Wednesday, August 22, 2012

General Economics

WSJ | Japanese Trade Deficit Is Wider Than Expected
Japan posted a larger-than-expected trade deficit in July as exports slowed sharply amid Europe's debt crisis and faltering global growth, a result likely to increase pressure on the Bank of Japan to take more easing steps to support the domestic economy.
WSJ | Europe Pressures Intensify
Germany's Merkel Faces Tough Choices as Greek Crisis Threatens Euro Anew
Bloomberg | Apple as Most Valuable U.S. Company Ever Has Room to Grow
Apple Inc., already the most valuable U.S. company in history, has room to grow further as its stock trades at a discount to the Nasdaq Composite Index and the company prepares an upgrade to its best-selling iPhone.
WSJ | French Leaders Return to Tackle Economy
Over the summer, France's economic outlook has fallen sharply, and most economists now see gross-domestic-product growth below the 1.2% the government has forecast for next year.
Bloomberg | Spain Deficit Goals at Risk as Cuts Consensus Fades: Euro Credit
Quarrels over who bears the brunt of cuts worth more than 10 percent of Spain’s annual gross domestic product threaten Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s plan to tackle the euro area’s third-largest deficit as a second bailout looms.
WSJ | Outlook Brightens for Estonia
The near-term growth prospects for the euro zone's youngest member, Estonia, could be better than previously expected, thanks to an expected summertime uptick in household spending that has come despite the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the European economy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | An energy blueprint for America
During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the president experiments with mandatory health insurance penalties, a failed $831 billion stimulus and other issues. At the same time, he largely ignores a major policy area with tremendous, job-boosting potential - growth of the energy sector.
WSJ | Jenkins: GM Faces Its Own Regulatory Cliff
Don't blame the UAW for the next auto company bailout.
Forbes | Sorry Mr. Biden, But It's Your Liberalism That Chains The Poor To Dependency
Vice President Biden presented America with what liberals might call a “teachable moment.” Race has long served as a trump card silencing opposition. Whites wilt when challenged by race. But Biden ups the ante by insinuating Republicans trying to ease financial regulation harbor sinister intentions.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Powering up the economy
There’s no doubt the Obama administration is waging an all-out war on affordable energy. Instead of unmanned killer drones, red tape is the weapon of choice for this White House offensive.
WSJ | A Nation Adrift From the Rule of Law
We are losing sight of the basic principles that made us great in the 20th century.
Bloomberg | Economists Risk Labeling as Political Hacks
Some 500 of my colleagues in economics, almost all academics, have signed a statement applauding former Governor Mitt Romney’s economic plan and condemning President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy.
WSJ | Time to Treat High-Speed Trading Like Another Risk to Manage
No amount of testing or effort will ever ensure error-free software. Better to limit potential mistakes and lessen their financial impact.
RCM | Treasury Revision of Fan/Fred Payments Seals Their Fate
The Treasury Department's announcement last Friday-changing the payment arrangements on the preferred stock it holds in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-seems to seal their fate. Under the new plan, the dividends that the Fannie and Freddie owe to Treasury on that stock will be equal to all of their earnings each quarter.
WSJ | A Coca-Cola Solution to High Gas Prices
Regulations interfere with competitive markets and render all of us more vulnerable to supply disruptions.

Coordination Problem | Some Austrian Thoughts on the Problems with Stimulus Spending
Stimulus spending that goes to groups that will provide the most votes will ensure that the right combinations of capital and labour will not be formed.

Health Care

CNN Money | Medicare: Private insurers not always cheaper
Private insurers already cover more than a quarter of Medicare participants in a little-known, but rapidly growing program called Medicare Advantage.


CNN Money | Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech may be a letdown
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has made market-moving announcements there in the past. But those who have been to the Jackson Hole meeting before aren't expecting much from Bernanke when he gives a speech on August 31.

Free Banking | Free Banking The Economist On Money and the State
Yet I suppose that we will never see the end of the myth that only governments are fit to coin money. Were bread a government monopoly long enough, Herbert Spencer once remarked, people would react with horror to the suggestion that it might instead be supplied, and supplied with better results, by the private sector. Spencer was probably right. I'm just glad I'll never live to see The Economist prove it.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | A Carbon Tax Would Harm U.S. Competitiveness and Low-Income Americans Without Helping the Environment
...a carbon tax would (1) do next to nothing to lower global temperature, (2) harm American manufacturing competitiveness, (3) create a new revenue stream based on behavior modification, and (4) harm low-income Americans.

AEIdeas | Why Democrats think taxes will need to rise by more than 50%
Tax revenue, historically, runs around 18% of GDP. To run deficits of 2% of GDP would require a 56% increase in the nation’s tax burden.
Tax Foundation | Sweden's Corporate Rate is 13 Points Lower than Ours, and Going Lower
In addition to the already planned corporate tax cut from 26.3% to 25.3% due to take effect from January 1, 2013, the ruling centre-right coalition is said to be planning a decrease in the corporate tax rate further down to 24%, according to national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.


IBD | Fiscal Cliff Fears Chill Corporate Hiring, Economy
Corporations are scaling back investment, hiring and inventories ahead of steep year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, the most concrete sign to date that uncertainty over the so-called fiscal cliff is already hurting the anemic economy.
USA TODAY | Gen Y most likely to hold low-paying jobs in retail
Chances are if you're a working Millennial, you're working in retail, says a study released Tuesday by Generation Y research firm Millennial Branding in conjunction with PayScale, a company that collects compensation data.
Fox Business | Where the Jobs Are this Week This week’s job opportunities are a true American melting pot. From food to freight to books, we found several different fields that are looking for workers.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | Boarding a Sinking Ship? An Investigation of Job Applications to Distressed Firms
This paper examines the impact of corporate financial distress on firms’ ability to attract job applicants.

AEI | The compensation question
Over the past few years, as cash-strapped states and school districts have faced tough budget decisions, spending on teacher compensation has come under the microscope. The underlying question is whether, when you take everything into account, today's teachers are fairly paid, underpaid, or overpaid.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | Young Women Face Tougher Summer Job Market
The unemployment rate for women aged 16 to 24 rose this summer from 13.8% in April to 16.2% in July—the peak month for summer jobs—as high-school kids and college graduates sought work at restaurants and retailers or entered the job market for the first time in a weak economy, according to data released by the Labor Department Tuesday.
AEIdeas | CHART: The mother of all business cycles
Via the new FRED dataset, here you have the unemployment rate before, during, and after the Great Depression. That is quite a round trip.
Political Calculations | "We Tried Our Plan, and It Worked...."
Apparently, the President and his team have decided that culling the U.S. work force is a lot easier for them to do than generating real job-creating economic growth.


Market Watch | Can China’s stimulus plans really help?
Plans by local Chinese governments to spend trillions of yuan on new stimulus projects has ignited debate among economists over whether the schemes will really help the economy.
Bloomberg | Spain Deficit Goals at Risk as Cuts Consensus Fades: Euro Credit
Quarrels over who bears the brunt of cuts worth more than 10 percent of Spain’s annual gross domestic product threaten Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s plan to tackle the euro area’s third-largest deficit as a second bailout looms.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Another California Brainstorm
Let's create one more pension scheme the state can't afford.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | Cities Have Long Been Skeptical of Economic Development Spending
But it seems cities and states have always had a healthy skepticism of using tax dollars to lure industry from elsewhere.