Tuesday, September 18, 2012

General Economics

CNN: Money | What it takes to be 'Made in USA'
With so much talk about the need to revive U.S. manufacturing and create jobs, more companies are touting their American-made roots in order to lure customers.
Politico | Shell’s arctic oil and gas exploration is on hold
Shell scrapped plans to drill for oil and gas off Alaska this year after a spill containment system crucial to the company’s efforts to explore in the icy Arctic waters was damaged during a test.
Bloomberg | Global Economy in Twilight Zone as Stocks Suggest Growth
The world economy is sliding into a “twilight zone,” trapped between outright expansion and renewed recession. “It could go either way,” said Joachim Fels, chief economist at Morgan Stanley in London, who coined the description in an Aug. 15 report. “It doesn’t take much to tip us into a global recession.”
Market Watch | NAHB builders index hits 6-year high in September
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index gained 3 points to a seasonally adjusted reading of 40, the highest the index has been since June 2006.
Bloomberg | German Investor Confidence Rises First Time Since April
German stocks have risen to a 14-month high since ECB President Mario Draghi said on Sept. 6 the bank may buy unlimited amounts of government bonds to contain yields in countries that seek assistance from Europe’s bailout fund.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Cato Institute | Freedom Is Key to Prosperity
Unless American voters and the politicians they elect reverse course, our future will be one of stagnation, dependency, broken promises, and increased political corruption.
Washington Times | MEAD: Hydro-fracking regulations should be left to states
Federal government bogs down process.
Bloomberg | U.S. Banks Ignore Europe’s Lesson on Greed
Four years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the near-total paralysis of capitalism’s central nervous system -- the moment fear completely overwhelmed greed on Wall Street -- we are starting to see a few glimmers of hope.
WSJ | Big Labor vs. the Poor
Labor unions, liberal activists and Democratic politicians were cheering Friday night after Walmart announced that it had dropped plans to construct a big-box store in an economically depressed section of New York City. Jobless New Yorkers can be forgiven for not joining in the celebration.
Washington Times | RAHN: America in free-fall
Economic freedom in the U.S. is dropping fast.
Aol Energy | America's Biggest Energy Thieves
Utility customers face a "perfect storm" of sharply higher bills for electricity and natural gas because trillions of dollars in capital expenditure will be needed to upgrade aging US infrastructure and comply with environmental rules, the head of America's utility regulators' association told AOL Energy earlier this year.
Cato Institute | Leave It to the Private Sector
Head Start is the federal government's primary early childhood program, with a budget of almost $8 billion. According to its most recent assessment by the Department of Health and Human Services, it has almost no lasting, positive cognitive effects.

Cato @ Liberty | The U.S. Takes a Dive in Economic Freedom of the World Index
Government spending and regulations have grown, the rule of law and protection of property rights have weakened, and foreign investment and non-tariff barriers have increased.
Tax Foundation | CRS: Nothing Affects Economic Growth
A study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is getting a lot of attention, because it finds that tax cuts are not associated with economic growth. Although less reported, the study also finds nothing is associated with economic growth, including all the standard factors such as education, population growth, and government spending.
Mercatus Center | The Problem with States’ Rights
In the coming year, we hope to pursue research exploring what institutions limit competition within American federalism and what institutions prevent collusion between the federal, state, and local jurisdictions.

Health Care

NY Times | Limits Placed on Immigrants in Health Care Law
The White House has ruled that young immigrants who will be allowed to stay in the United States as part of a new federal policy will not be eligible for health insurance coverage under President Obama’s health care overhaul.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fox Business | How to Stop Wasteful Spending in Health Care
A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), identifies a host of problems are plaguing the health-care system leading to high cost and poor results.
WSJ | A Major Glitch for Digitized Health-Care Records
Savings promised by the government and vendors of information technology are little more than hype.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Barron's | Insurance Roars Back Into Style
Fed's latest quantitative easing puts a floor under the market, at least for now.
Market Watch | Fed's Evans: 'This was the time to act'
The Federal Reserve needed to launch another round of asset purchases given the problems facing the economy and the potential dangers lying ahead, said Charles Evans, the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on Tuesday.

