Wednesday, June 20, 2012

General Economics

WSJ | Japan's May Trade Deficit Larger Than Expected
Japan posted a larger-than-expected merchandise trade deficit last month, due to the country's first-ever trade shortfall with Europe and a surging energy import bill. The deficit was the biggest on record for a May period, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday.
Market Watch | Japan's trade deficit widens more than expected
Japan's trade deficit widened sharply in May to ¥907.3 billion ($11.47 billion), despite a strong rise in exports to the U.S., according to Financial Ministry data released early Wednesday.
WSJ | Canada Invited to Trans-Pacific Partnership
Canada will join the U.S. and several Asian nations in a group that is negotiating a trans-Pacific trade pact, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday.
Washington Times | Draft: G-20 will produce plan for global growth
The leaders of the world’s largest economies will say they are united behind efforts to boost growth and job creation to repair a global economy roiled by fears over the European financial crisis, according to a draft of the statement to be released Tuesday at the end of the Group of 20 annual meeting.
USA Today | Housing isn't a buyer's market for many first-timers
As the nation's housing market shows signs of bottoming after years of declining prices, many first-time buyers such as Dorado are getting a rude awakening. Instead of having their pick of homes to buy in some markets, they're losing houses to cash buyers and bidders with bigger down payments, or they're facing bidding wars spurred by shrinking numbers of homes for sale.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | States don’t need more stimulus
The president has given a long list of excuses for the shape of America’s struggling economy. He has cited high energy costs, the debt crisis in Europe and, of course, George W. Bush and the evil House Republicans for not passing his agenda.
CRS | Changes to the Residential Mortgage Market: Legislation, Demographics, and Other Drivers
This report provides an overview of the changing residential mortgage market, focusing on trends in housing prices, homeownership, mortgage characteristics, and financing. It also examines legislation and regulations designed to promote the efficient functioning of the mortgage market.
WSJ | Food Stamp Fiasco
The next time someone moans about Washington "austerity," tell them about the Senate's food stamp votes on Tuesday. Democrats and a few Republicans united to block even modest reform in a welfare program that has exploded in the last decade and is set to spend $770 billion in the next 10 years.

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Obama’s War on Domestic Energy Production
Today, the Senate will vote on the fate of one of the most expensive regulations of all time–a regulation that threatens to create an America with no new coal-fired power plants, where existing energy producers might have to close their doors, snuffing out jobs and making electricity dramatically more expensive.
CATO | A Few Questions for Paul Krugman
I am not a budget expert, but I saw Paul Krugman interviewed on the PBS Newshour program last evening and had a few questions.
Political Calculations | The Economic Effects of Today's Falling Gasoline Prices
Good morning, White House Staffer! We appreciate your daily visits, as you continue your ongoing efforts to closely monitor the U.S. gasoline price situation. We have, after all, tailored our top-of-the-page "Good Morning, White House Staffer" feature specifically to assist you in your daily task.

Health Care

National Journal | HHS: 3 Million Young Adults on Parents' Insurance Policies
More than 3 million young adults have signed up for health insurance on their parents' policies since the health reform law required that insurers cover them, a government report says, boosting the rate of insurance in the age bracket that is least likely to have coverage.
Politico | Health care ruling: What to expect
No matter what the Supreme Court finally rules on the health law, tens of millions of Americans are not going to like it.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | The Impact of Patient Cost-Sharing on the Poor: Evidence from Massachusetts
Greater patient cost-sharing could help reduce the fiscal pressures associated with insurance expansion by reducing the scope for moral hazard. But it is possible that low-income recipients are unable to cut back on utilization wisely and that, as a result, higher cost-sharing will lead to worse health and higher downstream costs through hospitalizations.


