Friday, March 23, 2012

General Economics

FOX News | Bank of American begins pilot program offering those facing foreclosure a chance rent
Bank of America says it has begun a pilot program offering some of its mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure a chance to stay in their homes by becoming renters instead of owners.
CNN Money | The oil industry's plan to lower gas prices
The oil industry recently laid out a set of proposals it believes will instantly lower gasoline prices.
USA Today | Mortgage rates top 4% for the first time in three months
The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has topped 4% for the first time since late October but the increase isn't expected to derail budding signs of strengthening in the U.S. housing market.
Politico | Keystone XL pipeline: President Obama vows to cut through red tape
During a stop Thursday in Oklahoma, Obama announced the administration would “cut through the red tape” for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline — disappointing environmentalists who had counted it a victory when the president denied a permit for the project’s full, Canada-to-Texas version.
WSJ | Companies Hoard Cash, Damping Growth
Banks are struggling to rebuild capital and repair the damage wrought by poor lending and investment decisions they made before the financial crisis, and are wary about new lending.
Bloomberg | Bernanke Sees Need for Higher Household Spending to Fuel Growth
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. economy is operating below its level prior to the financial crisis, and that increased household spending is needed to sustain the expansion.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Deep Recessions in U.S. May Be the Norm, Say NBER Economists
Deeper recessions and more gradual recoveries will be the norm rather than the exception as the U.S. workforce grows at a slower pace, according to economists on the panel that determines when slumps begin and end.
CATO | Austerity Or Stimulus? What We Need Is Growth
Greece is collapsing, Italy and Spain’s output is declining, and even Germany and the U.K. are slowing down. In addition to their direct economic costs, these “austerity” measures aren’t even swiftly closing budget gaps.

Economist | The challenge of getting Americans to save more
The issue is not Social Security per se; its finances can be put on track (not quite as painlessly as Mr Crook suggests, but it's manageable) and the sooner that happens the better. The problem is confusion about who’ll get what.
Neighborhood Effects | Economic Freedom and Well-Being Across U.S. States
There is ample evidence that well-being, measured in various ways, is positively related to economic freedom across countries. Does this relationship hold at the sub-national level?

Health Care

National Journal | 49 States Are Implementing Health Care Reform
Twenty-six states may be expressing their opposition to parts of the 2010 health care reform law at the Supreme Court next week, but a new report suggests that, back home, most are also taking some steps to implement it.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Liberty and ObamaCare
Few legal cases in the modern era are as consequential, or as defining, as the challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court hears beginning Monday.

Heritage Foundation | Obamacare’s Dreadful Anniversary
Two years ago today, President Barack Obama signed into law Obamacare, a 2,700-page bill that will radically alter America’s health care system and wreak havoc on medical costs, quality of care, and fundamental rights in ways that are beyond the scope of our imagination.


WSJ | Fed Hosts Global Gathering on Easy Money
On Friday, they will gather here to gauge the impact of their easy-money policies—including whether the controversial bond-buying strategy known as "quantitative easing" is a good weapon to keep in their monetary arsenals.
Bloomberg | Fed’s Bullard Sees Price Threat From G-7 Delaying Tighter Policy
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the U.S. and world economies risk elevated inflation that persists for years should developed nations mistime their exits from easy monetary policies.
Politico | Bernanke: Don't blame the Fed for housing crisis
The Fed chairman defended himself against accusations that policies by the central bank inflated home prices, leading to a bubble that triggered a financial collapse in 2008 whose aftershocks continue to this day.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Instability of Monetary Conformity
Even after the Greek debt-swap deal that apparently solved the entire European crisis, Greek 10-year bonds are still trading woefully. The spread above German bunds is still over 1,600 basis points, 86% higher than just one year ago.
AEI | Time for Greece to leave the euro
After five years of wrenching economic recession, one has to wonder what it will take for Greece to cut itself loose from the failed IMF and EU policies that have reduced the country to its present terrible economic pass.

