Thursday, September 13, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | Household income falls as 46 million in poverty
There were 46.2 million Americans in poverty in 2011, as median household income decreased, according to a Census Bureau report released Wednesday illustrating the toll from ongoing labor-market weakness.
WSJ | Household Income Sinks to '95 Level
The income of the typical U.S. family has fallen to levels last seen in 1995, a long and pernicious slide that likely means it will be a generation before Americans regain the peak income levels reached at the close of the '90s.
Washington Times | Wall Street collapse costs U.S. $12.8T
The Wall Street collapse in 2008 and the ensuing financial crisis has cost the nation an estimated $12.8 trillion, according to a study released Wednesday by Better Markets, a Washington advocacy group that lobbies for financial reform and tighter regulations on Wall Street.
Market Watch | It’s now cheaper to buy than rent: Trulia
It’s much cheaper to buy a home than rent one in 100 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a report released on Thursday by the real-estate website Trulia.
CNN Money | Foreclosures rise in August
Foreclosure filings rose in August as lenders in several states continued to work through a backlog of delinquencies and defaults, according to an industry group's report Thursday.
CNN Money | Obama's mixed record on trade
In the interconnected global economy, trade is becoming ever more important to the average American worker. Exports can provide jobs in fields from agriculture to aircraft, from movies to manufacturing. Conversely, U.S. industries face increasing competition from imports, forcing the weaker companies out of business.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Reason | Worse Than the Recession
When this column was written, the smart money was once again saying that the bad times were behind us. “Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up,” David Wessel wrote in The Wall Street Journal in July.
Washington Times | The world Obama created
The tragic events that took place in Libya and Egypt this week were the inevitable consequences of weak U.S. leadership. America and the world cannot afford four more such years.
Real Clear Markets | Deficit Stealth Tax Costs Savers Dearly
Interest Rates: That sub-zero return on nest eggs is the price retirees pay for federal deficits. Control of spending is the solution - a point Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan need to make.
WSJ | Grim Census 'Progress'
President Obama employs some of the best political stone soup makers in memory, but even they're having trouble with this one. On Wednesday's terrible Census Bureau findings on income and poverty, the White House put out a statement saying the report shows "we have made progress digging our way out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," even if "too many families are still struggling."

Heritage Foundation | What’s Driving High Poverty Numbers?
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual poverty numbers. It reports that 46.2 million Americans remain poor; the figure was unchanged from last year. The percentage of Americans who were poor remained at a near-record 15 percent.
Café Hayek | Some Resources for Teachers (and Students)
With the start of a new school year, just wanted to highlight some resources for teachers I’ve created over the years that may be of use. Please feel free to share these freely. They all are without charge and sharing is encouraged.
Economist | Ray Dalio explains his basic framework
Ray Dalio is one of the world's most successful hedge fund managers of all time. His firm, Bridgewater Associates, makes money by understanding macroeconomics better than anyone else.
Marginal Revolution | What do barter exchanges imply about depressions and recessions?
As was the case during the Great Depression, parallel currencies and barter exchanges are springing up around Spain and some other parts of Europe. 
WSJ | Highlights From Census Report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance
The Census Bureau today released its annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, the most detailed look at Americans’ household income. A few early takeaways:

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Atlantic | Live Long and Pay for It: America's Real Long-Term Cost Crisis
About a decade ago, my mother's slow mental decline became too obvious for our family to deny. She continued to live at home with my father under increasingly difficult circumstances until she fell and broke her hip. In the hospital, it became clear that her mental impairment precluded physical rehabilitation and that institutional care was unavoidable.

Heritage Foundation | More Than 48 Million Americans Remain Uninsured
Despite a small reduction in the uninsured by 1.4 million from 2010 to 2011, 48.6 million, or 15.7 percent of Americans, remain without health insurance.
Tax Foundation | Compliance with ObamaCare Estimated at 80 Million Man-hours
According to the Committee on Ways and Means and the IRS, compliance with the new healthcare law will take 80 million man-hours per year.  Perhaps that sounds like a successful jobs program, as it will keep 40,000 people fully employed, filling out paperwork and sorting through a confounding pile of government regulations. 


