Wednesday, May 9, 2012

General Economics

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | America and the Value of 'Earned Success'
I learned to appreciate the American free enterprise system by quitting a job in Spain.
WSJ | How We're Holding Back Broadband
Business investment has been lagging. That's one of the definitions of a slow-growth recovery. At an important wireless trade show in New Orleans this week, one of the few industries that has been producing gobs of investment might be tempted to rethink.
Bloomberg | Nobody Immune From Income Volatility, Even Rich
Over the past three decades, the highest incomes in the U.S. have risen dramatically, and that has appropriately received lots of attention. At the same time, however, these high incomes have also become much more volatile, and that has gone almost unnoticed.
WSJ | Can't Get No Respect
President Obama's regulatory agenda rarely inspires sympathy, but it does have its lighter moments when you have to feel sorry for the guy: No matter how much running room he gives to his crowd at the Environmental Protection Agency, they can never be happy.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
The American | Public employee pensions don’t stimulate the economy
NIRS represents plan managers, pension actuaries, investment advisers, and public employee unions—all the folks who have an interest in keeping the current system going, even if it has generated trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities for state and local governments.
Atlantic | Inequality: Is Our Hottest Economic Trend an Overrated Problem?
Income inequality remains remarkably prominent in political and policy debates nearly four-and-a-half years since the start of the Great Recession and less than six months from the consequential 2012 elections.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Obama Health Plan Will Squeeze the Middle Class
President Obama promised that the brunt of any financial reckoning will fall mostly only on those making more than $250,000 annually. Under his healthcare plan, the economic agony starts at income levels that fall much lower than that.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Fed's Dudley: US Monetary Policy Focus Domestically Driven
The globalized nature of the world economy calls for broader coordination between economic policy makers and other regulators, a top Federal Reserve official said Tuesday, in remarks that reiterated the U.S. central bank only pursues its actions in line with domestic considerations.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Emerging markets to shadow U.S., Europe
Industrial production is stalling in India, and its credit rating may be downgraded to junk. Power consumption in China has slowed to about half of last year’s level, while consumer price inflation remains stubbornly high.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | What can the U.S. learn from European austerity?
There aren’t direct parallels between the European austerity measures and what’s being proposed for the United States, but there are connections.
Washington Times | Congress should do the two-step in tackling tax policy
“Fiscal cliff.” “Taxmageddon.” Whatever you call it, it’s really bad - and it’s looming over America’s economy and its taxpayers.
Politico | CEOs: Don’t raise taxes on dividends
Three and a half years have passed since the start of the financial crisis, and economic recovery is finally taking hold. We are concerned about a specific part of the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal — increasing the tax rate on dividends and capital gains — and the adverse effect it will most likely have on our economy and job creation.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Job Vacancies Rise, but Hiring Rate Stays Flat
The nation had 3.74 million job vacancies at the end of March, about 5% higher than February and the highest level since July 2008, the Labor Department said Tuesday. The rise was driven in part by growing demand for workers in construction and manufacturing.
USA Today | Local governments still cutting jobs
States are stabilizing as tax receipts tick up. They're helped by the upward march of private-sector jobs, which climbed by 130,000 as the national unemployment rate dipped to 8.1% in April, the government said Friday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Job Training Mess
President Obama was on the stump in Ohio last month claiming to have discovered a successful federal job training program in the town of Elyria. This deserves congratulations. As millions of unemployed Americans can attest, a federal job training program that puts people back to work is hard to find.
Businessweek | Why France Has So Many 49-Employee Companies
Here’s a curious fact about the French economy: The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Political Calculations | Are Baby Boomers Stealing Jobs from the Young? (Part 1)
In fact, the Obama administration has seen a boom in the prospects of the 55+ crowd; their (I should say ‘our’) employment stands at a 42 year high. Net, there are 3.9 new jobs for people over 55 since the recession began in December 2007, but there are 8.1 million fewer jobs for the young folks since that time.
Political Calculations | Are Baby Boomers Stealing Jobs from the Young? (Part 2)
Today, we're going to start by looking directly at the evidence that would seem to support the case that Baby Boomers are making out much better than younger Americans in the Great Recession in the second part of our three-part series.

Budget

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Neighborhood Effects | Principles of Pension Accounting Part 1
Much of Eileen and Ben’s recent work has focused has focused on public defined benefit pensions and the problems that are common in public pension accounting. This post will explore some of the theoretical foundations that lie behind their arguments for reform.
Daily Finance | Canada Kills the Penny and Saves Millions: Why We Should Too
Commodity metal costs are soaring. So much so that it now costs more for the U.S. Mint to produce a penny (or a nickel) than the coins themselves are worth.
National Review | The Debate over Austerity Continues
Ryan Avent at The Economist responds to my Corner post yesterday, which argued that, to the extent that austerity measures were implemented in European countries, the spending cuts were not as “savage” as we are led to believe by the anti-austerity headlines. He disagrees. I have a few points to make based on his post
Daily Capitalist | Rising Consumer Debt Reveals Economic Weakness
Consumer credit expanded at a 10.2% annual rate in March. Of that, nonrevolving credit grew 11.3%. This “includes automobile loans and all other loans not included in revolving credit, such as loans for mobile homes, education, boats, trailers, or vacations.