Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Generla Economics

Market Watch | U.S. housing starts advance 2.3% in August
The housing market showed little evidence of retreat in August despite a slower U.S. economy as construction on new homes rose by 2.3%.
WSJ | Mortgage Loans Hit 16-Year Low as Standards Tighten
Mortgage lending declined to its lowest level in 16 years in 2011 amid weak demand for mortgages and tighter lending standards, according to a report released by federal regulators Tuesday.
Market Watch | Home-builder optimism hits 6-year high
Optimism among the nation’s home builders climbed in September for the fifth straight month to reach the highest level in more than six years, according to a closely followed index released Tuesday.
FOX News | 1st tidal power delivered to US power grid off Maine
A tidal power project is delivering electricity to the U.S. power grid for the first time, energy officials said Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Still a Protectionist Trade Remedy: The Case for Repealing Section 337
Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 gives the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) the power to exclude products from the United States that are imported pursuant to "unfair methods of competition." 
AEI | FHA Watch, September 2012
One in six Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans continued to be delinquent in August as the total delinquency rate eased slightly to 16.35 percent. This was due to modest declines across all delinquency categories.
Minyanville | Random Thoughts: When Did Recession Become Public Enemy Number One?
I was listening to Dick Fisher and the folks on CNBC this morning discuss the importance of avoiding another—GASP!—recession.
WSJ | The U.S. Needs More i-Side Economics
No jobs? No wonder, given what passes for economic thought these days.
Washington Times | America in free-fall
The annual Economic Freedom of the World report, including an index of country rankings, has just been released, and it should be a wake-up call. 
Real Clear Markets | Lax Rules Author Spike In Food Stamp Usage
Last week, the Census Bureau announced American real household income declined in 2011. That's the second year in a row.
Businessweek | Here Comes the Big Manufacturing Slowdown
For the second straight month, manufacturing activity in the New York region slowed, this time to the lowest level since April 2009, during the worst of the global recession. 
Washington Times |  Costco tale highlights private-sector success
At the Democratic National Convention, Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal provided his endorsement of President Obama.
CATO | America's Vanishing Economic Freedom
The 2012 Economic Freedom of the World report was releasedthis week by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute, and it showed that the United States has plummeted to 18th place in the ranked list, trailing such countries as Estonia, Taiwan, and Qatar. 

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Government Dependency Rises As Number of Taxpayers Declines
The leak of a video featuring former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) has sparked debate about government dependency and the number of people in the United States who do not pay federal income tax.
FOX Business | Our Entitlement Nation
Outrage today on the left about remarks Mitt Romney made four months ago about our entitlement nation. But to be clear on the facts, Mitt is right.      
Daily Capitalist | Economic Freedom: The U.S. Is Slipping
The United States was known as the bastion of economic freedom for more than two centuries, and it was because of its economic freedom that the nation became the pre-eminent economic power. However, in just a few short years, the U.S. has fallen from No. 3 in 2000 (behind the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore) to No. 8 in 2005 and to No. 18 in 2010, the last year for which complete statistics are available. 
WSJ | NY Fed Manufacturing Index Worsens
An index covering New York manufacturing activity unexpectedly fell further into contraction this month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York‘s Empire State Manufacturing Survey released Monday.
National Review | A Nation of Dependents? Breaking Down the Numbers
Since the topic of dependency has been in the news in the last 24 hours, I thought I would post this chart I made a few months ago showing that 49 percent of Americans live in a household that receives government benefits.

Health Care

Heritage Foundation | California to Use Popular TV Shows to Market Obamacare Exchanges
Officials in California plan to use popular network television shows to market the state’s new health care exchange, established as part of Obamacare, according to a marketing plan drafted in June.


Bloomberg | Defining Bernanke's New Fed Target
With $40 billion in monthly asset purchases, the Federal Reserve's new open-ended program of quantitative easing is all about generating self-fulfilling expectations of economic growth.
Daily Finance | 5 Ways QE3 Will Affect Your Wallet
Well, the Federal Reserve's third round of quantitative easing -- known as QE3 -- is all that and more. In fact, if rounds of quantitative easing had slogans, QE3's would be: "Wow! We've never tried anything this powerful before!"
WSJ | Fed Officials Assess Central Bank's Action
A top Federal Reserve official expressed strong support Tuesday for the central bank's latest efforts to invigorate the recovery, saying it can do more if necessary.
Market Watch | Bank of Japan adds to stimulus
The Bank of Japan Wednesday said it will provide more monetary stimulus in response to a slowing in domestic economic activity, increasing the size of its asset purchases by 10 trillion yen ($126.7 billion) to about ¥80 trillion.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Bernanke to Savers, Unemployed and Wall Street: Drop Dead.
In his essential 1982 book, The Economy In Mind, the late Warren Brookes relayed a story from 1979 in which a Keynesian economist from the United States was passing through customs at JFK Airport.
WSJ | Bernanke's 'Risk-On, Risk-Off' Monetary Policy
The Federal Reserve thrilled markets last week with the announcement that it would pump $40 billion into the economy each month through the purchase of mortgage-backed securities. Chairman Ben Bernanke justified this action by explaining that the Fed's tools "involve affecting financial asset prices."
Spectator | A Road to Prosperity
Gold, a fundamental, metallic element of the earth’s constitution, exhibits unique properties that enabled it, during two millennia of market testing, to emerge as a universally accepted store of value and medium of exchange, not least because it could sustain purchasing power over the long run against a standard assortment of goods and services.

