Monday, February 27, 2012

General Economics

CNN Money | World Bank to China: Free up your economy or bust
The World Bank and a Chinese think tank will have a stern warning in store for China's government on Monday: Transition to a freer commercial system, or else face an impending economic crisis.
Market Watch | NABE: U.S. economy to grow at 2.4% rate in 2012
The group's outlook panel of 45 forecasters projects growth in U.S. gross domestic product at 2.4%, skewed slightly toward the second half.
CNN Money | A new recession seems inevitable
While most economists have stopped worrying that the U.S. will fall into a double-dip recession, one influential economist maintains his position that the nation won't be able to avoid a new downturn.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Fed's Bullard: $4 gas would not derail economy
Four-dollars-a-gallon gasoline would not derail the economy, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said Friday. In remarks to reporters following a speech,
WSJ | U.S. Manufacturing and the Skills Crisis
Following 12 straight years of declines, U.S. manufacturers added 109,000 workers to their payrolls in 2010 and another 237,000 in 2011. And in January of this year, the number of manufacturing jobs increased by 50,000.
The American | Government Is a Lousy Venture Capitalist
While government has a legitimate and valuable role in basic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research, it is a lousy venture capitalist and is largely incapable of picking winning technologies in the market.
Washington Times | Burning cash with gas
Gather around, boys and girls, for another quick lesson in real-world Nugenomics 101. Not “if” but “when”gas prices soar to four bucks a gallon this summer, the impact to our economy will be thunderous.
Politico | Obama policies threaten America's energy boom
During our historically slow economic recovery, the energy industry has been a bright spot amid otherwise gloomy economic news. Domestic energy production is increasing, and jobs are beginning to spring up around new energy construction.
CRS | U.S. Implementation of Basel II.5, Basel III, and Harmonization with the Dodd-Frank Act
The Basel III Capital Accord, which was produced by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision at the Bank for International Settlements, is the latest in a series of evolving agreements among central banks and bank supervisory authorities from around the world to establish minimum capital requirements for financial institutions. Capital serves as a cushion against sudden financial shocks (such as an unusually high occurrence of loan defaults), which can otherwise lead to insolvency.

The American | Why Obama can be blamed for 50 percent of the weak recovery
The current U.S. economic recovery is arguably the weakest since the Great Depression. Even though the Great Recession ended in the summer of 2009, unemployment is still over 8 percent. In fact, the past three years have seen the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression.
Heritage Foundation | Winter Gas Prices Reach All-Time High
The cost of gasoline today is at its highest point ever during winter, an ominous sign of what might be on the horizon in the months to come.
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of February 26th
The key reports this week are the January Personal Income and Outlays report, and the ISM Manufacturing survey - both will be released on Thursday. Other key reports include the Case-Shiller house price index on Tuesday, vehicle sales on Thursday, and the second estimate of Q4 GDP on Wednesday.
National Review | Government Bonds Aren’t Always the Safest
Yesterday morning, Senator Jeff Sessions’s office circulated a chart showing that government debt per capita in the U.S. is greater than it is in Greece and other European welfare states such as Spain and Italy.
Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 960 Institutions
There have been 425 bank failures since the beginning of 2008, and so far, closings this year are running at about half the rate of 2010.
Marginal Revolution | The balance sheet recession and The Great Stagnation
Many people point out that we are in a balance sheet recession.  I agree with this view but wish to push it one step deeper. 

Health Care

Politico | Poll: Sharp split on health care repeal
Americans are deeply divided over whether a Republican president should repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law if elected this November, a new poll Monday shows, although the vast majority of those surveyed believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
NY Times | Many States Take a Wait-and-See Approach on New Insurance Exchanges
States are lagging in the creation of health insurance exchanges, the supermarkets where millions of consumers are supposed to buy subsidized private coverage under President Obama’s health care overhaul.
National Journal | Governors Talk Prevention
With state budgets straining and Medicaid budgets ever rising, a group of governers meeting on Sunday were eager to hear about prevention programs that work.

The American | Healthcare fact of the week: Why do Americans spend more on healthcare? Because they can
Americans have the highest health spending on the planet. Why? Because they can afford to do so. What few people realize is that the United States has increased its standard of living vis-à-vis its biggest competitors despite rising health expenditures
Hertitage Foundation | Obamacare: Pay No Attention to Mandate Behind Curtain of Spin
Last week, the Department of Justice filed a legal response to one of numerous lawsuits currently challenging the constitutionality of the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate. The Administration submitted its response to the legal complaint of Belmont Abbey College, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, to the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.
Café Hayek | The insanity of health insurance
It is insane that we get our health care from our employers. That happens because we have given a tax advantage to in-kind compensation such as health care. It’s a horrible idea and it leads people to complain about our employers deciding what health care we can receive.


