Thursday, July 19, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Manufacturing in Philadelphia Area Falls for Third Month
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region shrank for the third consecutive month as new orders and employment declined.
Market Watch | Leading economic index falls 0.3% in June
The index of leading economic indicators fell 0.3% in June to 95.6, mostly reversing the increase in May, the Conference Board reported Thursday.
Bloomberg | Americans Hold Dimmest View on Economic Outlook Since January
The most Americans in six months said the economy in July was getting worse, indicating the slowdown in hiring is dimming moods as the third quarter begins.
WSJ | Housing Stirs, but Economy Slows
A report Wednesday showed builders broke ground for more new homes in June than in any month in nearly four years. But the upturn comes as several other pockets of relative strength for the economy have wavered. Consumer spending is sputtering, manufacturing growth has slowed, and businesses have grown cautious about splurging on new machines and computers.
Market Watch | More Fed districts report slowdown: Beige Book
The U.S. grew at a “modest to moderate” pace over the last month and a half as more districts are reporting slowing growth, according to the latest survey of anecdotes on the economy released by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.
CNN Money | U.S. missing out on Arctic land grab
There's an international race to divvy up the Arctic Ocean's oil and mineral bounty, but the United States could lose out on a big chunk of it because it hasn't signed a United Nations treaty governing the area.
WSJ | Spain Economy Shows More Strains
Spain's housing and banking sectors deteriorated further, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest indication that the country's economy is in a protracted recession.
Market Watch | Sales of existing homes drop 5.4% in June
Sales of existing homes in June fell to the slowest pace since October, a decline that goes against the grain of more positive indicators from the housing market and one which a trade group on Thursday blamed on foreclosure delays and tough mortgage availability.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | Closing America’s opportunity gap
Important ideological differences divide Republicans and Democrats on many issues, but there is one tenet of American life that should prompt bipartisan action: ensuring that all people — regardless of class, race, ethnicity, gender or ZIP code — have opportunities to rise as far as talent and hard work can take them.
Real Clear Markets | Americans Resort to Plastic Safety Nets
Americans are starting to borrow once again, they're doing so at an unexpectedly high level, but it's for all the wrong reasons.
Politico | Obama encouraging Americans to get on welfare
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week issued an order giving the Obama administration greater authority to waive work requirements included in the 1998 welfare reform law. This comes on top of a new ad campaign, using Spanish-language soap operas, to encourage more Latinos to sign up for food stamps.
Forbes | You're Wrong President Obama, Howard Johnson Built His Business
Over the weekend, President Obama sent a message to all American entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs. The message was, “Nothing special about you!”
Real Clear Markets | The War On Women Is an Economic Outrage
When the press writes about the "war on women," they generally mean the unavailability of free contraceptive services and denial of access to abortions. Or, they discuss pay equity, or discrimination in hiring and promotion.
Atlantic | The $5 Trillion Stash: US Corporations' Money Hoard Is Bigger Than the GDP of Germany
You can't blame corporations for wanting a security blanket during the past few years, what with the world economy always seeming one more pointless Congressional showdown or odd European election away from catastrophe. But as Reuters' David Cay Johnston points out this week, American companies may be hoarding more cash than most of us had previously realized -- about $5 trillion worth, as of 2009. 
Daily Caller | The remarkable story of Chile’s economic renaissance
Thirty years ago, Chile was a basket case. A socialist government in the 1970s had crippled the economy and destabilized society, leading to civil unrest and a military coup. Given the dismal situation, it’s no surprise that Chile’s economy was moribund and other Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina, had about twice as much per-capita economic output.
Real Clear Markets | Are Pollution Controls Worth Their Costs?
A recent wave of government regulations mandates the energy efficiency levels of a wide range of consumer and business products, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles, clothes dryers, air conditioners, and light bulbs.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Family Fact of the Week: How Welfare Reform Helped Families
The best anti-poverty program is a job. That was the mantra of the 1996 welfare reform, which changed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program into the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, for the first time requiring able-bodied welfare recipients to work or prepare for work in order to receive government assistance.
Political Calculations | Barack Obama: Crony Capitalist in Chief? Part 1
President Obama opened a controversy when he made the following comments during a campaign stop at a fire station in Roanoke, Virginia
Library of Economics | Markets Don't Ration
I am one of those economists who has often claimed "where there is scarcity there must be rationing and that the most efficient way to ration is by price." But Sheldon Richman's article has talked me out of that on both grounds: it is factually wrong and strategically ill-advised.
Calculated Risk | Housing Starts increased to 760 thousand in June, Highest since October 2008
Privately-owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000. This is 6.9 percent above the revised May estimate of 711,000 and is 23.6 percent above the June 2011 rate of 615,000.
The Hill | Rep. Black: Obama shows he's 'clueless' on job creation with 'you didn't build that' remark
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) called President Obama "clueless" on Wednesday morning for his weekend suggestion that people who started their own businesses "didn't build that," and instead had help from others.
Daily Finance | Double-Dip Recession Hits Eurozone as Crisis Clouds Swirl
The eurozone has sunk back into its second recession since 2009, a Reuters poll predicted on Thursday, as the debt crisis that has ravaged the continent for over two years continues to stifle growth.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Seniors Prefer Medicare to Private Plans, Study Says
Seniors enrolled in the traditional Medicare program were happier and spent less out-of-pocket than their peers who chose private Medicare Advantage plans, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs. 
