Thursday, December 15, 2011

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Global Demand for U.S. Assets Rose $4.8 Billion in October
Net buying of long-term equities, notes and bonds totaled $4.8 billion during the month compared with net purchases of $68.3 billion in September.
WSJ | Euro-Zone Economy Contracts
The euro-zone economy is likely to have contracted in the fourth quarter, although not all of the member economies performed weakly, with Germany's picking up in December.
CNN: Money | Bernanke worries Europe's woes will spill into U.S.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke told Republican senators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that he's concerned about European sovereign debt problems spilling over to the U.S. economy, according to senators.
WSJ | Industrial production slips 0.2% in November
Industrial production fell in November on a sharp drop in the automotive segment along with other declines in factory output, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.
WSJ | Europe Strains World's Banks
Borrowing Costs Grow as Some Banks Take Emergency Steps; Euro Sinks Further.
Bloomberg | Manufacturing May Shrink From China to Europe as Demand Weakens: Economy
Manufacturing may contract this month from China to the euro region as global demand slows and Europe’s leaders struggle to contain the worsening debt crisis.
WSJ | A Bubble Down on the Farm?
Farmers like Terry Pratt are a big reason Midwest farmland prices seem to be defying gravity—for now.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Aol Energy | Wind Industry Nervous As Tax Credit Expiration Date Looms
The production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy--the primary federal financial support mechanism for wind, which rewards developers and investors with 2.2 cents per kWh over 10 years--is set to expire in just about a year, on midnight December 31, 2012.
WSJ | The Euro Zone's Double Failure
Europe needs country-by-country fiscal reforms, not a renewed push for political integration.
Politico | 3 cheers for the '1 percenters'
When the 1 percenters are asked to pay their fair share with a “luxury tax” on their yachts and decide, maybe, they won’t buy a yacht after all, who suffers the most? Those who build, service and provision mega-yachts — skilled workers paid an hourly wage, or small family businesses and local retailers.
Daily Finance | Why Social Security Is Still Falling Apart
Social Security spent $49 billion more in 2010 than it took in as tax collections. By the time 2011 ends, it expects to outspend collections by another $46 billion.
Investors.com | Economic Fairness
What's fair competition is somewhat subjective, but let me suggest a few examples of what's clearly unfair.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato Institute | Do We Need Big Government?
At what point do we simply cease to be a society of free individuals and instead become little more than wards of the state?
Calculated Risk | The Excess Vacant Housing Supply
Over the last few days, there has been some more discussion on the current number of excess vacant housing units in the United States.
Political Calculations | Revisiting the U.S. Housing Bubble
Once upon a time, we developed a better method for detecting housing bubbles. Today, we're going back to the data mines to do some refinement and to see where things stand today!
Calculated Risk | The American Community Survey and Total Housing Units
It is possible the 2000 Census under counted the total number of housing units - or the 2010 Census over counted the total. Or perhaps the completion data from the Census Bureau is low. But this shows one of the reason it is very difficult to estimate the excess vacant housing supply - an error of over 1 million units is huge.
AEI: The American | Ah, delicious irony
The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards create a financial incentive for auto companies to make bigger vehicles that are allowed to meet lower targets, according to a new University of Michigan study.
Calculated Risk | MBA: "Refinance Applications Increase as Rates Drop to 2011 Lows"
The Refinance Index increased 9.3 percent from the previous week to its highest level since November 4, 2011. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 8.2 percent from one week earlier.
NRO: The Corner | When Government Grows, the Economy Shrinks
In the midst of the European debt crisis, economists at the European Central Bank just produced a paper that looks at how growth in the size of government affects economic performance.
NY Times | NY Times The Exaggerated Impact of Bank Transfer Day
The Credit Union National Association now says that about 214,000 people joined credit unions in the month or so of anti-bank fervor this fall, not the 650,000 it originally estimated.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Study: To Reduce Readmission, Reduce Hospitalizations
Medicare has been focusing on readmissions—when patients return to the hospital in the first 30 days after leaving—as a sign of poor-quality care. Beginning next year, the government will begin penalizing hospitals that have high rates of repeat customers.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Wyden-Ryan Breakthrough
The Wyden-Ryan deal shows that smart liberals prefer a different future.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | U.S. Shoppers Foot Bill for Soaring Pay in China
One of the things that's showing up in Christmas stockings this year: higher prices, courtesy of China.
WSJ | U.S. Treasury Buyers Flip the Script
Economic Data That Would Hint at Inflation—and Spook Debt Buyers—Can't Stop the Bond Run.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: No move is good move
Federal Reserve’s inaction is what the economy needs.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Daily Capitalist | The State Of The European Monetary Union
Even if all countries did not even meet the nominal convergence requirements laid down in the Maastricht Treaty EMU was surprisingly stable during the first 10 years of existence. The reason for this was easy credit.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Millionaire surtax: The go-to tax
Democrats have pushed for weeks to impose a millionaire surtax to help pay for the cost of extending the payroll tax cut. Republicans have said it would be a job-killer.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
USA Today: Drive On | Chinese impose duties on new cars imported from USA
General Motors, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda have all gotten some bad news from China. It's going to impose duties ranging from 2% to 21.5% on vehicles imported from the U.S.
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: It’s Time to Kiss the Tax Code Goodbye
America’s tax code needs reform, plain and simple. The current tax system discourages saving, investment, and entrepreneurship. It’s a drag on productivity, job growth, international competitiveness, and wages. It’s complicated beyond belief, and it needs to change.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Michigan unemployment rate falls below 10%
In another sign of the turnaround of the U.S. auto industry, the unemployment rate in Michigan has dropped below 10% November, the first time it's been that low in three years.
Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Drop to Three-Year Low
Jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 366,000 in the week ended Dec. 10, the fewest since May 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected 390,000.
Fox News | Employers slightly reduce job postings in October
Companies and governments posted 3.3 million jobs in October, down from 3.4 million in September, the Labor Department said. October's level was the second highest in the past three years.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
American: Enterprise Blog | Here’s what’s really broken in America’s broken economy
The entrepreneurial engine that powers the amazing American jobs machine may be kaput.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Fox News | House GOP Unveils $1 Trillion Spending Bill
House Republicans have unveiled a massive $1 trillion-plus yearend spending package despite a plea from the White House for additional talks over a handful of provisions opposed by President Barack Obama.
Politico | Ben Bernanke warns of European debt
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered a dire warning about Europe’s burgeoning financial crisis on Wednesday, telling Senate Republicans that America’s economy is at risk if global markets aren’t stabilized.

Econ Comments                                                                                                             
WSJ | The Euro Zone's Double Failure
Europe needs country-by-country fiscal reforms, not a renewed push for political integration.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Bernanke Tells Senators Fed Won’t Bail Out Europe
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Senate Republicans Wednesday that U.S. taxpayers won’t bail out Europe, even as he warned that the debt crisis there can really hurt the economy here.
Calculated Risk | Fed: Household Debt Service Ratio back to 1994 levels, Mortgage financial obligations remain elevated
The overall Debt Service Ratio has declined back to 1994 levels - thanks to very low interest rates. The homeowner's financial obligation ratio for consumer debt is also at 1994 levels.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | S&P: Sovereign Debt Issues Expected to Weigh on 2012 View
Standard & Poor’s expect sovereign debt issues in Europe and the U.S. will continue to remain a concern as it provided subdued forecasts for most sectors, particularly the global banking system.
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | California’s $500 billion pension shortfall
A new study estimates California’s pension shortfall at $500 billion. Employing a risk-free discount rate, this estimate is far higher than the $142.6 billion estimated by the state.