Wednesday, August 8, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Washington Times | Freddie Mac posts profit, doesn’t request extra aid
Government-controlled mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted net income of $1.2 billion for the second quarter and isn’t requesting any additional federal aid for the period.
National Journal | 'Dream Act' Deferrals Could Top 1.7 Million
The Obama administration’s program to defer deportations for undocumented youths could encompass 1.76 million people, according to estimates released on Tuesday by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank.
CNN Money | Calls to scrap ethanol mandate intensify with drought
The drought that's killing crops across the Midwest and sending corn prices to record highs has revived calls to end or ease the government's requirement that corn-based ethanol be blended with gasoline.
WSJ | Europe's Output Slumps
Industrial output in the euro zone showed worrying signs of retreat in June, with Spanish production declining for its 10th straight month and German output weakening even more than economists had expected, according to official figures released Wednesday.
CNN Money | Real recovery in home prices not expected until spring
Even though home prices are rebounding in some parts of the country, the overall housing market won't start turning the corner until next spring, according to the latest forecast based on the Fiserv Case-Shiller indices.
Washington Times | U.S. worker productivity up 1.6 percent in 2nd quarter
U.S. companies got slightly more out of their workers this spring after scaling back on hiring. The modest 1.6 percent annualized gain in productivity from April through June signals that employers may need to hire more if demand picks up.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Economic Effects of Reductions in Defense Outlays
This study examines the prospective economic effects of a reduction below the current baseline in defense outlays of $100 billion per year over 10 years.
Politico | Baby boomers' economic anxiety
The first Friday of every month, the election frame is adjusted based on the latest jobs report. This intense focus, however, gives us a picture that is incomplete. We need a broader lens.
Fortune | Business's real problem: Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty
It's hard for corporate chiefs to plan for the future when they're waiting for a closetful of shoes to drop.
Washington Times | Higher grocery bills knock American families lower
President Obama is busy attempting to make this election about small things and ridiculous distractions, but no matter what, Americans cannot escape the harsh realities of the Obama economy. Even a trip to the grocery store has become more difficult for struggling families.
WSJ | Defense vs. Food Stamps—What Would You Choose?
Washington is battling these days over "sequestration," the $500 billion additional cut to the defense budget looming in January. The White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill insist that intransigent Republicans are risking cuts that no one wants. This is a charade.
Washington Times | Monumental waste
Government waste is so prevalent that it rarely comes as a surprise. Bureaucrats partying at public expense, inefficient labor-union contracts and massive cost overruns are the natural consequence of giving civil servants the ability to spend money earned by others.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Obama's welfare-to-work firestorm
The Republican challenger Tuesday launched a new ad charging Obama with gutting the landmark 1996 welfare reform law that requires recipients to work to receive benefits. It's another step in Romney's strategy to paint Obama as the entitlement president.
Calculated Risk | The economic impact of a slight increase in house prices
If I’m correct about house prices bottoming earlier this year – and the CoreLogic report released this morning is another indicator that prices might be increasing a little - a key question is: What will be the economic impact of slightly increasing house prices?
Heritage Foundation | U.S. Welfare System Fails to Support Work
Last Monday in The Washington Post, Charles Lane drew attention to the need for getting work incentives right in federal policy. “The Americans with Disabilities Act…enshrines the notion that every American can and should hold a job,” he pointed out, but the Social Security Disability Insurance “creates a quasi-right not to work.”
Library of Economics | Austro-Keynesianism
About four years ago, I described myself as an Austro-Keynesian. Recently, I have been asked about that concept.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Survey: Three in 10 Doctors Snub Medicaid Patients
The study finds that doctors are much more reluctant to accept Medicaid patients than patients with Medicare or private insurance, a trend that appears to be related to the comparatively low pay-rates that Medicaid offers physicians.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | ObamaCare's Phony Deficit Reduction
Defenders of President Obama's health law are flaunting a Congressional Budget Office claim that overturning the law would worsen the federal deficit. Repeal, said a CBO report late last month, would cancel $890 billion in new entitlement spending but eliminate revenues of even greater magnitude.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Bernanke: Fed not influenced by politics
Lawmakers in Washington can bicker all they want about what policy decisions the Federal Reserve should make, but they’re only wasting their time and energy, according to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | LIBOR Rigging Scandal: No New Laws Are Necessary
As the evidence mounts about the scope of efforts to rig the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a significant financial index, the predictable calls for new laws and even a radical restructuring of major segments of the financial services industry are coming from both the U.S. and Europe.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Economist | The Fed on the ballot
We would all like very much to pretend that central banks aren't influenced by politics, that election campaigns aren't largely driven by economic conditions, and that there aren't worrisome incentives embedded in the interaction between economic policymaking and campaigns. But we must take the world as it is and not as we would like it to be.
Coordination Problem | Richard Ebeling on Monetary Freedom
On August 2nd, 2012, Richard Ebeling presented testimony to the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology --- Sound Money, Monetary Freedom, and the Government.  In this context, Ebeling offers a suggested roadmap to a regime on monetary freedom.
WSJ | Fed’s Fisher Argues Against Further Stimulus
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher on Wednesday continued making his case against further monetary easing, saying the central bank has done what it can to stimulate the economy, and repeated his call for Congress to provide incentives for growth through fiscal and regulatory reforms.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Online Sales Tax Is a Money Grab by Politicians
The debate over the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act is not about a level playing field. It is an attempt by politicians to grab more tax revenue to facilitate bigger government.

