Monday, August 6, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | Bernanke:Economists should focus on well-being
Economists should find better ways to measure the life satisfaction of citizens, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday.
WSJ | European Consumers Tighten Their Belts
As countries across Europe slash their budgets to tackle the sovereign-debt crisis, individual Europeans are reining in spending, too. They are trading down to cheaper groceries, buying fewer big-ticket items, and searching more for bargains online.
Market Watch | The less productive U.S. economy
After a brief pick-up due to “overfiring,” the trend in productivity is heading in one direction: down.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | Stop rigging system against small business
I stood before a group of voters in Massachusetts last year and talked about what it would take to move forward as a nation. I laid out how we all needed to invest in our country, to build a strong foundation for our families today and make sure the next kid with the great idea has the chance to succeed.
Market Watch | Shilling: New recession has begun
After a rocky spring, we’ve had two consecutive months of gains in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
AEI | Capitalism (It's not a dirty word)
Everything else the government does inherently restricts economic freedom to act in pursuit of earned success. I am a libertarian and think that almost none of those restrictions are justified. But accepting the case for capitalism doesn’t require you to be a libertarian.
Washingotn Times | Regulatory tidal wave is swamping small business
The U.S. economy is teetering between progress and regression. As businesses work to overcome staggering odds, many of which are imposed by Washington, each step forward seems to be met by two in the opposite direction.
Washington Post | The social and economic reasons for Generation Squeezed
I worry about the future — not mine but that of my three children, all in their 20s. It is an axiom of American folklore that every generation should live better than its predecessors.
Bloomberg | Bernanke Says Economic Data May Mask Individual Suffering
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said gauges of the U.S. economy’s strength may fail to measure the suffering of individual citizens.

Economist | The end of deep development
It is amazing how quickly prevailing views of the challenge of economic development have changed. As recently as the 1990s, catch-up economic growth was widely seen as really difficult to achieve, at least on any sustained basis.
Library of Economics | Spending, Comparative Advantage, and Unemployment
Idle unemployment is a problem in societies that are highly productive but very unequal. Here basic goods (food, clothing) can be produced efficiently by the wealthy via capital-intensive production processes.
Reason Foundation | Picking Apart Krugman's Ridiculous Housing Op-Ed
Today's post "Debt, Depression, DeMarco" is so ridiculous that I can't just go on. So I'm going to break down all of the manipulations and inaccuracies point by point, for my own mental relief if anything else. I will include every line of his post so nothing is taken out of context. 
Calculated Risk | Gasoline Prices up 20 cents over last 5 weeks
The following graph shows the recent increase in gasoline prices. Gasoline prices are down from the peak in early April, but up about 20 cents over the last five weeks.
Library of Economics | Getting Rich in America
Sometimes, when the person beside me on an airplane finds out that I'm an economist, he/she will ask, "What's going to happen to the economy?" I answer, "I don't know." If the person is somewhat more sophisticated, he will ask "What's going to happen to interest rates?" I used to answer, "I don't know." I now answer: "They'll fluctuate."
Economist | Japan's tragedy, cont.
Over longer periods of time, exchange rates should adjust to equalise the cost, across markets, of traded goods. I'm suggesting, rather, that the unusual behaviour of exchange rates during the recent crisis has distorted recent measures of nominal GDP per capita, and that it's therefore very misleading to take as one's reference point (as Mr Smith does), the 2011 value of Japanese GDP per capita.

Health Care

National Journal | Managed Medicaid Plans No Panacea for States
As Medicaid becomes a greater burden on budgets, many states are looking to turn their programs over to private insurance companies. But in order to be successful, experts warn that doesn’t mean states can disengage from keeping a close watch on their programs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | 'Obamacare' ends don't justify means
A thread of deception runs through the entire “Obamacare” experience. Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama campaigned against the individual mandate and promised to put the legislative negotiations on C-SPAN.
NBER | Moral Hazard and Claims Deterrence in Private Disability Insurance
We provide a detailed analysis of the incidence, duration and determinants of claims made on private Long Term Disability (LTD) policies using a database of approximately 10,000 policies and 1 million workers from a major LTD insurer.


NY Times | Two Central Banks and the Sound of Silence
When is no news big news? When central bankers, confronted by a crisis in this post-Lehman world, convene and take no action.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Much ado about monetary policy
The economy continues to drag, and policymakers refuse to do what it takes to restore prosperity. The official unemployment number climbed to 8.3 percent, and the broadest measure of joblessness, known as the U6, increased to 15 percent for July. Economic growth is stalled at 1.5 percent.

Library of Economics | Fed Forecasting Errors
The 3-to-4 percent recovery growth we've been long promising will come out tomorrow, the FOMC basically says every quarterly meeting. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be lower unemployment.


Politico | Graham calls Obama's tax plan 'stupid'
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is a big fan of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson debt-cutting plan, but President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans is plain “stupid.”


CNN Money | Michigan to lay off 400 unemployment workers
Many jobless claims workers in the state of Michigan will soon be filing for unemployment themselves.
Washington Post | Wait, the U.S. economy actually lost 1.2 million jobs in July?
The U.S. economy lost 1.2 million jobs between June and July. But that’s not how it got reported. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its jobs figures for July, it said the economy gained 163,000 jobs. So what gives?
CNN Money | Obama closer to breaking even on jobs
Is President Obama a job creator? Not yet. But he might be by Election Day.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Employment-trends gauge increases in July
A gauge of employment trends ticked higher in July, signaling that jobs growth may continue during the next few months, but at a slow rate, according to a monthly labor-market report released Monday by the Conference Board.

Mercatus | Former BLS Commissioner Keith Hall Breaks Down the Latest Job Numbers
In July, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 percent,  and there was a welcome, though modest, increase in job growth. After averaging just 73,000 jobs per month in the third quarter, there were 163,000 new jobs.
CATO | Jobless Rate Climbs to 8.3 Percent, Creating More Anxiety for Obama and the Left
Can we finally all agree that Keynesian economics is a flop? The politicians in Washington flushed about $800 billion down the toilet and we got nothing in exchange except for anemic growth and lots of people out of work.


CNN Money | Fiscal cliff: What's really in it
If lawmakers cannot agree on how to address the pending "fiscal cliff," $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts will begin to go into effect in January.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Arthur Laffer: The Real 'Stimulus' Record
Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.
CBO | Status of Discretionary Appropriations: FY 2013 Senate
Estimates of discretionary budget authority and outlays for fiscal year 2013.

CATO | $800 Billion Stimulus? I Wish
Cato scholars aspire to high standards for accuracy and analysis. Because of that, I feel obligated to note an error in Dan Mitchell’s recent post on the ongoing failure of Washington’s economic stimulus efforts.