Friday, June 29, 2012

General Economics

CNN Money | Abound Solar is latest government-backed bankruptcy
Abound Solar announced plans Thursday to file for bankruptcy and suspend operations, becoming the industry's latest government-backed firm to close its doors.
CNBC | Trouble Signs Remain in GDP; Claims Down, Prices Up
U.S. consumer spending and export growth were not as robust as previously believed in the first quarter, suggesting less momentum in the economy.
CNN Money | Congress set to extend low student loan rates
Congress is expected to vote Friday to extend low 3.4% interest rates on federally subsidized student loans for another year, barely beating a July 1 deadline when the rates would double.
Bloomberg | Japan’s Industrial Output Falls Most Since 2011 Quake
Japan’s industrial output fell the most since the March 2011 earthquake and consumer prices declined, bolstering the case for extra stimulus to sustain the nation’s economic recovery.
Market Watch | U.S. consumer spending falls slightly in May
Consumer spending in the U.S. fell slightly in May and was revised downward in April, according to the latest government data.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | Economists see multiple eurozone exits
As European leaders meet to discuss the future of the euro, economists think the ongoing crisis will lead to big changes for the common currency.
AEI | North America: Living in the political wake of the US housing bubble
The U.S. is living in the wake of the great 21st century bubble and its collapse, as a dominating influence in the financial, economic, and political spheres.
CBO | Federal Efforts to Reduce the Cost of Capturing and Storing Carbon Dioxide
Coal-powered facilities account for roughly a third of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, and most climate scientists believe that the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could have costly consequences.
Mercatus | The Impacts of Overdraft Programs on Consumers
The Regulatory Studies Program (RSP) of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the impact of regulation on society.
Market Watch | Fed's Dudley: Unclear if soft-patch is over
The "pay-back" to the economy from the mild winter is over but it is still unclear whether the economy will regain momentum, said William Dudley, the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, on Friday.
Forbes | Obamanomics: Economics For Dummies
President Obama’s June 14 address in Cleveland presented his foundational economic policy arguments for this fall’s campaign.  We will hear those same rhetorical points over and over this year, at least until his pollsters realize they are doing more harm than good.

Neighborhood Effects | Undermining Competition is No Way to Compete
Money is tight for state and local governments, and that’s never more obvious than when lawmakers work to finalize budgets before the new fiscal year starts on July 1.

Health Care

CNN Money | Medicaid expansion: Many could be left out
The Supreme Court may have upheld health care reform, but the ruling has left many of the poorest Americans at risk of remaining uninsured.
National Journal | Déjà Vu
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to pad the safety net by forcing states to expand their Medicaid programs and cover all of the poorest Americans—not just children, pregnant women, and the disabled. But Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts holds that states don’t have to join in the expansion if they don’t want to.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Court's Ruling a Frankenstein's Monster
Today's heart-wrenching, baby-splitting Supreme Court decision illegitimately rewrote the Affordable Care Act in order to save it. It's certainly gratifying that a majority on the court rejected the government's dangerous assertion of power to require people to engage in economic activity in order to then regulate that activity.
CATO | The ObamaCare Decision: A Gift for Congress
Did you know that Congress passed a massive tax increase when they passed the Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. ObamaCare — in 2010? If you didn't, then you were not alone.
Washington Times | Obamacare and the death of liberty
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli put it best: “This is a dark day for the American people, the Constitution and the rule of law,” he said of the Supreme Court decision to let Obamacare stand as the law of the land. “This is a dark day for American liberty.”
CATO | A Taxing Decision
In upholding Obamacare as a tax, the Supreme Court, led by the politically astute Chief Justice Roberts, took the safest route around a thorny issue. Both sides, arguably, got something they want.

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Join the Fight to Repeal Obamacare
Like you, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision. The Court misread and rewrote Obamacare in order to save it. Such contortions are not the proper role of judging. Most Americans are with you and me and deeply dislike this law.
WSJ | It’s Still Sick, the Price of Medicine
Many health-care experts and users share that sentiment sung by the Psychedelic Furs. Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling does little to change the rising trajectory of health-care costs.
Heritage Foundation | Senate GOP Will Use Reconciliation in Attempt to Repeal Obamacare
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare’s health insurance mandate is in fact a tax levied on those who do not purchase insurance, Senate Republicans will look to repeal the full law through the budget reconciliation process.


Bloomberg | Credit Swaps in U.S. Fall as Euro Leaders Loosen Rescue Rules
A gauge of U.S. corporate debt risk fell the most in more than two weeks after European leaders agreed to relax rules on emergency loans for Spanish banks, reducing pressure on Spain and Italy’s bond yields.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fiscal Times | 7 Reasons the Fed Should Raise Interest Rates…
Easier money is what causes low interest rates and bringing down the rate of interest is the principal means by which the Federal Reserve eases monetary policy. So saying we need higher interest rates and easier money appears to be a contradiction in terms. However, there is method to my madness.

NY Times | Three More Governance Questions for the Fed
As a result of recent interactions with former officials and others who know the Fed intimately, I have three substantive governance concerns for the New York Fed that merit further discussion.
Calculated Risk | A QE Timeline
By request, here is an updated timeline of QE (and Twist operations)
WSJ | Fed’s Lockhart Open to Further Action if Economy Weakens
While he doesn’t think it’s going to be needed, the leader of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta remains open to the idea of further central bank stimulus if the economy weakens.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | ObamaCare and the Power to Tax
The provision challenged under the Constitution is either a penalty or else a tax. Of course in many cases what was a regulatory mandate enforced by a penalty could have been imposed as a tax upon permissible action; or what was imposed as a tax upon permissible action could have been a regulatory mandate enforced by a penalty.
Washington Times | The Obamacare tax
The Supreme Court affirmed on Thursday what the White House never wanted to hear: Obamacare constitutes the largest and most regressive tax in American history.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States
We analyze the effect of rising Chinese import competition between 1990 and 2007 on local U.S. labor markets, exploiting cross-market variation in import exposure stemming from initial differences in industry specialization while instrumenting for imports using changes in Chinese imports by industry to other high-income countries.

WSJ | Vital Signs: Jobless Claims Remain Elevated
Fewer Americans filed new claims for jobless benefits last week. The four-week moving average of first-time unemployment filings, which smooths out weekly volatility, fell slightly to 386,750, down 750 from a week earlier.


National Journal | Where Is Congress With Appropriations?
As of early summer, the House is a bit ahead of the Senate in passing its 12 annual major appropriations bills for fiscal year 2013. Will both chambers pass all 12 bills before the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30? Probably not

Financial Times | Myths and truths of the Baltic austerity model
Visiting Latvia on Thursday, Hillary Clinton praised the Baltic state for taking “very difficult” austerity measures that would ensure a “stable, prosperous future”.