Tuesday, April 3, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Home Prices Seen Dropping 10% in U.S. on Foreclosures: Mortgages
As many as 1.25 million of America’s least cared for homes are headed for auction after a year-long probe into foreclosure practices kept them off the market.
Market Watch | U.S. manufacturers pick up pace in March
American manufacturers expanded at a somewhat faster pace in March and most industries experienced growth, according to a closely followed survey.
WSJ | American Manufacturers Pick Up the Pace
Demand from U.S. consumers is keeping American factories humming—and also is helping offset softer demand affecting factories in other parts of the world.
NY Times | Longevity Up in U.S., but Education Creates Disparity, Study Says
Americans are living longer, but the gains in life span are accruing disproportionately among the better educated, according to a new report by researchers from the University of Wisconsin.
CNN Money | The new American household: 3 generations, 1 roof
As the economy continues to take a toll on consumers' finances, a growing number of people are discovering that becoming roommates with mom and dad, or a 20- or 30-something son or daughter, helps to ease some of the financial pain in tough times.
Bloomberg | U.S. Economy Enters Sweet Spot as China Slows
The U.S. once again may be emerging as a main engine for global growth -- and at an opportune time, as Europe slides into recession and China’s economy decelerates.
National Journal | EPA Delays Clean-Air Rules for Fracking
The Obama administration has delayed by two weeks the first-ever federal air standards for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting shale natural gas that’s seen as essential to developing vast reserves recently discovered throughout the country.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | It's Better to Rent Than to Foreclose
Imagine that you (like six other homeowners on your block) are hopelessly behind on your mortgage payments. You can't sell the house; the market is glutted. Anyway, there's no point in trying because the mortgage balance exceeds the value of the dwelling.
Politico | Obama’s stimulus delayed recovery
But “financial crises” aren’t a valid explanation for the slow recovery. Unemployment actually recovered faster in countries hit by a “financial crisis” than in those that were in a recession for other reasons.
AEI | Living wages: still shackled in global supply chains
The debate over the abysmally low wages paid to workers in emerging economies illustrates the difficulty. There are two conflicting narratives, both tied to China.
NBER | Liquidity Constraints and Consumer Bankruptcy: Evidence from Tax Rebates
This paper estimates the extent to which legal fees prevent liquidity-constrained households from declaring bankruptcy. To do so, it studies how the 2001 and 2008 tax rebates affected consumer bankruptcy filings.
WSJ | The Worst Economic Recovery in History
How many times have we heard that this was the worst recession since the Great Depression? That may be true—although the double-dip recession of the early 1980s was about comparable. Less publicized is that our current recovery pales in comparison with most other recoveries, including the one following the Great Depression.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Economist | Room to grow
Americans owe European Central Bank head Mario Draghi a thank you for his efforts to prevent a euro-zone recession from translating into global economic trouble. America can survive a trade slowdown with Europe without too much trouble; financial contagion would be a different story.
WSJ | World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country
The U.S. was a strong spot among global manufacturers last month amid weakness in the euro zone and a mixed picture in China.
Political Calculations | Finalized: GDP Forecast for 2012Q1
Our accompanying chart shows what pure momentum mixed with some statistical analysis would project

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Obama Says Health Care Law Will Be Upheld Because It's Constitutional
President Obama made it clear on Monday that he is not buying the Washington insider view that the Supreme Court is poised to invalidate the health care law that is his signature achievement. In his first extended comments since three days of remarkable arguments before the Court last week, the president said he remains “confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the law.”
National Journal | Express Scripts Merges With Medco After FTC Approval
Express Scripts has completed its $29.1 billion takeover of Medco Health Solutions after getting approval from the Federal Trade Commission, but pharmacy groups that oppose the merger promised to continue fighting it.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Side Effects: Obamacare Adds $17 Trillion to Long-Term Unfunded Government Spending
Last week, the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff released a report revealing that, over the next 75 years, Obamacare will add an additional $17 trillion in unfunded obligations—i.e., the benefits promised by the federal government that haven’t yet been paid for.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Japan’s Monetary Base Slides for First Time Since 2008: Economy
Japan’s liquidity supply dropped in March for the first time in more than three years, fueling politicians’ complaints that the central bank should be doing more to end deflation.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Your tax bill: 107 days of work to pay off
Americans will spend an average of 29% of their income on federal, state and local taxes in 2012, the Tax Foundation announced Monday. That's more than the average family spends on food, clothing and housing combined, the organization said.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Biden: Tax the world
“We want to create what’s called a global minimum tax,” said Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a fundraiser in Iowa Wednesday. “American taxpayers shouldn’t be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home.”
CNN Money | Carlyle's David Rubenstein: U.S. tax system a 'disgrace'
"The tax system is a disgrace," said Rubenstein, speaking at the Council of Institutional Investors spring conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday. "When you have inequity in the system as we do now, it's not good for the country as a whole."
Washington Times | The farm bill taxpayers want
From 1995 to 2010, taxpayers provided nearly a quarter-trillion dollars in subsidies to farm businesses. Only one-third of America’s farmers grow crops that are even eligible for these subsidies, and the top 10 percent of these operations collected 74 percent of available funds.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Monday Map: Tax Freedom Day by State
Today we released this year's annual Tax Freedom Day report - a calendar based look at the cost of government. 2012's National Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 17th, but we also calculate a separate Tax Freedom Day for each state.

Employment

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Calculated Risk | Over There: Unemployment rate at new high in Euro Zone
Unemployment in the euro zone reached its highest level in almost 15 years in February, with more than 17 million people out of work, according to figures released Monday.
The American | More evidence for the ‘skills mismatch’ explanation of high unemployment
To what degree is a disconnect between a) the skills employers need and b) the skills employees have contributing to the longest stretch of high unemployment since the Great Depression.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Spain Faces Risks in Budget Refit
Spain's high-risk budget overhaul, necessary to get its finances under control, could damage its economy and its standing in financial markets, Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Sovereign debt and default - a history
The ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe continues to weigh heavily on credit markets and political systems throughout the developed world.
Heritage Foundation | The History of the Bloated U.N. Budget: How the U.S. Can Rein It In
Analysis of the history of the United Nations regular budget unequivocally confirms that the growth in the U.N. budget over the past decade has been truly extraordinary, outstripping the previous period of rapid growth in the U.N. regular budget during the mid-1970s and early 1980s.