Monday, November 28, 2011

General Economics

CNN: Money | Iran oil targeted by Obama sanctions
When President Obama upped the ante last week in U.S efforts to isolate Iran, he also laid the groundwork for measures that could cut off Iranian oil exports and cause a spike in crude prices.
CNN: Money | S&P downgrades Belgium
The rating change put Belgium's rating down one notch to AA. That's the S&P's fourth-highest rating is still investment grade. But the rating agency warned it is considering further cuts, assigning it a negative outlook.
USA Today | Retailers sue Fed, say debit card fees are still too high
A coalition of retail organizations filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the Federal Reserve failed to comply with a law requiring it to reduce fees banks charge retailers when consumers use debit cards.
CNN: Money | Savings rate rises in October
The boost in the savings rate came as incomes rose at a faster clip than spending. Personal income was up 0.4% in October, whereas consumers increased their spending only 0.1 during the month.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | LABRADOR & POMPEO: Era of energy subsidies is over
American consumers, not Congress, should choose best power sources.
Bloomberg | OECD Cuts Growth Forecasts, Blames Euro Crisis
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said growing doubts about the survival of Europe’s monetary union has caused global growth to stall and represents the main risk to the world economy.
RCM | The Root Cause of Market Failure In Higher Education
Any program in which 60% of the graduates failed to find work for two consecutive years would face funding reductions until supply was brought back into balance with demand.
Washington Post | Privatize the nation’s mail delivery
Unfortunately, privatization collides with a belief sometimes deemed reactionary but nowadays characteristic of progressives. The belief is: In government, whatever is should forever be.
AEI | Entitlements not tax cuts widen income gap
What should be done about income inequality? That basic question underlies the arguments hashed out in the supercommittee and promises to be a central issue in the presidential campaign. | In Free Society, Wealth’s A Sign You're Doing Something Right
Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.
WSJ | What Housing Risk?
The FHA says there's nothing for taxpayers to worry about. Oh-oh.

Daily Capitalist | What You Should Be Thankful For On Thanksgiving 2011
It is always easy to criticize things as we see them today, but we have to see where we came from before we do that.
AEI: American | Why there is a 70 percent chance of a U.S. recession
When year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 70 percent of the time.
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.
Political Calculations | Lackluster GDP in 2011-Q3, More in 2011-Q4
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has revised its initial estimate of GDP in the third quarter of GDP downward. We've adjusted our GDP forecast for the fourth quarter of 2011 accordingly.
Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 980 institutions
There were a number of changes to the Unofficial Problem Bank List as the OCC and FDIC released their enforcement actions for the past month this week. As a result, there were seven additions and four removals, which leave the list with 980 institutions with assets of $400.5 billion.
Cato @ Liberty | The Future of Growth
A new analysis warns that the Washington area doesn’t have nearly enough housing for the wave of new workers that will arrive in coming decades.

NBER | Ending "Too Big To Fail": Government Promises vs. Investor Perceptions
Can a government credibly promise not to bailout firms whose failure would have major negative systemic consequences? Our analysis of Korea's 1997-99 crisis, suggests an answer: No.
CBO | Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from July 2011 Through September 2011
"During the third quarter of calendar year 2011, recipients reported, ARRA funded more than 400,000 full-timeequivalent (FTE) jobs.2 Those reports, however, do not
provide a comprehensive estimate of the law’s impact on U.S. employment, which could be higher or lower than the number of FTE jobs reported, for several reasons."

Health Care

National Journal | For Health Care, Americans Pay More and Get Less
The U.S. vastly outspends other countries on health care but still ranks low when it comes to the health status of its residents, according to a report comparing developed countries.
USA Today | Companies going to high-deductible health insurance plans
As workers enroll in health insurance for the new year across the USA, many are discovering their companies are moving to high-deductible health plans.
Fox News | Countdown Begins for Congress on 'Doc Fix'
It's become a symbol of sorts for the federal government's budget dysfunction: Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors will again face steep Medicare cuts that threaten to undermine health care for millions of seniors and disabled people.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Post | A grim diagnosis for our ailing health care system
Americans know that expensive medical care is squeezing non-health government programs and, through higher employer insurance costs, take-home pay. But they console themselves that U.S. health care “is the best in the world.”


