Wednesday, August 29, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Euro-Zone Bank Lending to Businesses Rises
European Central Bank figures showed that private-sector credit grew on an annual basis for the first time in three months, as July's cut in interest rates and unorthodox policy measures from earlier in the year made themselves felt.
Market Watch | U.S. grew at 1.7% pace in second quarter
The U.S. economy expanded somewhat faster in the second quarter than originally reported because of higher consumer spending and slower growth in imports, the government said Wednesday.
WSJ | Despite Drought, Farm Income Should Rise
Income on U.S. farms is expected to climb this year to its highest level in nearly four decades, the Department of Agriculture said, despite the severe drought that has afflicted much of the nation's farm belt.
Market Watch | Pending home sales hit more than 2-year peak
Pending home sales climbed 2.4% in July to the highest level since April 2010, when a home-buyer tax credit was set to expire.
USA Today | Gas prices cross $3.75 a gallon as Labor Day looms
Gas prices continued their unrelenting rise, crossing the $3.75 a gallon threshold, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports in its weekly survey. The price increase comes at a difficult time, with Labor Day vacation weekend only a week away.
WSJ | Japan Cuts Economic View Amid Slowing Exports
The Japanese government cut its view of the economy in August for the first time in 10 months as slowing exports weighed on production and consumer spending failed to expand.
CNBC | The US Economy and the Future of Growth: Well This Is Depressing
The United States has produced one of the most successful economic stories in human history.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
RCM | The New York Fed's False Assertion of AIG Bailout Profits
The government reasoned that cancelling the derivatives by buying the securities at full value was the cheapest way out of AIGFP's troubles.
Daily Finance | Think Federal Workers Are Overpaid? Look Closer to Home
The advantage only swings toward the private sector when workers possess a master's degree or better. What's more, when you factor in the value of generous government perks, even private sector master's degree-holders lose out.
Washington Times | DEAN: Government programs never die
Ronald Reagan once observed that nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program. How right he was.
WSJ | A Grand Old Growth Party
Above all, voters want to hear how Republicans will restore prosperity.
Heritage Foundation | Hydraulic Fracturing: Critical for Energy Production, Jobs, and Economic Growth
While Americans continue to be disappointed by dismal jobs reports and a high unemployment rate, one of the few recent bright spots in the U.S. economy has been energy production, particularly the shale oil and shale gas revolution.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
EconLog | Household Incomes Declined During Recovery
The study shows that real median household income declined more during the current recovery than it did during the recent recession.
Daily Capitalist | Bad Advice More Popular Than Ever
At some point this is all going to go horribly wrong, what with UK sovereign risk and banking risk having become effectively fused (under the last Labour government). The only thing we don’t know is when.
NRO: The Corner | Croynism: Utility Edition
Exelon executives and administration officials held a large number of meetings at the White House, and ultimately, the executive branch enacted a number of policies and regulations that favored the company at the expense of its competitors. Lipton, for instance, highlights:
AEI | Fuel economy standards to tighten
The Obama administration has plunged ahead with it’s plan to drastically increase the average fuel economy of the U.S. automobile fleet.
Heritage Foundation | Cronyism: Crushing the Free Market and Promoting Rent-Seeking
A recent report by Mercatus Center scholar Matthew Mitchell lists the various forms that government-granted privileges take and explains their harmful consequences, including less economic growth, more government spending, and rent-seeking.
Café Hayek | Predicting the Inevitable
Depending on the severity of the damage done by Isaac, prices of staple goods such as gasoline, bottled water, and plywood will spike in south Louisiana and Mississippi – price increases that will (here’s the prediction) spark a litany of economically uninformed laments about greed and “price gouging.”

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
NY Times | Sharp Cuts in Dental Coverage for Adults on Medicaid
Banned from tightening Medicaid eligibility in recent years, many states have instead slashed optional benefits for millions of poor adults in the program. Teeth have suffered disproportionately.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | FOSTER: No ducking Medicare anymore
Medicare added about $223 billion to budget deficits in 2011. How? Medicare’s health insurance comes with an average annual subsidy of just more than $5,000 per senior. Sweet deal, but this subsidy is the source of the Medicare’s financing problem.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
USA Today | All ears turn to Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech Friday
Bernanke is expected to talk about what the Fed can — and might — do next to help the economy grow at a peppier pace, and what might prompt it to act. Investors will listen for clues to help decipher if, and when, Bernanke would inject a new round of stimulus.
Market Watch | Draghi: ECB will always act within its mandate
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the institution will always "act within its mandate," but noted that fulfilling its mandate to provide price stability "sometimes requires us to go beyond standard monetary-policy tools."

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
RCM | The Lost Bush/Obama Era Gave Us the Gold Commission
What must be understood is that it was a cheap dollar policy beginning in 2001 that underlay what is now known as the "Financial Crisis."
Investors.com | The Fed Shouldn't Double-Down On Failure
Even so, some speculate that Bernanke will announce this Friday — or at an upcoming Fed meeting — one of two policy moves.
Forbes | The First Gold Commission Scared the Dickens Out of the Fed
The thing about these moves is that they respond precisely to the two things that have become the top concerns of the public as these unacceptable last four years have unfolded.
Reuters | Trickle-down quantitative easing: James Saft
A Bank of England study, released last week, showed that its 325 billion pounds of bond purchases have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest, driving up the value of the assets they own.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato @ Liberty | Swiss Monetary Policy: Dangerous Contradictions
The Swiss National Bank is conducting a bizarre, contradictory, and potentially dangerous set of monetary policies.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | End wind energy tax credit
First, an extension continues this unsettling policy trend in which citizens are asked to bear all the risks and gain none of the rewards.
CNN Money | A radical tax plan the left and right can agree on
The President, key conservatives, and even some of the nation's biggest corporations are leaning toward trading special breaks for lower rates.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Keith Hennessey | Tax levels cheat sheet
There is a danger that measuring tax levels as shares of GDP will lead to casually concluding that “only one or two percentage points difference” is not a big deal. This would be a huge mistake.
Tax Foundation | Media Leaves Out Key Things in Covering Poll Showing Support for Taxing Rich
The survey did not ask respondents what they think the rich should pay, or what the rich pay now.
AEIdeas | Why a carbon tax is still a bad idea
Once again, the New York Times has published an article calling for a carbon tax, and not a little baby one either: This would be a carbon tax with teeth...

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Gap Hurts Job Hunters
Mismatch Between Worker Education Levels and Vacancies Hits Frail Economies.
Bloomberg | Shortage of Educated Workers Boosts U.S. Joblessness
Cities with larger gaps in education levels between workers and available positions have lower rates of job creation and new openings, the institution’s Jonathan Rothwell said in a report published today.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Portugal at Crossroads as Creditors Visit Lisbon
Officials from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund arrived in Lisbon Tuesday to assess the country's progress in implementing a €78 billion ($97.5 billion) bailout program, as signs emerge that tough austerity measures may be hurting the government's ability to meet budget deficit targets.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Steer Clear of the Cliff
How to avoid imminent fiscal disaster and long-term decline.
Barron's | State of the States
Long considered the best issuers in the municipal bond market, states are under a lot of strain. Mounting pension shortfalls and high debt are upping the risk for state muni-bond investors.