Bloomberg | ECB Policy Maker Says Bank May Not Spend a Cent on Bonds
European Central Bank Governing Council member Panicos Demetriades said the bank might not have to spend a cent on government bonds.
WSJ | Economists Are Uncertain More Fed Moves Will Work
Economists are skeptical about the economic benefits of another round of bond buying by the Federal Reserve, though most expect the central bank to embark on that course when its latest policy meeting concludes Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal's latest forecasting survey.
Bloomberg | Bernanke Policy Credibility Seen Outlasting His Fed Term
The end of Ben S. Bernanke’s term as Federal Reserve chairman in January 2014 hasn’t stopped investors from betting the central bank will hold the benchmark interest rate close to zero into the following year.
Market Watch | U.S. wholesale prices jump 1.7% in August
U.S. wholesale prices in August rose by the largest amount in more than three years after a late-summer resurgence in the price of oil, according to the latest government data.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The wrong doctors
On Wednesday, a German court is going to rule whether the European Central Bank can buy an unlimited amount of debt from the national banks of the countries in the eurozone without violating German law. By week’s end, the U.S. Federal Reserve likely will decide if it is going to engage in another round of massive debt buying.
National Review | QE3: Unwise and Unnecessary
The effectiveness of the Fed’s unprecedented monetary morphine is rapidly waning. This makes the Fed’s anticipated initiation of a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) on Thursday all the more baffling. At a time of historically low interest rates, trillions of dollars of excess bank reserves parked at the Fed, and U.S. companies with an equally large amount of cash holdings, most economists believe yet another round of QE will have little effect on either growth or the unemployment rate.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Tough politics are the barriers to true tax simplification
As we head toward the November elections, the debate over tax reform is intensifying. The simple truth is that the tax code has become riddled with ineffective social policy objectives and narrow, distortionary economic agendas.

FOX Business | How Low-Income Individuals Can Save on Taxes
My recent explanation on How the Superrich Don't Pay Taxes elicited a lot of questions and responses on more ways Americans can escape paying high taxes. 


Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims jump 15,000 to 382,000
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped sharply last week, mainly because of delayed claims filed by people affected by Tropical Storm Isaac.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Misunderstanding Declines In Labor Force Participation
This past Friday, like the first Friday of every month, saw the release of the latest jobs numbers. Within minutes of the release, analysts left, right, and center began pointing nervously at August's decline in labor force participation-the fraction of adults who are working or looking for a job.
Heritage Foundation | Trade Freedom: How Imports Support U.S. Jobs
Conventional wisdom says that exports are beneficial and imports are harmful. Conventional wisdom is wrong. A key element of this misperception is the mistaken idea that imports into a country cost jobs there. In fact, imports contribute to job creation.


National Journal | Business Groups Urge Action on Fiscal Cliff
A coalition of business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has urged Congress and President Obama to act to avert the "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts. Economists have warned that the mix of higher taxes and budget cuts could send the country into a recession.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Pension Woe Mounts As States Forsake Reform
With its feeble pension legislation last month, California joined a big club of states loudly proclaiming reforms that, in fact, do little to solve a problem that now stretches into the trillions of dollars.
CBO | Status of Discretionary Appropriations: FY 2013 House
Estimates of discretionary budget authority and outlays for fiscal year 2013.
Washington Times | Obama’s biggest lie
The president — whose campaign slogan ironically is “Forward” — is stuck in the past, looking backward as he rails against boogeyman Bush at every campaign stop.
AEI | Debt burdens choke growth
The European Central Bank’s bond buying plan coupled with the German Constitutional Court's upholding the legality of European bailout plans has quelled concerns about the European debt crisis for now, but debt burdens of all sorts are choking growth in most major nations. 
Heritage Foundation | FY 2013 Continuing Resolution: Spends Every Dollar and More
Although the stopgap spending bill will usefully avoid a lame-duck spending debacle—which would likely produce an even worse result—it is in fact just another omnibus, spend-as-you-go measure that extends the federal government’s incoherent fiscal policy.