Tuesday, August 14, 2012

General Economics

CNN Money | White House touts wind energy growth
The Obama Administration is calling for continued government support of wind energy, touting a new report showing that it accounted for nearly a third of new electric capacity added in the United States last year.
Market Watch | NFIB small-business index slips in July
A measure of small-business optimism declined in July, the second drop in a row, the National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday. The small-business optimism index slipped 0.2 point to 91.2, led by a 5-point drop in a component measuring earnings trends.
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Economic Output Contracted on Spain: Economy
The euro-area economy shrank in the second quarter after the worsening debt crisis and tougher budget cuts forced at least six nations into recessions.
CNN Money | Survey says: Fewer affordable homes
It just got a little harder for most Americans to buy a home, according to an industry survey.
Bloomberg | Retail Sales in U.S. Increased More Than Forecast in July
Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in July as consumer spending rebounded at department stores, auto dealers and electronics outlets, easing some concern the biggest part of the economy was foundering.
CNN Money | Retail sales climb for 1st time in 4 months
U.S. retail sales rose for the first time in four months in July, an encouraging sign that the economy may have started strengthening in the middle of the summer.
WSJ | Pain Deepens for Greece's Economy
Greece's economy remained deep in recession in the second quarter of the year, contracting by 6.2% on an annual basis, further complicating the coalition government's efforts to introduce the next batch of austerity measures and meet fiscal targets demanded by international creditors.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Red tape shackles small-business owners
A Michigan teen and his mother are living in a shelter for the homeless after a city shut down the teen’s hot-dog stand. Thirteen-year-old Nathan Duszynski saved $2,500 to start his own business and then diligently secured permission from both the state and city hall to operate downtown.
WSJ | Even Amid the Current Turmoil, Stocks Still Beat Bonds
The stock market continues to reflect the very modest economic recovery now under way in the United States. From January 2011 through mid-August 2012, the S&P 500 has produced moderate single-digit total returns. But many individual investors are not participating.
Washington Times | Democrats’ food-stamp foolishness
Do you know what Maryland gives its welfare recipients so they can access cash and food benefits? An “Independence Card.”
Heritage Foundation | Offshore Drilling: Increase Access, Reduce the Risk, and Stop Hurting American Companies
Oil companies are not only eager to drill off America’s coasts—they are enthusiastic about creating jobs and bringing more oil to the world (and the American) market, which, in turn, will help lower gas prices.
Forbes | President Obama's Smashing Success Story: Greatly Increasing The Power Of Government
The traditional measure of the success of an Administration’s economic program has been real economic growth, employment growth, the unemployment rate and the like.  Based on these criteria, the Obama Administration’s economic program has been a dismal failure
CATO | Economic Lessons from the Olympics
Civilization can only advance when individuals are both encouraged and rewarded for excellence. The men and women who designed, built, and succeeded in placing the new SUV-sized rover on Mars receive and deserve our acclaim.
NBER | Deep Recessions, Fast Recoveries, and Financial Crises: Evidence from the American Record
Do steep recoveries follow deep recessions? Does it matter if a credit crunch or banking panic accompanies the recession? Moreover does it matter if the recession is associated with a housing bust? We look at the American historical experience in an attempt to answer these questions.
Businessweek | Nouriel Roubini on Threats to the Global Economy
A professor at New York University and chairman of a consulting firm that bears his name, Roubini earned the nickname Dr. Doom for predicting hard times before the financial crisis began in 2008. He talks with Peter Coy about his current outlook.

Economist | We haven't forgotten how to make depressions
Greece is in a depression. A real deal, no kidding, bad-as-the-1930s depression. In the second quarter, Greek output contracted again, as it has in every quarter since the last three months of 2008.
Daily Capitalist | Eurozone Banks Exiting U.S.
Since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007, Europe’s banks have been gradually retreating from the US market, thereby making room for others to step in.
John Taylor | Paul Krugman is Wrong
Paul Krugman took time off from his vacation last Friday to take a shot at a paper by Kevin Hassett, Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw and John Taylor on the growth and employment impacts of Governor Romney’s economic program in comparison with President Obama’s program. Though flaming with vitriolic rhetoric, his shot misses the mark.

