Monday, July 2, 2012

General Economics

FOX News | US manufacturing shrinks for first time in 3 years
U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years, a troubling sign as evidence builds that economic growth is slowing.
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Manufacturing Contracted for 11th Month in June
Euro-area manufacturing output contracted for an 11th straight month in June as Europe’s debt crisis sapped demand across the continent.
CNBC | US Small Business Lending Jumps in May
Lending to small U.S. businesses rose in May to its highest level this year, a sign of stronger economic growth ahead even as other data suggest fragility, a report showed on Monday.
FOX News | Congress passes student loans, highway jobs bill
Congress emphatically approved legislation Friday preserving jobs on transportation projects from coast to coast and avoiding interest rate increases on new loans to millions of college students, giving lawmakers campaign-season bragging rights on what may be their biggest economic achievement before the November elections.
CNN Money | Chinese manufacturing continues to slump
The National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing said Sunday morning that the China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for June fell to 50.2 from 50.4 in May. Any reading below 50 signals contraction in the manufacturing sector.
Bloomberg | China’s Manufacturing Growth Weakens as New Orders Drop
Chinese manufacturing indexes slipped to seven-month lows as overseas orders dropped, and South Korea cut its estimate for exports this year, underscoring risks to Asian economies from Europe’s debt crisis.
FOX News | US construction spending rose 0.9 percent in May
A surge in homebuilding pushed U.S. construction spending up by the largest amount in five months, the latest indication that the housing sector is slowly recovering.
WSJ | Banks Face Foreclosure Regulation by States
States across the country are proposing a range of new rules that would make it more difficult for banks to foreclose on troubled homeowners.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Opposing view: Don't rely on refinancing
The Federal Reserve continues its efforts to lower interest rates and the administration keeps expanding mortgage refinance programs, all in an effort to promote more lending. One result has been 14 million residential refinances since 2009.
WSJ | Merkel: Just Say Nein to Eurobonds
The European financial crisis has created an unusual mix of allies. Politicians, hedge fund managers, liberal pundits and the financial press are determined to convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel that economic salvation requires the European Central Bank to issue eurobonds.
Hillsdale News | Federal Student Aid and the Law of Unintended Consequences  
Federal student financial assistance programs are costly, inefficient, byzantine, and fail to serve their desired objectives. In a word, they are dysfunctional, among the worst of many bad federal programs.
Washington Times | The pension bubble
As if the housing market collapse and European debt crisis weren’t bad enough, another fiscal disaster looms on the horizon. New rules adopted last week by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) clarify the depth of mismanagement of state and local government pension programs. When the bills come due, it’s going to be very, very expensive.
WSJ | Obama and 'The Wealth of Nations'
President Obama should put Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" at the top of his summer reading list. This was clear after listening to his 54-minute list of economic excuses and policy proposals delivered earlier this month on the campus of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.

WSJ | Economists React: ISM Indicates ‘Economy Is Going Nowhere’
Economists and others weigh in on the unexpected contraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
Heritage Foundation | Chart of the Week: Household Income Soars In Energy-Producing States
North Dakota: More Jobs and Better-Paying Jobs
Econ Matters | Crude Oil Market: A Perfect Bear Storm Despite the Euro Pop
Crude oil prices, along with world stocks, surged on Friday after euro zone leaders reached an accord on directly recapitalizing regional banks as well as measures to cut soaring borrowing costs in Italy and Spain.

Health Care

National Journal | Boehner: Health Care Law Must Be 'Ripped Out By Its Roots'
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pledged a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act on Sunday, saying that it should be "ripped out by its roots" and that Republicans were unwilling to work with and revise the current law.
Politico | Medicaid ruling could give red states more bargaining power
The Supreme Court ruling left the Democratic health care law intact — but it also left Republicans in a stronger bargaining position when it comes to Medicaid.
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.
Politico | Time for real health care reform
Many are saying that the Supreme Court showed judicial restraint Thursday in its ruling on the Affordable Care Act. But the opposite is true—at least in one critical respect.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | GOP's New Health-Law Front
Republicans are planning to use the main component of the Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama's health-care law as a weapon to try to repeal it.


USA Today | Why a 3.66% interest rate is failing to stimulate
Mortgage rates have hit historic lows in seven of the past eight weeks. Last week, the average rate on a 30-year fixed was 3.66%, a level not seen since record keeping began in the 1950s. It's enough to evoke some electronics superstore huckster: Prices so low they are insane!

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Kim Says World Bank’s First Priority Is to Aid Growth
Jim Yong Kim, who took over as World Bank president yesterday, said his first task will be to help emerging markets keep expanding at a time of stress for the world economy.
Forbes | Golden Rule for Prosperity
Policymakers, economists, investors—everyone—should read and reread Gold: The Once and Future Money by Nathan Lewis (John Wiley & Sons, $27.95). It’s worth its weight in gold—and then some.

WSJ | Could ECB Rate Cut Boost Euro?
If the European Central Bank cuts interest rates at its Thursday meeting, it won’t necessarily weaken the euro, says Mike Moran at Standard Chartered.


Bloomberg | Chesapeake’s 1% Tax Rate Shows Cost of Drilling Subsidy
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) made $5.5 billion in pretax profits since its founding more than two decades ago. So far, the second-largest U.S. natural-gas producer has paid income taxes on almost none of it.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Court’s awful ruling taxes our patients
When is a tax not a tax? Answer: When you’re busy pushing a major expansion of government like Obamacare. The tax that is not a tax becomes a “penalty” or a “shared responsibility payment” in the text of the bill. In campaign lingo, it becomes an “investment.”

Economic Policy Journal | Obamacare: 21 New or Higher Taxes
Ryan Ellis puts together some important data on the tax impact of Obamacare
Economist | Obama’s life-threatening allergy
Grover Norquist is fond of saying Americans can choose from two brands of political party. The Republican brand won’t raise your taxes, the Democratic brand will. This is actually only half right. Neither party has much appetite for raising taxes.


Bloomberg | Euro-Area Unemployment Climbs to Record on Spanish Cuts
Euro-area unemployment reached the highest on record as a deepening economic slump and budget cuts prompted companies from Spain to Italy to reduce their workforces.
FOX News | Officials: Ala. Airbus plant will employ 1,000
Airbus's planned aircraft assembly plant in Alabama will cost $600 million to build and will employ 1,000 people when it reaches full production, officials said ahead of a formal announcement Monday.
NY Times | Financial Giants Are Moving Jobs Off Wall Street
New York’s biggest investment houses are shifting jobs out of the area and expanding in cheaper locales in the United States, threatening the vast middle tier of positions that form the backbone of employment on Wall Street.


CNBC | Fiscal Cliff Can and Will Be Resolved: Alan Greenspan
There's a lack of discussion in Congress about the fiscal cliff but it's a problem that can and will be resolved, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in an interview on CNBC.