Monday, August 27, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | German Business Confidence Falls for a Fourth Month
German business confidence fell for a fourth straight month in August as the sovereign debt crisis curbed growth in Europe’s largest economy.
WSJ | Businesses Rein In Big-Ticket Spending
A closely watched gauge of business investment dropped in July for the second month in a row, suggesting companies are growing more cautious about the economy.
CNN Money | Energy to keep booming no matter who's president
Despite the vicious political attacks over energy policy in the United States, the recent boom in oil and gas production will likely continue, no matter who wins the White House.
Bloomberg | Homebuilding Revival Sparks Rush for Best California Land
The nascent recovery in new-home sales has U.S. builders rushing to buy up a diminishing supply of well-located, ready- for-construction land.
Market Watch | Regulators say loan credit quality improving
The credit quality of large loan commitments owned by financial institutions regulated in the U.S. improved in 2012 for the third consecutive year in 2012, according to a review by the Federal Reserve and two other regulators released Monday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
RCM | Exaggerated Rumors of Middle Class Demise
The idea that anyone can "save" the middle class assumes that it's in danger of disappearing, which it isn't, and that presidents possess sufficient powers to resurrect it, which they don't.
AEI: American | The Next Great Growth Cycle
Today’s techno-pessimists say technology and America have plateaued. Such naysayers flourish during economic recessions. They have been wrong in every one of the 19 economic downturns we have experienced since 1912. They’re wrong again.
RCM | You Call This An Economic Recovery?
Yes, the economy is technically growing, and corporate profits are up. But the pace of growth during the Obama "recovery" has been so slow that it's leaving most Americans further behind.
Politico | Obama's false sense of fairness
We now know that the president thinks it’s fair to redefine the work requirements for the welfare program to include bed rest and helping neighbors run errands.
Forbes | If You Want Human Progress To Stop, Institute A Maximum Income
Similarly, we should give those who have earned great wealth honestly the respect and gratitude they deserve for the enormous value they’ve created. That would be real economic fairness.
Fox News | Why we are on the brink of the greatest Depression of all time
This time we are in such deep trouble, the only solution is a radical restructuring of the politicians, the economy, and the way we view personal responsibility versus government handouts.
Washington Times | GHEI: Twisting red tape
When Uncle Sam knocks at the door saying he’s here to help, watch out. He has hired an army of bureaucrats to devise thick stacks of papers and studies that claim federal intervention is just what the marketplace needs.

The Economist | R&D: how low can you go?
Overall, this secular shift was pretty successful in the America: private firms have upped their innovation efforts, so that there are lots of businesses that will soon spend over $10 billion on R&D each year.
Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 898 Institutions
The Unofficial Problem Bank List holds 898 institutions with assets of $346.7 billion. A year ago, the list held 988 institutions with assets of $415.9 billion.
Greg Mankiw's Blog | Polarized People says Pew – not so says Pew data
The Pew Research Center published a study in mid-2012 that claimed increased polarization among the American public along political party lines.
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of Aug 26th
The most anticipated events this coming are the speeches by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (Friday) and ECB President Mario Draghi (Saturday) at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

Health Care

National Journal | Report Gives Obama New Weapon Against Romney in Medicare Wars
President Obama has sought to win over older voters by warning them that Mitt Romney's plan for Medicare would cost them an extra $6,400 a year in health premiums.

Keith Hennessey | Responding to some of President Obama’s Medicare claims
Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid are growing at unsustainable rates. The “millions of Americans who are working hard right now” are paying taxes into a system that will be unable to afford to pay the benefits it is promising them today.


CNN Money | Investors and economists agree: No QE3
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- More stimulus from the Federal Reserve would probably boost the stock market, but regardless, both investors and economists agree: They don't want QE3.
Bloomberg | Jackson Hole May Disappoint Investors Primed for Stimulus
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke -- returning this week to the scene of a 2010 speech that foreshadowed a second round of quantitative easing -- probably will disappoint investors looking for him to signal new stimulus.
WSJ | Bernanke Letter Defends Fed Actions
There is scope for further action by the Federal Reserve to ease financial conditions and strengthen the recovery.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Chicago Fed's Evans calls for immediate action
In a speech in Hong Kong, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the central bank should make open-ended purchases of mortgage-backed securities until the economy shows clear signs of improvement, such as a steady drop in unemployment for two or three quarters.

AEI | Is inflation really a huge problem right now?
Inflation has been a big economic problem in the past. It may be again in the future.
Marginal Revolution | Which countries benefit the most from euro depreciation?
Based on these calculations, Ireland is a clear first. Pulling up the rear are Italy, France, Greece, and Portugal comes in last. Note that these calculations assume a kind of average/marginal equality.
Smart Money | What Fed Action Would Mean for the Dollar
When the Federal Reserve hinted Wednesday more stimulus could be on the way, the dollar sunk. While it remains unclear how or when the Fed might act, investing pros say it may still make sense to dial back on the greenback.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fox Business | Your Taxes Have Already Been Raised
When the government announces that it is printing money to stimulate the economy, you should interpret that as “the cost of what I use every day in my life just got more expensive.”

Heritage Foundation | Are Spending Cuts as Harmful as Tax Increases?
Wednesday’s warning by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that the fiscal cliff is likely to push the economy back into recession should bring things sharply into focus for lawmakers.


WSJ | For Spain's Jobless, Time Equals Money
As Europe's leaders struggle with a five-year-old economic crunch that has saddled Spain with the industrialized world's highest jobless rate, young Spaniards are increasingly embracing such bottom-up self-help initiatives to cope.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success
Last month, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) illegally overturned the work requirements that were the core of the welfare reform law of 1996, which required that a portion of the able-bodied recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program—the successor to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program—be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | New Jobs Come With Lower Wages
During the recession, people who lost long-held jobs struggled to find new employment and often took substantial pay cuts if they did find new work. Little appears to have changed after the recession ended, a new Labor Department report shows.
Political Calculations | The Minimum Wage, The Economy and Labor Force Participation
After showing how only the reduction in the U.S. labor force participation rate has resulted in a lower unemployment rate last week, a number of commenters requested that we follow up and show how the minimum wage might factor into the situation.


Washington Times | German economy minister rejects more time for Greece
Germany’s economy minister has rejected calls for Greece to get more time to implement economic reforms, saying in an interview Sunday that Athens needs to respect the bailout deal reached with its international creditors.
Market Watch | ECB weighs flexible yield targets for bonds: WSJ
European Central Bank officials are weighing a plan that would use flexible yield targets to hold down borrowing costs for struggling governments, without committing to explicit caps on yields that could pose a threat to the bank's balance sheet and independence, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

EconLog | U.S. Federal Budget Cuts in the 1990s
I agree that it's harder to do in the United States. But the evidence that it can be done is right under our noses: it's called the 1990s.