Tuesday, April 10, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | U.S. February Wholesale Inventories Rise 0.9%, Sales Climb 1.2%
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose more than forecast in February as companies tried to keep pace with stronger demand.
WSJ | Fed Backs Added Fund Rules
More regulatory action may be needed to safeguard the money-market mutual-fund industry, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a Monday speech, putting his weight behind other officials who want to toughen oversight of the $2.7 trillion industry.
Market Watch | NFIB small-business index drops after six gains
A small-business sentiment gauge dropped in March after six monthly gains in a row, on diminished optimism over employment, inventories and earnings. The National Federation of Independent Business small-business optimism index fell to 92.5 in March from 94.3 in February.
Bloomberg | Profit Growth Stalls as European Slump Hampers Recovery
U.S. corporate profit growth stalled in the U.S. last quarter as companies from McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) to 3M Co. (MMM) saw gains in the world’s largest economy eroded by a slump in Europe.
USA Today | U.S. to propose new mortgage lending rules
The federal government plans to propose new rules on Tuesday that will give homeowners more ways to avoid foreclosure and get an accurate accounting of their monthly mortgage payments.
FOX News | Natural gas company proposes North Dakota-Oklahoma oil pipeline
A natural gas company on Monday announced a proposal to get into the crude oil business by building its own 1,300-mile oil pipeline from North Dakota to the nation's biggest storage terminal in central Oklahoma.
CNN Money | Refinery closures risk Northeast gas price spike
While gas prices soar to record levels, many U.S. refineries that make and sell gasoline are going broke.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Wait a Second, We Are the 99.9999%
Months since Occupy Wall Street stopped preoccupying Main Street, income concentration at the top continues to feature prominently in the news and politics. The extent to which the incomes of the super-rich dwarf those of the rest of us in "the 99 percent" is difficult to convey.
City Journal | Growing Out of Poverty
According to a just-published World Bank report, the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 per day—or its local equivalent—has plummeted from 52 percent of the global population in 1981 to 22 percent in 2008. The World Bank doesn’t provide more recent data, but other indices show that the 2008 financial crisis did not interrupt this trend.
Washington Times | The greatest nation on Earth
How did it happen? Under President Obama, America is following the European socialist model of big government, big spending, big entitlements, big taxes, free health care and billions wasted chasing a mirage called “green energy.” The result is massive debt, insolvency and bankruptcy.
NBER | The Causal Effects of an Industrial Policy
Business support policies designed to raise productivity and employment are common worldwide, but rigorous micro-econometric evaluation of their causal effects is rare. We exploit multiple changes in the area-specific eligibility criteria for a major program to support manufacturing jobs (“Regional Selective Assistance”).
AEI | Is China slowing down?
China has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its maturity as a player in the global economy. Through stimulus measures to its own economy, China could push for a bigger global economic pie rather than increase its share of a shrinking pie and in the process influence global economic growth in 2012.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Atlantic | 4 Politically Controversial Issues Where All Economists Agree
Over the past few months there have been several issues where this ideologically diverse group of economists have shown resounding unanimity. Some of these may surprise people, as it's fairly obvious that public opinion would not side with economists with the same amount of unanimity. So here are a few things economists strongly agree on.
Café Hayek | The Great Distortion
This week’s EconTalk is with Richard Burkhauser on the state of the middle class over the last 40 years and the importance of assumptions.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | THE FISCAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted in 2010 will significantly worsen the federal government’s fiscal position relative to previous law. Over the years 2012–21,the ACA is expected to add at least $340 billion and as much as $530 billion to federal deficits while increasing federal spending by more than $1.15 trillion over the same period and by increasing amounts thereafter.
Politico | 'Obamacare': Fairness v. justice
As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the health care law, the Obama administration and its allies have sought to recast the debate as an argument about fairness and empathy.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Rousseff slams monetary policy in Obama meeting
Brazil’s president on Monday criticized what she called expansionary monetary policies during a White House meeting with President Barack Obama, saying that they ultimately lead to slower growth in developing countries.
Politico | Bernanke: Still trying to fix system
Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday that the Federal Reserve is working to address the regulatory failures that were exposed by the 2008 financial crisis. But he cautioned that as the financial system evolves, new risks will emerge.
Bloomberg | Bank of Japan Keeps Policy Unchanged as Pressure Builds
The Bank of Japan (8301) refrained from expanding monetary easing to counter deflation, resisting pressure from lawmakers who five days ago rejected a nominee for the policy board.
Market Watch | Bernanke calls for better shadow bank regulation
The chairman of the Federal Reserve called Monday night for better regulation of the so-called shadow banking industry, which he says poses risks to the financial system as a whole.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Good Money: Why Rep. Kevin Brady's Sound Dollar Act Worries Barney Frank
Why is Rep. Barney Frank rounding up his liberal legislative militia to oppose the Sound Dollar Act of 2012? Believe it or not, Frank’s beliefs do not always coincide with common sense reality.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Free Banking | Penny Lame
Penny (read: zinc) lobbyists have been busy making the case that messing around with the penny, especially by doing away with it but even by altering its metal (read: zinc) content, will hurt American consumers.
Daily Capitalist | Liquidity Traps, Unemployment, and the Future of U.S. Equity Markets
Mr. Bernanke took pains to affirm the newly-won independence of the Bank of Japan and its discretion in grappling with a long running period of deflation (and depressed output)

