Thursday, February 16, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Wind energy: Iowa model for success
Low, stable tax rates generate jobs and economic growth. This idea has been the bedrock of conservative economic ideology for decades. One industry that represents this essential conservative principle is U.S. wind energy.
CNN Money | Moody's: 5 big U.S. banks face downgrade
Five big U.S. banks were among 17 global institutions placed under review for downgrades Thursday by the rating agency Moody's, reflecting the ongoing economic pressures from Europe's fiscal crisis.
CNN Money | Euro economy shrinks, is recession next?
The eurozone economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2011, but pockets of strength from France and Germany offset some of the contraction.
USA Today | Good news on unemployment claims, housing starts, inflation
Three reports delivered good news on the economy Thursday

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | How to fix the mortgage mess
President Barack Obama has highlighted the importance of helping millions of homeowners refinance their mortgages to support the recovery.
Daily Caller | There’s no such thing as a free lunch
Given the recent controversy over contraceptives, it seems that Thomas was less toady than prophet and that a deep humility explains why our president is not a regular church-goer.
Real Clear Markets | The State and Local Pension Crisis
President Obama's new budget, with its trillion dollar deficit and interest payments of $5.6 trillion on the debt over the next decade, is only part of America's unfunded liability.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Minyanville | How to Exploit Game Theory for Profit
Today I’ll address what a quant trader should understand to exploit game theory for profit.
Heritage Foundation | Eurozone: A Bad Situation Getting Worse
At this point in the Eurozone crisis, the only responsible thing for European leaders to do is to develop contingency plans that will minimize the economic fallout in Europe when—not if—Greece defaults.
Library of Economics | Imagine Grateful Welfare Recipients
In politics, hate is stronger than love.  The biggest friends of the welfare state would rather see the welfare state disappear than publicly say "Please" or "Thank you" to the taxpayers who make their favorite programs possible.
Heritage Foundation | In Pictures: Facts about America’s Slow Economic Recovery
Sure, the U.S. economy is recovering, but it’s doing so at a very…slow… rate. Some on the left, including the President, paint America’s bounce-back as a roaring surge of job creation, but in truth it’s more of a whimper
Daily Capitalist | Is This Recovery? Part II
If much of our positive economic data, especially manufacturing, employment, and price inflation is tied to monetary policy, then that begs the questions of where is money supply (MS) now, where is it heading, and what will the Fed do?

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | HHS Report: More Americans Getting Preventive Health Services
More than 54 million Americans took advantage of new free preventive health benefits since the passage of the 2010 health care reform law, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Meet the ObamaCare Mandate Committee
In the future, thanks to ObamaCare, the government will issue such health edicts on a routine basis—and largely insulated from public view. This goes beyond contraception to cancer screenings, the use of common drugs like aspirin, and much more.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Fed Bond-Buying Option Is Kept in Reserve as Officials Weigh Economic Data
Federal Reserve officials are keeping open the option of a third round of bond purchases in case the economy weakens or inflation stays low.
National Journal | World Bank Chief to Step Down in June - Report
Robert Zoellick, the World Bank’s top official, will leave office after his five-year term expires on June 30, The Washington Post reports. Zoellick began his term under President George W. Bush.
Bloomberg | January Wholesale Prices in U.S. Rise 0.1%
Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose less than forecast in January as food and energy costs dropped, a sign inflation pressures may remain subdued.
Bloomberg | Sweden Abandons Rate Increases as Euro Debt Crisis Hits Nordics
Sweden’s central bank abandoned interest rate increases for the rest of the year as Europe’s debt crisis extends its reach further north and policy makers warn weak exports are destroying jobs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNBC | Monetary Policy Posing Inflation Risk: Fed's Fisher
A top Federal Reserve official warned Wednesday against taking easy monetary policy too far, saying the responsibility for healing the jobs market lies with Congress and the administration, not the Fed.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Japan to Submit Bill to Double Sales Tax
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's cabinet is set to endorse on a plan to double the national sales tax in three years, in a sign of the leader's determination to push ahead with fiscal reform as focus turns to the country's massive borrowing.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Tolling America’s future
Congress turns its attention this week to the five-year, $260 billion reauthorization of the Department of Transportation.
Roll Call | Negotiators Reach Deal on Extending Payroll Tax Cut
House and Senate negotiators announced late Wednesday evening a sweeping deal to extend a payroll tax cut, jobless benefits and Medicare doctor payments, overcoming several last-minute obstacles that appeared to imperil the bipartisan agreement.
WSJ | ObamaCare's Non-Tax Tax
The quicksilver qualities of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate penalties—what you pay if you don't buy government approved health coverage—are something to behold.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The American | Actually, Obama is proposing raising taxes on the middle class
President Obama says he only wants to raise taxes on American households making over $250,000. But his new budget plan would hit middle-income folks pretty hard.
The American | My bright idea of the day: Take the payroll tax cut and use it to fund personal retirement accounts
It now looks like the 2-percentage-point payroll tax cut will be extended until the end of the year and not paid for. The $100 billion cost will simply be added to the already huge budget deficit. So what happens in 2013?

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Desperately seeking Americans for factory jobs
U.S. factories are creating many new jobs. But owners are hard pressed to find skilled American workers to fill them.
Market Watch | U.S. weekly jobless claims drop 13,000 to 348,000
Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 11, the Labor Department said Thursday.
WSJ | GM Cuts Benefits for Salaried Staff
General Motors Co. is freezing the pay of its 26,000 U.S. salaried employees and will eliminate its traditional pension contribution for those salaried workers who still receive them in moves to reduce financial risks and cut costs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Private Equity Keeps Public Pensions Sound
Presidential politics has shown a spotlight on a financial sector that was previously unknown to many Americans. It's called private equity and, from my perspective, it has provided a very public good.

Budget

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The American | The Upside of Government Default
There is a good chance that the U.S. government will be forced to default on its explicit and implicit promises within the next few decades. Fortunately, the state government experience of the 1840s suggests that this may provide the best and most durable long-run solution.
Politico | On budget, 10 is not enough
When President Barack Obama released his 2013 budget on Monday, everyone focused on the 10-year outlook on deficits. This is the same limited budget window that drove last year’s Budget Control Act and the supercommittee.
AEI | Obama's new budget is more of the same
In today’s partisan atmosphere, it was predictable that President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget plan would sidestep the tough choices required to address the long-run imbalance between entitlement spending and tax revenue.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
National Review | The President’s Balanced Approach: Lessons from the Past
Testifying before Congress yesterday, the acting OMB director Jeffrey Zients explained how the $3.8 trillion budget the president sent to Congress on Monday is a good example of what can be achieved with a balanced approach.
Political Calculations | President Obama's Permanent Spending Achievement
How much has President Barack H. Obama grown the size of the U.S. government's budget since coming into power in January 2009?