Thursday, August 9, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | Barclays ups Q2 GDP estimate to 2.2% after trade
Barclays Capital on Thursday raised its forecast of U.S. second quarter gross domestic product to a 2.2% annual rate versus the initial government estimate of 1.5% rate as a result of the postive June trade data.
CNN Money | Stocks: Investors move to the sidelines
U.S. stocks nudged higher Thursday as investors digested a handful of economic reports, including the latest data on unemployment claims and reports on the Chinese economy.
Bloomberg | China Factory Slowdown Raises Pressure for Easing
China’s industrial-output growth unexpectedly slowed in July to a three-year low while investment and retail sales missed estimates, raising pressure on Premier Wen Jiabao to step up efforts to support expansion.
Washington Times | Citigroup initiates program to let troubled homeowners pay rent
Citigroup Inc. will try something new to keep struggling homeowners out of foreclosure: turn them into renters.
Washington Post | Cheaper oil pushes US trade deficit to lowest level since December 2010
The U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in 18 months in June, pushed down by a steep drop in oil imports and a rise in exports.
Bloomberg | Home Prices Increase in Most U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Prices for single-family homes climbed in most U.S. cities in the second quarter and values nationally jumped the most since 2006 as real estate markets stabilized.
CNN Money | Nuclear waste issues freeze permits for U.S. power plants
The U.S. government said it will stop issuing permits for new nuclear power plants and license extensions for existing facilities until it resolves issues around storing radioactive waste.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Markets, Not Mandates, Are the Key to Sustainable Development
What exactly is sustainable development? Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland, speaking at the United Nations' Stockholm Conference in 1972, described it as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Washington Times | Olympian folly of economic stimulus
In 1997, the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2004 Summer Olympic Games would be hosted in the competition’s ancestral birthplace of Athens, Greece. Greek citizens were euphoric about the boost the games would bring their country.
Daily Caller | Study: Census data show high immigrant participation on US welfare rolls
A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies shows that high percentages of legal and illegal immigrants in America are drawing benefits from at least one major form of welfare.
WSJ | A Lesson in Crony Capitalism
Jorge Luis Borges used to say that the Argentine people suffered under "too many messiahs." Their current president, Cristina Kirchner, certainly preaches like one.

Calculated Risk | MBA: Mortgage Delinquencies increased in Q2
The MBA reported that 11.85 percent of mortgage loans were either one payment delinquent or in the foreclosure process in Q2 2012 (delinquencies seasonally adjusted).
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Higher Gas Prices Add to Economic Slump
Unemployment is at 8.3 percent. The economy is sputtering at 1.5 percent growth. Food prices are rising due to drought conditions across the country. And gas prices are up again, pinching Americans’ summer budgets. It is past time for the President and Congress to pursue smart policies that would put us on a path to relief.
WSJ | Wholesale Inventories Drop
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers fell slightly in June as the value of petroleum stockpiles plunged.

Health Care

National Journal | States Worry About Medicaid Patients Coming Out of the Woodwork
As they consider whether to expand coverage for the poor under President Obama’s health care law, many of the states most reluctant to do so are the ones with the lowest levels of enrollment in their existing Medicaid programs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obamacare’s free lunch
America simply can’t afford Obamacare. According to a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, the new entitlement will grow an explosive 6 percent annually from 2017 to 2022, impose a slew of new taxes which will ripple through the economy, and will still leave 29 million people without health insurance.


CNN Money | U.S. drought drives up food prices worldwide
The drought that's drying up the Heartland isn't just an American problem. It's causing food prices to surge worldwide.
CNN Money | Chinese inflation hits fresh 2-1/2 year low
Prices continued to decline in China last month, clearing the way for the country to ramp up its stimulus efforts.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Two legends in economics wrestle over the euro's future
In one corner, Robert Mundell, 79. In the other, 84-year old Allan Meltzer. Two respected economists on opposite sides of the euro debate.

Economist | The way forward
I've been moaning all summer about the world's central bankers, twiddling their thumbs while disaster looms. They haven't exactly done nothing, however.


CNBC | Indigestion for 'les Riches' in a Plan for Higher Taxes
The call to Vincent Grandil’s Paris law firm began like many others that have rolled in recently. On the line was the well-paid chief executive of one of France’s most profitable companies, and he was feeling nervous.


Market Watch | Weekly jobless claims fall unexpectedly
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, government statistics showed on Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Don't Be Fooled, Regulations Cost Jobs
Mitt Romney has made reforming regulations a key, if vague, part of his economic plan. While acknowledging the multifaceted nature of weak economic conditions in America, the presidential candidate's website argues "a major part of the problem over successive presidencies, and one that the Obama administration has sharply exacerbated, is the regulatory burden on the economy."
NY Post | How Labor makes some workers disappear
Thanks to a tiny tweak in definitions made by the Clinton White House back in 1994, Obama’s life is a whole lot easier.


WSJ | College Debt Hits Well-Off
Rising college costs and a sagging economy are taking the biggest toll on a surprising group: upper-middle-income families.
CNBC | Municipal Finances Reaching an 'Inflection Point': Whitney
Cash-strapped local governments are facing an "inflection point" that will force them into deciding between providing services and honoring debt obligations, financial analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC.

CATO | More Truth about Sequestration
Pentagon officials and other proponents of big military spending have three basic complaints about sequestration. That’s the process created by last summer’s Budget Control Act that would cut planned federal spending by about $1.1 trillion over the next nine years through budget caps and a $110 billion in across-the-board cuts in January 2013, with half the cuts coming from defense.
Coordination Problem | Did It, or Didn't It ...
Work ... fiscal stimulus that is.  Many studies have been released that claim the fiscal stimulus programs that have been pursued in the US since 2008 have not worked.  
Neighborhood Effects | State Revenue Uncertainty
Yesterday the National Conference of State Legislatures released its State Budget Update for 2012, projecting that states’ revenues are approaching levels not seen since before the recession.
CATO | Are Military Spending Cuts Good for the Economy?
Yesterday, Cato released a new video pointing out that the military spending cuts specified under the Budget Control Act’s sequestration provision are not large relative to total spending, and would still have the U.S. government spending nearly $5.2 trillion on the Pentagon’s base budget over the next ten years.