Monday, December 12, 2011

General Economics

USA Today | EU leaders' latest agreement still leaves unfinished work
After all the hype about the do-or-die talks to save the euro, there was a strange absence of urgency about the latest summit of European Union leaders.
Fox Business | More Colleges Offering Tuition Breaks
Recognizing the tight financial situation many American students and their families are facing, a growing number of private and public colleges are offering discounted tuition in an effort to attract more students.
USA Today | Survey: Recession attitudes but Christmas cheer spending
In an extraordinary display of Christmas-time contrast, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey finds that Americans plan robust holiday spending increases this year despite recession-like attitudes about the economy.
WSJ | OECD Points to Mixed Slowdowns
The Paris-based think tank Monday said its leading indicator of economic activity in its 34 members fell to 100.1 in October from 100.4 in September.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
NY Times | To Rethink Government, Start Close to Home
Some of the antipathy may stem from fancy economic theories that say free markets magically render government unnecessary. But much more of it surely results from the annoying experiences that many Americans have had in government offices.
American | The Political Implications of Ignoring Our Own Ignorance
Prudence would dictate trying to find institutional arrangements that minimize the potential risks and costs that any individual can impose on society through his own ignorance.
RCM | Exactly What Is Crony Capitalism, Anyway?
President Obama, progressive politicians, Occupy protestors, and leftist intellectuals are having a field day attacking what they call the failures and excesses of capitalism.
WSJ | Financial Regulation: Worse Than a Crime
In the U.S. mortgage crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis, bad policies subsidized bad investments.

Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 977 institutions
In 2008, 25 banks failed, 140 banks failed in 2009, 157 in 2010, and only 90 so far in 2011.
Atlantic: McArdle | Growth Is Not an Easy Solution for Europe's Woes
I've seen a bunch of commentators today saying that "the fundamental problem Europe needs to solve is growth, not budget deficits."  In some sense this is true--enough growth would solve many of the problems in the periphery.
NRO: The Corner | Why Obama’s Stimulus Failed: A Case Study of Silver Spring, Maryland
Epstein looks at the promises made and the results, before he digs into where and how the money was spent.
Daily Capitalist | Ludwig von Mises on Economic Growth, Denial, and Truth in Europe
Mises knew — and predicted — that a regime of fiat currencies everywhere in the world would not end well.  He asserted at the time that this would lead to an era of unprecedented monetary instability, fiscal profligacy that guaranteed retrograde government policies, depressions, and inevitably, social conflict.

Health Care

Marginal Revolution | Medical Patents Must Die
We already have significant incentives for producing pharmaceuticals (and thus the instructions required to best use those pharmaceuticals), we support medical research through universities and non-profit hospitals, and there is plenty of opportunity to profit from the manufacture of tests. Will we really get enough additional innovation to justify the monopoly prices and deadweight losses when we enforce patents on medical rules?


USA Today | Food prices likely to remain high as corn supply lags
ST. LOUIS – The U.S. government barely changed its estimate for next year's corn surplus, which is expected to stay small and keep high food prices high.
NY Times | Chronic Pain for the Euro
The deal on Friday in Brussels to reformulate the rules of the euro zone has probably saved the shared currency for now — but there may be less to it than meets the eye.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | New Measure of Global Pain from Euro-Zone Woes
Ailing banks in France, Italy and Germany are pulling back from lending abroad in a sign of how Europe’s woes are causing hurt near and far.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | Corporate Carve-out Revolt
After raising taxes, Illinois debates special favors for big business. After raising taxes, Illinois debates special favors for big business.

CBO | Cost Estimate of H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011
The CBO and the staff of the JCT have reviewed H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, as introduced on December 9, 2011.


CNN Money | Are you better off than mom and dad?
Today's young women make $1.17 for every $1 their moms earned back in 1980. Young men, however, are earning 10 cents per hour less than their fathers did 30 years ago, new research shows.
NY Times | Labor Board Drops Case Against Boeing After Union Reaches Accord
The National Labor Relations Board announced on Friday that it was dropping its politically charged case against Boeing, in which it had accused the company of violating federal labor law by opening a new aircraft production plant in South Carolina instead of Washington State.
CNN Money | Unemployment benefits extension: What's at stake
Millions of unemployed Americans are anxiously waiting for Congress to take up the extension of federal unemployment benefits.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
RCM | Too Much Regulation Is Killing Jobs
Seeing it's vulnerable on the issue of job-killing regulation, the White House is pushing back with media spin and misleading studies. Unfortunately, some conservatives have taken the bait.
WSJ | The NLRB's Boeing Sham
After a union all-clear, the labor board drops its lawsuit.

Visualizing Economics | Job Growth: Which states are more competitive?
I worked with Economic Modeling Specialists on a data graphic that looks to distinguish between growth from large national forces vs. local competitive advantages within a state.


Econ Comments                                                                                                             
USA Today | Europe's debt crisis takes toll on international bonds funds
When you were young, your grandfather told you, "Son, never reach for yield." You passed that advice on to everyone you met, which explains why you didn't have a date until you were 37.

Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Detroit within months of bankruptcy
Over the past several weeks, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has offered a stark picture of the city’s near-term prospects. By April the government will run out of money. The city faces a shortfall of $45 million, with an accumulated deficit of $180 million.
NRO: The Corner | The Electoral Effect of Large Fiscal Adjustments
Cutting spending is often thought of as a sure way for lawmakers to lose their next election, but the data doesn’t seem to confirm this fear.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | EU Debt Story Isn’t Simple Morality Tale
In 2007, before the crisis struck, Spain had a modest debt load representing just 36% of its economy, according to European Union figures. And those responsible Germans? They had 65%.
Atlantic: McArdle | What Happened In Europe?
There has been a lot of rather vague opining.  The vagueness seems to me a symptom of the deal announced this morning, which is less an agreement than a plan to make a plan.