Thursday, March 15, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | International Demand for U.S. Assets Rises
International demand for U.S. financial assets rose more than forecast in January as investors sought a haven from the debt crisis in Europe.
Washington Post | Boosting the economy through natural gas exports
In an otherwise gloomy economic time for the United States, the boom in natural-gas production has been a dazzling bright spot.
WSJ | Sales Gains Lift Hopes for Recovery
Americans have increased their spending this year and businesses stocked up to meet demand, reinforcing hopes for the economy in the first quarter.
CNBC | US Economy to Gain Traction: Economists Poll
The U.S. economy will gain traction this year after a sluggish first quarter, a Reuters poll found, even as the potential threat from higher oil prices pushes analysts to raise their inflation expectations.
Bloomberg | New York Area Factories Grew in March by Most Since June 2010
Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in March at the fastest pace since June 2010, indicating factories are still driving the expansion.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Expanding Ex-Im's Mandate Is A Big Mistake
Throughout its history, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has limited its activities mostly to financing and guaranteeing U.S. export transactions. But in anticipation of Ex-Im's charter expiry on May 31, 2012, the Obama administration has called for a massive and unprecedented new role for the Ex-Im Bank: to finance U.S. corporations' domestic sales, as well.
CNN Money | Volcker: Economy needs bold action, including tax hikes
Former Fed Chief Paul Volcker urged U.S. political leaders to join forces for bold action to reduce deficits and secure the nation's future.
Politico | High gas prices threaten recovery
Global oil markets are hanging on by the slimmest margin, leaving every American motorist — and our economic recovery — vulnerable to hostile governments, terrorist strikes on infrastructure, extreme weather or other shocks.
Real Clear Markets | Obama Makes Housing An Entitlement, Not An Opportunity
President Obama forcefully argued for "no bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts" in his State of the Union Speech in January, but it's hard to take those words seriously after examining his housing and homeownership policies over the last three years.
WSJ | Rearview Stress Tests
So the Federal Reserve and Treasury have stress-tested America's 19 biggest banks and deemed that only the relatively small Ally Financial is short of capital. Hallelujah, brother.
CATO | How Entrepreneurs Created the Great Boom That Made Modern Japan
In less than two generations, during the late 19th century, Japan transformed itself from a medieval backwater to a dynamic modern economy.

National Journal | Are Renewable Energy Sources the Solution to High Gas Prices?
In his weekly address President Obama used the recent spike in gas prices to explain that we need to invest in more renewable energy
The American | On rare earths, America must also let the market work
Yesterday morning, President Obama announced that the United States, in concert with Japan and the European Union, would bring a trade case against China regarding its export restrictions on rare earth minerals.
National Review | The Real Cost of TARP
When assessing the impact of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, commentators often note that the program didn’t end up costing much to taxpayers.

Health Care

National Journal | The Doctor Is Out: Young Talent Is Turning Away From Primary Care
In two years, the Affordable Care Act will cover some 30 million out of the 50 million of us who currently lack health insurance, provided neither the Supreme Court nor a new president overturns the law.
National Journal | Americans Remain Split on Health Reform Law--Pew
Americans remain split on the health care reform law, but a majority don’t like the government requirement to buy insurance, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center published on Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CBO | Updated Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act
In preparing the March 2012 baseline budget projections, CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have updated estimates of the budgetary effects of the health insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Heritage Foundation | Side Effects: Doctors Fear Obamacare
No one has a better grasp on the state of the health care system than physicians, and according to the Doctors Company survey, 60 percent of them believe that Obamacare will have a negative impact on overall patient care.
Heritage Foundation | Obamacare: Higher Taxes, More Uninsured, Says CBO
On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) updated its score of Obamacare, announcing that the program is $48 billion cheaper than in its previous 2011 score.


Bloomberg | Wholesale Prices in U.S. Increase by Most in Five Months
Wholesale prices in the U.S. climbed in February by the most in five months, reflecting a jump in fuel costs that Federal Reserve officials project will be temporary.
WSJ | Fed's Outlook a Tad Sunnier
Federal Reserve officials offered a guarded though moderately upbeat assessment of the economy Tuesday, and held off on taking any new actions designed to bolster the recovery.


Politico | GOP frosh to back millionaires’ tax
Freshman Republican Rep. Rick Crawford will propose a surtax on millionaires Thursday morning, a crack in the steadfast GOP opposition to extracting more money from the nation’s top earners.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | How is Tax Policy Conducted over the Business Cycle?
It is well known by now that government spending has typically been procyclical in emerging economies but acyclical or countercyclical in industrial countries.
AEI | Benefits of a progressive consumption tax
If current tax and budget policies are maintained, spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs and, to a lesser extent, Social Security will grow much more rapidly than federal revenue during the upcoming decades.


CNN Money | Jobless rate for veterans plunges
More veterans are coming back from war and getting back to work in the civilian job force, thanks to efforts by both employers and the government, as well as the improving economy.
Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims match four-year low
The number of people who filed applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 last week and matched a four-year low, the Labor Department said Thursday.


Bloomberg | House Republicans Said to Seek Additional U.S. Spending Cuts
House Republicans are pushing for a new round of budget cuts this year, congressional aides said, raising the possibility of a government shutdown shortly before the November election.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | Government shutdown threat returns
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is worried House Republicans might try to save a little money with the budget they’re set to release next week. The Nevada Democrat got wind the plan will authorize less than the absolute maximum amount allowed under the debt-ceiling deal signed into law last summer.
WSJ | Default and the Nature of Government
Twenty-first century economists, financial actors and regulators blithely talked of the "risk-free debt" of governments, and European bank regulators set a zero-capital requirement on the debt of their governments. The manifold proof of their error is that banks and other investors are now taking huge credit losses on their Greek government bonds.
Heritage Foundation | Federal Budget: What Congress Must Do to Control Spending and Create Jobs
As the national debt races toward $17 trillion and nearly 13 million Americans search fruitlessly for work, America needs bold changes from its leaders.

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: A Budget to Save the American Dream
America’s fiscal condition is dauntingly dismal. The national debt is well on its way to $17 trillion, 13 million Americans are out of work, and the country is stuck in the slowest recovery in the post-war era.