Monday, August 20, 2012

General Economics

CNN Money | No-fee mortgage option is on the way
Lenders would have to offer potential home buyers an option to get mortgages with no fees, under a rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
NY Times | Skilled Work, Without the Worker
At the Philips Electronics factory on the coast of China, hundreds of workers use their hands and specialized tools to assemble electric shavers. That is the old way.
Market Watch | Libor report calls for tighter U.K. bank controls
Britain’s Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England need to tighten regulation of banks, raise fines for wrongdoing and possibly acquire the authority to fire senior executives, according to a report from Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee following to scandal of Barclays misreporting its interbank lending rates, known as Libor, during the financial crisis.
CNN Money | Mexico's big oil problem
Mexico, one of the largest suppliers of oil to the United States, has a big problem: Its production of crude is falling fast.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Europe's downward economic and political spiral
The clearest of fault lines are now appearing in Europe's single currency project that has to cast doubt upon the long-run survivability of the Euro in its present form.
WSJ | How Big Government and Big Business Squeeze Entrepreneurs
Wisconsin's Elmer Kilian wants the chance to earn an honest living. So do Nevada's Lissette Waugh, Florida's Silvio Membreno and countless other entrepreneurs who have the drive and ability to put themselves and others to work.
Washington Times | Barack Obama: The welfare king
“They’ll turn us all into beggars ‘cause they’re easier to please.” So goes a Rainmakers song. Beggars also are easier to control. Just ask the drug dealer. It is not compassion that motivates him to give away the first hits of heroin for free; it is the promise of control.
Investors | California Doesn't Exist—It's Now Two States
Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without crossing a state line. Consider the disconnects:
WSJ | How Utah Avoids the National Economic Funk
Logan, Utah, sometimes looks as though it was preserved in a time capsule. The small city of 50,000, home to Utah State University, is surrounded by the towering, tree-dotted peaks of the Wasatch Range. "Downtown" is a single main street where you can find a movie theater, a bookstore, a few eateries and stores, and a Mormon tabernacle.
Bloomberg | Fannie and Freddie: The Walking Dead
After nearly four years of a zombie existence, the U.S. Treasury Department finally pulled the trigger on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Trib Live | Crowding out private-sector success
There’s a kernel of truth in President Obama’s now-infamous “you didn’t build that” insult to productive Americans. It’s this: Every successful business — every successful life — in modern society requires the help of millions of other people. Each of us depends daily on butchers, brewers, bakers, light-bulb makers — workers and suppliers of countless sorts.

Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 899 Institutions
While the latest monthly release of enforcement action activity by the OCC contributed to many changes to the Unofficial Problem Bank List, it finished the week largely unchanged at 899 institutions with assets of $347.5 billion, compared to 900 institutions and assets of $348.6 billion last week.
Daily Finance | Oil Approaches $100 a Barrel
After months in retreat, WTI crude has moved back to near $100 a barrel. Today it trades at $96.27, and over the past several weeks, the trend has been up.
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of August 19th
There are two key housing reports to be released this week: July existing home sales on Wednesday, and July new home sales on Thursday.
AEI | Quotation of the day: Should government reduce life-expectancy inequality?
“When I talk to people, I find that they generally agree with, and rarely strongly oppose, forcible government transfers of income from the rich to the poor to reduce income inequality. But when I suggest that the government transfer medical expenditures from women to men to reduce life-expectancy inequality, I get a very different reaction.

