Friday, May 11, 2012

General Economics

Politico | Economic mood grows darker
Economic pessimism is on the rise as Americans predict that the unemployment rate will start ticking back upward and expect a deterioration in their household finances over the next year, according to a new survey Friday.
Market Watch | EU sees 'slow recovery' in second half of 2012
The European Commission on Friday said the European Union economy is in a "mild recession," with a recovery "forecast to set in slowly from the second half of the year on."
CNN Money | China inflation slows, but so does production
China's government may have the leeway to unleash more stimulus after reports released Friday showed tamer inflation and slowing industrial production growth.
Politico | Americans like the rich class
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the United States benefits from having a rich class, a figure unchanged from over 20 years ago, according to a new survey Friday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Volcker Leap of 'Faith'
Thursday's surprise news of J.P. Morgan's $2 billion trading loss shows again why taxpayers don't want to stand behind Wall Street trading desks. But nailing down a precise definition of the Volcker rule, which was supposed to prevent taxpayer-backed gambling in the securities markets, is proving to be harder than forecasting changes in the Chinese politburo.
Fortune | The draconian hidden penalty on student loans
If you default on your payments, the federal government may hit you with a 25% sledge-hammer. And it's entirely legal.
Fiscal Times | How the Rich Make Us All Better Off
Rich people, Conrad says, do most of the saving and investing. They provide the capital that creates new businesses and industries, finances inventions and discoveries, and are willing to take many risks and lose a lot of money for every one that pays off spectacularly. If the rich didn’t do these things, we would all be worse off.
CATO | Questioning Homeownership as a Public Policy Goal
For decades U.S. housing policy has focused on promoting homeownership. In this study, I show that the set of policies designed to further homeownership has been ineffective and expensive and that homeownership as a public policy goal is not well supported.

Calculated Risk | LPS: House Price Index increased 0.2% in February
LPS Home Price Index Shows U.S. Home Price Increase of 0.2 Percent in February; Early Data Suggests Further Increase of 0.3 Percent is Likely During March

Health Care

National Journal | Christie Vetoes New Jersey Insurance Exchange
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a state insurance-exchange bill on Thursday, citing the Supreme Court’s pending decision on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law as part of his decision.
National Journal | Slow Health Spending Growth Continues
Health care spending growth remains slower than usual, new data show, extending a trend that has puzzled economists but cheered many concerned about the unsustainable long-term trajectory of industry spending.


Market Watch | FDIC chief sets plan for handling big bank failure
The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Thursday outlined his plan on how the government would respond when a large bank goes under, saying it would keep alive many of the lender’s divisions while wiping out shareholders.
Bloomberg | Producer Prices U.S. Decrease for First Time in Four Months
Wholesale prices in the U.S. fell in April for the first time in four months, led by a decline in fuel costs that signals inflation may cool.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Monetary Monster That Is Flight to Safety
As it turns out, the shortage of dollars is directly proportional to the smash in asset prices, something that was left out of the academic textbook. Mr. Friedman's international financier would never have figured this out, but I have little doubt that his descendants are well aware of it now.
Forbes | Returning to a Gold Standard System: Why and How?
The answer to Why? is: because gold-linked stable money is superior to manipulated funny money. The answer to How? has two subsections.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | The 2012 Tax Policy Two-Step: Taxmageddon, Then Tax Reform
The nation faces an unprecedented tidal wave of tax hikes on January 1, 2013. Aptly called “Taxmageddon,” at nearly $500 billion the tax hike is so massive that it has accomplished what many regarded as impossible: consensus.

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Stopping the Largest Tax Hike in History
The largest tax hike in history is due to strike the United States on January 1, 2013. Known as “Taxmageddon,” it would impose $494 billion in higher taxes on the American people in the first year.
Heritage Foundation | Obama Keeps Recycling Failed Tax Policies
There he goes again. It seems that President Obama just can’t help himself. He keeps pushing Congress to pass policies it has rejected in the past or has foolishly passed to little beneficial effect.


Washington Times | Obama pushes tourism as job-creator
As part of National Travel and Tourism Week, the Obama administration on Thursday announced plans to boost tourism in America by attracting almost twice as many foreign visitors over the next decade.

WSJ | Fed’s Kocherlakota: Economy Closer to Max Employment Than Data Suggest
A top Federal Reserve official said Thursday he is paying close attention to inflation and that recent elevated readings signal that the economy is closer to maximum employment than labor-market reports alone might suggest.
WSJ | Vital Signs: Easing Unemployment Claims
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is falling. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims declined by 5,250 to 379,000 last week.


National Journal | Bernanke Warns Senate Dems to Take Action on Fiscal Cliff
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Senate Democrats at a caucus lunch on Thursday of the serious damage a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick in at the end of the year could exert on the country's frail recovery.
WSJ | CEOs Press Congress on Debt
Top business executives, many of whom sat on their hands during last year's frantic debate about raising the federal debt ceiling, have begun mobilizing and plan to be more vocal in urging Congress to reach a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal by the end of the year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Too Much Wavering on Budgets
For two years, Spain and other European countries, including those not facing an immediate crisis, such as France and Italy, have struggled to establish appropriate austerity policies to reduce fiscal deficits. Besides being unpopular, such measures produce an immediate negative result — a reduction in economic output.

CATO | Looking at Austerity in France
What about France? The country chose a socialist president on Sunday who, according to Paul Krugman and some media outlets, was elected precisely to fight against austerity.