Friday, August 17, 2012

General Economics

USA Today | Next stage of federal gas mileage rules delayed
They are supposed to raise industry-wide gas mileage to 54.5 mpg by CAFE standards, or the high 30s in combined EPA gas mileage on window stickers, in steps from the 2017 model year (when the current rules expire) through 2025.
USA Today | Rate on 30-year mortgages rises to 3.62%
Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages ticked up for the third straight week, staying slightly above record lows. Cheap mortgages have helped fuel a modest housing recovery this year.
USA Today | Sour economy gives rise to extreme commuters
The number of Americans with marathon commutes is on the rise, particularly following a debilitating recession that has pummeled employment and the housing sector, a recent report on the nation's "super commuting" trend finds.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Regulatory Cliff Is Nearly as Steep as the Fiscal One
Americans are learning more about the "fiscal cliff" approaching at the beginning of next year, when tax rates for families and small businesses are set to spike and new taxes in President Obama's health-care spending law take effect. But unless there's real change in Washington, we're also headed for a steep "regulatory cliff" that could compound the damage.
Bloomberg | Maine Lobster Tastes Best With Dash of Supply Side
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as lobster. Or so you might think from reading this summer’s news in Maine, which speaks volumes, or crates, about the farcical nature of North American trade policy.
WSJ | The Dodd-Frank Threat to U.S. Energy
In a fragile recovery with 8.3% unemployment, you'd think Congress and government regulators would be concerned about rules that put American firms at a disadvantage. Well, think again.
Bloomberg | Rejuvenating India’s Growth
Is India’s growth miracle coming to an end? Sadly, and despite the nation’s vast untapped potential, the answer may well be yes.
Daily Finance | Why Americans Love the Computer Industry and Hate the Government
Gallup reports that among 25 industries rated by Americans, respondents give the computer industry more positive rankings than any other. That observation comes without explanation.

Political Calculations | Men With and Without Wage and Salary Income
Now that we've tested our median income extraction math upon the U.S. Census' income data for women, we're going to repeat the exercise today for the Census' income data for men.
Marginal Revolution | When was it obvious our recovery would be so slow? (questions that are rarely asked)
Many economists say the agonizing recovery from the Great Recession…is the predictable consequence of a housing market collapse and a grave financial crisis. … any recovery was destined to be a slog.
WSJ | Housing’s Fortune Depends on Apartment Living
Reports from the housing front continue to show signs of stability. But the housing landscape is different from the boom years. Apartment construction is propping up the housing industry.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Mediscare Boomerang
President Obama all but called Paul Ryan's Medicare reform un-American in 2011, and Democrats have since spent 16 months running their familiar Mediscare campaign. But all of a sudden liberals and their media bodyguards claim to be scandalized because Mitt Romney has the nerve to defend himself by describing Mr. Obama's own "Medicare cuts." How dare he?


WSJ | Fed 'Hawks' Weigh In Against More Action
The Federal Reserve's "hawks" are speaking out against additional action by the central bank to spur the economy.
WSJ | Euro-Zone Inflation Hovers Above Target
Euro-zone inflation held steady for a third straight month in July, just above the European Central Bank's target rate, data showed Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Finance | Merkel Supports Euro, Again
Angela Merkel came back from an extended summer vacation and immediately said she supports efforts by the European Central Bank to buy the bonds of troubled sovereigns. In theory, this will bring down yields and make borrowing for nations like Spain financially tenable.
Daily Finance | Fed's Kocherlakota Says Inflation Target May Have to Rise
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Narayana Kocherlakota is generally considered a deficit and inflation hawk who mostly opposes both economic stimulus and increases in inflation above the Fed's "around 2%" target.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | The case for supply-side tax cuts
Will Mitt Romney’s selection of Representative Paul Ryan as vice presidential candidate start a new debate on solutions to America’s economic problems-- persistently slow economic growth, trillion dollar deficits, and high unemployment?


WSJ | Unemployment Claims Rise
The number of U.S. workers filing applications for jobless benefits rose last week, though the overall trend suggests the labor market has improved slightly since early this summer.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | How Ethanol Causes Joblessness
Our indefatigable friend Bob Dinneen—the ethanol lobby's old reliable—is back with a nearby letter, and as always we're more than happy to give him his say. But just as the Renewable Fuels Association president never lets any claim about his industry slip by unchallenged, a word or two is in order about his line that ethanol lowers gas prices.

WSJ | Ongoing Jobless Claims Plummet as Program Ends in 34 States
A federal unemployment program that provided weekly benefits to more than 1 million Americans less than two years ago has virtually disappeared as the last eligible state, Idaho, came off the rolls last week.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Laundering Away a Chance For a Stable Economy
For a brief moment on Tuesday the global financial world seemed to be a far better place. Greece has been under extreme pressure this month to meet maturing obligations of its own rolling debt and to repay a hefty €3.2 billion Euro bond due on August 20.

Political Calculations | Accounting for the National Debt
On 15 August 2008, the total U.S. public debt outstanding was just over $9.6 trillion (or if you're a stickler for accuracy, $9,606,975,957,798.46). Four years later, on 15 August 2012, the total public debt outstanding for the United States had risen to just over $15.9 trillion (or rather, $15,919,488,010,442.70).