Bloomberg | Central Banks Ease Most Since 2009
Central banks across five continents are undertaking the broadest reduction in borrowing costs since 2009 to avert a global economic slump stemming from Europe’s sovereign-debt turmoil.
Bloomberg | Banks Step Up Warnings on Euro Breakup
Banks and ratings companies are sounding their loudest warnings yet that the euro area risks unraveling unless its guardians intensify efforts to beat the two-year-old sovereign debt crisis.
Politico | Report: Fed bailout neared $8T
The Federal Reserve committed nearly $8 trillion to save the nation’s financial system, according to a report by Bloomberg Markets Magazine that reveals previously unknown details of the staggering bailout.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | How the Dollar Rules by Fiat
How did the dollar become the world's principal currency and what is its future?

AEI: American | Will inflation cure Washington’s debt problems?
There’s been a recent bout of enthusiasm for higher inflation as a quick cure for too much debt. Cutting government spending is hard, after all.


CNN Money | Bush tax cuts: The real endgame
Congress has a way of waiting to the very last minute to resolve big issues, so December is usually a busy month on Capitol Hill. This year will be no exception. But next year? Next year will be no exception on steroids.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: We need a holiday from stimulus
Mr. Obama’s latest scheme is to pay for another year of payroll-tax holiday by hiking taxes on small businesses and investors.
WSJ | America the Difficult
In tax compliance, the U.S. ranks 69 of 183 nations.


WSJ | U.S. Job Market Shows Ills of Europe
As the U.S. tries to dodge the fallout from Europe's debt crisis, some economists are reaching a troubling conclusion: The American labor market is looking more European than ever.
Market Watch | Jobs, economy likely to show mild growth
The U.S. economy is likely to show further evidence of revival in a heavy week of data punctuated by the monthly jobs report.
WSJ | Help Wanted: In Unexpected Twist, Some Skilled Jobs Go Begging
Ferrie Bailey's job should be easy: hiring workers amid the worst stretch of unemployment since the Depression.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Non-Green Jobs Boom
Forget 'clean energy.' Oil and gas are boosting U.S. employment.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Fate of 2012 Unemployment Extension Gets Cloudier
Jobless Americans are once again at risk of losing their extended unemployment benefits.


CNN Money | Troubled Harrisburg now state's problem
A federal judge Wednesday dismissed a bankruptcy petition filed by Harrisburg's City Council, saying that it violated state law.
Washington Times | Occupy protests cost nation’s cities at least $13M
During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by the Associated Press.
NY Times | California Bullet Train Project Advances Amid Cries of Boondoggle
In an unfortunate turn of timing, state officials announced this month that revenues this year were so far behind projections that California was likely to have to impose $2 billion in cuts in January.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | KUHNER: Croatia, the next Greece
Offer of EU membership is a Faustian bargain.
IBD | Mark Steyn: Bailing Out The Titanic With A Thimble
Now that the supercommittee's flopped out, "automatic" mandatory cuts to defense and discretionary spending are supposed to kick in — by 2013. But no doubt as that looming deadline looms the can of worms will be effortlessly kicked down the room another looming deadline or two.
Forbes | It's Time To Gut, Not Cut, The Federal Government
Committees and commissions aren’t necessary to diagnose America’s budget problem.  Uncle Sam is spending far more than he takes in.  Outlays always seem to increase—and always faster than the rate of inflation—no matter who is in power.

Heritage Foundation | Supercommittee Failed, and Spending Is Still the Problem 2021 the federal government will spend 26 percent of the economy, well in excess of its historical average of 20 percent.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Number of the Week: Germany, France Not Immune to Debt Problems
37,700 euros: Euro zone debt per working-age person in 2011.
Marignal Revolution | Is it easy to guarantee Italian debt?
...there is not enough emphasis on public choice problems and the longer term and the forward-looking nature of markets.  The Italian economy does not have per capita growth over the last twelve years, and it is increasingly thinkable it won’t have growth any time soon, even apart from recent problems with aggregate demand.  Population is aging and shrinking and institutions remain dysfunctional.
NRO: The Corner | On Pension Reform in the States
Officially, some 41 percent of the pension promises made to state employees are unfunded, and in August the city of Central Falls filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, citing an $80 million unfunded pension liability.