Wednesday, December 14, 2011

General Economics

CNN: Money | Existing home sales to be revised lower
NAR said it plans to downwardly revise sales of previously-owned homes going back to 2007 during the release of its next existing home sales report on Dec. 21.
MSN: Money | Markets pricing in new recession
Disappointment with last week's eurozone summit and a lack of new initiatives from the Federal Reserve unleash a torrent of selling pressure focused on commodities like gold.
CNN: Money | Postal Service delays closings until May 15
The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to hold off on closing any more post offices or mail facilities until May 15, 2012, to allow Congress time to work on a plan to save the service.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
AEI | Hey, Barney Frank: The government did cause the housing crisis
It is government's fault for offering a housing finance program without making an effort to maintain underwriting standards.
WSJ | Regulation for Dummies
The White House says its rule-making isn't costly or unusual. The evidence shows otherwise.
Forbes | Let Free Markets Work, Said Ludwig Von Mises
If he were around today to see the economic mess in the U.S. and Europe, Ludwig von Mises would be entitled to a big, fat "I told you so."
WSJ | A Bailout for the SEC
The agency wants to raid the SIPC fund to cover its mistakes.
Washington Times | GRAY: Why the U.S. should take heed of the EU deal
The recent arragement from the European Union summit for saving the euro involves a couple of important factors that have received little or no attention in the U.S. but that have potentially serious consequences for the U.S. economy.
Forbes | Obama's Very Visible Hand Strangles Business
Free from government interference and confident our rights would be upheld, the pursuit of profit propelled Americans to unprecedented living standards. | Growth Gap' Can Be Closed Only With More Investment
America's economic condition is not yet as dire as Europe's, but it soon will be if we do not correct the root cause of the problems that we face in our own country.

Heritage Foundation | Americans’ Biggest Fear? Big Government
Despite all the noise coming from the Occupy Wall Street crowd–and the rhetoric coming from President Barack Obama–it turns out that it’s not big business that most Americans fear, but big government.
Source | Economists Agree – Illegality Increases the Street Price of Drugs
All else equal, making drugs illegal raises street prices for those drugs because suppliers require extra compensation for the risk of incarceration and other punishments.
Marginal Revolution | The Great Start-Up Stagnation
The dwindling birth rate for new businesses matters because young companies are disproportionately responsible for job creation.
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | What Do Low-Income Communities Need?
Public policy can modestly improve the incentives and choice sets that poor people face--and it should do those things. But it cannot remake people into something more to the liking of bourgeois taxpayers.
AEI: The American | Income inequality is down, but why is nobody cheering?
The share of income received by the top 1 percent — that potent symbol of inequality — dropped to 17 percent in 2009 from 23 percent in 2007, according to federal tax data.
ThinkMarkets | Emerging Hope in Greece
The Greek economy continues to shrink. With the wider European debt crisis and slump hampering Greek recovery, the recession may persist through 2013.
Daily Capitalist | The Consumer Recovery Deception
On an annual basis retail sales were up 6.7%, but was relatively flat month-over-month at +0.2%.

Health Care

National Journal | QUICK TAKE: Share of State Budgets Spent on Medicaid Grows
Medicaid spending is estimated to account for 23.6 percent of all state expenditures in 2011, up from 22.3 percent in 2010 and 21.9 percent in 2009, according to a report.
Politico | What's up, doc fix?
It's that time of year again — the dreaded congressional quest for billions of dollars for the “doc fix.” Which is a bit of a misnomer, as it isn't the docs who are broken. Though if they were to actually get a 27 percent pay cut slated for Jan. 1, they could soon be broke.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | ALLEN: Obamacare stalls American economic engine
Kaine’s backing of government medicine a nonstarter.
RCM | Modern Medicine Is Undergoing Idustrialization
In its place, medicine is undergoing industrialization, where doctors are becoming owned commodities of large hospitals and health plans. This model was made largely inevitable years ago, with the passage in 1997 of the Balanced Budget Act. Under the Obama healthcare plan, it's become the standard for the entire system.

Marginal Revolution | What went wrong with U.S. health care cost control?
So if the real problem with U.S. health spending is that the U.S. diverged from its peer countries for a decade-long stretch, solving that problem isn’t quite as simple as mimicking the institutions and strategies of our peer countries.