CATO | The Fed’s New Round of Quantitative Easing
The FOMC’s decisions create yet another exit problem for the Fed. If job growth picks up, or inflation rises, before every future FOMC meeting the market will wonder if the Fed will stop buying MBSs. The Fed has refused to offer any genuine guidance as to when the policy will end.
WSJ | Former Fed Regulation Chief to Advise Banks
The Federal Reserve’s most recent head of bank supervision and regulation will now be helping advise big banks how to adapt to the changing regulatory landscape he was once at the center of crafting.


Politico | Estate tax debate re-emerges as fiscal cliff looms
A tiny fraction of the population is affected by it, a majority of the public fears it, and it’s about to become a marquee bout in the congressional fight over taxes this year — again.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Little Good News for Taxpayers
Four years after the financial panic, Washington has enacted little in the way of genuine reform. But Congress seems poised to take one modest step toward free markets in finance. Come January 1 the universe of assets guaranteed by U.S. taxpayers is scheduled to shrink by more than $1 trillion.
Investors | The Great Tax Divide Between Democrats And Republicans
There was a time when Democrats and Republicans alike could talk sense about tax rates, in terms of what is best for the economy, without demagoguery about "tax cuts for the rich."
WSJ | Sweden 22-U.S. 35
The headline above is not an athletic game score, and in this contest you want to be on the lower end. We're talking about the corporate tax rate, which Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has announced that he intends to cut to 22% from 26.3% as part of his next budget.

Tax Foundation | How much do Nonpayers Earn?
Looking at just the filers who are nonpayers, the IRS provides data on their income, which can be found in our recent report.  This data is presented in the chart below for tax years 2001 and 2009, to show the progression of nonpayers over the last decade. 
AEI | From ‘You didn’t build that’ business to ‘You didn’t raise that’ child: Policy as pro-family as well as pro-entrepreneur
About half of people who don’t owe income tax are off the rolls not because they take advantage of tax breaks but rather because they have low incomes. 


FOX News | American Airlines expecting to cut about 4,400 jobs
American Airlines is sending layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 employees although a spokesman says the company expects job losses to be closer to 4,400.
Bloomberg | Lacker Says Fed May Not Be Able to Quickly Fix Job Market
Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said the shock from the credit crisis may impede efforts by the central bank to quickly bring down unemployment even with the use of record stimulus.
CNN Money | Kohl's to hire more than 50,000
Kohl's Department Stores seems to have high hopes for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama’s work slowdown
Sometime during the past month or so, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign lost its laserlike focus on the bleak, job-starved Obama economy

AEI | 2 charts that show the very heart of the U.S economy is in trouble
Entrepreneurs — and the innovation they generate — are the beating heart of the U.S. economy. Or at least they have been in the past.


Bloomberg | U.S. Fiscal Cliff Will Halt Stocks Rally, BankInvest Says
The global rally in stocks will fade as a U.S. budget dispute in Congress and November’s presidential election will stifle growth in the world’s biggest economy, according to Copenhagen-based BankInvest.
WSJ | Greek Readies Plan for Further Budget Cuts
Greece hopes to wrap up the details of a planned multibillion-euro package of spending cuts by Sunday, the country's finance minister said, as it scrambles to convince visiting inspectors that it deserves another installment of aid from its European and international creditors.
Bloomberg | Missed Chances Stoke Skepticism Over EU’s Crisis Fight
Mario Draghi sees reason to be ``optimistic” about the euro-area financial crisis now that he's committed the European Central Bank’s balance sheet to ending it.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | How Contagious Is Europe’s Economic Crisis?
Many countries in the eurozone are on the brink of financial insolvency. Large, global European banks could fail. The eurozone could break up. Any of these potential negative outcomes would be felt well beyond the borders of Europe.

Daily Capitalist | Why Surpluses Evaporate (1998-2001)
This is from the Mercatus Center, adapted from an article by Charles Blahous in his e21 piece “How Did Federal Surpluses Become Huge Deficits?.