Tuesday, July 10, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | It’s the best of times for U.S. corporations
Looking around in your neighborhood and around the world, you might get the idea that everyone is suffering from our hard times.
FOX News | Survey: Small business optimism sinks in June
The economy and uncertain political climate are taking a toll on small business owners' optimism, making them hesitant to expand.
CNN Money | Economic mobility: Who gets left behind
Most Americans make more than their parents did, but that doesn't mean they're all moving up the economic ladder.
Bloomberg | China’s Import Growth Misses Estimates for June
China’s imports rose less than anticipated in June, pushing the trade surplus to a three-year high and adding pressure on the government to support demand as the global economy slows.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | The Effect of Housing Wealth on College Choice: Evidence from the Housing Boom
The higher education system in the United States is characterized by a large degree of quality heterogeneity, and there is a growing literature suggesting students attending higher quality universities have better educational and labor market outcomes.
WSJ | The Entitlement State—and Zombies
The euro zone's troubles shouldn't be difficult to understand: Pair overspending governments with over-regulated economies and sooner or later the Continent was bound to lose the confidence of the markets.
Reason | Unthinkable, Predictable Disasters
You’d have to be willfully ignorant to be surprised by Greece’s potential exit from the common European currency.
WSJ | Pension Accounting for Dummies
The Government Accounting Standards Board has issued new rules that aim to crystallize government pension liabilities. It failed on that count, but it did succeed, albeit inadvertently, in making the case for defined-contribution plans.
Pew Charitable Trusts | Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations
The ideal that all Americans have equality of opportunity regardless of their economic status at birth is the crux of the American Dream and a defining element of our national psyche. This study investigates the health and status of that dream by analyzing economic mobility

National Review | All the Ways Businesses Get Special Treats from the Government
Business people love to say how much they cherish free markets, while decrying government interventions that limit entrepreneurship and personal freedom. But the truth is, business people when given a chance happily give up free-markets in exchange for cronyism.
Neighborhood Effects | Progressives and Libertarians Agree: Cronyism Stinks
Despite the ideological miles that separate them, activists in the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements agree on one thing: both condemn the recent bailouts of wealthy and well-connected banks.
National Review | Flip-Flopping: Krugman Edition
As it turns out, Paul Krugman has changed his mind a few times too. For instance, via Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution, I learn that there was a time when Paul Krugman was very alarmist about the level of unfunded liabilities and the illusion of fiscal health of this country.
AEI | A weak recovery with a weak foundation built on credit card debt
A big leap in credit card debt in May. It surged by $8.0 billion, the biggest one month gain since November 2007.

Health Care

National Journal | CBO: New Health Reform Price Tag Coming
Congress’s number crunchers will have a new price tag for the Democrats’ signature health reform law the week of July 23, the Congressional Budget Office announced on Monday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
USA Today | Can IRS manage to police taxes and health care law?
Can the Internal Revenue Service police President Obama's health care mandate while simultaneously collecting all the taxes for running the federal government?
Politico | Chris Christie: health care was ‘extortion’
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie labeled the Medicaid penalty in the Affordable Care Act “extortion,” saying that he was pleased the Supreme Court ruled against that kind of approach “even when done by the president of the United States.”
AEI | The Obamatax ensures extraordinarily expensive Obamacare
Don’t listen to what you’ve heard in the media — whether Obamacare’s individual mandate imposes a tax or a penalty does matter.  The Supreme Court says the mandate merely imposes a tax which citizens can lawfully choose to pay instead of purchasing health insurance; meaning that going without insurance will not be perceived as an unlawful violation of federal regulation. 

CATO | Repealing Obamacare Won’t Solve the Health Care Mess (but It’s a Good Start)
Working in the same building as Michael Cannon, I’ve learned that government-created third-party payer is a big problem with America’s healthcare system. Simply stated, people won’t be smart consumers and providers won’t compete to keep costs low when the vast majority of expenses are paid for either by government programs or by insurance companies.


Market Watch | Fed trio move closer to QE3
A trio of influential Federal Reserve officials on Monday sounded the alarm on the economy, and suggested that the central bank is close to starting another round of asset purchases.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | What's Wrong With the Federal Reserve?
By allowing its monetary policy to be influenced by elected politicians and market speculators, the Federal Reserve is putting its independence at risk. It is also neglecting basic economics, which was a great strength of its current chairman, Ben Bernanke.

Economist | Will the Fed rev the housing engine?
Last week, Reis, a real estate information service, released new data on apartment market conditions in America.