Library of Economics | Notes on the Phillips Curve
Since 2008, we have had very high unemployment, and the reduction in inflation has been miniscule. I see this as the worst performance for the Phillips Curve since the 1970s.
CATO | On New Fed Nominations: Are There No Keynesians in Flyover Country?
In late January President Obama submitted to the Senate the appointments of Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 
Reason Foundation | Goldman Sachs Scams Federal Reserve Operation Twist
Last October we penned a post pointing to the failed policy of the Federal Reserve through Operation Twist. We noted that since the first day of long bond purchases under Bernanke, interest rates have done nothing but rise, despite the intention of the operation to have them fall.


USA Today | Many find it hard to plan ahead as tax uncertainty looms
During tax season, it's not unusual for individuals and business owners to talk with accountants, enrolled agents and financial planners about long-term strategies to lower their taxes.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Avoiding taxmageddon
Americans have less than a month to sort through the complicated tax code to file on time. The annual scramble to find receipts for deductions and forms for credits is a monumental waste of time and money. This pain will soon deepen
CRS | The Challenge of Individual Income Tax Reform: An Economic Analysis of Tax Base Broadening
Congressional interest in a major reform of the individual income tax that would broaden the base and use the additional tax revenues to lower rates and/or reduce the deficit has increased.
CATO | Buffett Seeks Dividend Tax Hikes--Whose Money Is It?
Ever since Warren Buffett observed that his tax rate is unfairly low, President Obama keeps finding ways to get mileage out of his friend's lament. One of the president's recent proposals is to dramatically increase the tax rate on corporate dividends for upper-income shareholders.

Tax Foundation | Misadventures in Progressive Taxation: UK Edition
The U.K. is now reversing course after raising taxes on high-income earners failed to bring in the projected revenue
The American | The 83% Solution: Why liberals think tax rates should double—and why they are wrong
President Obama has never proposed a long term debt-reduction plan. And the reason why is no mystery. If he did, the jig would be up.
Political Calculations | The Failure of Pigou's Taxes
Called a "Pigovian Tax", a classic example of this kind of tax in action would be the special excise taxes that many states impose upon tobacco products, where the excess social costs might be the increased spending for health care to deal with smoking-related ailments.


WSJ | T-Mobile Cuts Jobs, Closes Call Centers
T-Mobile USA, reeling from an exodus of customers and the failure of its planned sale to AT&T Inc. last year, will cut 5% of its work force and close seven call centers as part of a broader restructuring that will stretch for the next three months.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | Recruiting Intensity during and after the Great Recession: National and Industry Evidence
We measure job-filling rates and recruiting intensity per vacancy at the national and industry levels from January 2001 to September 2011 using data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
Washington Times | Job creators brace for Obamacare impact
his week, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a report, “Impact of President Obama’s Health Care Law on Jobs,” detailing the negative impact that President Obama’s health care law has already had and will continue to have on job creation.


National Journal | Both Ryan and Obama's 2013 Budgets Ring Hollow
The White House and President Obama's reelection team came out with guns blazing on Thursday against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CBO | The Federal Budget Outlook and Aid to States
Associate Director for Economic Analysis Jeffrey R. Kling’s presentation to the National Lieutenant Governors Association

Keith Hennessey | Comparing the Ryan and Obama deficits to Bowles-Simpson
Yesterday I showed you the long term deficit and debt paths for both Chairman Ryan’s and President Obama’s budgets. Today will be easy. I’m just going to add the Bowles-Simpson long-term deficits in the mix.
The American | Using realistic growth forecast, new Ryan budget could balance by 2019
Rep. Paul Ryan has just put out a revised analysis of his new House budget, but this one reflects how his pro-growth tax reform ideas would boost economic growth, which in turn would cut debt even faster.
WSJ | March, April to Determine How Soon U.S. Hits Debt Ceiling
The U.S. government is projected to hit the $16.394 trillion debt ceiling sometime later this year, but how quickly we get there depends in large part on how things shape up in March and April.