Friday, July 27, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage: 3.49 pct., new record
The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell again, this time dropping below 3.50 percent for the first time on records dating back 60 years.
WSJ | Aircraft Orders Push Up Durable Goods
Orders for long-lasting goods rose in June as aircraft sales surged, though falling demand elsewhere offers the latest sign of a slowing recovery.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Sorry Mr. President, Your Economic Plan Didn't Work
President Obama tells a group of donors that "we tried our" economic plan "and it worked." Even in politics, where exaggeration is a way of life, that statement stands out as a lie for the ages.
Real Clear Markets | Large Business Vs. Small: The Ongoing Debate
Last week, Jared Bernstein wrote a good post on the differences in job gains between small and large firms. This is a perpetual debate that gets unfortunately (and inevitably) wrapped up in political persuasion, paeans to the virtues of small business, hostility toward big business, and arguments over "good" and "bad" jobs. All of this is further compounded by statistical confusion.
WSJ | New York's Charter Schools Get an A+
During the eight years I served as chancellor of New York City's public schools, the naysayers and the apologists for the status quo kept telling me "we'll never fix education in America until we fix poverty."

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Calculated Risk | Real GDP increased 1.5% annual rate in Q2
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012
Keith Hennessey | The policy consequences of “you didn’t build that”
“You didn’t build that,” and “You didn’t get there on your own,” and “blessed” and “fortunate” have one thing in common.  They deemphasize the idea that success is earned.  This makes it easier for President Obama to justify taking more from those who have succeeded.
Café Hayek | The worst part of Dodd-Frank
The illuminating part is that TWO YEARS after Dodd-Frank passed, its provisions are not completely specified. Frank resents the claim that it’s not even half done, but that’s quibbling.

Health Care

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Obamacare Taxes Now Estimated to Cost $1 Trillion Over 10 Years
This week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) updated their estimates of the tax increases embedded in Obamacare, i.e. the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Turns out it’s not so affordable. 

Monetary

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Taking the L-I-E Out of Libor
The recent revelations by Barclays Plc (BARC) probably spell doom for the London interbank offered rate, at least in its present form.
WSJ | Geithner's 'Best Rate Available'
Timothy Geithner sure does lead a charmed life. As a powerful regulator throughout the financial crisis and its aftermath, he gets to blame every mistake or scandal on the evil bankers while claiming he was hot on their case all along.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
John Taylor | Benefits of More Fed “Action” Do Not Exceed Costs
The Fed has engaged in extraordinarily loose monetary policy, including two round s of so-called quantitative easing. These large scale purchases of mortgages and Treasury debt were aimed at lifting the value of those securities, thereby bringing down interest rates. I believe quantitative easing has been ineffective at best, and potentially harmful.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
Daily Finance | 10 Everyday Items That Cost You Way More Thanks to U.S. Import Taxes
It might be said that America is a country built on tariffs. In 1790, Alexander Hamilton proposed The Act Laying Duties on Imports, which suggested imported goods should be more expensive to protect American industries.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Grasping at Straws
Paul Krugman has challenged us once again on the veracity of our analysis, this time regarding income inequality
Tax Foundation | Foreign Policy Mag Swings Twice, Misses Twice on Territorial Taxation
In two recent posts on the Foreign Policy blog, Clyde Prestowitz has come down hard against territorial taxation. On Monday, he argued that territorial treatment of foreign business income would result in greater levels of tax avoidance and shifting of profits into tax havens. As evidence of its failure, he claimed that the European Union is moving away from territorial taxation with its Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base plan.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Applications for unemployment aid has biggest drop in 2 years
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 35,000 last week, a figure that may have been distorted by seasonal factors.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Political Calculations | New Jobless Claims: Initial Confirmation of Our Hypothesis
Do high gasoline prices affect the number of layoffs in the United States?
WSJ | Jobless Claims Still Too Cloudy to Draw Conclusions
Whoa! Hold your horses, stock investors. Thursday’s encouraging unemployment-benefit claim figures might bode well for the job market, but it’s too early to tell whether they’re believable.
Coordination Problem | Crony Capitalism and Government Jobs Programs
I have a few thoughts on the topic, with special reference to Solyndra, over at Liberty Fund's Library of Law and Liberty.

Budget

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Avoiding Another Shutdown
Republican leaders in Congress haven't done very well negotiating on the budget, and now a new threat looms: a showdown in the fall, before Election Day, that could force Republicans to choose between more spending and higher taxes or the risk of a government shutdown.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | U.S. Probably Won’t Have to Raise Debt Ceiling This Year
A senior Treasury Department official Thursday said Congress probably won’t have to raise the country’s debt limit this year, giving lawmakers some breathing room to hash out a solution after the upcoming election.