CNN Money | Economists: Extend Bush tax cuts
Economists want to see the Bush-era tax cuts extended, but are split on whether President Obama's proposal is the way to give the economy the biggest boost.
Politico | President Obama wields taxes as wedge
President Barack Obama launched his proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 per year with a quick caution — that it “really shouldn’t” renew talk of class warfare.
CNN Money | Middle class taxes may rise anyway
President Obama and Republicans battled Monday over a familiar dividing line: the Bush tax cuts.
Market Watch | Obama calls for extending middle-class tax cuts
It isn’t the time to raise taxes on the middle class when the nation’s economy remains “fragile” and “folks are digging themselves out of the hole that was created by this great recession,” Obama said in a brief statement at the White House.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | Obama’s Taxmageddon Tax Increase Would Hurt Job Creation
Pressure is building on President Obama and Congress to stop Taxmageddon, a $494 billion one-year tax increase that is poised to strike the economy on January 1, 2013.[1] After a considerable period of silence, President Obama finally entered the debate about Taxmageddon in a recent speech.
Washington Times | Obama’s high-tax pledge
In the wake of Friday’s disappointing Labor Department announcement that a measly 80,000 jobs were created last month, Mr. Obama said he wants to punish a million job creators with higher taxes. Such a counterproductive policy will only make the unemployment lines longer.
CNN Money | Trim your tax bill
To hang on to more of your money, give up less to the government.
WSJ | Off the Tax Cliff He Goes
So the 2013 tax cliff is a big enough economic problem that President Obama now wants to postpone it for some taxpayers. But it isn't so big that he's willing to curb his desire to raise taxes on tens of thousands of job-creating businesses.
Washington Times | Rise of the global tax collectors
The Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to tax Americans at the federal level. Yet Congress continues to give away this most fundamental responsibility to international organizations, the most dangerous of which is the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
CATO | Would a Financial Transaction Tax Affect Financial Market Activity? Insights from Futures Markets
In the wake of the recent financial crisis, several commentators have suggested a transaction tax on financial markets. The potential consequences of such a tax could be hazardous to the financial markets affected as well as to the economy.

Daily Finance | Here's a Corporate Tax Loophole a Porsche Could Drive Through
For years, much of the tax-paying American public has been appalled by the loopholes that U.S. corporations and rich individuals use to reduce their tax liability to the IRS.


WSJ | Mayor Cuts Workers' Pay to Minimum Wage
Unions representing city workers in Scranton, Pa., plan to ask a county judge to hold the mayor in contempt of court after he cut the pay of almost 400 municipal employees—including himself—to the state's minimum wage, saying the city can't pay the full salaries.
Washington Times | Euro joblessness hits its youth
Irene Fernandez lost her job with Spain’s postal service five months ago, a victim of government spending cuts. Since then, she’s been getting by on spending money from her mother and the $530 a month she earns grooming dogs for neighbors. Miss Fernandez, 24, has had one job interview.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Investors | Net Job Losses Under Obama Have Been Devastating
One of the reasons for the popularity of political rhetoric is that everybody can be right, in terms of their own rhetoric, no matter how much the rhetoric of one side contradicts the rhetoric of the other side.

WSJ | Hidden Good News in Bad Jobs Report
If the global economy holds up and the U.S. avoids any new storm clouds — fiscal cliff, anyone? — there’s at least some reason to think the job market has a foundation to build on.
CATO | Unemployment Benefits Overpayments
Citing Department of Labor data, CNNMoney reported today that the federal government and states overpaid an estimated $14 billion in unemployment benefits last year (about 11 percent of total benefits).
Café Hayek | What has happened to public employment?
In this week’s EconTalk episode with Joseph Stiglitz, he claims that public sector employment has fallen by 1 million since either 2007 or 2008. I expressed skepticism and said I would find a source to check if the claim is true.


WSJ | Euro Zone Eases Budget Demand on Spain
Euro-zone finance ministers meeting here Monday gave Spain an extra year to bring its budget deficit back in line with the bloc's rules and promised €30 billion would be available by the end of July to start a big bailout of the country's banks
FOX News | Americans step up credit card use sharply in May
Americans put more on their credit cards in May than in any single month since November 2007, one month before the Great Recession began.
Bloomberg | Democrats to Risk Fiscal Cliff by Targeting Top Earners
Congressional Democrats have developed a get-tough strategy to try to force Republicans to go along with President Barack Obama’s call for higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Fiscal Cliff: A Hard Landing Becomes More Likely
There is hardly an optimist so bold as to predict that the Congress and the President can make any real progress on our fiscal problems before the election. Both parties and all candidates in the 2012 elections are in their full campaign modes now.

AEI | Not only did Obama ignore Simpson-Bowles, but now he’s doing the opposite of what they recommended
Once upon a time, President Obama created a debt reduction panel. And here is what the report of his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — a.k.a Simpson-Bowles — recommended on tax reform