Friday, August 31, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
USA Today | Mortgage rates dip this week, average is back below 3.6%
Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week and are just slightly above record lows reached earlier this year. The low rates have contributed to a modest housing recovery.
CNN Money | Shell gets OK for Arctic drilling prep
The Obama administration has granted Royal Dutch Shell permission to begin drilling preparations off the coast of Alaska, bringing the region a step closer to offshore oil production.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Freeman | Inconceivable Complexity
A market economy is indescribably vast and complex—its success depends on so many intricate, changing details all somehow being made to work smoothly together that the “facts” that are essential to its thriving cannot be catalogued with anywhere near the completeness that can be achieved by a 21st-century scientist studying and cataloging the “facts” that enable sparrows to fly.
Bloomberg | Decline in U.S. Seen Without More Immigration: Cutting Research
The U.S.’s best 250 years are behind it, Northwestern University professor Robert Gordon writes in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, saying economic growth may gradually “sputter out.”
WSJ | George Gilder: The Real Reagan Lesson for Romney-Ryan
Follow Peter Drucker's advice: Don't solve problems, pursue opportunities. Like unlocking America's entrepreneurial value.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Cato @ Liberty | Hayek Wasn’t a ‘Free Market Marxist’
Hayek was convinced that “no human mind can comprehend all the knowledge which guides the actions of society.”
Heritage Foundation | U.S. Farmers Seeing Record Profits, Thanks to Taxpayers and Government
The Financial Times reports that “U.S. farmers are heading for their most profitable year on record despite the worst drought in half a century as high grain prices and payouts from a federal crop insurance program compensate for a smaller harvest.”
Econlog | Conard on Trade and the Trade Defici
When offshore producers "dump" incremental production between full cost, we capture the benefit of lower prices. When foreign governments subsidize trade with tax credits or hold dollars to support their currencies, we capture the value of those subsidies.
CNN Money | Union membership down, income inequality up
The decline of union membership has been a key driver of income inequality in recent decades, a new report found.
Cato @ Liberty | After the Welfare State
Young people today are being robbed. Of their rights. Of their freedom. Of their dignity. Of their futures.
AEI | Shifting demographics may explain the ‘hollowing out’ of the middle class
In 1971, Pew calculated that 25% of U.S. adults were in the “lower income” category, but by 2011 the share of “lower income” Americans had increased to 29%.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | DEAL: Georgia’s budget can’t take Obamacare
To entice states to come onboard with the Medicaid expansion, the federal government is using an old trick: The first one’s free. But soon thereafter, the state’s on the hook for ballooning costs.
Heritage Foundation | Medicaid Expansion Will Become More Costly to States
State legislators cannot afford to be myopic when assessing the costs and benefits of expanding Medicaid.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | ECB: Inflation expectations 'well-anchored'
Inflation expectations are "very well" anchored in the euro zone, European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said in a speech released Friday, suggesting less than a week before the ECB's next rate meeting that inflation expectations aren't a concern.
WSJ | Academic Sways Central Bankers
Since January, Fed officials have said they expect to keep short-term interest rates near zero at least through late 2014. Minutes of their July 31-Aug. 1 policy meeting show they considered saying rates would stay low for longer.
Bloomberg | Dallas Fed Warns Against 'Ultra Easy' Money
Vincent Reinhart, a former top Fed staffer who is now chief U.S. economist for Morgan Stanley, said there was little chance that Bernanke would make news in Jackson Hole, in part because of his concern for consensus.
Market Watch | Draghi’s ‘convertibility’ fears set ECB tough task
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is fighting a battle against fear itself.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Finance | What a Return to the Gold Standard Would Mean for You
The GOP's proposed platform, which will be debated over the next few days, calls for a commission to study the feasibility of a return to a fixed value currency.
Market Watch | Fed's Bullard not ready to support more QE
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said he was not ready to support another large asset-purchase plan. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Bullard said he would like to see more data before taking "really big action." Bullard said he would support "smaller things" like cutting the interest rate paid on excess reserves that banks park at the central bank.
RCM | A Return to Hard Money? Let's Get It Right This Time
The Great Inflation had reached its crescendo at the time of that proposal. In terms of monetary conditions, the massive consumer price inflation inflicted on the global economy had led to more than a decade of impoverishment.
Daily Finance | My Inflation Isn't Like Your Inflation
Food price inflation can be severe at times, too. The price of ground beef, for example, was recently nearly 6% higher than it was a year earlier, and steak prices were up nearly 9%.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
Fox Business | Tax Implications of Selling Your Home
If you are considering selling your home, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to minimize your tax risk.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | How much should the rich pay in taxes?
Most people would say millionaires and billionaires are rich. That's easy. Where to draw the line lower down the income scale is much harder.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             

USA Today | Jobs come back unevenly in states
The U.S. lost 8.8 million jobs from the start of 2008 through February 2010. It has regained 4.0 million - fewer than half - in the roughly 2 1/2 years since the job market hit bottom.
Fox News | American Airlines gives more than 200 flight attendants jobs back 11 years later
Just months before 9/11, American Airlines purchased St. Louis-based TWA. American cut 2,500 attendants in the industry slowdown that came in the wake of the attacks.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | Not Looking for Work: Why Labor Force Participation Has Fallen During the Recession
The drop in unemployment since 2009 is almost entirely due to the fact that those not looking for work do not count as unemployed. Demographic factors explain one-fifth of the decreased labor force participation. The rest comes from increased school enrollment and more people collecting disability benefits.
Washington Times | VALENZUELA: Governments cannot create jobs
Growth relies on entrepreneurs.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Judgment Days Arrive for Euro Crisis
After an uncharacteristically calm August, European policy makers and financial markets are facing a tumultuous autumn marked by major showdowns in key euro-zone battlegrounds.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation: The Foundry | Heritage Foundation “Cut Government Spending” Goal Gains Ground
The Heritage plan proposes to balance the federal budget within a decade and keep it balanced forever at no more than 18.5 percent of the total output of the American economy in goods and services in a single year, called gross domestic product (GDP).
Mercatus Center: Neighborhood Effects | Generational Unfairness in Pensions
Today’s taxpayers are paying for current retirees who provided state services in the past. Likewise, the new reforms require sacrifices primarily from new workers.