Wednesday, March 21, 2012

General Economics

CNN Money | Rising gas prices aren't as bad as you think
In 1981, when oil prices spiked following the Iranian Revolution, gasoline represented nearly 5% of the nation's spending, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2011, only 3.7% of spending went to gas, even though prices averaged at their highest level ever that year.
WSJ | Banks Seek Delay on 'Volcker Rule'
Senators from both parties are working to give regulators more time to write the rule, potentially easing banks' concerns that their activities will run afoul of the law as a July deadline passes.
Bloomberg | Osborne Says U.K. to Avoid Recession as He Keeps Austerity Push
Forecasts from the nonpartisan Office for Budget Responsibility show the economy expanding 0.8 percent this year, up from a November estimate of 0.7 percent, Osborne told Parliament in London today. Gross domestic product shrank 0.2 percent in the last three months of 2011.
CNN Money | The fake housing recovery
When is a homebuilder not a homebuilder? When it's in an index of homebuilder stocks, of course!

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | Sizing Up Repo
We measure the repo funding extended by money market funds (MMF) and securities lenders to the shadow banking system, including quantities, haircuts, and repo rates by type of underlying collateral.
CNN Money | Speculators are driving up gas prices - Opinion
Gas prices have skyrocketed more than 40% in the last few months and are almost $5 a gallon in many places. Americans once again want to know why costs are climbing so high and so quickly. The answer? Not the Persian Gulf, but Wall Street.
Market Watch | Regulator: Volcker rule may not be OK'd by July
"The goal is going to be to try to move this as quickly as we can," Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., told reporters after speaking at an American Bankers Association event.
Real Clear Markets | Truth In Government Lending Is Long Overdue
The federal government has taken over large swaths of consumer lending, most notably the $10 trillion home mortgage and $1 trillion student lending markets. The government's share of new loans for each now approaches 100%.
Washington Times | Obama’s bogus rules
The White House is pushing the idea that President Obama is a business-friendly regulation cutter. That’s about as likely as the works of Ayn Rand showing up in the first lady’s book-club reading list.
Forbes | Christina Romer Fluffs Her Supply-Side Economics
President Obama’s main economic advisor from early on in his term, Christina Romer, is trying to discredit supply-side economics.

Heritage Foundation | Stimulus Dollars Disproportionately Went to States Represented by Dems
According to a new report on President Obama’s stimulus package and its effect on the economy, the amount of stimulus money that went to each state was correlated with the number of Democrats in each state’s congressional delegation.
Heritage Foundation | Flat-Earth Thinking on Gas Prices?
President Obama blasted oil-drilling advocates last week, equating their solution for high gas prices to people who didn’t believe the Earth is round.

Health Care

Daily Finance | Long-Term Care-Less: An Insurance Nightmare As Premiums Nearly Double
It's the right thing to do: I still recommend that you purchase long-term care insurance to avoid the dreaded outcome of being older, alone, and in need of everyday care that is not covered by Medicare or supplements.
National Journal | Ryan Goes With Wyden Medicare Plan
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wants to overhaul Medicare for the second year in a row, making it a central piece of his 2013 budget but going with a kinder, gentler version of his Medicare plan from last year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | ObamaCare's Costs Are Soaring
One year after the passage of ObamaCare, this paper published an op-ed I wrote ("ObamaCare and Carey's Heart") about how America's health-care system saved my daughter's life, and describing how implementing this law will limit innovation, lead to rationing, and lower the quality of care. Now, two years out, I would like to focus on the budgetary disaster.
CATO | Obamacare, Two Years Later
This week marks two years since of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and if the Obama administration has chosen to all but ignore the second anniversary of Obamacare, the rest of us should pause and reflect on just what a monumental failure of policy the health-care-reform law has been.