WSJ | German Inflation Slows
German producer-price inflation slowed to a two-year low in May amid a drop in energy prices, suggesting that the European Central Bank has room to take further action to stem the euro-zone's continuing debt crisis.
Bloomberg | Fed Seen Extending Operation Twist and Avoiding Bond Buys
The Federal Reserve will probably decide today to expand Operation Twist beyond $400 billion to spur growth and buy protection against a deeper crisis in Europe, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Germany will decide if the euro survives the summer
The last month has seen two developments that precipitated the full blown financial crisis playing out now in Europe.
Politico | With recovery wobbling, Federal Reserve’s options limited
Expectations aren’t high for Federal Reserve action as the central bank’s policymakers end their two-day meeting Wednesday.
WSJ | Washington Should Lock In Low Rates
America has long been the land of the game show. And at some point just about all of us have screamed at a contestant: "Don't be stupid—take the money!"

Reason Foundation | What Twists Will We See from the FOMC Tomorrow?
Rumors are flying everywhere that the Fed is going to ease policy again after its meetings today and tomorrow. The Financial Times declared yesterday that "the doves are ready to act."
WSJ | Effects of Operation Twist Extension Would Likely Be Muted
Extending Operation Twist is an attractive option for the Federal Reserve at its policy meeting that begins Tuesday because the program is relatively uncontroversial.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Investors | There's A Triple Tax Increase In Your Future
The so-called Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. That means that all of the current income tax rates will rise to pre-2001 levels overnight.
Washington Times | Relief from Taxmageddon
Republicans have finally figured out how to corner President Obama on the tax issue. Within six months, Americans will be hit with a $4.3 trillion tax hike supported by Mr. Obama. By moving to pass legislation next month to stop “Taxmaggedon,” the GOP is putting itself on the side of ordinary Americans.

Heritage Foundation | To Stop Taxmageddon, Repeal Obamacare
Unless President Obama and Congress take action soon, Taxmageddon will hit on January 1, 2013. Taxmageddon is a $494 billion tax increase for 2013 alone. It is made up of several expiring tax policies and the implementation of new Obamacare tax increases that all kick in at the start of next year.


CNN Money | Unemployed face more competition as job openings decrease
The number of job openings fell in April, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, another sign of weakness in the U.S. labor market.
USA Today | Generation Z worries about paying for college, getting a job
The next generation of young adults gets it: College is going to be expensive. Saving money is important. The job market isn't very promising.
Washington Times | U.S. employers post fewest job openings in 5 months
Employers in April posted the fewest job openings in five months, suggesting hiring will remain sluggish in the months ahead.
USA Today | Obama: Slower growth in Europe means fewer U.S. jobs
President Obama said tonight that European leaders must quickly fix their ailing economies and banking systems in order to help boost world financial markets -- and create jobs in the United States.


CNN Money | State pension headaches get more painful
States' pension problems are growing worse ... and all taxpayers will likely feel the consequences.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Food Stamp Fiasco
The next time someone moans about Washington "austerity," tell them about the Senate's food stamp votes on Tuesday. Democrats and a few Republicans united to block even modest reform in a welfare program that has exploded in the last decade and is set to spend $770 billion in the next 10 years.
Real Clear Markets | Austerity? Now Krugman et al Tell Us
Speaking the day after President Obama said the private sector was doing fine but government layoffs were holding back the recovery, Krugman quoted John Maynard's Keynes' dictum, "The boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity."
Forbes | Fiscal Austerity And Public Policy
In public policy we’re usually offered a false fiscal choice which reflects an equally false ethical choice, viz. – the hedonism and prodigality of Keynesian stimulus schemes versus the asceticism and privation of Puritanical austerity plans. The former tends to bring national insolvency, the latter, economic degeneracy.
Market Watch | Fiscal cliff is closer than you think
The fiscal cliff may be six months away, but it is already affecting the United States economy.

Economics One | The GDP Impact a U.S. Fiscal Consolidation Strategy
Three and half years ago, in February 2009, John Cogan, Volker Wieland, Tobias Cwik and I estimated what the impact of the 2009 stimulus package (ARRA) would be. Our estimates, obtained by simulating modern macroeconomic models, were much smaller than those of the Administration.
Café Hayek | Spanish austerity
In the current debates on fiscal policy in Spain—fallaciously expressed as a contest of austerity versus growth—it is often forgotten that during 2008 and 2009 the then socialist government implemented one of the biggest stimulus packages of all developed countries, comparable only to U.S. stimulus levels.