CNBC | Republican House Bill Would Strip US Fed's Jobs Mandate
Representative Kevin Brady, vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said in a statement his "Sound Dollar Act" aims to "maintain the purchasing power of the dollar in order to foster long-term economic growth and stability." He plans to formally introduce it in early March.
CNN Money | Fed official warns of higher interest bill for Uncle Sam
The Federal Reserve takes a lot of heat from critics for keeping interest rates low. But there's an upside that most people overlook: Low interest rates save the government money.
Market Watch | Dollar gains as euro fades following G-20
The dollar rose Monday, pushing the euro down from a three-month high, after the Group of 20 nations refused to boost funding for the International Monetary Fund until the euro zone boosts the size of its own firewall.
CNN Money | Why the Federal Reserve can't fix housing
Housing is still one of the biggest drags on U.S. economic growth, but don't look to the Federal Reserve for help. The central bank may have few tools left to fix it.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Inflation Held in Check by Fear
Inflation remains low now because of game changing events that have reduced the demand for money.
Fortune | Why low interest rates are bad for community banks
The business model of America's community banks is relatively simple: Take deposits and generate loans. Unlike the JPMorgans (JPM) of the world, smaller mom and pop banks fill a lending void, providing loans in rural communities, small towns and inner-city neighborhoods.
WSJ | What's Right With Gas Prices
It is always pitiful to see a president of the United States in the grip of energy panic, uttering desperate nonsense about gasoline prices.
WSJ | For the Fed, There's No Easy Exit
The crash of Zero Mostel's quasi-Ponzi scheme in 1968's "The Producers" left his partner Gene Wilder muttering, "No way out. No way out." Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is in a somewhat similar position.

Daily Capitalist | The ‘High Oil Prices = Recession’ Fallacy
What causes price inflation is an expansion of money supply (and a desire of people to spend it, often quickly). What causes recessions is malinvestment of capital caused, again, by money supply expansion.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | Obama’s tax proposals would make the tax code more complicated, less fair
President Obama has a new budget and a new Treasury study that promise “tax reform.” He says that he wants to abolish “dozens of tax loopholes,” but he also proposes a boatload of new special-interest tax breaks. The president says that he wants everyone to “play by the same rules.” His tax plan does the opposite.
Financial Times | The US tax system needs rebuilding
Less discussed in the context of major deficit reduction is tax reform. For a variety of reasons, 2013 should be the year when the tax code is overhauled in a substantial way.
WSJ | Tangled Tax Code Primed for Pruning
President Barack Obama's business-tax-overhaul plan underscores the growing likelihood of a serious effort to revamp the nation's much-criticized tax system, no matter who wins the White House.

CATO | Patriotism, Loyalty, Tax Competition, and ‘Tax Fugitives’
I fight to preserve tax competition, fiscal sovereignty, and financial privacy for the simple reason that politicians are less likely to impose destructive tax policy if they know that labor and capital can escape to jurisdictions with more responsible fiscal climates.
The American | 3 ways Obama’s corporate tax reform framework falls short
On Wednesday, President Obama proposed a framework that lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent and offsets the revenue loss by curtailing various business tax credits and deductions. Although the proposal sounds like a step forward, closer examination reveals that it is unlikely to benefit the overall economy.


Bloomberg | Employment Forecast Raised by U.S. Business Economists in Fillip to Growth
Payrolls will rise 170,000 a month on average in 2012, up from a November projection of 127,000, according to the results of a survey by the National Association for Business Economics issued today in Washington.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Disabling employment
The Labor Department is about to make it harder for the disabled to find a job. The new policy is a painful reminder why it is important to get away fast when the government says it is trying to help you.
NBER | Labor Supply of Politicians
We examine the labor supply of politicians using data on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

National Review | Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work: Crony Green-Jobs Edition
A new Wall Street Journal investigative report shows that once again there are discrepancies between the number of jobs claimed to have been created by the stimulus money and the actual number of jobs created.
Neighborhood Effects | It Isn’t Easy to Count Stimulus Jobs
The 1603 program gave $10.7 billion to 5,098 businesses for 31,540 projects, according to the Treasury Department. Recipients were generally reimbursed 30% of their costs after projects were finished.
Greg Mankiw | Abbott and Costello explain unemployment
(COSTELLO): The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work? (ABBOTT): Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%.  You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?


CNN Money | Debt ceiling fight may come sooner than expected
The deal cut this summer to end the debt ceiling standoff provided for a $2.1 trillion increase in the country's legal borrowing limit, which now stands at $16.394 trillion.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
FOX Business | G20 to Europe: Show Us the Money
Leading economies told Europe it must put up extra money to fight its debt crisis if it wants more help from the rest of the world, piling pressure on Germany to drop its opposition to a bigger European bailout fund.
Real Clear Markets | Today's Reckless Spenders Enslave Future Generations
Bleak Future: A fresh report says the new federal debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion will likely be reached just after Election Day. Those driving it up will be relatively unaffected. They'll just deliver the bill to our children.
NY Times | Obama’s Deficit Dilemma
Today, Mr. Obama and Republicans are battling rather than making deals, positioning themselves for an election that will determine which side has the upper hand in December, when critical budget deadlines could force a compromise in a lame-duck Congress.

Daily Capitalist | Our Problem Is Not Insolvency: It’s Infinite Solvency
There is, indeed, a direct relationship between the popularity of economics and monetary policy among the under 30s and the overwhelming support of this group for the candidate whose very political career begun on the day the U.S. went to a pure federally monopolized fiat fraction reserve monetary system back in ’71 when Nixon closed the gold window.