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
NY Times | Obama to Make Case for ‘Buffett Rule’
Previewing the message that President Obama will take to Florida on Tuesday, his economic team released a brief report making the case for his “Buffett Rule,” a proposal that would ensure the wealthiest Americans pay at least 30 percent of their income in federal taxes.
Politico | David Axelrod: Tax system 'rigged'
The tax system is “rigged” against the average American, David Axelrod said Tuesday as President Barack Obama was set to push for passage of the so-called Buffett rule to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Taming Taxmageddon
Many Americans are breathing a sigh of relief as they finally manage to file their income tax returns. No need to worry about taxes again for another year, right? Not so fast. Higher taxes are coming.
WSJ | Obama's Revenue Soup
Mr. Obama's plan would raise the capital-gains rate on January 1 to 20% on those who earn more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples), plus a 3.8% investment surtax to finance ObamaCare. That 23.8% rate amounts to a nearly 60% increase from the 15% rate in effect since 2003.
Washington Times | American income tax tyranny
Americans, now 236 years removed from the Decla- ration of Independence, have acquiesced to far more tax tyranny - and I do not use that word lightly - than the British tax tyranny that ignited our revolt.
WSJ | Tax Policy is About Competition, Not Fairness
'The economy is like a regular .300 hitter who only batted .250 and then slumped to .230." So said Walter Heller, chairman of President John F. Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisers, about the U.S. economy in 1961, when growth was anemic and unemployment had hit 7%. He could have said the same after last Friday's disappointing jobs report.
AEI | Why Congress Won't Simplify the Tax Code
Americans deeply disagree about how much revenue the government should raise, how much of the tax burden should fall on the rich, and the size of the tax incentives, if any, that should be provided for saving and education.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Monday Map: Top State Corporate Income Tax Rates
Today's Monday Map shows top state corporate income tax rates, as of January 1st, 2012.
The American | What would Obama’s Buffett Rule tax really accomplish?
Now I would say that an economy a) capable of growing at least as fast as its historical average and b) not facing a deluge of debt is what’s really “key to ensuring the economic security” – and prosperity! — of the middle class. Not sure that the Buffett Rule really does much in this regard.

Employment

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | US March Employment Trends Index Dips -Conference Board
U.S. companies modestly scaled back on their hiring efforts in March, the Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index reported Monday, figures that dovetailed with recent figures suggesting the upward trend in jobs creation may not be sustainable.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Roll Call | Senate Budget Committee to Move Forward With Markup
The Senate Budget Committee is prepared to mark up a budget next week, potentially as early as April 17, according to sources close to the panel.