Monday, April 23, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | Volcker rule deadline is 2014, U.S. says
Big banks will have at least until July 2014 to fully conform to the Volcker rule, the regulation that aims to restrict speculative trades with their own money, bank regulators said Thursday.
WSJ | China Manufacturing Continues Contraction
An initial measure of China's manufacturing activity showed fresh signs of strength in April, but the data indicate the economy is still in sluggish territory and may need a government boost.
USA Today | Economists upping their forecasts for 2012
The U.S. economy will grow faster than expected this year, despite the headwinds of higher gas prices and Europe's financial crisis, according to USA TODAY's quarterly survey of economists.
WSJ | Euro-Zone Crisis Funds Face a Market Test
After months of wrangling, government leaders have assembled a pair of war chests to guard against deepening euro-zone turmoil.
CNN Money | China manufacturing improves slightly
China's manufacturing sector contracted in April, but not as much as in the previous month, according to a preliminary survey of purchasing managers released Monday.
Bloomberg | Companies More Upbeat on U.S. Economy, NABE Survey Shows
Companies are growing more upbeat about the U.S. economy this year and plan to take on more workers as demand improves, a survey showed.
FOX News | Aging workforce strains Social Security, Medicare
An aging population and an economy that has been slow to rebound are straining the long-term finances of Social Security and Medicare, the government's two largest benefit programs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus
'California is God's best moment," says Joel Kotkin. "It's the best place in the world to live." Or at least it used to be.
Real Clear Markets | The Lie That's Bankrupting the Country
As the middle class entitlements yawn wide open to swallow the entire federal budget, it is not an exaggeration to say that this distortion is bankrupting the republic.
WSJ | The Argentine Way of Business
It is never a good idea to agree to blackmail. The extortionist will not be satisfied until the victim is bled dry. Just ask Repsol, the Spanish oil giant. The record of its relationship with the government of Argentina strongly suggests the sovereign-risk equivalent of such a crime.
Washington Times | Where’s the recovery?
April remains a cruel month. New jobless claims are the highest they’ve been since late January, with the four-week average stubbornly hovering around the 375,000 mark. Though we’re technically in a recovery, nobody believes it.
WSJ | Democrats for Keystone
President Obama continues to stand in the way of the Keystone XL pipeline, though increasingly he's standing alone. A growing number of Democrats are rejecting the President's fealty to green interests, aware that it will be an electoral liability this fall.
CATO | Capitalism Will Eliminate Poverty in Africa
The recent recession has reinvigorated anti-capitalists everywhere, not least in Africa. In the continent's economic powerhouse, South Africa, the rhetoric has, perhaps surprisingly, been most ardent. Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, said that there were no capitalist ideas that could address the problems that South Africa faces.

Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of April 22nd
The key U.S. economic report for the coming week is the Q1 advance GDP report to be released on Friday. Also New Home sales and the Case-Shiller house price index will be released on Tuesday.
Econ Browser | A ban on oil speculation?
Joseph P. Kennedy II, former Congressional Representative from Massachusetts, and founder, chairman, and president of Citizens Energy Corporation, has a proposal to make energy affordable for all. All we have to do, Kennedy claims, is "bar pure oil speculators entirely from commodity exchanges in the United States."
Neighborhood Effects | The Economy as an Ecosystem
Recently, I’ve been looking at the public choice ways in which the ecology of entrepreneurship can sometimes be interfered with. Just like a natural ecology, entrepreneurial ecologies need to be a bottom-up process. And quite often can be subject to interference from governments.
Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 939 Institutions
Here is the unofficial problem bank list for April 20, 2012.

Health Care

National Journal | GAO Report Questions Medicare Advantage Bonuses
An $8.3 billion experimental program that gives quality bonuses to Medicare Advantage insurance  is a waste of money and should be stopped, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says.
Politico | Health reform law poses quandary for states
If the Supreme Court upholds the health reform law this summer, states could be forced to a moment-of-truth situation: Do they set up a health insurance exchange, or do they let the feds come in and run theirs?
National Journal | Medicare Report: Medicare to Save $200 Billion Through 2016
Medicare is set to save $200 billion by 2016, according to a report released by the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday.


