Wednesday, April 18, 2012

General Economics

National Journal | Don’t Fear the China Slowdown
Policy changes in China, rather than a 2-percent slowdown in growth, are more likely to impact the U.S. economy in a meaningful way, and they are unlikely to be made until Beijing’s new leaders come to power in 2013.
CNN Money | Economists: Congress won't fix economy
A survey of economists by CNNMoney found most don't expect Congress to pass any kind of economic assistance anytime in the foreseeable future.
Market Watch | Are the U.S. and China trading places?
By now, everyone has grown accustomed, if not physically weary, of articles extolling China’s economic dynamism and rehearsing America’s economic decline. While the United States is only now beginning to recover from the most serious recession in nearly 80 years, China skated through the global financial crisis essentially unscathed.
WSJ | An Engine of Recovery Shows Sign Of Abating
The manufacturing sector, a key engine of the economic recovery, is showing signs of vulnerability.
Fortune | Utility exec to feds: Save our tax break, or else
If federal tax breaks for wind farms go away, wind-farm operators will stop building them, says Lewis Hay III, chairman and CEO of NextEra Energy (NEE), the goofily named holding company for utility operator Florida Power & Light.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Argentine Model
'I'm the head of state, not a thug," Argentine President Cristina Kirchner felt it necessary to explain on Monday in Buenos Aires. This is never a good sign from a politician.
Real Clear Markets | Taking On the Notion of 'Too Big To Fail'
The financial crisis left the biggest U.S. banks bigger, and amplified concerns that these banks are TBTF: "Too Big to Fail." Calls for action to address TBTF were given considerable impetus by the recent annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which asserted that "the vitality of our capitalist system" and "long-term prosperity" depend on eliminating TBTF.
WSJ | The Inequality Obsession
If it were learned that the car driven by the average American is 10 times more likely to burst into flames than the car driven by the richest 1%, what should the policy response be? Should it be to mandate that cars driven by the rich burst into flames more often?
Washington Times | ‘Too big to fail’ casts a long shadow
As we approach the fourth anniversary of 2008’s financial crisis, it’s clear that Congress has done nothing to solve the crisis’s central problem.
WSJ | Rethinking 'Made in America'
Most people may think of Made-in-America exports as tangible goods such as heavy equipment and agricultural products, but the Obama administration has been seeking markets for American exports of all kinds—including services.
Politico | Austan Goolsbee plays petroleum politics
Looking to avoid the political perils of $4 gasoline, the White House is searching high and low for a chance to claim leadership on energy prices. That’s why one of their top allies in economics, Austan Goolsbee, took to the editorial pages last week to launch a clever — but too cute — argument to justify a politically motivated oil sale from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
AEI | Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future
Are Americans better off today than they were before Barack Obama was elected to office? Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and economist John Lott, Jr. argue that increases in government spending, mounting debt, new regulations and higher effective marginal tax rates collectively answer this question with a resounding “no.”

National Review | Spending Other People’s Money
Rich Lowry’s piece about the GSA and the incredible abuses of taxpayers’ dollars is, as he explains, “yet another reminder of the waste and laxity inevitable in organizations where it’s difficult to fire anyone and all the pennies are from heaven.”
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Obama’s New Gas Price Scapegoat
High gas prices are not a president’s friend, especially in an election year, so it’s not surprising that President Barack Obama is trying his darndest to shift the blame for record-high fuel prices onto something other than his failed energy policies.
Library of Economics | The Crisis Response Worked Wonderfully
So says the Treasury. Below is the chart that proclaims that lending markets were unclogged.
Heritage Foundation | The Obama Oil Embargo
From canceling oil leases in his second week in office to denying the XL Pipeline this year President Obama and his administration have offered up a non-stop assault on affordable energy.  Now that high gasoline prices have come home to roost, the president is flailing around for an energy policy.

Health Care

National Journal | Bipartisan Effort Would Reshape FDA Drug Approvals
Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are proposing significant changes to the way the Food and Drug Administration approves drugs, and they are engaged in an unusual bipartisan effort to slide these changes into bills reauthorizing an FDA fee program. But they’re doing it over the protests of consumer groups that say it will make it too easy to approve new drugs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
E21 | Yes, the Health Law Worsens the Deficit
Last week the Mercatus Center published my study showing that the health care law of 2010 (the ACA) will add at least $340 billion to federal deficits over the next ten years, and more than $1.15 trillion to net federal spending.

The American | More unintended consequences of Obamacare
Where there’s a will—and some political advantage for some politicians or lobbying group somewhere—there’s a way. And one more reason to think Obamacare will be far more expensive than current forecasts assume.