Reason Foundation | How Quantitative Easing Helps the Rich and Soaks the Rest of Us
Quantitative easing is fundamentally a regressive redistribution program that has been boosting wealth for those already engaged in the financial sector or those who already own homes, but passing little along to the rest of the economy.
The Economist: Free Exchange | Type the Title You Want People to See
Despite the goal of the projections—to improve transparency and communication—they've long fit awkwardly alongside the Fed's statements and policy actions. They've indicated for months, for instance, that the Fed was content with a much slower pace of recovery than it suggested in its statements.
Econlog | Woolsey and Sumner on QE3
The other "problem" with the Fed's policy is that it has specified that it will be purchasing mortgage backed securities. Since these are all "agency debt," that means they are already guaranteed by the U.S. taxpayer for credit risk.


Politico | Obama, Hill Dems differ on taxes
President Barack Obama has made his tax position abundantly clear: Let the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans expire at year’s end. But on Capitol Hill, some in his own party are ready to make a deal.
Politico | Ways and Means to meet privately Thursday
House Ways and Means Committee members of both parties will hold a rare private meeting Thursday to discuss the mess of tax provisions expiring at the end of the year, several sources told POLITICO.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | End of payroll tax cut: $125 billion hit to economy
In February, President Barack Obama joined Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill in championing a payroll tax holiday that would help boost the moribund economy. But now, that tax break has fallen largely off the radar — and ending it could take $125 billion out of the economy next year alone.
CRS | Carbon Tax: Deficit Reduction and Other Considerations
The federal budget deficit has exceeded $1 trillion annually in each fiscal year since 2009, and deficits are projected to continue. Over time, unsustainable deficits can lead to reduced savings for investment, higher interest rates, and higher levels of inflation.

Heritage Foundation | Congressional Research Service Wrongly Implies Lower Tax Rates Don’t Strengthen Economy
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) set out to make a convincing case that lower income tax rates do not strengthen the economy. It failed, but in so doing, it called into question the quality of CRS analysis and the institution’s credibility as non-partisan.


Fox Business | Alpha Natural Resources 1,200 Cuts Jobs, Idles Plants
The No. 2 U.S. coal miner by revenue said it hopes the restructuring moves will cut overhead costs by $150 million and also reduce annual coal output by about 16 million tons by early next year.
CNN: Money | Chicago teachers strike could hit jobs report
About 26,000 teachers and support staff are striking in Chicago, demanding higher pay, better job security and changes to a new evaluation system.
Fox Business | Kohl's Increases Holiday Hiring by 10%
Off-price department store Kohl’s said on Tuesday that it plans to hire more than 52,700 seasonal associates this holiday season to help support the increase in store traffic.

AEI | Study: Uncertainty has raised the U.S. unemployment rate by a full percentage point
During the Great Recession, the increase in uncertainty appears to have been much greater in magnitude. To examine how much the increase in unemployment during the recession and recovery has been due to increased uncertainty, we extend our statistical approach.


Market Watch | U.S. current-account deficit narrows
The amount the U.S. owes to the rest of the world, known as the current-account deficit, fell by 12% in the second quarter, primarily because of lower oil imports and higher income transfers such as U.S. earnings on investments abroad.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI: The American | Missing in Action: Growth
Neither party denies that our growing debt is rapidly taking us in the wrong direction, but neither party is giving the best remedy—economic growth enhancement—the top billing it deserves.
NBER | Over-optimistic Official Forecasts in the Eurozone and Fiscal Rules
Why do countries find it so hard to get their budget deficits under control? Systematic patterns in the errors that official budget agencies make in their forecasts may play an important role. Although many observers have suggested that fiscal discipline can be restored via fiscal rules such as a legal cap on the budget deficit, forecasting bias can defeat such rules.
CBO | Choices for Federal Spending and Taxes
What factors are putting increasing pressure on the Budget?

NRO: The Corner | Fears Over Sequestration Are Overblown
Moreover, with the national debt exceeding $16 trillion, a gross-debt-to-GDP ratio above 100 percent, and Moody’s Investors Service warning of another potential credit downgrade, we need to cut through the rhetoric and face the facts. Defense sequester cuts simply do not warrant the fears they have prompted.