Health Care

Market Watch | Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan: 5 things to know
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s newly minted vice presidential running mate, famously wants to overhaul Medicare in a bid to save the entitlement program for future generations. But will his controversial plan help or hurt the Republicans’ chances of winning the White House?
National Journal | Treasury May Scrap 'Use It or Lose It' Rule on FSAs
A little-noticed bulletin from the Treasury Department could have a big impact on the roughly 155 million Americans who use flexible spending accounts to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses.

FOX Business | The Ryan Medicare Plan
The Agenda Project Action Fund, a progressive public policy group, is still touting its misleading “Throw Granny from the Cliff” ads, purporting to show that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan seeks to end Medicare as we know it. 


Market Watch | U.S. wholesale prices firm a bit in July
U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.3% in July as higher food costs offset another decline in energy costs, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
CNBC | India Inflation Eases, but Don’t Bet on a Rate Cut Soon
An unexpected fall in India's inflation rate cheered markets on Tuesday, lifting hopes that India’s central bank now has more room to cut borrowing costs and boost a weakening economy, but economists say don’t bet on India’s hawkish central bank cutting interest rates in the near future.

Minyanville | The Market Is Betting on QE3, but Is That the Right Bet?
According to the staff economists at Bank of America (BAC), the market is pricing in an 80% chance of QE3 by the Fed. That is by far the highest predicted percentage I have seen published so far.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | 501(c)(4)s and the Gift Tax: Legal Analysis
Recent media reports of donors contributing substantial amounts to tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organizations have led some to ask whether these donations are subject to the federal gift tax. The short answer is that the gift tax statutes do not contain an exemption for these donations, thus indicating they are subject to tax.

Heritage Foundation | Government Will Take Almost Half Your Paycheck in 2013
How high is the marginal tax rate on each additional dollar the average American earns? In other words, if you got a raise of one dollar, how much of that dollar would be taxed away? These rates are already high, and they’re getting higher next year.
AEI | Social Security: How bad a deal, and why?
The AP report that today’s new retirees will be the first to collect less from Social Security than they paid in has gotten people talking—I’ve done no less than 15 radio interviews on the topic.
Tax Foundation | Monday Map: Average Tax Savings from One Year Extension of Bush Tax Cuts
Today's Monday Map shows the impact of the imminent expiration of the Bush tax cuts by state. Connecticut, where taxpayers stand to pay an average of $5,783 more, would be affected the most; Mississippi, with an average tax increase of $1,310, would be affected the least.


Bloomberg | America’s Energy Seen Adding 3.6 Million Jobs Along With 3% GDP
On the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, about an hour upstream from New Orleans, the outline of Nucor Corp. (NUE)’s new $750 million iron-processing plant is rising between fields of sugar cane and sweet gum trees.

WSJ | Women Pick Up The Pace On Jobs Gains
Here is what passes for good news about the U.S. employment market today: Women, who lost fewer jobs during the recession than men but have been slower at finding work during the recovery, are finally picking up the pace.
AEI | How about minimum and maximum temperature laws? Sound absurd? Well, so are minimum wage laws
A version of the post below appeared on CD during the unusually cold winter of 2008-2009, and I present it again today, now that Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and more than 100 of his House Democratic colleagues have recently proposed legislation that would increase the minimum wage to almost $10 per hour


National Journal | Democrats Bolt Out of the Box To Define Ryan and His Budget
Rep. Paul Ryan is little known outside of Capitol Hill – offering  Democrats an opportunity to fill the vacuum with the most unflattering pictures possible of the new Republican vice presidential candidate with the famously stringent budget plan. The clamor has already begun.
Politico | Report: Auto bailout cost up $3.4B
The auto industry bailout’s price tag has jumped a whopping $3.4 billion more than what the Treasury Department had previously estimated, according to a report.
WSJ | Greece Completes Largest Debt Sale in Two Years
Greece completed its largest debt sale in two years Tuesday, ensuring that it will have the money to repay bonds held by the European Central Bank next week.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | Major Fiscal Issues Before Congress in FY2013
This report provides a brief overview of the major tax and spending policy changes set to take effect under current law at the end of 2012 or early in 2013. Collectively, these policies have been referred to by some as the "fiscal cliff."