Friday, June 15, 2012

General Economics

WSJ | Before Vote, Greeks Move Cash, Hire Guards
As Greece prepares for a weekend vote that could determine whether the country stays in Europe's common currency, many Greeks are gripped by uncertainty and taking measures large and small to prepare for what may come next.
Washington Times | Obama’s G-20 role limited in grappling with eurozone crisis
Few events make President Obama look less powerful lately than a gathering of European leaders.
USA Today | Current account deficit widens to $137.3B
The U.S. current account trade deficit widened in the first three months to the largest imbalance since late 2008, reflecting a big increase in imports in oil, cars and machinery and a drop in U.S. earnings on overseas investments.
WSJ | Europe on Edge Over Crisis
The U.K. on Thursday unveiled an extraordinary series of measures designed to insulate the British financial system and economy from the euro zone's deepening crisis.
CNN Money | Stimulus-by-the-gallon: Lower gas prices
Congress and the Federal Reserve aren't likely to provide any meaningful stimulus to the economy. But your corner gas station might.
USA Today | 30-year mortgage rate rises to 3.71%
Average rates on fixed mortgages rose this week, the first increase in seven weeks. But mortgage rates remain near historic lows, boosting prospects for home sales this year.
WSJ | Foreign Investment Surges
Foreigners are stepping up investment in the U.S. after retreating during the depths of the financial crisis, with the latest flurry spurred partly by Europeans seeking havens amid the Continent's debt crisis.
CNN Money | China: World's largest supplier of educated workers
Low-wage, unskilled labor was once its competitive edge, but now China is quickly rising as the world's largest supplier of college-educated workers.
USA Today | Abandoned homes plague cities: It takes money to level them
Some local governments hardest hit by population losses are struggling with what has been left behind: large numbers of abandoned housing units.
Market Watch | Uncertain times, again, for U.S. economy
If the American economy falters again, the most likely culprit will be that classic enemy of growth: uncertainty.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | A global recession?
Is it possible that we are already in a global recession but just don’t know it yet? And is the U.S. itself — still the epicenter of the world economy — standing on the front edge of another recession?
Politico | Solyndranomics 101
After weeks of bad economic news and public White House stumbles, President Barack Obama decided it was time to give another speech about the economy. He laid out his sweeping vision of America’s future—in hopes of distracting us from the failed policies of the past three and a half years.
Washington Times | The poorer middle class
President Obama’s re-election prospects dim by the day. When it comes to all-important pocketbook issues, Americans quite simply are worse off now than they were when this administration moved into the White House.
Real Clear Markets | True Recovery Pushed Further Into the Future
The Greeks are going to dominate the weekend as they decide to elect someone to do something about austerity and the huge current account hole. In anticipation of a "bad" election result, Greeks and foreign investors are pulling their money out, just in case.
The American | It’s Not a Welfare State, It’s a Special Interest State
A democratic polity can bicker over the scope of these functions. Some think care for the unfortunate should go a long way in the direction of income redistribution and that protecting public health requires extensive regulation. Others are more cautious. But these disagreements, while sometimes acrid, are within the bounds of civil political contest.
CNBC | Why the Rich Recovered and the Rest Didn't
The latest report from the Federal Reserve tells us that wealth of the middle class declined by more than a third between 2007 and 2010. The wealth of the top 10 percent, however, grew by two percent.
Real Clear Markets | A Global Recession? Warning Signs Are Everywhere
Is it possible that we are already in a global recession but just don't know it yet? And is the U.S. itself -- still the epicenter of the world economy -- standing on the front edge of another recession?
Economist | Dithering in the dark
Europe teeters at the edge of an economic abyss, its fate in the hands of political leaders at odds over how to solve the continent’s twin debt and bank crises. America may be pushed over a “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year by political dysfunction.

WSJ | U.K. Household Incomes Post Biggest Drop in 30 Years
Britons suffered their largest decline in real incomes in three decades during the fiscal year that ended in March 2011, with rich being hardest hit, according to a private think tank that scrutinizes government fiscal policies.
WSJ | Trade Protectionism Rises as Economies Slow
As worries rise about an economic slowdown, major nations around the world are ramping up measures to protect their economies from trade threats.