Bloomberg | IMF Says European Banks May Have to Sell $3.8 Trillion in Assets
European banks could be forced to sell as much as $3.8 trillion in assets through 2013 and curb lending if governments fall short of their pledges to stem the sovereign debt crisis or face a shock their firewall can’t contain, the International Monetary Fund said.

Economist | The buck shrinks here
Prior to the Great Recession (or, to be perfectly accurate, prior to the Japanese doldrums of the 1990s) there was wide agreement that central banks can, should, and would do all the demand-side macroeconomic stabilisation an economy might need.


Bloomberg | U.S. Imposes Tax Reporting Rule on Nonresidents’ Bank Deposits
The U.S. will require banks to report interest payments to nonresident aliens starting in 2013 in a setback for banks and Republican lawmakers who say the plan will drive away investments.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | An Overview of Tax Provisions Expiring in 2012
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that extending these provisions through 2022, except for the payroll tax cut, which CBO assumes expires as scheduled at the end of 2012, would reduce revenues by $5.4 trillion between 2013 and 2022. Specifically, over this 10-year budgetary window extending the Bush tax cuts and extending the AMT patch would reduce revenues by $4.6 trillion, while extending the tax extenders would reduce revenues by $839 billion.
The American | The Unfairness of the Buffett Tax
According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of us agree that the idea of hiking tax rates on rich people would be fairer to the non-rich taxpayers. But how many of us would favor a proposal to hike taxes on old people instead of rich people—that is, on gramps, granny, and their fellow retirees in the middle and lower income classes?
Washington Post | The ‘Buffett Rule’ does damage to a good cause
Warren Buffett has become a political prop — and, perhaps, an object lesson in how business leaders, when they enter the political arena, are easily manipulated. Their efforts to “do good” are often twisted to suit the narrow interests of their political patrons. That’s the story of Buffett and President Obama.
Washington Times | Buffett rule’s deceitful consequences
President Obama released his tax return last week, showing he had an effective rate of a little more than 20 percent of his income, even though he is rich by his own definition. One of major ways the Obamas were able to reduce their tax rate was by giving away 22 percent of their income to charity
Investors | California Blazes Wrong Trail On Tax Hikes For Rich
Tuesday is Tax Day. There's no better time to take a closer look at the "tax-first" policies being bandied about by lawmakers in an attempt to dig this country out from under its debt.
AEI | Hassett to Joint Economic Committee: How the taxation of capital affects growth and employment
The following are highlights of Kevin Hassett's testimony to the Joint Economic Committee at a hearing entitled "How the Taxation of Capital Affects Growth and Employment" on April 17, 2012.

Political Calculations | 2012 Tax Day Fun: File Your 1913 Income Taxes
Tax day 2012 has arrived! And what better way to mark the day where your income taxes have finally come due than by providing another form for you to fill out just so you can see how much you would have been taxed when income tax forms were first issued by the IRS in 1913!
Tax Foundation | Tax Freedom Day and Some Other Ways to Measure the Cost of Government
Today is the due date for federal income taxes, but it is also Tax Freedom Day, the day Americans will finally have worked long enough to pay all federal, state and local taxes. We also calculate Tax Freedom Day by state, and reporters and taxpayers around the country have been analyzing our numbers in the past weeks and seeing how their state compares.
Political Calculations | How High Will the Top Income Tax Rate Go?
Now that we've covered your ideas for what might work for a flat income tax for the U.S., let's say you're one of those really twisted people who don't care how twisted you make the income tax code, so long as you stick it to the topmost income earners in any given year. Even if they're never really the same people.


CNN Money | First Solar to cut 2,000 jobs
First Solar, a maker of photovoltaic panels and other sources of alternative power, announced on Tuesday that it will cut 2,000 jobs in the U.S. and Europe.


NY Times | Senate Budget Panel to Take Up Deficit Plan
The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said on Tuesday that he would introduce the blueprint of President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction panel to his committee as the starting point for negotiations over a long-term debt plan.
National Journal | No Senate Budget Committee Vote This Week on Democratic Plan
The Senate Budget Committee will not vote this week on a Democratic budget resolution, committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said on Tuesday.
CNN Money | Bowles-Simpson back on table
Democrat Kent Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman, announced he would present the plan as his opening bid at the committee's budget mark-up on Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | Combine the best of Obama-Ryan, Bowles-Simpson
An ironic consequence of the dueling fiscal plans put forward this year by President Barack Obama and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is that, taken together, they illustrate why Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson had it right back in December 2010.

Heritage Foundation | New Research Confirms that Spending Cuts Stimulate the Economy
New research suggests that legislators should cut spending and enact growth-inducing policies. The reasoning? According to the study, spending cuts can positively affect economic growth and are the only historically reliable way to lower deficits and debt.