Thursday, April 12, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | World Bank Cuts China 2012 Growth Outlook on Exports
China’s economic growth may slide to a 13-year low in 2012 as a sluggish world recovery damps export demand and domestic investment and consumption growth decelerate, the World Bank’s latest forecast shows.
Market Watch | ‘Modest to moderate’ economic growth: Beige Book
The U.S. economy continued to grow at a "modest to moderate pace” over the last month, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in the latest publication of anecdotes.
Bloomberg | ’Fortune 500’ of 1812 Shows U.S. Banks’ Early Influence
Fortune magazine began publishing annual rankings of U.S. corporations by revenue in 1955. Ever since, scholars and forecasters have analyzed changes in the Fortune 500 to help inform their judgments about industry concentration and the relative importance of different sectors of the economy.
Bloomberg | Trade Gap in U.S. Narrows More Than Forecast as Imports Drop
The trade deficit in the U.S. narrowed more than forecast in February as imports fell by the most in three years, reflecting the smallest amount of crude oil purchases in 15 years and a drop-off in demand for Chinese goods.
CNN Money | Watchdog blasts housing program for 'hardest hit'
A federal-state program aimed at helping homeowners in states hardest hit by the mortgage crisis is falling far short of its goals, a federal watchdog said in a report released Thursday.
Bloomberg | Big Banks Needed 485.6 Billion Euros to Meet Basel Capital Rules
The largest global banks would have needed an extra 485.6 billion euros ($638.5 billion) in their core reserves to meet the Basel capital rules had the standards been enforced last June.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | US economic and energy future will be bright if feds don’t turn out the lights
The economy of America’s Rust Belt is showing signs of recovery. Over 37,300 jobs have been added to Ohio’s economy this year. That’s in addition to the 62,500 jobs the Buckeye State gained during 2011 — the fifth-largest increase in the nation.
Washington Times | Bernanke’s fairy tale recession story for kids
It’s an oldie but a goodie for our Federal Reserve chairman. In one of his recent lectures at George Washington University (GWU), Ben S. Bernanke made the self-congratulatory assertion that the “forceful policy response” led by the Federal Reserve in 2008 helped avoid a more serious economic downturn.
NY Post | Leading for the Future: Obama isn’t — this plan does
Excerpts from Rep. Paul Ryan’s remarks Tuesday at the George W. Bush Institute’s conference at the New-York Historical Society.
The American | Want to End Poverty? Legalize Freedom
The American’s editor-in-chief Nick Schulz recently sat down with Robert D. Cooter, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the leading lights in the academic field of law and economics. Professor Cooter is the co-author of an important new book, Solomon’s Knot: How Law Can End the Poverty of Nations, an excerpt of which follows the interview below.
Fortune | America's energy job machine is heating up
Deep-sea drilling and fracking are helping to unearth abundant supplies of oil and gas. The coming energy renaissance could be just the elixir the U.S. economy needs.

Heritage Foundation | Obama’s Ten Worst Energy Policies
In his time in office, President Obama has made some seriously bad proposals and decisions on energy policy, and Americans are paying the price, whether it’s in higher energy costs, wasted tax dollars, or in jobs that have been left on the table. For those who aren’t keeping track, we’ve compiled a list of the President’s ten worst energy policies:
The American | 10 reasons the U.S. economy may be getting ready to tank
While President Obama has been spending his time arguing for higher taxes on wealthier Americans — which would create no jobs, no economic growth, and little debt reduction but achieve a higher level of tax code”fairness” —  this has been what’s happening in the U.S. economy
Library of Economics | The Liquidity Crisis Story
A market-based credit system, however, relies on market liquidity and hence ultimately on dealer of last resort to ensure the continued flow of credit. Just as the Fed adapted, in its first fifty years, to the rise of a market-based system of government credit, the Fed's present task is to adapt to the rise of a market-based system of private credit.
The American | Obama’s inequality argument just utterly collapsed
President Barack Obama has a theory of the case, yes he does. For the past 30 years, the living standards of middle-class Americans have gone nowhere even as the overall U.S. economy has grown markedly. The Obama explanation: Wealthier Americans grabbed all the money. Time to raise their taxes for the sake of “fairness.”
National Review | More Great Stuff by Scott Winship on Income Inequality
Scott Winship of the Brookings Institution has another great article about inequality. He starts with a useful visualization of what inequality at the very top looks like and how it varies depending of what your starting point is

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Faust Visits the Insurance Lobby
Liberals are still reeling from the Supreme Court's oral arguments on ObamaCare, but they've got nothing on the health-care industry. Most of its biggest players backed the White House because they figured the individual mandate to buy insurance would give them a huge new customer base. Now they may get stuck with all the new regulations but without the mandate.


