Tuesday, November 22, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Tight budgets boost house-sharing
These aren’t just friends turned roommates. Couples, multigenerational families and people with no relationship to each other are joining the growing ranks of those who are in “doubled-up” households.
Politico | Chipping away at farmer payments
Left at the barn door, farm bill negotiators must now decide what can be salvaged from the supercommittee’s wreckage as they shift their focus toward producing their own stand-alone legislation before the current authorization bill expires next September.
CNBC | China Property Dip Sparks Bank Fears
The number of property transactions in China’s largest cities has fallen to dangerously low levels, according to regulatory documents obtained by the Financial Times.
Investors.com | Democrat Denial Of Impact Of Regulations On Economy Holds Back Robust U.S. Recovery
Brandishing misleading employer survey data, Senate leader Harry Reid claims there isn't "a single shred of evidence" regulations cause big economic harm. Even President Obama disagrees.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | U.S. credit rating faces new scrutiny
The sovereign credit rating of the United States is under review by Fitch Ratings after a Congressional super committee failed to reach agreement on reducing the nation's budget deficit.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Calculated Risk | Richmond Fed: Manufacturing activity stabilized in November
Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region stabilized in November following four months of contraction, according to the Richmond Fed's latest survey.
Café Hayek | Free the Market. Save Lives
The prohibition on human-kidney sales is a perfect example of uncompensated third-party harms – negative externalities – inflicted on innocent people by political decision-making.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | U.S. Could Be Facing Another Year of Uncertainty
It was a long shot to begin with. When the supercommittee was formed, the hope was that the 12 congressional members could defy long odds and come up with a creditable plan to cut the federal deficit over the next 10 years in order for the U.S. to avoid the chaos now going on in the euro zone.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Consumers May Be Spending More, but They’re Not Happy About It
Consumers are spending more this year, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Health Leaders Prepare For Round Two Of Cuts
No matter what the outcome of the super committee’s deliberations, budget and policy experts anticipate Washington will quickly face the painful task of finding even more savings. They expect health spending—which makes up more than one-fifth of the federal budget—to be at the top of the list.
Politico | Last chance for Medicare, Medicaid reform? Nope
It would be easy to conclude that the supercommittee’s failure means the big, expensive health care entitlement programs — Medicare and Medicaid — are untouchable.
National Journal | HHS Singles Out Pennsylvania Insurer for Overcharging
The Health and Human Services Department singled out a Pennsylvania health insurer on Monday that it said hiked prices excessively, the first company it has identified under a new rate review process.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Politico | Economic woes one way to curb health spending
The economic slump has put the brakes on health spending, which may bolster a conservative truism: When consumers become more sensitive to the cost of health care, they cut back.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Dodd-Frank May Hamper Policy Makers Shielding Banking System in a Crisis
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and fellow U.S. policy makers may find themselves hampered in restoring financial stability should the European debt crisis spread to America.
Reuters | World Bank: China faces Europe risk, soft landing possible
China's economy faces growing risks from Europe's sovereign debt crisis and from debt held by local Chinese governments but it could engineer a soft landing by easing monetary policy, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | Can Inflation Kickstart the Economy without Killing It?
Many prominent economists believe the Fed should stimulate the economy by committing to an inflation target like 5 percent, rather than the current 2 percent. These economists argue that higher expected inflation means a lower real interest rate which can stimulate investment and hiring, thereby speeding up the economic recovery.
Washington Times | RAHN: Making money disappear
Currency not tied to gold or other standard becomes worthless.
CNN: Money | Should you move out of the dollar?
After shedding almost a third of its value over the past decade, the U.S. dollar has exhibited a few sparks of its former glory in recent months. Spooked investors have moved back into the greenback amid fears that Europe's debt crisis could turn into a full-blown meltdown.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | Farage: The Euro Is a Failure
At this point, though, the roads to salvation seem pretty rocky. A eurobond might do the trick--but a really credible eurobond, with serious guarantees for large portions of the outstanding sovereign debt, would require a treaty modification that they don't have time to do.
Econlog | European Banks
A lot of economists would say that you cannot shrink those balance sheets without causing horrible macro effects. That view, in turn, would justify a bailout. I am a holdout against that view.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Fed’s Lockhart Prefers Communications Changes to More QE
As the U.S. economy points to a “somewhat better performance,” a top Federal Reserve official on Monday said he prefers “enhancing” the communications strategy rather than other options, such as buying bonds.
Minyanville | US Economy: Time Running Out for Q3
To avoid a recession in the first quarter of 2012, the Federal Open Market Committee needs to do something spectacular without hesitation.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
CNN: Money | Next congressional battle: Payroll taxes
With the super committee's failure, lawmakers are now facing a year-end legislative challenge that could have an outsized impact on the economy.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Money Illusion | Christina Romer on Fiscal Policy
Her best evidence is a study that she did with David Romer, which examined two types of tax cuts; those done to boost the economy, and those done for other reasons, which can be viewed as “exogenous.”

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | U.S. Firms Keen to Add Foreign Jobs
U.S.-based multinational corporations added 1.5 million workers to their payrolls in Asia and the Pacific region during the 2000s, and 477,500 workers in Latin America, while cutting payrolls at home by 864,000, the Commerce Department reported.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | Housing and Unemployment: The More Realistic Story
According to the USA Today account of Census Bureau statistics, only 11.6% of Americans changed their addresses from 2010 to 2011, "the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began collecting the statistics in 1948."
Forbes | Americans Need More Work And Less College
If the United States is really serious about competing with the work-centered countries of Asia, the key lies not in more government programs, but in restoring America’s own work-centered culture.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Calculated Risk | State Unemployment Rates "little changed or slightly lower" in October
Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, five states posted rate increases, and nine states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: Supercommittee success
GOP focus on entitlement reform is a positive sign for the future.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Germany Sees No ‘Bazooka’ in Resolving Debt Crisis as Spanish Yields Surge
Germany rejected calls from allies and investors to do more to counter market turmoil as Spain’s financing costs surged and pressure mounted on Greek political leaders to submit written commitments to austerity measures.
WSJ | Why the Super Committee Failed
Democrats were unwilling to agree to anything less than $1 trillion in tax hikes, and unwilling to offer meaningful reforms for health-care entitlement spending.
National Journal | Toomey: We Were 'Never Very Close' to a Deal
Democrats and Republicans on the congressional super committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction were “never very close” to a deal, despite several late proposals that looked like they could gain bipartisan support, said panel member Sen. Pat Toomey.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato @ Liberty | It Goes Beyond the Supercommittee
Obama has proven himself clueless about economics from the time he first entered public life, as evidenced by the economic disaster surrounding him and his party.
Cato @ Liberty | American Politicians Should Copy Canada’s Leftist Government of the 1990s and Cap Spending
Since I’ve written before about Canada’s remarkable period of fiscal restraint during the 1990s, I was very pleased to see that the establishment press is finally giving some attention to what our northern neighbors did to reduce the burden of government spending.