Tuesday, April 24, 2012

General Economics

WSJ | Spain's Economy Dwindling
Spain's economy contracted 0.4% in the first quarter from the fourth, the country's central bank said Monday, the latest evidence that Spain's efforts to rein in government spending could be feeding a downward economic spiral.
Washington Times | Senate debates curb on NLRB
The National Labor Relations Board as a political hot potato shows no signs of cooling off anytime soon.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | An Economic Approach to the Environment
Cost-benefit analysis, in particular, is a far more effective and moral approach than basing decisions on the media's roving gaze or the loudness of competing interest groups.
Real Clear Markets | President Obama Better Hope Life Never Becomes "Fair"
In speeches the great political thinker and satirist P.J. O'Rourke often addresses the tautological reality that life isn't fair through a retelling of conversations he's had with one of his daughters. It goes somewhat like this

Marginal Revolution | Podcast with Russ Roberts
An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies

Health Care

Daily Finance | More Bad News on Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds
For years, people have worried about whether Social Security and Medicare would be around when they needed the benefits that those two programs provide. On Monday, worriers got bad news: The programs are closer to running out of money.

The American | A bad day for the White House—and for taxpayers
The White House did not have a good Monday. The day started with the Government Accountability Office calling for the cancellation of an $8.3 billion program that is supposed to reward high-quality Medicare plans, but is paying off average plans instead.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Beware the Power of Bond Indexes
What drives government bond markets? Growth, inflation, central-bank actions and government policy are the orthodox answers. But as both South Africa and Portugal have discovered, bond indexes have a lot of clout too, because of the sway they have over investment portfolios.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | High Tax Rates Won't Slow Growth
The share of pre-tax income accruing to the top 1% of earners in the U.S. has more than doubled to about 20% in 2010 from less than 10% in the 1970s. At the same time, the average federal income tax rate on top earners has declined significantly.
Forbes | Christina Romer Knows Tax Hikes Will Kill the Recovery
A powerful analysis by  President Barack Obama’s first Chair of his Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) indicates the President’s proposed tax increases would kill the economic recovery and throw nearly 1 million Americans out of work. 


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Disabling Common Sense
America isn't Italy, but U.S. employment laws are creeping in that direction if the latest brainstorm from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is any clue. This week the agency may change its "guidance" on how companies treat disabled workers in a way that will hurt disabled workers.

Political Calculations | Two Hypotheses for the "Current" Trend in New Jobless Claims
Those who follow our analysis on a regular basis already know that we consider the number of seasonally-adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims filed each week to be the most easy-to-accurately-predict number in all of economic datadom.


Reuters | Awash in money and piles of debt
The amount of money thrown at rescuing the world economy since the Great Recession began is truly staggering, probably more than $14 trillion, and the financial spigots are still open.

WSJ | Kohn: ‘Huge Risk’ U.S. Won’t Take Steps on Debt, Deficit by Year End
There is a real danger U.S. authorities won’t take the necessary steps to fix the country’s debt and deficit problems between the elections and the end of this year, former Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said Monday.
Coordination Problem | Is Debt Forgiveness the Answer to the Sluggish Recovery?
I personally think a lot of deficits and debt talk among economists and the public confuses a variety of things --- trade deficits and budget deficits; private debt and public debt; economic principles and political expediency, etc.