Thursday, April 19, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | EPA delays ‘fracking’ rules until 2015
Wells where natural gas is captured through the controversial “fracking” technique will have until 2015 to comply with new rules designed to reduce air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
WSJ | Europe's Rescue Plan Falters
Europe's bold program to defuse its financial crisis by injecting cash into the banking system is running out of steam.
Market Watch | U.S. bows to Wall Street on derivatives
Under pressure from Wall Street, energy companies and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the nation’s commodity futures and securities regulators Wednesday approved rules that would require a smaller group of derivatives traders to set aside capital than they had originally considered.
CNN Money | Sluggish recovery here to stay
The recovery is still chugging along at a sluggish pace, and unfortunately, it looks like it may stay that way for a while.
WSJ | Japan Swings to Trade Deficit
Japan swung back into a trade deficit in March as a steady rise in energy imports outweighed a rebound in automobile exports after last year's flooding in Thailand.
Market Watch | Outside help no solution to euro zone troubles
Visitors to a recent conference in northern Italy became painfully aware of what ails the Italian economy. It was fascinating to watch how a ferry employee methodically slowed down the sales of tickets to a long line of tourists who watched aghast as the mostly empty ferries left without them.
Politico | Your Congress at work
America, here is what your Congress did for you this week.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | Learning from the Solyndra debacle
The government’s green energy policy includes two parts: (1) supporting basic research, with the aim of developing new green energy technologies; and (2) making loan guarantees that promote the adoption of green energy technologies.
Washington Times | Plugging into American energy
As the national average price for a gallon of gas creeps toward $4, millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
AEI | 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.
Heritage Foundation | The U.S. Sugar Program: Bad for Consumers, Bad for Agriculture, and Bad for America
Government interference in the sugar market hurts consumers and food manufacturers by driving up the price of sugar, threatening competitive farmers and ranchers by jeopardizing export growth, and weakening the U.S. economy by diverting resources from more competitive uses. This Depression-era program, which was supposed to end in 1940, has outlived its intended lifespan by 72 years.[1] It should be abolished.  

WSJ | Key Reason for Wage Inequality Is Education
The widening gap between America’s haves and have-nots (highlighted in a Journal article today) is fueling debate across the political spectrum. But here’s one less-appreciated take-way: It suggests getting a college education — and indeed, an advanced degree — might just be worth the hefty price tag.

Health Care

National Journal | Survey Finds Gaps in Health Insurance
More than a quarter of working-age U.S. adults went without health insurance for some or all of 2011, mostly because they lost or changed jobs, the Commonwealth Fund reported on Thursday. 

Heritage Foundation | Democrat Senate Candidate Wants to Repeal (Part of) Obamacare
There are millions of Americans who want to see Obamacare repealed, and with good reason. But it’s a rare day indeed when a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate (and former adviser to President Obama) calls for part of the president’s health care law to be eliminated.
The American | The problem with Obamacare’s bundled payments initiative
The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just issued guidance laying out the parameters on the Obama Administration’s new bundled payments initiative.


Market Watch | China hints at new monetary easing
China could be readying changes to pump up bank lending, with a state-media report late Wednesday indicating a possible cut to banks’ required reserves, and with some analysts noting a downturn in money-supply growth.


Bloomberg | Small-Business Tax Cut Bill Points Up Divide on Economy
The U.S. House is set to pass a tax cut for small businesses in a vote that will underscore the divergent fiscal priorities of Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Bipartisan Tax Gimmickry
Senate Democrats lost their latest attempt at tax flim-flam on Monday when their 30% minimum tax (the Buffett rule) went down to easy defeat. House Republicans plan to counter as early as today with their own tax gimmick, albeit a business tax cut. They are both walking advertisements for tax reform.
CATO | Marching toward Taxmageddon
Americans effectively stop paying for government on Tax Freedom Day. Directly, that is. Regulation acts as a huge de facto tax. And many other liberties have been lost to government over the years.

The American | Why we can’t go back to sky-high, 1950s tax rates
The top marginal tax rate was 91% during the 1950s. Here’s why we can’t go back
CATO | Milton Friedman on Tax Freedom Day
The Tax Foundation reported that Tuesday was Tax Freedom Day (TFD), which is the day that Americans stop “working for the government” through their tax payments and start working for themselves.


WSJ | U.S. Firms Expand Hiring Overseas
U.S.-based multinational companies increased their work forces at home by 0.1% in 2010 while expanding overseas employment by 1.5%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Bloomberg | More Americans Than Forecast Filed Weekly Jobless Claims
More Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits and sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly dropped, indicating the almost three-year-old economic expansion may be moderating.
CNN Money | Where have all the women's jobs gone?
The "mancession" has morphed into the "hecovery," leaving women workers largely in the dust. The share of adult women who are employed is lower than it was two years ago, while men have seen an upturn.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Real jobs come from real people
Politicians claim they create jobs. But no, they can’t. Government rarely creates real jobs. Private individuals do that, people like Mark Cuban.


WSJ | Italy Reneges on Vow to Balance 2013 Budget
Italy said it won't balance its budget next year as it had pledged, while Prime Minister Mario Monti made it clear he isn't trading austerity measures for a bid to boost economic growth.
Bloomberg | Obama Won’t Sign Republican Spending Bills, Official Says
President Barack Obama won’t sign spending bills being written by House Republicans, the administration warned, escalating a budget fight that raises the possibility of a government shutdown later this year.
WSJ | Budget Fight Heats Up
The White House, firing the latest salvo in this year's budget battle, threatened to block any new spending bills until House Republicans reverse the spending cuts they approved in recent weeks.
National Journal | Conrad Pleads for Bipartisan Deficit-Cutting Plan but Can Advance No Bill
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., pleaded with committee members Wednesday to “come together” behind a comprehensive, deficit-reduction plan but could advance no bill to the floor after Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., ruled it out. 

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Gen O Discovers Washington's Debt Bomb
You're breathing a sigh of relief because you've filed your taxes for 2011. But what if your taxes reflected the true cost of the federal government's annual expenditures? How much more would you have to pay?
MSN Money | US barrels toward a fiscal cliff
For all the well-paid analysts and sophisticated computer systems that dominate trading, Wall Street still can't seem to focus on more than one thing at a time.
Bloomberg | Will U.S. Avoid 2012 Recession? A Postscript
My thinking is as follows: Europe is in a recession that could be as severe as the one in 2008-2009 in which real gross domestic product in the euro area fell 5.4 percent from peak to trough, almost matching the U.S. decline of 5.5 percent. The continuing, unresolved --- and probably unsolvable -- financial crisis has again spilled over into the real economy.

WSJ | Would Repeal of Key Dodd-Frank Provision Really Save $22 Billion?
A House committee later today will vote on a bill being pushed by Republicans to repeal a central plank of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, claiming it would save taxpayers $22 billion over 10 years.