Tuesday, November 29, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S.-China trade disputes get wider, hotter
Ten years into its tenure as a World Trade Organization member, the planet’s second-largest economy, China, has joined the United States in a game of finger-pointing.
National Journal | A Crude Hit to the Recovery
Simply put, American consumers paid a historically high premium for their gasoline. The economy suffered for it.
CNN: Money | Why Congress can't save the Postal Service
There's one thing that turns some Tea Party Republicans into government-job lovers like their Democratic rivals: Their neighborhood post office.
WSJ | Economic Outlook Slows for the Global Economy
The global economic outlook has deteriorated significantly, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday, as it urged the European Central Bank to act decisively to prevent the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis from deepening and possibly dragging the U.S. economy to the brink of recession.
Bloomberg | U.S. Home Prices Decline More Than Forecast
Residential real estate prices dropped more than forecast in the year ended September, showing the industry at the center of the 2008 financial crisis continues to struggle.
Market Watch | Consumer debt declines in third quarter
Consumer debt declined slightly during the third quarter as Americans continued to deleverage in the wake of the housing crisis, according to a study released Monday.
Bloomberg | Euro-Region Economic Confidence Falls to Two-Year Low: Economy
An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the euro area fell to 93.7 from 94.8 in October, the European Commission in Brussels said today. That’s the lowest since November 2009.
Politico | Fitch Ratings: ‘Negative’ outlook for U.S. credit rating
Following the failure of the supercommittee, the U.S. government’s AAA credit rating was placed on a “negative outlook” Monday by Fitch Ratings, indicating a more than 50 percent chance the country gets slapped with another downgrade in the next two years.
NYT | Crisis in Europe Tightens Credit Across the Globe
Europe’s worsening sovereign debt crisis has spread beyond its banks and the spillover now threatens businesses on the Continent and around the world.
USA Today | Donations inch back up after recession decline
Giving totaled $291 billion in 2010, according to the 2011 annual report by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. That's up 3.8% from 2009 and follows two consecutive years of declines.
WSJ | Sweden Maintains Robust Growth
Economic output grew 4.6% in the three months through September, compared with the same period in 2010, the Swedish statistics agency said Tuesday. Economists had expected 3.8% growth.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | ROEMER: Still calling for big government
The threat and fear of tyranny created the idea of America. The authors of the Constitution realized that the power of a central government strong enough to protect our nation from outside threats had to be balanced with clear states’ rights and even clearer individual rights in order to maintain liberty, economic health and national welfare.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Debt dumps on Durban
Economic woes threaten cash for climate change.
Cato Institute | Should the Government Narrow the Income Gap?
In 2007, the top 1 percent received 23.5 percent of income according to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, but only 17.1 percent of income according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Market Watch | 10 reasons the crisis isn’t over
Commentary: There may be a lot more bad news to come.

Calculated Risk | Visible Existing Home Inventory declines 17% year-over-year in November
In a few months, the NAR is expect to release revisions for their existing home sales and inventory numbers for the last few years. The sales and inventory revisions will be down.
Cato @ Liberty | Apparently a Little Economics Education Does Work on Congress…
I’ve seen too many times, especially during my service as staff in the Senate, politicians support policies they have to know are harmful. So it always encouraging to see some evidence of Congress taking basic Economics into account.
Café Hayek | Nudging us to death
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein wrote Nudge, arguing for something they called libertarian paternalism, the idea that government rather than forcing us to do the right thing might “nudge” us in the right direction via program design or tax incentives.
Calculated Risk | New Home Prices: Average Lowest since 2003
As part of the new home sales report, the Census Bureau reported that the average price for new homes fell to the lowest level since September 2003.
Marginal Revolution | Marginal Revolution 6 ideas for the Ash Heap of History
Sadly, bank runs are alive and well. They first resurfaced in the United States with a run on money-market funds and on the so-called shadow banking system in 2008.
Calculated Risk | Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey shows contraction in November
Texas factory activity decreased in November, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | WSJ: Real Time Economics OECD Growth Outlook, Country by Country
In its twice-yearly report on the global economic outlook, the OECD lowered its growth forecasts for the world’s largest economies, and said the euro zone has fallen into recession. It also warned that the bloc’s debt crisis, now affecting countries previously seen as safe havens, could “massively escalate economic disruption if not addressed.” Here are some country-by-country highlights:

NBER | Government Policy and Ownership of Financial Assets
Since World War II, direct stock ownership by households across the globe has largely been replaced by indirect stock ownership by financial institutions. We argue that tax policy is the driving force.

