Friday, September 21, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | U.S. Consumers Proving Old Faithful for Asia Exporters: Economy
Three years after the global recession blamed in part on debt-fueled U.S. consumption and insufficient Asian spending, Asia’s top three exporters are again finding American consumers a boon as their economies slow.
Washington Times | Has U.S. economy bottomed out? Census suggests yes
The U.S. economy is showing signs of finally bottoming out: Americans are on the move again after record numbers had stayed put, more young adults are leaving their parents’ homes to take a chance with college or the job market, once-sharp declines in births are leveling off and poverty is slowing.
CNN Money | Mortgage rates at record low again
Mortgage rates fell to record low levels once again last week, as the Federal Reserve's decision to buy billions in home loans for the foreseeable future helped bring lending costs down for home buyers and owners.
Market Watch | Forces of factory decline trump Fed’s easy money
As factories around the world slow the machinery of production, central banks are putting their foot to the floor in an effort to pull the economy forward.
USA Today | Families have run companies for 100-plus years
Carl Heimerdinger says it isn't uncommon for customers to bring scissors in for sharpening at his family's retail cutlery shop that were purchased there decades ago, by a parent or grandparent.
CNN Money | Mississippi has highest poverty and lowest income
Mississippi once again leads the nation in poverty and lags in median household income.
Washington Times | Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to record 3.49 percent
The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage touched its record low this week and the rate on 15-year mortgage hit a new record.
WSJ | Neighborhoods Confer Health, but Not Wealth
Moving low-income families out of poor neighborhoods doesn't help the families escape poverty, according to a new study, but it does make them healthier and happier.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | U.S. Implementation of the Basel Capital Regulatory Framework
The Basel III international regulatory framework, which was produced in 2010 by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision at the Bank for International Settlements, is the latest in a series of evolving agreements among central banks and bank supervisory authorities to standardize bank capital requirements, among other measures.
Washington Times | ‘Global Frackdown’ risks power smackdown
American energy independence ought to be a no-brainer. The recent Middle East unrest underscores the need for minimizing U.S. reliance on foreign sources to power the nation. Obama administration efforts to block access to domestic fossil fuels ensures our future is taken hostage by unfriendly oil lords.
WSJ | In the Money-Market for More Oversight
Four years ago this week, amid the financial crisis, the U.S. Treasury Department took the unprecedented step of putting taxpayer dollars on the line to stop a run on money-market funds. That run exacerbated the crisis and helped spread its harmful effects from Wall Street to Main Street.
Washington Times | Fighting Obama’s attack on welfare reform
Add undermining welfare reform to the list of President Obama’s run-ins with the inconvenience of Article 1 of the Constitution — right alongside the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, the war in Libya, recess appointments and a Department of Homeland Security memo declining to enforce immigration law.
Real Clear Markets | Disappointing Income and Poverty Numbers: What's Wrong With the Story?
Once a year the Census Bureau publishes estimates of the number of poor under the official poverty definition. At the same time, it releases estimates of the trend and distribution of income as well as health insurance coverage.
Project Syndicate | The Narrative Structure of Global Weakening
Recent indications of a weakening global economy have led many people to wonder how pervasive poor economic performance will be in the coming years. Are we facing a long global slump, or possibly even a depression?
WSJ | Time for 'Government Motors' to Hit the Road
The Treasury Department should sell every last share that it owns of General Motors—as quickly as possible.

AEI | A just society isn’t necessarily an equal one
Income inequality is a deeply contested issue in the United States today, thrust into the spotlight by the Occupy Wall Street movement’s protests against “the top one percent.” Is our national wealth improperly concentrated in the hands of a privileged few?
Economist | Restructuring structural reforms
In the euro crisis Germany has taken on the role of stern schoolmaster having to deal with a particularly recalcitrant class in southern Europe and Ireland, which must “do their homework”. 
AEI | The worst recession since the…
That the nation has suffered “the worst recession since the Great Depression” has become a nifty political cliché.
Economist | You built that, but why?
A colleague and I were talking the other day about the frustration with the Obama presidency among CEOs and other business big shots.

Health Care

National Journal | Ryan to Challenge Obama on Medicare at AARP
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, whose plans for Medicare are under attack by President Obama and other Democrats, will promise an honest conversation on entitlements in a speech at an AARP conference on Friday in New Orleans, just after Obama addresses the group by satellite.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | Laws Affecting the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)
The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) has been in existence for over 50 years. Since its creation, it has provided private health insurance coverage to federal employees, annuitants, and their dependents.
NBER | Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility
This paper uses a policy discontinuity to identify the immediate and long-term effects of public health insurance coverage during childhood. Our identification strategy exploits a unique feature of several early Medicaid expansions that extended eligibility only to children born after September 30, 1983.

FOX Business | CBO: Health-Law Tax to Hit 50% More Than Estimated
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now says six million people will have to pay the individual mandate tax at a higher estimated cost of $6.9 billion to $8 billion, once ObamaCare rolls out in its entirety in 2016.


