Thursday, January 19, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Obama administration to reject Keystone pipeline
The Obama administration will reject TransCanada Corp.'s application for a permit to build a huge oil pipeline between Canada and the United States, but give the firm a chance to reapply after it develops an alternate route.
CNN: Money | Key Wall Street reform rule under fire
Republicans on a House Financial Services subcommittee criticized the rule, which aims to stop banks from making risky bets with their own money called proprietary trading.
Bloomberg | Philadelphia-Area Manufacturing Increases
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded at faster pace in January as employment picked up and factories grew more optimistic about business in the next six months.
Washington Times | Fed pushes for government action to help revive housing
Ideas include big roles for Freddie, Fannie.
Market Watch | U.S. housing starts fall 4.1% in December
New construction of U.S. houses retreated in December, putting an end to a year in which builders broke ground on a record-low number of single-family homes, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday.

Econ Comments and Analysis                                                                                          
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama’s pipe-dream economy
President thinks more jobs created by jobless checks than oil pipeline.
CRS | Loan Guarantees for Clean Energy Technologies: Goals, Concerns, and Policy Options
Government guaranteed debt is a financial tool that has been used to support a number of federal policy objectives: home ownership, higher education, and small business development, among others.
Cato @ Liberty | It's Up to The Private Sector to Invest in New Technology
If green energy is commercially promising, then profit-hungry capitalists will make those investments.
Bloomberg | America’s Dirty War Against Manufacturing (Part 1): Carl Pope
Manufacturing’s share of U.S. employment peaked in 1979 and has since fallen by almost half. Although manufacturing has been a relative bright spot in the dismal economy of the past couple of years, in the last decade, the U.S. lost a third of its manufacturing jobs, with the damage rippling far beyond that base to erode millions of jobs that are dependent on it.
Washington Post | The economic lessons the rest of the world could teach us
The German system gives incentives to train workers and keep them employed; in contrast, the U.S. system emphasizes flexibility, the ability to hire and fire, and keeping wages low.
Bloomberg | Euro Area on Verge of Technical Recession, Must Boost Growth, Juncker Says
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker said the euro area must find ways to boost economic growth while tightening government budgets because the region risks economic stagnation.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Under Obama, Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands Is Down 40%
As a nation, we need to take advantage of all our natural resources to spur economic growth, create jobs and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | Income Mobility Means Some People Have to Lose Everything
I've said before that I don't care about income inequality per se, and that focusing on it seems more like institutionalized envy than sound policy.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Vital Signs: Early Signals of Manufacturing Strength
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s business conditions index, based on a poll of manufacturing executives, rose five points to 13.5 this month, indicating expansion.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Fox Business | Medicare Changes Every Boomer Needs to Know About for 2012
Health-care costs can be the most unpredictable part of retirement, which makes the future of Medicare an important economic issue for anyone older than 50.

Econ Comments and Analysis                                                                                          
CBO | Lessons from Medicare's Demonstration Projects on Disease Management, Care Coordination, and Value-Based Payment
In the past two decades, Medicare has conducted two broad categories of demonstrations aimed at enhancing the quality of health care and improving the efficiency of health care delivery in its fee-for-service program:
Cato @ Liberty | ‘Will the Feds Be Ready With the Fallback Insurance Exchanges by October 2013?’
If the feds are going to be ready to launch 10 or 20 federal fallback exchanges these numbers just don’t compute. It is going to take a lot more than the $94 million HHS has contracted for to launch that many federal exchanges in the states that refuse to do so.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Atlantic: Megan McArdle | CBO Report: Medicare Pilot Programs Don't Control Health-Care Costs
I was always skeptical of the projections that ObamaCare would reduce the budget.
Cato @ Liberty | Wisconsin Stiff-Arms ObamaCare
Late yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced Wisconsin will return the $37 million “Early Innovator Grant” it received from the Obama administration under the health care law.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Consumer Prices in U.S. Little Changed on Fuel
The cost of living in the U.S. was little changed in December for a second month as stores cut prices to boost holiday sales and fuel expenses fell, reinforcing the Federal Reserve’s view that inflation will remain in check.
WSJ | IMF Seeks More Funds to Gird for Euro Crisis
The International Monetary Fund wants to raise hundreds of billions of dollars to boost its financial firepower—despite U.S. resistance—to cope with the effects of Europe's debt crisis.
Bloomberg | China Said to Consider Easing Lending Constraints, Capital Rules for Banks
China is allowing the nation’s five biggest banks to increase first-quarter lending and weighing a plan to relax capital requirements as economic growth cools.
CNN: Money | Local currencies: 'In the U.S. we don't trust'
It may seem like Monopoly money to outsiders, but a growing number of communities across the U.S. are using homegrown local currencies to stimulate their economies and protect themselves from the nation's broader economic woes.

Econ Comments and Analysis                                                                                          
AEI | The hidden cost of free money
If the Fed's activities in stimulating economic growth ultimately generate inflation, as many economists expect, 30-year mortgages paying low rates will be worth even less, and the hit to bank capital will be much higher.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The Economist | Austerity is a pain. So is tight money
I think this is as good a time as any to review why austerity could harm the economy, and whether there is a difference between regional austerity, and euro-zone-wide austerity. After all, some readers may wonder: should a highly indebted country stop saving?

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | California's Brown Pushes Tax Boost
Gov. Jerry Brown pressed state lawmakers to back the state's high-speed rail plan despite mounting opposition, and he urged Californians to vote for temporarily boosting taxes in a referendum this fall.
National Journal | Employers Starting to Worry About Payroll-Tax Deadline
Lawmakers have a few weeks left to negotiate a long-term fix for the payroll-tax holiday, but employers and tax experts are already beginning to worry.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Finance | Get Ready to Pay Thousands of Dollars More in Taxes
The biggest culprit: short-term extensions of tax breaks, many of which expired at the end of 2011.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest in Almost Four Years
Fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week, easing concern that post-holiday firings were on the rise.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Anti-Jobs President
Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline and blames Congress.
RCM | The Economy Creates and Destroys Jobs Every Year
Most people don't know that the economy destroys and creates millions of jobs every year. A monthly survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics captures the details.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama’s pipe-dream economy
President thinks more jobs created by jobless checks than oil pipeline.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Greek debt talks drag on
Greece and its private sector creditors remain mired in deep negotiations over a deal to reduce the nation's crushing debt load.
USA Today | U.S. has trimmed private and public debt at a rapid pace
Cheer up, Americans. The U.S. may be awash in debt — both public and private — but it's been whittled down more rapidly than in every other large country, and the nation is much closer to returning to a healthy level that can spur faster economic growth, according to a study out Thursday.
Politico | Debt ceiling going up despite House vote
House Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s request to raise the nation’s debt limit on Wednesday — a move they viewed as a condemnation of excessive government spending in Washington.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | GHEI: Downgrade aftermath
Investors have been demanding bond yields significantly higher for French debt than for German or U.S. debt. Of more importance are the EFSF downgrade and the ongoing Greek crisis.
WSJ | Four Deficit Myths and a Frightening Fact
We don't have a generalized overspending problem. We have a humongous health-care problem.
Washington Times | McKINLEY: Financing failure: The state of bailouts
Overseers simply watch while institutions go up in flames.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
NRO: The Corner | Private vs. Public Defined-Benefit Pensions
As I have said before, ideally the cut should be offset with a reduction in Social Security benefits.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | St. Louis Fed Says CBO Doesn’t Forecast Deficits Well
Congress’s long history of underestimating future budget deficits suggests the current outlook for the nation’s finances may be even grimmer than many now expect.