Thursday, December 8, 2011

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S. Oct. consumer credit up $7.6 billion
U.S. consumers increased their debt for the second straight month in October, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. Consumers raised their debt by a seasonally adjusted $7.6 billion or at a 3.7% annual rate in October.
CNN: Money | Europe's mission 'hardly' accomplished
It is not that reckless fiscal policies were the common cause of the present crisis -- they were not. But German and Dutch voters do not want to risk subsidizing reckless fiscal policies indefinitely.
Market Watch | Obama makes final push for consumer nominee
The Obama administration and Democrats made a final multi-pronged effort to convince lawmakers to approve the White House’s nominee to head a new consumer watchdog bureau ahead of a Senate vote on the candidate scheduled for Thursday.
Washington Times | 2012 mortgage delinquencies seen dropping sharply
Banks are still working through a backlog of foreclosures created by issues including the robo-signing scandal, in which bank officials signed mortgage documents without verifying the information they contained.
CNN: Money | S&P puts European Union on notice
The U.S.-based rating agency said the decision to put the European Union on review followed naturally from Monday's action against individual countries. Eurozone members directly contributed approximately 62% of the EU's budgeted revenues this year, S&P noted.
USA Today | Bankruptcies drop as corporate profits, cash at record high
While unemployment remains stubbornly high and more consumers are facing serious financial hardship, corporate earnings and cash hordes continue to be at record highs.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
AEI | Want to invest in the U.S.? Team Obama says no thanks
When an economic downturn hits, one of the first concerns of policymakers should be getting business investment back on track.
Washington Times | HUFBAUER: Debunking the big-oil subsidy myth
Energy companies receive same tax treatment as other manufacturers.
Daily Caller | Small business owners want Washington to REIN in egulations
According to a 2010 Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy study, small firms bear a regulatory cost that is 36 percent higher than the cost of regulatory compliance for large businesses, because they don’t have the resources to deal with federal regulations.
Politico | Set a new course for America’s energy future
As the Congress hurries to finish up its 2011 business, they would do well to pay attention to two important pieces of information.
Forbes | Capitalism Isn't Corporatism or Cronyism
Capitalism is the greatest socio-economic system in human history, because it’s so moral and so productive – the two features so essential to human survival and flourishing.
Cato Institute | Promoting U.S. Exports and the Rule of Law in Russia
Whether U.S. companies can reap the benefits of a more open Russian market will depend on the repeal of a U.S. law that has become an awkward relic of the Cold War.

NRO: The Corner | Regulatory Reform Needs to Be Comprehensive
Congress needs to take responsibility for the regulatory results of the legislation it passes. But let’s face it, there is no silver bullet that will fix our regulatory problems.
Marginal Revolution | Predictions about the eurozone
It is sometimes asserted that the economics profession should lose some status because so few economists predicted the U.S. financial crisis. I’m not sure economists should be judged by their ability to predict asset price movements, but grant the point.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Remaking Doha for China
Trade economists would agree the Doha global trade round is dying, if it isn’t dead already. A new World Bank paper argues the way to revive the round is to refocus the negotiations on China
Econlog | Today on the Eurozone Crisis
So, in terms of the two-drunks model, the fact that the European Central Bank will buy bank debt rather than sovereign debt means that the ECB will support only one of the drunks.

AEI | Foreign direct investment, corruption and democracy
Hence more democratic countries may receive less Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows if economic freedoms are not guaranteed. One reason could be that democratizing developing economies are often unable to push through the kind of economic reforms that investors desire due to the presence of competing political interests.

Health Care

National Journal | Health Spending Varies Widely Across U.S.
States with richer, older people are more likely to spend more money on their health care, according to a study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released on Wednesday.
National Journal | Lawmakers Argue for Prostate-Cancer Screening
Lawmakers and testifying experts argued that the new recommendations endanger the lives of men who would benefit from early detection and treatment. The decision to screen and to treat should be a decision reached between a patient and his doctor, they said.
National Journal | HHS Overrules FDA, Limiting Morning-After Pills for Teens
In a surprising move that opens the Obama administration to accusations of putting politics above science, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision that would have allowed any woman, including teens under the age of 17, to get a morning-after birth-control pill without a prescription.

Econlog | Health Care Dilemmas
Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call "futile care" being performed on people. That's when doctors bring the cutting edge of technology to bear on a grievously ill person near the end of life.


CNN: Money | ECB cuts rates as European economy slumps
The central bank lowered its main interest rate to 1%, down from 1.25%. It was the second interest rate cut since November, when the ECB reversed course and began easing its stance on monetary policy.
WSJ | Banks Prep for Life After Euro
Countries Study Printing Their Own Notes in Case Monetary Union Unravels.


Fox News | Analyst: Ditch Payroll Tax Cut, Bring Back Stimulus Credit
Williams argued at the time that the tax-cut swap would end up hurting the working poor, claiming the stimulus credit was more valuable for them than the payroll provision.
WSJ | Social Security New Front in Tax Fight
Bipartisan concerns that extending the payroll-tax cut would weaken Social Security are spilling into the open, complicating the effort to allow the tax break for workers to continue into 2012.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | TYRRELL: Republicans losing the tax debate
There is a way for Republicans to win the tax debate. They should say that all Americans know better how to invest and spend their money than the federal government.
CNN Money | Payroll tax cut: What about Social Security?
In all the talk about whether to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut, a lot of the focus is on the economy: Will the recovery suffer if Congress lets it lapse?


Market Watch | First-time jobless claims fall sharply to 381,000
The number of people filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 23,000 to the lowest level since late February, the government said Thursday.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | PATTERSON: Labor unions and communism
Revolting history is playing out again in modern America.

Calculated Risk | Labor Force Participation Rate by Age Group
As the economy slowly recovers, an important question is: What will happen to the participation rate over the next few years?


National Journal | GOP Wants More Spending Cuts For Payroll Tax Extension
House Republicans on Wednesday were seeking to flip any perception that their party, because of internal discord, is dependent on votes from across the aisle to get an extension passed on the payroll tax holiday.
Politico | Congress close on final spending deal
The giant bill, which would exceed $1 trillion when war funding is counted, must be filed in the House by Monday night to ensure floor action before Dec. 16, when the latest stopgap continuing resolution is due to expire.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | MILLER: Breaking the spending cycle
Paul Ryan’s plan to fix the dysfunctional budget process in Washington.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | U.S. Consumers Take on More Debt
Consumer credit increased by $7.65 billion to $2.457 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a $6.5 billion expansion in consumer credit. September’s figure was revised down to a $6.88 billion increase from the originally reported $7.39 billion.

CBO | Monthly Budget Review
The federal budget deficit was close to $240 billion for the first two months of fiscal year 2012, more than $50 billion below the deficit recorded through November of last year, CBO estimates.