Health Care

National Journal | Report: Medicare Drug-Coverage Gap Shrinks
Health care reform legislation aims to phase out the gap by 2020. This year, seniors get a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs, the AP reported. Next year, the discount on generics will be higher.
CNN: Money | Medicare in America: 'It has to get better'
Berwick's nomination faced opposition from conservatives who focused on, among other things, his praise of government-run British health care. Instead of being confirmed by the Senate, Berwick was given a temporary "recess" appointment by President Obama, which was scheduled to run out this year.
National Journal | Rising Medicaid Costs Contribute to States' Bleak Economic Future, Report Finds
“State budgets are certainly improving; however, growth is weak, and there is not enough money for all the bills coming in,” NASBO Executive Director Scott Pattison told The Post. “State officials will still be cutting some programs, and increases in funding for any program except for health care will be rare.”


Bloomberg | Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
USA Today | Cost of items in '12 Days of Christmas' now top $100K
The price of partridges, pear trees and turtle doves has spiked this year, pushing the cost of every item mentioned in the carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" above $100,000 for the first time.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Fox Business | The Fed to Europe’s Rescue?
Whether Germany’s Angela Merkel decides to be Germany’s new Iron Chancellor or Merkel in the Middle may be beside the point, as the bond markets continue to deliver a negative verdict on the Eurozone crisis, with EU yields sticking stubbornly high and borrowing costs soaring.
WSJ | Europe's Currency Road to Nowhere
The euro has punished Southern Europe the way China's currency has hurt the United States.
Bloomberg | ECB Fails to Attract Sufficient Bids to Mop Up Liquidity From Buying Bonds
The European Central Bank failed to fully offset the extra liquidity created by its bond purchases for the first time in seven months, a sign of mounting tensions among euro-area banks.
AEI: American | Elastic Currency, With a Vengeance
An extraordinary government triangle now consists of the Fed, the Treasury, and the GSEs.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Failure to Extend Tax Cut Could Push Fed to Do QE3
Failure to extend the payroll-tax cut by year’s end could push the Federal Reserve into a third round of quantitative easing, says Barclays Capital chief U.S. economist Dean Maki.


Politico | Rob Portman holds out hope for tax reform
A week after the supercommittee’s collapse, Sen. Rob Portman said Monday he’ll unveil a corporate tax reform plan early next year that builds off a framework negotiated by the failed bipartisan deficit panel.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Tax tips for the wealthy and the destitute
It’s not news that the supercommittee didn’t commit. We’re sitting here in November, once again, waiting for legislation that will or won’t extend certain tax benefits, like the 2% reduction in Social Security withholding.
Washington Times | RAHN: Tooth-fairy tax policy
High-tax advocates are either credulous or envious of wealthy.

Hill: Floor Action Blog | Dems propose 3.25 percent tax on millionaires to offset payroll tax cut extension
Senate Democrats on Monday put forward a plan that would call for a 3.25 percent tax on modified adjusted gross income above $1 million in 2012, which would be used to pay for a payroll tax extension.


WSJ | Japan Job Market Deteriorates
Japan's job market worsened in October, with the country's unemployment rate jumping to 4.5% from 4.1% in the previous month, the government said on Tuesday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Fox Business | From Part-time to Full-time: Escaping Underemployment
Since the recession began, the percentage of part-time workers in the American workforce has grown to nearly 20%.
WSJ | Recipe for Middle-Class Jobs
Brain Hubs' Like Austin, Texas, Create More Work for Less-Educated Residents.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | How to Create Middle-Class Jobs in 435 Steps
One way companies are creating new middle-class jobs is by cutting up complicated intellectual tasks into smaller bits — much the same way factories created millions of middle-class jobs by reducing mass production into a sum of small tasks, as the Journal reported today.


WSJ | State Budgets Improve Slowly
Overall, state budgets are slated to rise 2.9% to $666.6 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, which started in July, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers. That is the second consecutive annual increase but is still below the $687.3 billion states spent in 2008, their peak year.
Washington Times | White House: No U.S. bailout for Europe
The White House said Monday that U.S. taxpayers should not bear the burden of helping stabilize Europe’s economy, even as President Obama was hosting European Union leaders for a summit amid deepening concerns about the future of the euro.
WSJ | Budget Surplus 'Herculean' Task for Australia
The Australian government on Tuesday stuck to its goal of restoring its budget to surplus in the year starting July 1, slashing spending even as warnings on a European crisis mounted.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Debt crisis must be solved in the open
With the United States moving rapidly toward a dangerous level of national debt, our elected officials must act to end the unsustainable path we're on.

Calculated Risk | NY Fed Q3 Report on Household Debt and Credit
In general, the percent of delinquent debt is declining (there was a small increase in Q3), but what really stands out is the percent of debt 90+ days delinquent (Yellow, orange and red).
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Vital Signs: Savings Tick Up, Remain Low
The personal saving rate — the share of income left after spending and taxes — climbed to 3.5% in October from 3.3% in September.