Tuesday, February 14, 2012

General Economics

WSJ | OECD Hints at Developed-Economy Recovery
The world's developed economies may be set to emerge from several months of slowdown, led by the U.S. and Japan, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
USA Today | Moody's says U.K., France debt outlook 'negative'
Moody's today downgraded the debt ratings of six eurozone countries and put a negative outlook on the United Kingdom, France and Austria, setting up the possibility they might lose their top ratings in the next 18 months
WSJ | Greek Economy Shrinking Rapidly
Greece was plunging deeper into recession at the close of last year, showing the devastation of the country's economy even before new austerity plans are implemented in the months ahead.
Market Watch | Retail sales in U.S. rise 0.4% in January
U.S. retail sales rose in January by the most in four months as Americans increased spending at department stores, general stores and bars and restaurants
Bloomberg | Multifamily Buildings to Lead U.S. Construction Gains
Construction of multifamily units will lead the U.S. building industry again this year, allowing housing to contribute to growth for the first time in seven years, according to economists Michelle Meyer and Celia Chen.
CNN Money | Which states are the richest?
When Indiana governor Mitch Daniels announced a budget surplus for the latest fiscal year, the windfall came as good news for his state's employees, some of whom received bonuses of as much as $1,000. Indiana is not alone

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Chaos of Greece
Rioters torched shops and offices, with banks and foreign businesses the main targets.
Real Clear Markets | The Political Class to Prudent Americans: "Drop Dead!"
Though home ownership was always vastly overrated, and is particularly problematic in a world of fast-moving capital, those who were wise amid the latest government induced mania will be forced to pay for the mistakes of the profligate.
Bloomberg | Spending Won’t Fix What Ails U.S. Infrastructure
President Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday of a six-year, $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, as part of his 2013 budget, is the latest demonstration of a longstanding presidential propensity for transportation projects.
Washington Times | A nation of takers
Americans pride themselves on being a self-reliant people. We know that the freedom to make our own fortune sets us apart from the people of many other nations.
AEI | Understanding the true cost of state and local pensions
Pensions have come under increased scrutiny as funding levels have dropped and required contributions have risen.

Marginal Revolution | Bubbles and economic potential and potential gdp
There is no AD boost that can (anytime soon, without a lot of extra growth kicking in), restore Greece to its previous output peak and its previously expected performance-to-come. 
WSJ | Wealthy at $250,000? Depends on Where You Live
Within President Barack Obama‘s budget released Monday are proposals to end the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and limit itemized deductions for households making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000 a year.
Marginal Revolution | Innovation Nation v. Warfare-Welfare State (more)
In Launching the Innovation Renaissance I argue that the warfare-welfare state is crowding out other areas of spending, even when such spending could be highly valuable.
National Review | Loopholes Are Dead, Long Live Loopholes
President Obama's budget message derides “special-interest loopholes,” but then proceeds to provide more special-interest loopholes.
Library of Economics | Revisiting Goldin and Katz
Let me invoke one of W. Edwards Deming's insights about quality control. The later you intervene in a process, the more you have to spend to achieve a given level of improvement.

Health Care

National Journal | HHS Recovers $4.1 Billion In Health Care Fraud
Both the Health and Human Services Department and the Justice Department have made combating fraud in Medicare and Medicaid a priority.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Medical Innovation: How the U.S. Can Retain Its Lead
Advances in molecular medicine will allow us to develop powerful new treatments that can cure or even prevent diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer. Tomorrow's high-tech cures can also slash health-care costs and eliminate ineffective treatments.

Tax Foundation | Health Care Individual Mandate Beyond Congress's Taxing Power
On March 26-28, 2012, the Court will be hearing a record 5-1/2 hours of oral argument on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), sometimes known as Obamacare or the health care reform law.
Library of Economics | How to Cut the Cost of Contraceptives by Regulating Less
In his "compromise" with Catholic critics, President Obama has said that various church-affiliated employers don't have to provide a contraception benefit in their insurance plans. However, insurance plans will have to provide such a benefit separately and must not charge the patient for the benefit.


Bloomberg | European Banks Lose Trading Share to U.S.
The biggest U.S. banks captured the highest share of global trading revenue in at least two years as their counterparts across the Atlantic reduced risk in the fourth quarter amid a worsening sovereign-debt crisis.


