Thursday, February 23, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Million-dollar foreclosures rise as rich walk away
Five years after the housing bubble burst, America's wealthiest families are now losing their homes to foreclosure at a faster rate than the rest of the country -- and many of them are doing so voluntarily.
Bloomberg | Euro-Region Economy Poised to Shrink in 2012 as Italy Contracts With Spain
Europe’s economy will shrink in 2012, with Italy and Spain facing sudden crunches as they battle to escape the debt crisis, the European Commission said.
FOX Business | Taxpayers Foot Legal Bills for Fannie and Freddie Execs
It’s a really bad deal for taxpayers that a federal watchdog is suggesting that the government only “limit,” but not stop, the exorbitant legal fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now paying on behalf of former executives who are accused of either securities or accounting fraud, and who drove these companies into the ground.
CNN Money | Home prices at lowest point in more than 10 years
Home prices fell to their lowest point in more than a decade in January, which helped to lift the pace of home sales, according to a report from an industry trade group.
Bloomberg | S&P 500 Gets 9% Cheaper on Record Profits
Profits in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index are rising faster than its price, leaving the gauge 9 percent cheaper than it was in April even after American equities climbed within 6 points of last year’s peak.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | The Housing Market(s) of San Diego
This paper uses an assignment model to understand the cross section of house prices within a metro area.
CBO | Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from October 2011 Through December 2011
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) contains provisions that are intended to boost economic activity and employment in the United States.
Washington Times | The government drag on growth
Europe’s leaders on Tuesday decided to give another very expensive band-aid to Greece. The latest bailout will cost $170 billion and enable Greeks to borrow from one set of creditors to pay off another, while other private creditors agree to take a haircut.
CNN Money | How Congress is killing the recovery
Since the economy dropped off a cliff in 2008, members of Congress have not exactly been shy about casting blame for no-or-slow growth on a variety of bureaucrats, outside institutions and Wall Street power players.
WSJ | Jeremy Lin and America's 'New Exports'
The U.S. runs a huge trade surplus in tourism, tuition paid by foreign students, even NBA jerseys sold abroad.
Real Clear Markets | A Highly Unjust Mortgage Settlement
It's a tale of political extortion Hollywood couldn't write and one your neighborhood association wouldn't believe
WSJ | Obama's Virtual Economy
If you were a president who for three years presided over an economy with more than 13 million unemployed, a growth rate gasping around 2%, an historic credit downgrade and underwater home mortgages drifting like icebergs toward the American Titanic, what would you do?

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Red Tape and the Onerous Effects of Overregulation
High taxes draw a lot of attention, and rightly so. They depress investment and discourage innovation. But escalating regulatory costs also undermine our economy. And small businesses, which fuel so much economic growth and hire so many people, often wind up particularly hard-hit by them.
Neighborhood Effects | Why Favor Manufacturing?
President Obama’s former economic advisor, Christina Romer, recently parted with her former boss and questioned the wisdom of favoring manufacturers. In doing so she joined a venerable American tradition in opposing inequitable taxation. It would be nice if more Americans joined her.
Economist | Borrowing in Asia
Cross-border bank lending to Asia’s developing economies has been shrinking recently. European banks in particular have been retrenching as they seek to meet new capital targets.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
National Journal | Birth Control A Winning Issue for Dems, Poll Shows
More than half of American voters – 54 percent -- approve of President Obama’s compromise that would have insurance companies pay for birth control for employees of religious-affiliated institutions, according to the latest Quinnipiac University national poll, released on Thursday.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | IMF Said to Limit Exposure to Greece at 30 Billion Euros After New Loan
The International Monetary Fund will seek to keep its exposure to Greece under a new bailout package at 30 billion euros ($39.8 billion), including money still owed from a previous loan, an IMF official said.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Finance | Why Inflation's Higher Than It Looks
Last fall, Social Security recipients got their first raise in their monthly benefit checks since 2009. Yet, if you're like most people, watching the prices of the things you buy go up all the time makes the government's inflation gauge seem out of touch.
Market Watch | Fed's Fisher: No need for QE3 given improved data
A better tone to economic data shows that the economy does not need more unconventional easing from the Federal Reserve, said Richard Fisher, the president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, on Thursday.
Forbes | Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling
Panic is in the air as gasoline prices move above $4.00 per gallon. Politicians and pundits are rounding up the usual suspects, looking for someone or something to blame for this latest outrage to middle class family budgets.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The American | Ben Bernanke, backed in a corner
Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, has been having a rough time lately. He’s received criticism from politicians, pundits, and other central bankers, and has been attacked for doing both too much and too little.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
USA Today | Delays in delivery of tax refunds continue, tax pros say
Taxpayers are continuing to wait longer than usual to receive their refunds, and a recent problem with the IRS' "Where's My Refund" tool caused many to fear that their returns hadn't been filed at all, tax preparers say.
NY Times | Winners and Losers From a Tax Proposal
The Obama administration, seeking to promote domestic manufacturing without increasing the federal deficit, proposed Wednesday to offset new tax breaks for manufacturers by raising taxes on a wide range of other companies.
USA Today | Economists don't like some of Obama's corporate tax plan
Economists note that Obama's plan would carve up the very playing field the administration says it wants to level. It would give manufacturers preferential treatment