Employment

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | For real jobs plan, empower govs
Mitt Romney has now released his five-point jobs plan, boasting that he’ll create 12 million jobs in his first term. He listed “energy independence” as the top strategy. You’ll be shocked — shocked! — to learn that renewable energy is not part of his plan. It’s all about drilling.
Washington Times | Three solutions for creating jobs
Our data consistently shows that the revenues of private companies are up, their profits are up and their margins are up. In addition, gross domestic product is growing, though slowly, inflation is under control and interest rates are as low as they can be. Yet job growth remains nil to lackluster.
CNBC | Who Creates Jobs? How Economists See the Obama-Romney Debate
The answer isn't a simple one, many economists say — especially in the current climate of employment malaise.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Mercatus | How Many Jobs Gained During a Presidential Tenure?
Polls show over and over again that jobs are a major concern for Americans. While presidents don’t create jobs, their policies can influence the direction of the economy.
FOX Business | The Real Jobs Number to Worry About
It was hard to drum up excitement over Friday's jobs report. Nobody seemed too excited that the jobless rate had risen. Congress had already left for a five-week summer vacation. 

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | ECB’s Rescue Worsens Spain, Italy Maturity Crunch: Euro Credit
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s bid to bring down Spanish and Italian yields may spur the nations to sell more short-dated notes, swelling the debt pile that needs refinancing in the coming years.
Market Watch | There’s a 15% chance of falling off ‘fiscal cliff,’ J.P. Morgan says
Congress isn’t really going to let the so-called fiscal cliff — the planned tax hikes and spending cuts that will be triggered at the end of the year if no action is taken — be triggered, will they?
National Journal | Obama Signs Sequestration Transparency Act
President Obama signed into law on Tuesday the Sequestration Transparency Act, which requires his administration to provide details about how the looming $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget reductions over the next 10 years will hit defense and domestic programs.
Real Clear Markets | The True Costs of the GM/UAW Bailout
The Obama Record: The administration claims to have saved the U.S. auto industry. What it really saved was the industry's dominant union - and it weakened capitalism in the process.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices
Congress uses an annual appropriations process to fund the routine activities of most federal agencies. This process anticipates the completion of 12 regular appropriations bills to fund these activities before the beginning of the fiscal year.
CBO | Monthly Budget Review
CBO estimates in its latest Monthly Budget Review that the Treasury Department will report a deficit of $975 billion for the first 10 months of fiscal year 2012, $125 billion less than the $1.1 trillion deficit incurred through July 2011.