Friday, June 22, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | German June Business Confidence Drops to Two-Year Low
German business confidence fell to the lowest in more than two years in June as the worsening sovereign debt crisis clouded the economic outlook.
USA Today | Cut college tuition by getting 4-year degree in 3 years
A 25% tuition break first offered three years ago by Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., paid off this spring for a dozen new graduates. All they had to do was squeeze four years of study into three.
CNN Money | 30-year mortgage rate hits record low
The interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage reached a new low this week, falling to an average of 3.66%, according to a weekly survey of rates from Freddie Mac.
USA Today | Abrams: Women entrepreneurs spur emerging countries' growth
When you picture the drivers of the fastest growing economies in the world, countries like China, Brazil, and India, the first thing that pops into your head probably isn't a female entrepreneur.
USA Today | Moody's cuts credit ratings on 15 major banks
Moody's Investors Service has lowered the credit ratings on some of the world's biggest banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, reflecting concern over their exposure to the violent swings in global financial markets.
CNN Money | Major banks downgraded by Moody's
Some of the world's biggest banks were downgraded Thursday by rating agency Moody's, which cited concerns about the stability of the global financial system.
Market Watch | Senate approves sweeping five-year farm bill
The Senate on Thursday passed a sweeping, $500 billion farm bill that would end direct payments and other subsidies to farmers, while expanding crop insurance and funneling new money to “specialty” crop growers.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Why Dodd-Frank Is Unconstitutional
When President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law nearly two years ago, he stated that "our financial system only works—our market is only free—when there are clear rules and basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system."
Atlantic | Homeownership Means Little to Economic Growth
The number of housing sales and starts is a commonly used barometer of economic health. The president, his economic advisers, and countless economists and business analysts continue to believe that economic recovery turns on the recovery of the housing market.
The American | The Costliest Regulation You’ve Never Heard Of
A proposed regulation could cost the U.S. banking system hundreds of billions of dollars, in turn costing our economy billions of dollars, and achieving no discernible benefits for banks, depositors, taxpayers, or the U.S. economy.
Forbes | The Looters & The Moochers Are Out To Fleece David AND Goliath
Politics in America has been defined by the media painting in broad strokes, and the only two colors they use are red and blue. The Republicans are pro-entrepreneur, checking government expansion and the Democrats are pro-average Joe, looking out for you and reigning in corporate power.
Washington Times | Mr. President, all is not ‘fine’ in private sector
Last week, I touched on how, as the second quarter was closing, investors would focus increasingly on earnings prospects for the quarter. Despite what we hear from the Oval Office, the updates we’re getting from the field are not encouraging.

National Review | The Problem with Europe is the Eurozone Itself
Economist Simon Johnson has a very good piece over at the New York Times’s Economix blog reminding people that the problem with the EU right now isn’t austerity or the lack of it (no matter how you define austerity); rather, it’s the assumptions that led to the creation of the single currency union.

Health Care

CNN Money | Consumers to get $1B in health insurance rebates
Health insurers will dole out a total of $1 billion in rebates to 12.8 million Americans this summer -- an average of $151 per family --as a result of the 2010 health care reform law, the government said Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | My Health-Care Alternative for the Old and Poor
Whether it is struck down by the Supreme Court, defunded by Congress, or simply collapses from its unsustainable costs and the impossibly complicated bureaucracy it seeks to impose, ObamaCare won't work. It will depress the economy, increase the national debt, discourage medical innovation, and erode the quality of health care.

Heritage Foundation | Side Effects: Under Obamacare, 29.4 Million Americans Will Change Health Plans Each Year
Obamacare’s massive Medicaid expansion—combined with its new system of subsidies for government-defined coverage for additional millions of Americans—will force 29.4 million Americans to move from one form of health coverage to another each year, a recent study shows.
AEI | Better health care for America
Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, majorities of Americans want Congress to make changes to the health care law.


WSJ | Anna Schwartz
Most often, Anna Schwartz, who died Thursday at age 96, was included in sentences as co-author with Milton Friedman of the magisterial economic study "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960." That would suffice for the epitaph of nearly any economist. It does not for Anna Schwartz.
Market Watch | Lacker explains dissent after new Fed Twist plan
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker on Friday issued a statement explaining why he was the only one out of 12 Federal Open Market Committee members who voted against a policy to extend a bond swap program by $267 billion.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Politics | Snapshots of Dysfunction In a Fiat Money World
In a world awash with digital fiat money, this constant need for liquidity measures is sometimes hard to reconcile with the sheer amount of digital monetary units created in the months since October 2008.  But real liquidity is far more than quantity.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | President Obama's Perfect Plan For The Economic Decline Of America
Last week on June 14, President Obama announced his economic plan to finally bring economic recovery and growth to the U.S. in a much ballyhooed address in Cleveland.
NBER | The Impact of the 2009 Federal Tobacco Excise Tax Increase on Youth Tobacco Use
This study examined the impact of the 2009 federal tobacco excise tax increase on the use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products among youth using the Monitoring the Future survey, a nationally representative survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students.


WSJ | Jobs Get Posted, Few Get Filled
When the U.S. economy began to strengthen earlier this year, companies cut back on layoffs and posted more job openings. What they didn't do was actually step up their hiring.
WSJ | Greece Rules Out Massive Layoffs
Greece's new three-party coalition government on Thursday ruled out massive public-sector layoffs, a move that could help pacify restive trade unions but could set it on a collision course with international creditors demanding substantial cuts in public spending.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama’s dishonest jobs math
President Obama announced two weeks ago that “the private sector is doing fine.” Though he later backpedaled from this remark, he stood by his fundamental contention that the private sector was creating large numbers of jobs, and that more money needed to be spent by the government to keep up the public-sector pace.
AEI | Stapling green cards to diplomas: Time to make this cliche a law
Last week, President Obama announced that his administration would lift the threat of deportation from more than 800,000 illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and who have gone on to be productive and law-abiding residents. It was good and compassionate public policy -- even if it's a legal stretch.

WSJ | Up to 95 Million Low-Skill Workers in Danger of Being Left Behind
Between 90 and 95 million low-skill workers around the world could be without jobs by 2020 because there simply won’t be enough positions available for them to apply for, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute.


CNN Money | Is Obama a big spender?
Is President Obama a big spender who has blown up the national debt?
NY Times | Approving Billions in Cuts to Social Services, California Reaches a Budget Deal
Just 10 days before the start of the new fiscal year, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature reached a budget deal on Thursday to close a nearly $16 billion budget gap. The agreement came after days of negotiations, with legislative leaders reluctant to make the cuts that Governor Brown said were urgently needed.
NY Times | Pentagon Gets Attention, but Planned Spending Cuts Range Far and Wide
It is no secret here that come January, barring Congressional action, huge spending cuts will hit the Pentagon. Congressional Republicans, President Obama’s secretary of defense and military contractors have taken pains to denounce the planned reductions, which were scheduled as part of the resolution to the debt-ceiling crisis of last year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | 14 reasons to worry about Italy
There are many glaring risks about Italy's current debt situation and its dire growth outlook. But the biggest reason to worry about Italy is that it's too big to fail.
WSJ | A History of Money Funds
Opponents of reforming money-market funds need to make up their minds. Staying abreast of their contradictory arguments is harder than tracking which celebrities are dating a Kardashian.