Friday, March 30, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | U.S. growth expected to slow
U.S. economic growth at the end of last year was as strong as everyone thought, but most economists expect things to slow in the next couple of years.
USA Today | Feb. consumer spending up, income lags
U.S. consumers boosted their spending in February by the most in seven months. But Americans' income barely grew and the saving rate fell to its lowest point in more than two years.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | The Failed Stimulus Zombie: It's Baaaackkkk!
This year’s John Maynard Keynes award for the most valiant attempt to prove the patently untrue goes to J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers for their paper “Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy”, published in draft form on March 20, 2012.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Fed’s Plosser: Additional Stimulus Would Be Bad Idea
The current and likely future path of the economy means the Federal Reserve shouldn’t provide any fresh stimulus to the economy, and monetary policy may even have to be tightened earlier than many expect, a central bank official said Thursday.
The American | America’s missing $845 billion in income—updated
Yes, I know the amount of missing income, $845 billion, almost perfectly matches the cost of President Obama’s stimulus, $831 billion. Just a coincidence, though an amusing one. (Of course, the failure of the stimulus to stimulate a return to prosperity does link it to the weak income numbers.)
Daily Capitalist | No Change GDP Q4 2011: Are The Numbers Believable?
In their “final” revision of their estimate of the fourth quarter 2011 GDP, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) found that the annualized rate of U.S. domestic economic growth was 2.97%, down a mere 0.01 percent from their last estimate for the fourth quarter and still more than a percent higher than their “final” estimate of 1.81% for the third quarter of 2011.
WSJ | GDI: An Alternate Measure Showing Stronger U.S. Growth
The GDP gets all the attention (partly because it comes out earlier), but some economists argue that the GDI may be a more meaningful measure, particularly at turning points in the economy.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | ObamaCare Will Punish State Budgets
Two years after ObamaCare was signed into law the American people are more opposed to it than ever. It is now clear that the law will impose heavy burdens on state and family budgets and increasingly possible that its mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance or face penalties will be ruled unconstitutional.

Monetary

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Ben Bernanke: The Economy and Stock Market Myth
In a recent interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the walking, talking embodiment of systemic risk, proclaimed about the U.S. economy he's done so much to destabilize that "It's far too early to declare victory." Translated, Bernanke stands ready to flood the banks with even more dollars if and when he deems the economic outlook shaky.
Forbes | Gold, Money Creation, and the Monetization of Debt
Having noticed that although gold did fall to the top end of my expected value range using money metrics, I wondered why it did not fall at least to the middle range.
CNBC | Roubini: Euro Must Come Down to Dollar’s Level
The euro needs to sink to parity with the US dollar in order to restore Europe’s peripheral economies to growth, Nouriel Roubini, the economist known as “Dr. Doom” for his bearish predictions, told CNBC Friday.
Real Clear Markets | Monetary Malfunction Blunts the Recovery
The year 1865 was profound for the United States in so many ways that lost in the euphoria of the end of the Civil War was a dramatic movement that laid the foundation for our current monetarist system, and thus our current economic predicament.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Sticker shock at the pump
Americans today are paying an average $3.92 for a gallon of regular gas. The pain of watching the number at the pump tick ever higher doesn’t seem to be shared by President Obama or his allies on Capitol Hill.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Small Business Tax Cuts: How Small?
The two parties have found something to agree on: taxes on small business are too high and they are set to go much higher by the end of the year unless Congress acts. 

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Mild Winter's Minimal Effect on Recovery
America's warmest winter in 12 years has helped the U.S. job market, but most economists see weather as a relatively minor factor in explaining recent strides in employment.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
CNBC | Euro Zone Boosts Bailout Firewall to $1.06 Trillion
The euro zone raised the combined lending ceiling for their two bailout funds to 700 billion euros on Friday from 500 billion, euro zone finance ministers said in a statement.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Calling the Budget Roll
Who says bipartisanship is dead in Washington? House Republicans played the dastardly trick of putting President Obama's budget proposal to a floor vote on Wednesday, and the verdict was a unanimous defeat—414-0.
Washington Times | Consequences of budget gridlock
Let’s take a break from guessing who the Republican presidential nominee will be (it’ll be Mitt Romney) and consider something that is knowable and measurably consequential.
Motley Fool | A Decade of Debt and Default
The last few years seem like a lifetime in and of themselves. Unlike previous economic downturns, most of which spanned a year or two at most, we're still slogging through the mess left by a decade of excesses in the financial and housing sectors.
WSJ | Why I'm Optimistic About Cutting the Deficit
With Washington mired in partisan gridlock, presidential candidates promising tax cuts with no specific revenue offsets, and no agreement on reforms and reductions in entitlement spending, Americans are understandably worried about the nation's rising debt. Yet I'm still hopeful we'll address the nation's long-term fiscal problems.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The American | One budget to rule them all: Paul Ryan’s debt plan outcuts rival plans
Rep. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget would reduce debt as a share of GDP more than all the rest. And that actually understates the PTP’s superiority. Plug in faster growth numbers from Ryan’s tax reform plan, and debt/GDP would dip into the 50% range.
Economics One | A Little Dynamic Scoring of the House Budget
In a recently released report the Congressional Budget Office calculated how debt reduction with the House Budget Resolution (which just passed the House today), would affect GNP in the United States.