National Journal | Republicans Approve Bill to Gut Spending on Health Law
House Republicans on Wednesday backed a health care spending bill that cuts all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an agency focused on improving health quality, and Democrats’ signature health reform law, sending the legislation to full committee.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Side Effects: Unlawful Use of $8.3 Billion in Taxpayer Dollars?
Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius raising questions over her legal authority to spend $8.3 billion on a quality bonus payment demonstration for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Bernanke Defends Fed Policies, Remains Cautious
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers Wednesday it was "certainly possible" that the central bank could take new steps to support the economic recovery if the jobs market doesn't show gains.
Bloomberg | Libor Reported as Rigged in ’08 Proving 2012’s Revelation
Barclays Plc’s admission that it rigged the London interbank offered rate shows regulators, central bankers and politicians weren’t paying attention when everyone from Citigroup Inc. to the Bank for International Settlements indicated that the measure was being manipulated.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | Ron Paul, fed up with trying to end the Fed
Ron Paul ran for president three times, served nearly a quarter-century in Congress, spawned a national movement and saw his son elected to the Senate.
WSJ | There Is No 'Euro Crisis'
Contrary to what is claimed daily in the media by politicians and many economists, there is no "euro crisis." The single currency doesn't have to be "saved" or else explode.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Minyanville | Bernanke and Fed Options
Many observers continue to clamor for a new round of asset purchases from the Federal Reserve. They were disappointed when the FOMC statement and press conference after last months meeting failed to provide fresh clues. They were disappointed again with the minutes from that meeting. They were disappointed again yesterday when Fed Chairman Bernanke did not play up the likelihood of QE3.
WSJ | Oops: What Bernanke Said Five Years Ago Today
Five years ago, July 18, 2007, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee as he is today. The housing bubble was bursting, cracks in the global financial system were just beginning to appear, but Bernanke didn’t sound terribly worried or prescient.

Taxes

Blogs                                                                                                                             
FOX Business | Why You Shouldn’t be Scared of the Tax Man
You hear stories all the time: from neighbors, friends of friends, and even celebrities getting caught up with the taxman for underreporting, not reporting or inaccurate reporting on their tax returns.
Tax Foundation | Size Matters - Why "Just" Taxing 3% of Small Businesses is Misleading
President Obama has recently called for letting the Bush tax cuts expire on families more than $250,000 a year (and individuals making over $200,000).  This tax increase will affect many businesses that file under the personal income tax code rather than as C corporations – what are known as “pass-through” businesses because the profits pass through to the owners. 
AEI | Revisiting Warren Buffett’s tax claims and proposal to raise taxes on the coddled ‘super-rich’
Bottom Line: Buffett’s anecdotal “evidence” that the federal tax system is regressive (his secretary and lower-paid employees pay a higher federal tax rate than he does) is not typical and can be dismissed as a special case or a miscalculation.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Olympic Jobs Boost U.K.
U.K. unemployment fell for a fourth straight month in the three months to May, likely due to a temporary boost in employment due to the approaching Olympic Games, data showed Wednesday.
Washington Times | Widespread layoffs loom before Election Day
As the debate about sequestration boils over, the window is fast closing for the congressional action needed to avert across-the-board defense industry layoffs. Time is simply running out for Congress to stave off this blow to the economy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Are minimum wages fair?
In response to a budget shortfall, the mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania cut the pay for some 400 city employees to the federal minimum wage, promising to restore their pay once city finances have stabilized. Unions representing police, firemen, garbage collectors - among others - have filed a lawsuit in response.
Fortune | The silent job killer: Our unemployment system
The unemployment benefits system was built on a combination of wishful thinking, generosity, and skimpy funding during good times. Today, it's likely impeding job growth.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Would Territorial Taxation Create 800,000 Jobs Abroad at the Expense of U.S. Jobs?
Jake Tapper reports that President Obama will attack Mitt Romney for the Republican challenger’s support of territorial taxation. This appears to be sparked by a new study appearing in today’s Tax Notes publication, in which Professor Kimberly Clausing calculates that a territorial system would increase employment in low-tax countries by 800,000 workers.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
NY Times | South Carolina Governor’s Budget Ax Is Blunted by Legislators
Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina has marched through the new state budget, cutting spending on teachers’ salaries, the arts, rape crisis centers and even a program to control head lice.
CNN Money | Bowles and Simpson: Still pushing boulder up the Hill
A new campaign launched Tuesday aims to create public support for lawmakers who have been too afraid to back a bipartisan debt-reduction plan.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Economist | Pointless, painful uncertainty
Everyone agrees uncertainty is bad for the economy. But doing something with this observation is seriously hampered by the fact that uncertainty is almost impossible to define and measure. 
Heritage Foundation | Obama Misses Budget Deadline—Again
President Obama seems to view budget deadlines as mere suggestions. During his term, Obama has missed all but one deadline to deliver his annual budget and midsession review. This week marks another year in which the President missed both deadlines.