Health Care

NY Times | With Justices Set to Rule on Health Law, 2 Parties Strategize
House Republicans are not waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the new health care law to plot their strategic response. If the measure is not thrown out entirely, House leaders plan to force a vote immediately to repeal the law to reinforce their deep opposition to the legislation, opposition that has become central to their political identity.
CNN Money | Health reform: What's at stake for small business
The health reform law is chock full of new rules and benefits for small businesses -- and all are now on the line at the Supreme Court.
National Journal | Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Lacking Key Preventive Health Care
About half of U.S. adults did not get key preventive health services before 2010, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | CBO Report Echoes Trustees on Medicare, Social Security
The 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) long-term budget outlook illustrates a grim picture for the nation’s fiscal future unless entitlements are reformed. In particular, spending on Medicare and Social Security is the largest driver of federal spending and debt


WSJ | Consumer Prices Drop on Energy
U.S. consumer prices declined last month for the first time in two years and separate data signaled the labor market continued to weaken, fueling market speculation of possible Federal Reserve action next week to bolster the economy.
Fortune | Inflation likely to continue to fall
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke often gets criticized for overreacting to the stock market. But maybe that's exactly what he should be doing.
Market Watch | Draghi: ECB stands ready to supply liquidity
The European Central Bank stands ready to provide support to the euro-zone system, said its President, Mario Draghi, in prepared statements at a speech on Friday. "The Eurosystem will continue to supply liquidity to solvent banks where needed," he said at the ECB Watcher's conference.
Bloomberg | Bernanke’s Inflation View Validated as Commodities Fall
A plunge in global commodity prices is tilting the balance in favor of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and colleagues who may seek further action to boost growth as the U.S. labor market falters and risks from Europe rise.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Europe May Force Bernanke to Flip the Twist
As the Federal Reserve prepares to meet next week, policy makers are under conflicting pressure to do more to stimulate the economy and to swear off quantitative easing. And that’s just from inside the Fed.


CNN Money | Taxing the rich: What's fair?
There are actually two "how much" questions at play here. How much income does it take to be rich? And assuming you qualify, how much should you be forking over to the government every year?

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Simple Tax Code Is a Fair Tax Code
The top 1% of taxpayers pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 90%. (The bottom 50% pay no income tax at all.) Clearly, our tax system is highly progressive, either when considering income taxes alone or consolidating personal income, corporate, estate and payroll taxes.

The American | So why aren’t we cutting corporate tax rates?
What could the Obama White House have been doing in 2009 and 2010 other than pushing healthcare reform? How about reforming America’s uncompetitive corporate tax code? That could have been a huge pro-growth move. Still hasn’t happened.
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: How Taxmageddon Will Impact You
“I’ve said that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I believe it,” President Obama told an Ohio crowd yesterday. Indeed it is—because in a sluggish economy, American taxpayers are about to be clobbered by the largest tax increase in history.
Political Calculations | Taxes at the Margin
If your tax rate goes up by a lot, will the amount of taxes that you pay go up by a lot as well? You might think so at first, but as we'll show you in this post, the answer is that your taxes will likely go up, but probably by not anywhere near as much as you might have thought, and certainly not by anywhere near as much as the politicians imposing the tax hike might like.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNBC | Geithner: 2% Growth Rate Won't Cut It on Jobs
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday a U.S. growth rate of 2 percent is not  enough to get Americans back to work and that the country had a long way to go to repair damage to the economy.


WSJ | Worries Grow Spain Will Need Broader Aid
Spain's borrowing costs jumped to a record Thursday, fanning concerns that the €100 billion ($125 billion) aid package planned for its banks won't suffice to stave off a much larger bailout for the entire country.
Washington Times | Debt fight poses new risk to U.S. credit rating
Wall Street rating agencies are starting to sound warnings again about the possibility of further downgrades of the once-perfect U.S. credit rating as a critical year-end deadline for addressing the nation’s mounting debt nears.
WSJ | France Pledges to Meet Deficit Goals Despite Ailing Growth
France will meet deficit-reduction targets despite question marks over the strength of economic growth, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said Thursday, paving the way for tax increases and spending cuts that could prove the first unpopular measures of the country's new president.
USA Today | Italian borrowing rates skyrocket in bond sale
Italy's borrowing costs on its three-year bonds skyrocketed Thursday to their highest level since December, as concerns about Spain and the state of Europe's economy continued to pummel the country's financial markets.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | President Obama: The Biggest Government Spender In World History
The U.S. has never before had a President who thinks so little of the American people that he imagines he can win re-election running on the opposite of reality. But that is the reality of President Obama today.
WSJ | A 'Bail-In' Could Save Spain's Banks
Far from calming the markets, Spain's request for a €100 billion ($126 billion) loan to bail out its banks has sent Spanish interest rates soaring and led to multiple downgrades from the credit-rating agencies this week.
NBER | Debt Overhangs: Past and Present
We identify the major public debt overhang episodes in the advanced economies since the early 1800s, characterized by public debt to GDP levels exceeding 90% for at least five years.