Tuesday, September 25, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Banks That Flunked Servicing Tests Face Watchdog
Mortgage firms including Bank of America Corp. that repeatedly ignored rules meant to improve service for struggling homeowners said they’re on the verge of complying with standards ordered in a $25 billion settlement.
Market Watch | Consumer-confidence gauge rises to 7-month high
Led by expectations, a gauge of consumer confidence jumped up in September to the highest level in seven months, but remained relatively low, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.
CNN Money | IMF chief: 'We need a sustained rebound'
Policymakers around the world need to make good on promises and get it right this time, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said in a speech Monday.
Market Watch | Housing stocks’ big run may slow despite good data
July’s Case-Shiller home-price index is released on Tuesday, as is the FHFA home-price index. Wednesday brings August’s new-home sales, while Thursday is August pending-home-sales day.
CNN Money | Postal Service to move closer to insolvency
At the end of this month, the U.S. Postal Service takes another step toward insolvency.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The 10% President
A question raised by President Obama's immortal line on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday—"I think that, you know, as President, I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree"—is what that degree really is. Maybe 70% or 80% of the buck stops with him? Or is it halfsies?
CNN Money | Goldman: Fed's QE3 could hit $2 trillion
The Federal Reserve's QE3 bond buying program announced earlier this month could last until the middle of 2015 and eventually reach $2 trillion, according to an estimate from economists at Goldman Sachs.
CATO | We Need to Reform Poorly Designed Entitlement Programs
Mitt Romney is getting criticized for his surreptitiously recorded remarks about 47 percent of voters automatically being Barack Obama supporters because they don't pay federal income tax and thus see themselves as beneficiaries of big government. I think Romney raised an important issue, but he used the wrong statistic and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | President Obama: Wrong on Rhetoric, Wrong on Trade Policy
Trade policy is once again in the spotlight with President Obama’s announcement this week of a new suit against China in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Coordination Problem | Is Hayek's Argument for Liberal Government Incoherent?
I have been reading Stephen Elkin's Reconstructing the Commerical Republic (Chicago, 2006) and I find the book to be very challenging despite my ultimate disagreement with his criticisms of the classical liberal project as I envision it.
Heritage Foundation | FACT CHECK: Obama Misleads on Medicare, Taxes, and Regulations
During a Sunday evening interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” President Obama made numerous factually inaccurate or misleading claims.
Marginal Revolution | We are no longer in the short run
NGDP is almost 10 percent higher now than it was at the pre-crash peak. The number of people employed, even with population growth, is still below the pre-crash peak.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | Obama Administration Warns Hospitals on Fraud
The Obama administration warned hospitals on Monday that the government would vigorously pursue cases of fraud involving the use of electronic medical records to inflate bills and generate extra revenue.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | War of words on Medicare Advantage
The Obama administration will announce later this week that the quality of private Medicare plans is on the rise, thanks to an $8 billion demonstration project that pays them bonuses for good performance.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CATO | Should States Implement ObamaCare’s ‘Essential Health Benefits’ Mandate?
The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff writes that the Department of Health and Human Services has decided to “punt” on the “monumental” task of dictating exactly what types of coverage those who get health insurance through the individual market or small employers must purchase.
Library of Economics | Will ACA's cost-cutters outcut private insurers?
Earlier this month, health experts from the Obama Administration wrote up some advice on the next steps for health reform in the New England Journal of Medicine.  I recommend reading it: Not too technical, about 2500 words, it gives you a glance into your likely future.  

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Goldman: Fed's QE3 could hit $2 trillion
The Federal Reserve's QE3 bond buying program announced earlier this month could last until the middle of 2015 and eventually reach $2 trillion, according to an estimate from economists at Goldman Sachs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Fed’s Williams: QE3 asset buying may be expanded
The Federal Reserve could expand its stimulus package to include assets other than mortgage-backed securities if the U.S. economy fails to respond to its latest effort to jump-start the economy.
AEI | Why the stimulus failed
Ask most Americans about the big-spending government policies of the last few years, and they will tell you the programs have failed.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Obama's 18 small business tax cuts - explained
President Obama often touts his 18 small business tax cuts, but there's some confusion as to what they really are.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Tax Reform in 2013?
It was overshadowed by the presidential race tug-of-war, but on Thursday the House and Senate held a rare joint hearing on tax reform. There was the usual partisan wrangling over who should pay how much, but there was some bipartisan agreement as well.
Washington Times | U.S. should ax destructive tax
It’s difficult to say definitively which tax is the most destructive. The corporate income tax is a leading candidate for causing higher prices to consumers, lower wages to workers and lower returns to investors.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Monday Map: Nonpayers By State
Today's Monday Map updates a map we did a couple of years ago looking at the geographical distribution of households that pay no income tax (using 2008 data).
CATO | ‘I Haven’t Raised Taxes’
On CBS News’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night, President Obama said, “Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven’t raised taxes.”
AEI | 10 stunning and myth-busting charts on the U.S. tax system
The Tax Foundation just posted a ton of super-informative, myth-dispelling charts on the U.S. tax system.
Tax Foundation | Is it True that "Just About Everyone" Eventually Pays Income Tax?
Acknowledging the fact that in any one year about half the population does not pay federal income tax, Paul Krugman and the authors of a report by the Hamilton Project argue that what matters is the life cycle, i.e. how much someone pays in tax over his or her life.  True, in many ways this matters, just as income over the life cycle matters. 

Employment

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Stop Demonizing Job Creators
Like too many other long-reigning fixtures on Capitol Hill, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) doesn't appreciate the magnitude of the challenge to the authority he presumes to hold over America's job and wealth creators. Or, maybe he does, and frustration over that fact explains why he besmirches companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
FOX Business | Toys R Us to Hire 45,000 for the Holidays
Toys R Us on Tuesday said it would hire 45,000 seasonal employees for the upcoming holiday shopping period, becoming the latest retailer to increase its hiring in anticipation of a modest bump in consumer spending.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | South Korea Delays Fiscal Balance to Boost Economy
The South Korean government said Tuesday that it would continue to run a fiscal deficit next year to stimulate Asia's fourth-largest economy, pushing out the target of a balanced budget by a year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The 10% President
A question raised by President Obama's immortal line on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday—"I think that, you know, as President, I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree"—is what that degree really is. Maybe 70% or 80% of the buck stops with him? Or is it halfsies?

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Political Calculations | The Zero Deficit Line in 2012
Now that the U.S. Census has released its newest estimate of median household income in the United States, it's time to consider where the U.S. federal government spending per U.S. household stands with respect to the Zero Deficit Line, which is the amount of spending that the typical American household can actually afford.
WSJ | Most Economists Say Government Should Avoid Spending Cuts in 2013
The vast majority of economists responding to a new survey believe the federal government should maintain or increase spending levels next year — a shared opinion that stands in contrast to steep budget cuts set to take place in 2013.