WSJ | A Forecast of What the Fed Will Do: Stand Pat
Financial markets seem to swerve daily on speculation about what the Federal Reserve is going to do next. One day investors expect the Fed to launch a new bond-buying program to reduce long-term interest rates and boost growth. The next they expect it to raise short-term interest rates sooner than planned to restrain inflation. Investors have been all over the map.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Supply-Side Critics Offer Only Trickle-Down Inflation
Economics is not called the dismal science for nothing. Many professional economists go to great lengths to obscure simple truths inconvenient to their political masters. The media then promote these obfuscations, which are designed to appeal to a misinformed electorate. And that is the truly dismal part.

WSJ | Former Fed Official Sketches Out Inflation SurgeThe biggest criticism of the Federal Reserve‘s massive balance-sheet expansion is that it has set the stage for a potential surge in inflation.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | California's Pension Tax
California Governor Jerry Brown is trying to sell his tax hike to voters this November by saying it will go to schools. The dirty little secret is that the new revenues are needed to backfill the insolvent teachers pension fund.
GAO | Sources of Noncompliance and Strategies to Reduce It
Testimony before the Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives
WSJ | Laffer and Moore: A 50-State Tax Lesson for the President
Barack Obama is asking Americans to gamble that the U.S. economy can be taxed into prosperity. That's the message of his campaign for the Buffett Rule, which raises income-tax rates on millionaires to a minimum of 30%, and for the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. He wants to raise the highest income tax rate by 20%, double the rate on capital gains, add a new 3.8% tax on all capital earnings, and nearly triple the dividend tax rate.

CATO | Tax Complexity: Am I a Liar?
It is true that average households don’t get into the nitty gritty of those nine feet of rules. But many thousands of highly paid professionals do have to on behalf of their individual and business tax clients. That is part of the reason why the current federal tax system is so wasteful.
Tax Foundation | Pew Study Finds Many States Lack Fundamental Oversight of Tax Incentives
The Pew Center on the States has a new report examining state economic development tax incentives. The study did not evaluate the efficacy of the incentives themselves, but rather critically examined each state's evaluations of its own incentives.


USA Today | Half of new graduates are jobless or underemployed
Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.
USA Today | Retirement bottom line: Many will have to work until 70
Baby Boomers, with their inheritances, homes, and old-fashioned pensions, may appear to be on track for a solid retirement — but some experts say the forecast for the generation born from 1946 through 1964 isn't necessarily so rosy.

WSJ | Manufacturing States Post Drops in Unemployment
State unemployment rates were steady in March from a month earlier and the nation’s jobs recovery continues to be best in states heavy in manufacturing and worst in places hit hard by the housing bust.
WSJ | World Needs to Create 200 Million Jobs
The employment tally found that the world lost 27 million jobs between 2007 and the height of the crisis in 2009. But labor force growth adds about 40 million people to the global labor market each year, and overall economic growth — even before the crisis — hadn’t been strong enough to absorb them.


WSJ | Geithner to Europe: Take Strong Action on Debt Crisis
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Saturday that the euro zone needed stronger action from authorities, including the European Central Bank, to tame a potential deterioration in the debt crisis.
Bloomberg | Euro-Region Debt Rises to Highest in Currency’s History
The debt of the euro region rose last year to the highest since the start of the single currency as governments increased borrowing to plug budget deficits and fund bailouts of fellow nations crippled by the fiscal crisis.
WSJ | IMF Nearly Doubles Its War Chest for Crisis
The world's top finance officials agreed Friday to boost their shared financial firepower, an effort to protect the global economy as European turmoil threatens the recovery for the third straight year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Three years and no Senate budget
April 29 will mark three years since Senate Democrats passed a budget. This dereliction of duty flagrantly violates the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

WSJ | Japan’s IMF Pledge Makes It No. 1 Fund Contributor
Japan’s pledge to lend the International Monetary Fund $60 billion as part of its resource drive makes the Asian country the fund’s top contributor, taking the lead from the U.S.