Tuesday, January 17, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Blomberg | Manufacturing in NY Region Expands Faster
Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in January at the fastest pace in nine months, reflecting improving orders, sales and employment.
CNN: Money | Gas prices may get close to $5 in some spots
The new year has greeted Americans with the highest January gas prices ever, and some analysts say prices could get close to $5 a gallon in some areas during the warm-weather driving season.
USA: Today | Analysis: Credit downgrades put onus on Germany
One of the defining images of Europe's two-year-old debt crisis is that of the leaders of France and Germany, side by side, presenting their latest strategy for the continent.
CNN: Money | China's economic growth slows
The Chinese economy grew at an annual pace of 8.9% in the fourth quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday, marking a slowdown from a 9.1% growth rate in the prior quarter.
Washington Times | Eurozone rescue fund drops to AA+ in S&P’s rating
The rating agency Standard & Poor’s said Monday it has downgraded the creditworthiness of the eurozone’s rescue fund by one notch to AA+, putting at risk the fund’s ability to raise cheap bailout money.

Econ Comments and Analysis                                                                                          
Project Syndicate | The Straits of America
Macroeconomic indicators for the United States have been better than expected for the last few months. Job creation has picked up. Indicators for manufacturing and services have improved moderately.
RCM | Businesses Need Relief From Obama, Not Gov't Reorg
After pushing through one of the largest expansions of government in history, the president now claims he wants to streamline it on behalf of struggling businesses. Pardon us if we're skeptical about his sincerity.
WSJ | Downgrading Europe
S&P discovers the euro-zone's debt problem.
Market Watch | Much of the global economy remains underground
A $10 trillion underground street economy that will employ two-thirds of the world’s workers by 2020 has been uncovered.
Forbes | To Restore Prosperity, We Must Increase Economic Freedom
Economic freedom in the United States is in decline. The consequences include the worst recovery since the Great Depression and a growing fear of big government among a majority of independents and, shockingly, a near majority of Democrats.
Politico | Americans tired of picking up tab
The American people are tired of the policies that are destroying our economy, redistributing our wealth and adding to the debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay.
WSJ | The Reorganization Man
Obama now says he wants to reform government.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Politico | How to reform a failing Congress
Americans are fed up with Washington and rightly so. With painful news coming from seemingly every direction, from unemployment to skyrocketing debt, the dysfunction in Congress is now so severe that the future of every American is threatened.
Econlog | Real Real GDP
Official stats tacitly make an extreme assumption: waste does not exist.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Still Plenty of Room for House Prices to Fall Globally, IMF Economist Says
There’s still plenty of room for house prices to fall in major economies across the globe, including critical nations such as Spain and Italy, despite prices already being in the doldrums, according to an International Monetary Fund senior economist’s calculations.
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of Jan 15th
There are three key housing reports that will be released this week: January homebuilder confidence on Wednesday, December housing starts on Thursday, and December existing home sales on Friday.
Neighborhood Effects | What Illinois’s Credit Rating Downgrade Really Means
There seems to be some confusion, however, on what this downgrade means for state borrowing, how it will affect taxpayers, and how it will impact the state’s fiscal future.
Café Hayek | Taleb on antifragility
Antifragility. I’m not sure how it will turn out in print but it is full of interesting ideas–many of them new–others go deeper into ideas in The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness.

Health Care News

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | QUICK TAKE: White House to Force Drug Companies to Disclose Doctor Payments
The disclosure standards are part of the 2010 health care overhaul and are based on evidence that payment for such activities can influence treatment decisions, encouraging doctors to use more expensive drugs and medical devices.

Econ Comments and Analysis                                                                                          
Washington Post | Cutting heath-care spending the old-fashioned way
It turns out that there is a way to control health spending: clobber the economy. When unemployment rises, people lose health insurance. They see doctors less often; they put off elective surgery; they cut back on drugs.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | The Healthcare Rorschach Blot
Part of Obamacare was a transitional "High Risk Pool" program to cover people who were unable to get insurance until the rest of the law's provisions kicked in in 2014. The program allocated $5 billion. Medicare's chief actuary assumed that it would attract 400,000 people, the experience was not quite what had been expected.
Marginal Revolution | The median wage figure and the health care costs figure
The average health care insurance premium today is over $15,000 and by 2021 it may be headed to $32,000 or so.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Investors.com | Despite Past Failures, Fed Looks To Print More Money
The media have busied themselves with touting the big economic rebound they see brewing in the U.S. We hope they're right. But if they are, why is the Federal Reserve getting ready to print even more money?
Bloomberg | IMF, EU May Need to Spend More to Avoid East Europe Crunch
The International Monetary Fund and other lenders, who spent $42 billion to stem an eastern European banking crisis after 2009, may be forced to commit more aid to the region to cushion the effects of banks cutting assets.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ: Real Time Econonmics | Economists Expect Fed to Raise Rates by 2014
Broadly speaking, the consensus is that the Fed will do nothing on interest rates in 2012. A few economists see it moving aggressively in 2013, but the majority don’t. By 2014, though, the consensus sees an end to the long-period of ultra low interest rates engineered by the Fed in response to the financial crisis and slow recovery.
Reason Foundation | Why the Fed Missed the Housing Bust
While it's unclear what purpose the article serves other than to suggest through 20/20 hindsight that key Fed policymakers were clueless about the state of the economy and implicitly asleep at the wheel, the article fails to recognize that every mainstream macroeconomic forecaster missed the call.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | States look to hike tax on millionaires
As the "tax the rich" debate rages in Washington D.C., some states are turning to their wealthiest residents to bring in much-needed revenue.
WSJ | Congress Returns To Battle on Taxes
As members of Congress return to Washington this week, they face immediate pressure to agree on how to fund a payroll-tax cut, but their task is complicated by lingering hostilities over the issue that are likely to be sharpened by the onset of a hard-fought election year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Payroll tax law may starve, reform Fannie, Freddie
When Congress signed a deal in the waning days of 2011 to extend the payroll tax cut by two months, they paid for it by increasing and diverting fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee mortgages.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato@Liberty | Soak-the-Rich Taxes Create Happier Nations According to Junk Science Study
In the past 20-plus years, I’ve seen all sorts of arguments for class-warfare taxation.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Man vs. Machine, a Jobless Recovery
U.S. Companies Are Spending to Upgrade Factories but Hiring Lags; Robots Pump Out Sunny Delight.
WSJ | Exodus of Workers From Continent Reverses Old Patterns
Economic distress is driving tens of thousands of skilled professionals from Europe, and many are being lured to thriving former European colonies in Latin America and Africa, reversing well-worn migration patterns.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Credit card debt drops 11%
Consumers whacked down credit card debt by 11% last year, and average debt loads dropped in every state.
CNN Money | Congress cuts staff, computers and staplers
In the land of big-time deficits and trillion dollar budgets, Congress is spending less money on at least one thing.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | Our explosive federal debt is the poison that is killing America
About the crisis of the excessive and ever-enlarging debt of the United States, there is no serious question or debate.
WSJ | Plan B for Greece
A way for Athens to restructure its debt, stay in the euro and avoid a disorderly default.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Café Hayek | Only 99.9919 Percent to Go
Pres. Obama proposes shaving 0.0081 percent off of the federal budget by merging into one agency the half-dozen agencies now charged with obstructing Americans’ freedom to trade with foreigners…