The American | No, Paul Ryan’s new budget does not end Medicare
The plan lowers Medicare spending by $210 billion over the next decade—a modest reduction for a $6.6 trillion program


Bloomberg | Bernanke Says Europe Must Aid Banks Even as Strains Ease
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Europe must further strengthen its banks and that its financial and economic situation “remains difficult” even as stresses have lessened, according to testimony prepared for delivery to U.S. lawmakers today.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Slow-cooking inflation as a global problem
The U.S. gross domestic product deflator rose to 2.2% in 2011 from 1.2% in 2010, and China’s rose to 8.3% from 7.4%.
Market Watch | Kocherlakota: Fed's done what it can on employment
Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said Tuesday that the Federal Reserve is doing about as well as it can in promoting employment, despite the unemployment rate running at 8.3%.

Economist | What's inflation telling us about the output gap?
My colleague makes many excellent points in this morning's post on potential output. We are, for the most part, singing from the same hymnal. For the most part, but not entirely.
Daily Capitalist | A Booming Money Supply Is Sowing The Seeds Of The Next Great(er) Recession
The next Great Recession is in the making. The money supply trends say so. And it is looking more and more like this next Greater Recession is going to be one for the ages


Market Watch | Osborne cuts U.K. corporate tax, top personal rate
British Treasury chief George Osborne on Wednesday confirmed the government will accelerate a cut in the corporate tax rate in April, while dropping the top, marginal personal tax rate of 50% to 45% in April 2013.

Tax Foundation | Maryland Looking to Raise Income Tax on Middle-Earners
Not too long ago, I was on a panel with Nick Johnson of the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where we were talking about what states were doing to deal with the recession.


USA Today | Some go extra mile to hire growing pool of jobless veterans
Thomas Garlic and Steve Castillo found that their time in combat in Iraq and their service in the Army added up to little or nothing when they became civilians looking for work.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | Real labor reform would empower workers
Richard Kahlenberg and Moshez Marvit’s new book, “Why Labor Organizing Should be a Civil Right,” has ignited a debate on the important issue of labor reform.


FOX News | Obama debt hole deeper than George W. Bush's in less than half the time
President Obama once asked a campaign crowd in 2008 what to do when you're trying to get out of a hole. Uniformly, the crowd responded: stop digging
National Journal | Main Differences in Ryan's 2013 Budget Versus the 2012 Plan
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., doesn’t just put together a one-year budget; he drafts a manifesto on the size and role of government, shaping it over a decade. Yet while many of his fiscal year 2013 budget’s central tenets go hand in hand with the main elements of his 2012 budget, a few changes stand out

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | If conservatives ran Washington
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan returned to the stage on Tuesday to call for more entitlement reform, spending restraint and lower tax rates.
CBO | The Long-Term Budgetary Impact of Paths for Federal Revenues and Spending Specified by Chairman Ryan
At the request of the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has calculated the long-term budgetary impact of paths for federal revenues and spending specified by the Chairman and his staff.
AEI | Ryan's budget kicks the can at timorous Democrats
As I listened to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan describe his latest budget plan in a speech at American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, I couldn't help thinking how different things will be in Britain today when Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne steps out of Number 11 Downing Street with a battered red briefcase holding his budget for the forthcoming year.

CATO | Paul Ryan’s Budget: It’s Still Big Government
Chris Edwards provided an ample overview of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal, so I won’t rehash the numbers. Instead, I’ll just add a few comments.
Economist | Don't panic
Have you heard? Over the past couple of weeks there's been a major sell-off of government debt. Just look at what's happened to the 10-year Treasury
Keith Hennessey | How will President Obama respond this year to Chairman Ryan’s lower deficits and debt?
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s newly released budget poses an identical strategic challenge to the President as last year.  I recommend you watch the President carefully this week to see whether and how he responds.
Marginal Revolution | More on the time-dependence of fiscal policy
This paper documents the systematic response of postwar U.S. fiscal policy to fiscal imbalances and the business cycle using a multivariate Fiscal Taylor Rule.
CATO | Paul Ryan’s Spending Plan
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has introduced his annual budget blueprint. The plan will likely pass the House but won’t become law this year.
The American | CBO report shows how new Ryan budget plan puts U.S. on path to solvency
The Congressional Budget Office is out with its take on Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) 2013 budget plan, an updated version of his Path to Prosperity