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama will cut taxes?
After two years of reading speeches and making vague promises, President Obama on Wednesday finally released a concrete tax proposal.
Real Clear Markets | Obama's Cynical Tax Reform Ploy
President Obama is dressing up his corporate tax reform plan as a way to boost economic growth. But you don't have to look hard to see this for what it is: a brazenly cynical attempt to boost his re-election chances.
Bloomberg | Tax Cuts Should Create Growth, Not Junk Spending: Amity Shlaes
Payroll-tax cut equals growth. Consumer spending equals growth. Consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. All growth is equal
WSJ | Obama's Tax Reform Muddle
Yesterday's release of the White House "Business Tax Reform" marks a watershed in the corporate tax debate. Now nearly everyone acknowledges that U.S. corporate tax rates hurt American companies.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Neighborhood Effects | Virginia and New Jersey wrangle over taxes, spending and pensions
In the past week Virginia and New Jersey have put together their proposed budgets. One thing they have in common: how much to set aside for pension benefits, and how to pay for it?
Tax Foundation | Obama Corporate Tax Plan: Lots of Pain for Little Gain
The administration has released its much awaited corporate tax reform plan that would cut the federal corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent while eliminating a host of corporate tax preferences.
Marginal Revolution | The incentive effects of marginal tax rates
Marginal rates changed frequently and drastically in the 1920s and 1930s, and the changes varied greatly across income groups at the top of the income distribution.
The American | Sorry, Kevin Drum, even the effective U.S. corporate tax rate is sky high
By our calculation, the US statutory rate is nearly 10 percentage points higher than the effective average rate and nearly 17 percentage points higher than the effective marginal tax rate.
National Review | Tax Deliquency Among Federal Employees
We all remember how the Secretary of Treasury’s Senate confirmation was delayed because he hadn’t paid Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years while he worked for the International Monetary Fund. Well, it turns out he isn’t the only federal employee reluctant to pay his tax bill in full.
Keith Hennessey | The President’s Buffett Rule is vaporware
The President has not actually proposed a tax policy that fits this principle.  Neither his budget nor the tax proposals released by Treasury include any policy specifics to establish a new minimum 30% tax rate for those with income > $1M.
Tax Foundation | The President’s Corporate Tax Reform Plan: Rhetoric and Reality
The administration released today its corporate tax reform "framework", which is largely a rehash of previous proposals, but with a lowering of the corporate rate from 35 percent to 28 percent.  As with previous proposals, there is a complete disconnect between the rhetoric and reality
CATO | Obama’s Corporate Tax Reform
President Obama released a document on business tax reform today. I’m glad the administration is taking an interest in this important topic, but his plan has more negatives than positives.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims unchanged at 351,000
Jobless claims in the U.S. were unchanged last week at a seasonally adjusted 351,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | How to save U.S. manufacturing jobs
The United States lost 6 million manufacturing jobs between early 2001 and late 2009. And despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in manufacturing employment for the last 30 years has been downward.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Marginal Revolution | Unemployment Insurance and Disability Applications
More than 8.5 million workers are now collecting disability insurance, in other words almost 6% of the labor force is officially disabled.

Budget

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Better Grecian Bailout
With Tuesday's vote, the finance ministers of the European Union have agreed to a second giant Greek bailout, just two years after the May 2010 bailout that was supposed to be all that was needed.
AEI | Experts react to Europe’s bailout package for Greece
Policymakers and investors seem to have taken some solace from the announcement that European financial ministers have agreed to a bulked-up rescue package to stave off Greek default.