Health Care

Politico | A health mandate business might like
The health reform law may have been upheld by the Supreme Court, but it won’t alter the alarming fact that employee health costs have exploded to become the third largest expense in business today, eroding the financial health of thousands of companies.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Medicaid Mischief
An alert sent out to conservatives on Thursday by longtime conservative leader Al Regnery warns: "A Medicaid Battle is Coming! The left's next attack on the Ryan Budget will be about Medicaid."
NBER | Effects of Federal Policy to Insure Young Adults: Evidence from the 2010 Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Mandate
We study the impact of the recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that required private health insurers to allow older child dependents to stay on parental policies until age 26 using data from the Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP) spanning August 2008 to November 2011.
WSJ | The $6,400 Myth
One of President Obama's regular attacks on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform is that it would force seniors to pay $6,400 a year more for health care. But merely because he keeps repeating this doesn't mean it's in the same area code of accurate.
CATO | Medicare Needs the Ryan Plan's Cost Controls
Medicare in its current form is clearly unsustainable. This isn't rocket science — just arithmetic. A typical couple retiring last year will, on average, pay $150,000 in Medicare taxes over their lifetime, but receive more than $350,000 in benefits.

AEI | Obama’s health-care reform cuts: How they affect Medicare patients
It’s fair to say that President Obama’s attacks on the Romney-Ryan campaign’s Medicare proposals didn’t work out exactly as planned. Instead of the reliable beat-up-the-Republican routine, the Obama campaign is on the defensive regarding its own plans to cut over $700 billion from Medicare.


Bloomberg | No Inflation Proves Critics of Fed’s Bernanke Wrong
Two years ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke suggested he would embark on a second round of asset purchases, sparking criticism in the U.S. and abroad that he risked a rapid acceleration in prices. Since then, inflation has held near the Fed’s goal of 2 percent, and bond traders predict prices will accelerate at about that rate during the next five years.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Ask Greek Citizens About Soft (Drachma) Money, And If They Like It
Throughout the past hundred and fifty years or so, especially in U.S. politics, a manipulated currency (“soft money”) was favored by left-leaning interests, in practice the Democratic Party.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Finance | Offshored Trillions: The Hidden Economy That's Robbing the World
Tax havens are big news in the U.S., but a recent study shows that, when it comes to offshoring cash to dodge taxes, Americans are amateurs. Globally, tax havens are used to hide an estimated $21 trillion, more than the entire U.S. GDP, making it clear that offshored wealth is a truly global problem.
AEI | Statutory and effective tax rates: Part 1
Although it is well known that wage taxes and income taxes impose work disincentives, the manner in which different tax systems discourage work has been the subject of considerable confusion.


CNN Money | State unemployment rates rise in 44 states
The state unemployment picture worsened last month, with jobless rates creeping higher in 44 states, according to a government report released Friday.
Washington Times | Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states in July
Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states in July, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring nationwide.
Bloomberg | Fed Studies Show Damage to Labor Market Is Reversible
Most of the damage inflicted on the U.S. labor market by the recession is reversible, according to Federal Reserve research, leaving open the possibility that additional stimulus will be effective in reducing joblessness.

Coordination Problem | Understanding the Jobless Recovery
 We focus our efforts not just on textual examination, but also analytically on the Alchian-type friction-laden discussion of resource allocation, and the process of exchange and production.


CNN Money | Greece avoids default ... for now
It looks like Greece will be able to make its latest bond payment next week, thanks to some creative financing.
Market Watch | ECB says Spiegel bond-buying report 'misleading'
A European Central Bank spokesperson, responding to a weekend news report that the institution was weighing a plan to cap euro-zone government bond yields, said Monday that it was "absolutely misleading to report on decisions, which have not yet been taken and also on individual views, which have not yet been discussed by the ECB's Governing Council, which will act strictly within its mandate."
CNBC | Fiscal Brinkmanship Is the Real US Threat
Is America going to plunge off a fiscal cliff? That is the question starting to preoccupy Washington and Wall Street. For as fiscal issues move to centre stage in the 2012 election, America potentially faces three nasty shocks.

Economist | Austerity in theory and in practice
Prolonged stagnation in British economic performance is giving ground to the “pro-growth” camp over the austerity advocates within its government.
AEI | More on Paul Ryan’s role on the Bowles-Simpson debt commission
As I have written, Obama directed the panel to pass on health care reform, essentially turning the Bowles-Simpson plan into mostly a tax-hike plan.