WSJ | Obama Proposes 'Buffett Rule' for Wealthy
In one of the most eye-catching of President Barack Obama's proposals Monday to change the tax code, he suggested replacing the widely disliked alternative-minimum tax with a 30% minimum tax on people earning at least $1 million, based on the so-called Buffett Rule.
Daily Finance | How State Taxes Put a Bigger Pinch on the Poor
Over the last few months, as Republican presidential candidates have unveiled a stream of plans to cut taxes, they've consistently focused their rhetoric on a very narrow spectrum of our tax burden -- income tax as a percentage of income -- to suggest that the poorest Americans get a free ride at the expense of the wealthiest.
Politico | House GOP reverses on payroll tax cut
At the same time Republicans were railing at Obama for proposing a budget with a $1.3 trillion deficit, House GOP leaders proposed something many in their party thought impossible: adding $100 billion to the deficit by passing a 10-month extension of a Social Security payroll tax cut without paying for it.
WSJ | GOP Pivots on Payroll-Tax Cut
House Republicans reversed themselves Monday and agreed to extend the current payroll-tax reduction for the rest of the year without spending cuts to offset the cost to the Treasury, a major breakthrough in a hard-fought partisan battle.
Washington Times | EU willing to discuss, not drop airline tax
Europe is willing to discuss its new carbon emissions tax for airlines with disgruntled governments - including the United States - but has no plans to scrap the levy
Market Watch | Corporate tax plan to come soon: Geithner
The Obama administration will soon release a framework for reforming the corporate tax system, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday.
Bloomberg | Obama Aims Tax Increase at Highest Earners
President Barack Obama called for $1.4 trillion in fresh revenue from Americans at the top of the income scale, proposing higher taxes on wages and investments and limiting breaks for retirement savings and health insurance.

Marginal Revolution | Dividends and taxation
We compile a comprehensive international dividend and capital gains tax data set to study tax explanations of corporate payouts for a panel of 6,416 firms from 25 countries for 1990-2008.
The American | More evidence Obama has tax policy exactly backward
The Tax Foundation just did a massive, must-read study looking at which kinds of taxes internationally have the biggest impact on economic growth.
Tax Foundation | "Buffett Rule" Would Cause Marginal Tax Rate of 90%
The Obama administration released today its formal budget proposal for 2013. Included in this proposal are a variety of deficit reduction measures, of which tax increases form a significant part.
The American | Top tax rates could exceed 100 percent under Obama’s Buffett Rule
The marginal tax rate on investment income could plausibly exceed 100 percent! “In other words, taxpayers … would have an incentive to lose money,” according to the research group.
CATO | How Can Obama Look at these Two Charts and Conclude that America Should Have Higher Double Taxation of Dividends and Capital Gains?
The most important number in Obama’s budget is that the burden of government spending will be at least $2 trillion higher in 10 years if the President’s plan is enacted.


Washington Times | GE to hire 5,000 veterans over next 5 years
General Electric Co. plans to hire 5,000 veterans over the next five years and invest $580 million to expand its aviation business.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | President Obama's Green Jobs Mirage
President Obama has cranked up his commitment to federal subsidies for “green” energy in the face of accumulating defaults by the politically connected companies.


CNN Money | Obama budget fails to tackle entitlements
Independent deficit hawks -- as opposed to the political ones seeking votes -- gave mixed reviews to President Obama's 2013 budget proposal.
CNN Money | Obama's budget: Where it cuts
President Obama's new budget cuts government spending in a big way.
FOX Business | The 10 Countries Deepest in Debt
The Greek government on Sunday agreed to drastic austerity measures in the hopes of securing a 130 billion euro bailout from international creditors — the second bailout in two years.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The 2013 Budget: A Process Run Amok
At the announcement of the President's Budget, many budget observers are wondering if it matters much anymore.
Forbes | How to Swap the Obama Budget for an Optimistic Economic Growth Agenda
New spending in President Obama’s $3.8 trillion fiscal year 2013 budget would increase investments in education, manufacturing and R&D, transportation projects, electric vehicle incentives and the like.
WSJ | The Amazing Obama Budget
Federal budgets are by definition political documents, but even by that standard yesterday's White House proposal for fiscal year 2013 is a brilliant bit of misdirection.
Washington Times | Obama has no Plan B
President Obama has just presented his new budget, which again ignores reality. It contains another trillion-dollar deficit, which assumes a large increase in revenue resulting from a tax-rate increase on “the wealthy” and corporations.

National Review | Obama’s Budget is Out: The Time for Austerity is Never
The budget is out. Keynesians should rejoice; austerity is not coming to the United States anytime soon. I do feel sorry for future generations.
Keith Hennessey | The ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in the President’s budget
The Obama Administration claims their new budget contains $2.50 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases. 
Politico | Left, right blogs dissect the '13 budget
Conservatives in the blogosphere found much to pick at in the President Barack Obama’s proposed budget, objecting to specific items such as subsidies for the Chevy Volt, the lack of money for the D.C. education voucher program, funds for social security “program integrity” and special interest tax credits.
CATO | Obama’s Budget: This Isn’t Built to Last
Today’s release of his fiscal 2013 budget proposal shows that the president still thinks he can build economic prosperity with more spending, taxes, and debt.