth May Grind to Halt as Region’s Crisis Saps Exports: Economy
The Frankfurt-based central bank cut its 2012 growth forecast to between 0.5 percent and 1 percent from a June prediction of 1.8 percent, and said a “pronounced” period of economic weakness can’t be ruled out if the crisis worsens.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Can economy wait til 2012 election?
President Barack Obama has now spent more than two months calling on Congress to pass his $447-billion jobs bill. The president insists it will, “provide our economy with the jolt it really needs right now."
Cato Institute | Unwise to Pin Much Hope on America in Global Free Trade
The clearest indication the administration had little interest in further trade deals was President Obama's quiet rejection of Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell's September offer to give him Trade Promotion Authority, generally accepted as necessary for future trade negotiations to begin, let alone yield results.
Politico | Investors saw super committee failure, Zandi says
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said Sunday there'll probably not be a significant financial market reaction to the supercommittee's failure to forge a deficit-reduction deal because expectations have been so low among investors.

Calculated Risk | Chicago Fed: Economic activity up slightly in October
Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index edged up to –0.13 in October from –0.20 in September.
Café Hayek | Your body and Keynesianism
The complex system known as the human body reminded me of macroeconomics–a complex system where correlation is often mistaken for causation, where omitted variables play a crucial role, where aggregates (such as total cholesterol) often mask more than they illuminate, and where policy recommendations often fail to achieve their purported goals without having anyone challenge the received dogma.
Econlog | Dinner with Tim Congdon
Congdon is dismayed by the politics in the U.S. concerning macroeconomic policy. What I think he is finding is that the people who are most concerned with unemployment happen to be the ones who believe that we are in a liquidity trap, and therefore that monetary policy is ineffective.
Reason Foundation | CBO: Stimulus Will Reduce Long Run Economic Performance
The effects of the Stimulus program are being debated, but the fact that the CBO recognizes the potential for all that money dumped into the economy becoming a drag in the long run implies at least their forecasting models recognize spending has to be productive in order for it to really lift the economy.
AEI | It’s Europe’s Economic Growth, Stupid
European policymakers are clinging to the forlorn hope that the eurozone crisis can readily be defused by putting in place national unity governments in Greece and Italy.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Uptick in Household Income: Trend or Hiccup?
American households saw their income edge up in September from August, according to a new report out Monday, but it isn’t clear whether the uptick , if sustained, would make a difference amid a tepid economic recovery vulnerable to risks at home and abroad.
Café Hayek | The cause of the crisis
One standard narrative of the cause of the financial crisis coming from people generally on the left is that a free-market ideology blinded policy-makers. They foolishly followed a policy of deregulation that allowed banks to run amok. And calls for regulation, such as attempts to regulate the derivative market, were ignored.
NCPA | U.S. Bank Exposure to Europe: De Minimus
These stats and commentary on U.S. bank exposure to European debt were provided by a friend of mine, Michael Durante, a hedge fund guy who specializes in large U.S.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Secondary Sources: Billionaires and Taxes, Jobs Gap, Call to Central Bank Action
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.

Wells Fargo | Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary
Economic growth in the fourth quarter appears to be off to a good start. Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in October with nearly broad-based gains. Core retail sales, which exclude autos, food, gasoline and building materials, rose 0.6 percent and are up 5.7 percent on a three-month annualized basis.

Health Care

Heritage Foundation | In Michigan, Obamacare is Already a Job-Killer
While the White House continues its rhetoric on job creation, the job-killing effects of Obamacare are already taking effect. One provision of the law, its tax on medical device manufacturers, is already having a detrimental impact on a Michigan-based manufacturer.
Heritage Foundation | House Subcommittee Reveals Obamacare’s Flaws for Taxpayers, Small Business
A recent Gallup poll revealed that 47 percent of Americans—a plurality—support repeal of Obamacare. While the reasons for the law’s unpopularity are limitless, its broken CLASS program and unsuccessful small business tax credit may play a role.


Market Watch | Dollar rises to six-week high
Supercommittee deadlock, China warning dent risk appetite.
Market Watch | China to make yuan more flexible: report
The comments do not signal an imminent expansion of the yuan’s daily trading band, but they demonstrate that Wen intends to introduce two-way fluctuations to the yuan as a means of limiting the perception that the currency could only appreciate.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Bailout of First Resort
Europe's central bank can't save spendthrift governments.
NY Times | Central Bankers: Stop Dithering. Do Something
The right thing to do right now is for the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank to engage in further monetary stimulus.


Cato @ Liberty | Supercommittee Tax Fight Is About Increasing Spending, not Reducing Deficits
Republicans are considering a surrender on taxes because they are afraid that a deadlock will lead to a sequester, which would mean automatic budget savings. And the sequester, according to these politicians, would “cut” the budget too severely.
Heritage Foundation | Christmas Tree Tax ‘Stayed Indefinitely’
So it seems, at least for now, the Christmas tree tax is no more. But will the general public “becoming more familiar with the program” make it any more palatable? It shouldn’t.


CNN: Money | Layoffs to hit 1,000 in Detroit
Facing a $45 million cash shortfall, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced Friday the city would eliminate 1,000 positions by the end of February. The layoffs represent 9% of the city's workforce and will save Detroit about $14 million. Notices will go out starting the week of Dec. 5.
WSJ | Vets Join Tough Job Market
Returning Military Personnel Are Prime Candidates but Face Array of Obstacles.


RCM | Why a Balanced Budget Amendment Is Doomed To Fail - For Now
So while Congress loves to tout rules that sound tough, it also loves to write those rules with plenty of loopholes and the assurance they can easily be circumvented.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | PRIEBUS: Rising debt, rising China
Profligate borrow-and-spend practice makes us beholden to oppressive power.
AEI | Our super-pathetic debt super committee
The fact that both sides are deadlocked on entitlements and taxes is no excuse for failing to agree on any spending cuts whatsoever.
Washington Post | Why there’s a debt stalemate
Contrary to much press coverage, the committee’s Republicans opened the door to compromise by abandoning — as they should have — opposition to tax increases.

Cato @ Liberty | Adios Balanced Budget Amendment
House Republicans wanted a vote on a BBA for political purposes. The GOP wanted to be able to present the Democratic “no” votes to voters as proof that those particular members aren’t serious about reining in the exploding federal debt.
Minyanville | Europe Debt Crisis Dilemma: ECB Buying Sovereign Debt vs. Fiscal Consolidation
Europe has been running on cheap, borrowed money and borrowed time. Both are running out, and it will soon have to make some tough choices.