NY Times | Fed May Extend Support Past 2014, Official Says
Janet L. Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said Wednesday that the lackluster trajectory of the economic recovery might require the Fed to continue its efforts to bolster growth even beyond the end of 2014.
Market Watch | Fed’s Yellen makes case for keeping rates low
The Federal Reserve’s number-two ranking official on Wednesday made the case for keeping interest rates low for some time, arguing the economy will continue to grow only gradually and that the unemployment rate will remain high for years.
Bloomberg | U.S. Producer Costs Minus Food, Fuel Rise More Than Forecast
Wholesale prices in the U.S. excluding food and fuel rose more than forecast in March, led by a pickup in the costs of light trucks and soaps.


Politico | Pew: States don't track tax breaks
Every state offers tax incentives to attract the private sector but none knows for sure whether the policies produce a reasonable return on investment, a new report says.
CNN Money | Millionaires' effective tax rates top most
A lot gets lost in the rhetoric about the Buffett Rule, which would impose a minimum 30% tax on millionaires.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | Rebuffing Obama’s gimmicky ‘Buffett Rule’
“There are others who are saying: ‘Well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit,’ ” Obama declared Wednesday. “Well, I agree.”
Smart Money | 10 Things I Hate About Tax Day
This is the time of year when everyone seems to scream about just how much the federal government is costing us all. Weirdly enough, that's not one of the things that really gets me. It's the things that apparently no one else -- at least no one else in the media -- seems to notice.

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: The Internet Taxes that Could Be Coming
If you’ve ever bought anything on the Internet, over the phone, or from a catalog, you might have noticed that when you buy from some stores, you don’t pay any state sales tax, but if you buy from other stores, you do. That’s because a Supreme Court decision protected out-of-state businesses from revenue-hungry states. But a new bill working its way through Congress would change all that, turning every online retailer into a sales tax collector.
Tax Foundation | Nebraska Approves Modest Income Tax Reduction
I'm in Kansas today presenting some of our recent studies, but today's state tax news comes from neighboring Nebraska, where Gov. Dave Heineman yesterday signed into law a modest income tax reduction package.
The American | Does Obama want to undo the Kennedy tax cuts, too?
We already know Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts for small business and wealthier Americans expire. Indeed, there is some evidence that he wants the Bush tax cuts for middle-incomers to expire, as well.
Neighborhood Effects | When Taxpayer Dollars Are Used to Advocate for More…Taxpayer Dollars
Back in 2010, I noted that government spending can beget further spending. I cited research by Russell Sobel and George Crowley which shows that when the federal government transfers money to the states (as the stimulus bill did), the states tend to increase their own future taxes after the federal money goes away. They found that for every $1.00 the feds send to the states, states increase their own future taxes between $0.33 and $0.42.
The American | Shouldn’t the Buffett Rule be 14%, not 30%?
Now in practice, says the NYTimes, “The Buffett Rule would set a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for individuals on their annual income above $1 million.” (Note the word “minimum.”) But as the above chart from the Congressional Budget Office shows, the average tax rate for middle-incomers is more like 14%.


Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims jump to 380,000
The number of Americans who applied for jobless benefits last week rose to the highest level in two and a half months, partly because some school workers can file claims during spring break.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | Who Lives in the C-Suite? Organizational Structure and the Division of Labor in Top Management
This paper shows that top management structures in large US firms radically changed since the mid-1980s. While the number of managers reporting directly to the CEO doubled, the growth was driven primarily by functional managers rather than general managers.

Calculated Risk | Labor Force Participation Rate Projection Update
A key issue is what will happen to the labor force participation rate as the economy slowly recovers. In 2010 I looked at some of the cyclical and long term trends for the participation rate: Labor Force Participation Rate: What will happen? I concluded that a majority of the recent decline in the participation rate is due to changes in demographics.


WSJ | Spain Stands By Austerity
Spanish industrial production fell at an accelerated pace in February, the latest sign that the euro zone's fourth-largest economy remains mired in contraction, as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed renewed support for deep spending cuts.
NY Times | Report Says a Crop Subsidy Cap Could Save Billions
The federal government could save about $1 billion a year by reducing the subsidies it pays to large farmers to cover much of the cost of their crop insurance, according to a report by Congressional auditors due to be released on Thursday.