Market Watch | Fed's Pianalto says QE3 should support housing
The Federal Reserve's third round of asset purchases, known colloquially as QE3, should put some downward pressure on home-mortgage rates and help the housing sector recover, Sandra Pianalto, president of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, said Thursday.
Bloomberg | Fed’s Kocherlakota Backs More Stimulus in Policy Reversal
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota said battling unemployment may mean keeping interest rates close to zero for four years, reversing his view that borrowing costs might have to rise as soon as this year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Telegraph | Money printing has only allowed governments to duck their problems
Forget QE3 in the US, or whatever round of quantitative easing we are now up to here in the UK; in Japan they are about to embark on QE7, or is that QE8 – it’s hard to keep up.
Forbes | Will Ben Bernanke's QE3 Work? No, It's Already Failed
People can stop wondering if QE3, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s latest effort to “do more”, will work.  It has already failed.
CATO | Bernanke Administers Another Cruel Dose of Financial Morphine with QE3
After nearly four years of ultra-low interest rates and a tripling of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet—but with little progress on reducing the unemployment rate— the Bernanke Fed has once again come to the rescue with another dose of financial morphine.

WSJ | Depression Lessons: Should Fed Stand Down to Compel Congressional Action?
For much of the second half of the 20th century, economists from James Tobin, the noted Keynesian, and Milton Friedman, the noted monetarist, critiqued the Federal Reserve‘s monetary policy during the Great Depression. It’s a tradition that Ben Bernanke pursued as an academic before he came to Washington.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | Tax Gap, Tax Compliance, and Proposed Legislation in the 112th Congress
Recent and projected large federal budget deficits and the need for revenue offsets under the Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO) have generated congressional interest in the feasibility of increasing revenue by reducing the tax gap.

CATO | Just as ‘Fair Trade’ Means Protectionism for the Benefit of Special Interests, ‘Fair Tax Competition’ Means Tax Harmonization for the Benefit of Politicians
Very few people are willing to admit that they favor protectionism. After all, who wants to embrace a policy associated with the Great Depression?
Market Watch | Democrats paint target on wealthy over capital gains
Democrats are putting wealthy investors on notice that they won’t get a break on capital gains taxes if President Barack Obama’s party has its say.
CATO | U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Is Double the Average
Cato has released a new study by scholars Duanjie Chen and Jack Mintz on corporate effective tax rates in 2012 for 90 countries. The study provides estimates of marginal effective tax rates, which are an important driver of real investment flows.


Washington Times | Workforce dropouts: Frustrated, retired or lack skills
Democrats pointed to the 4.6 million new private-sector jobs created since 2009, while Republicans contended that the rate was falling in part because millions of frustrated people were simply dropping out of the job market because they were unable to find work.
CNN Money | The poor do have jobs
Millions of poor Americans who don't pay federal income taxes actually do have jobs. They just earn too little to pay taxes, and in some cases, to escape poverty.

Political Calculations | A Sharply Increasing Trend in U.S. Layoffs
The BLS' report on the number of new jobless claims filed in the week ending 15 September 2012 indicates that the pace of layoffs in the United States is accelerating at the fastest pace since the 2007 recession began.


National Journal | Senate Punts CR Vote to Weekend
The Senate will not vote Thursday on a continuing resolution to fund the government, delaying the vote for at least a day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on Thursday afternoon. Democrats charged that Republicans delayed the vote to help colleague Scott Brown of Massachusetts avoid a debate in his hotly contested Senate race.
Bloomberg | Greek Leaders Struggle With Spending Reductions
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras struggled to clinch agreement with his coalition partners on an 11.5 billion-euro ($14.9 billion) budget-cut package that’s key to receiving international aid funds.
WSJ | U.K. Deficit Hits Record for August
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne looks on course to miss his borrowing target after official data Friday showed the budget deficit in August was the largest for that month since records began.
Market Watch | Household debt climbs at fastest rate in 4 years
American households accumulated debt at the fastest rate in the second quarter in more than four years, and total domestic debt grew at the quickest rate in 3 1/2 years, according to data released Thursday showing an increased willingness to borrow.
WSJ | Fight Looms on Greek Bailout
A confrontation is brewing among Greece's international creditors over who will provide the financing needed to keep the country afloat.
NY Times | California Debt Higher Than Earlier Estimates, a Task Force Reports
Gov. Jerry Brown of California announced when he came into office last year that he had found an alarming $28 billion “wall of debt” looming over the state, which had to be dismantled.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | An Illinois Pension Bailout?
Now that Chicago's children have returned to not learning in school, we can all move on to the next crisis in Illinois public finance: unfunded public pensions. Readers who live in the other 49 states will be pleased to learn that Governor Pat Quinn's 2012 budget proposal already floated the idea of a federal guarantee of its pension debt. Think Germany and eurobonds for Greece, Italy and Spain.