Fox Business | Fed Likely Won't Initiate QE3 Next Year: Poll
Over half of the 53 economists polled said they do not expect the Fed, the U.S. central bank, to undertake another round of quantitative easing next year, known as "QE3."
Bloomberg | Bernanke Signals Fed Ready to Ease on EU Risk
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled he’s concerned Europe’s crisis will hobble a 2 1/2-year U.S. expansion that may need another boost from the central bank.
Market Watch | Euro falls below $1.30 on debt worries
The euro slumped to its lowest level since January on Wednesday, ticking further under $1.30, after Italy’s borrowing costs surged at a bond auction to reinforce worries about the sovereign-debt crisis.
USA Today | Federal Reserve ends meeting without major moves
Economic reports took a slightly more positive turn Tuesday, with the Federal Reserve modestly upgrading its outlook and an index of small-business optimism reaching its highest level since February.
WSJ | Euro at 11-Month Low
Selloff Comes After Period of Resilience for the Currency.

Minyanville | Assessing the Impact of Inflation Expectations on Industry Group Performance.
If inflation expectations rise, the outperformance of the strong groups will fall and the underperformance of the weak groups will narrow. The opposite should be true as well.
WSJ: Real Time Economcis | A Look Inside the Fed’s Balance Sheet
Assets on the Fed’s balance sheet sit at around $2.8 trillion as of last Wednesday. The level has held pretty stable since June, when the central bank ended it bond-buying program, commonly known as QE2.
Econlog | Today on the Eurozone Crisis
The European Banking Authority ordered the region's banks on Dec. 8 to raise 115 billion euros ($154 billion) by June. Faced with dwindling profits and unable to tap capital markets to sell new shares, firms may be forced to seek government help.
WSJ: Real Time Economcis | U.S. Mint Suspends Production of $1 Presidential Coins
The U.S. Mint is suspending production of dollar coins as the government looks to nickel and dime its way to smaller budget deficits.


Daily Finance | 30 Major U.S. Companies Spent More on Lobbying than Taxes
Thirty large American corporations spent more money on lobbying than they paid in federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, according to a report from the nonpartisan reform group Public Campaign.
NY Times | House Passes Extension of Cut to Payroll Taxes
The 234-to-193 vote set the stage for negotiations between the House and the Senate that were likely to continue into the weekend.

American: Enterprise Blog | 5 reasons why Obama wants to double U.S. tax rates
At the end of today’s New York Times story on declining income inequality is a quote from economist Emmanel Saez, co-author of much-cited research on the topic…


NY Times | With States Desperate to Keep Jobs, Companies Have Upper Hand, Report Shows
As the unemployment crisis grinds on, states are trying to both lure and retain businesses by offering tax breaks, grants, cheap loans — just about anything (short of candy and foot massages) they can think of.

Calculated Risk | BLS: Job Openings "essentially unchanged" in October
Jobs openings declined slightly in October, but the number of job openings (yellow) has generally been trending up, and are up about 13% year-over-year compared to October 2010.
NY Times: Economix | Small Businesses Plan to Increase Hiring
...the net percentage of companies that say they have already increased their employment in the last three months — that is, the percent saying they increased their staff minus the percent saying they decreased it — was positive for the first time in nearly four years.
Fox Business: John Stossel's Take | Job Creators Fight Back
Politicians say they want to help America create jobs. If they really want to help, they would get out of the way and let the real job creators create jobs.

NBER | The Impact of Immigration on Native Poverty through Labor Market Competition
In general, however, even the local effects of immigration bear very little correlation with the observed changes in poverty rates and they explain a negligible fraction of them.


Washington Times | Obama seeks to leverage $1 trillion spending bill
President Barack Obama is pushing Senate Democrats to use a critical year-end spending bill as political leverage to gain Republican backing for his calls to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits due to expire at the end of the year.
WSJ | California Confronts More Cuts
The pre-approved cuts include eliminating $248 million in state money allocated for busing students and trimming $200 million from state universities and $100 million from home care for the elderly, Mr. Brown said.
National Journal | Tax Brinksmanship May Mean Another CR
With much of the government due to run out of money on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is gambling he can force congressional Republicans to blink on year-end payroll-tax and appropriations bills.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | CARDENAS: Balanced budget amendment vote a turning point
Under our current pattern of spending, America’s debt increases by nearly $4 billion each day. That’s right - $4 billion - every single day.
Washington Times | LAMBRO: Earmarks - by a different name
Lawmakers disguise practice of steering federal funds to favored constituents.

Cato Institute | How the Debt Crisis Will End
Of the 17 eurozone countries, only Finland and Luxembourg have been in compliance all 13 years. The three biggest eurozone countries, Germany, France and Italy, have been out of compliance more years than they have been in compliance.