Thursday, October 4, 2012

General Economics

Washington Times | U.S. service firms grow at fastest pace in 6 months
U.S. service companies grew in September at the fastest pace in six months, helped by a sharp increase in customer demand.
Bloomberg | Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advanced for a Sixth Consecutive Week
Consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed for a sixth straight week, the longest upswing since the end of 2005 into early 2006, as Americans grew more secure about their finances.
FOX Business | U.S. Factory Orders Take Biggest Tumble Since '09
Demand for U.S. factory goods in August fell by the most since January 2009, but the second straight month of gains in orders outside transportation hinted at a less rapid loss of momentum in manufacturing activity.
Market Watch | Fewer foreclosures in August: CoreLogic
There were about 57,000 completed foreclosures in August, down from about 75,000 in the same month last year, according to CoreLogic Thursday.
Washington Times | Mortgage refinancings surge amid record-low rates
The Federal Reserve touched off the biggest mortgage refinancing wave since 2009 last month by driving the interest rates on 30-year mortgages to record lows near 3.5 percent
CNN Money | Facebook reaches one billion users
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that his social media site had hit the milestone.
Market Watch | Consumer loan delinquencies up in eight categories
Delinquency rates for consumer loans rose in eight loan categories tracked by the American Bankers Association in the second quarter of 2012 including home-equity loans and personal loans, according to a report released Thursday by the ABA.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | American Airlines pilots union sabotage
In recent decades, labor union leaders often have sowed the seeds of their own demise by overplaying their hand and overestimating their dominion.
Real Clear Markets | Adios Espana! The Talent Outflow From Spain
Spain appears to be ever closer to asking for outside financial aid to help it recover from a deep recession and cope with severe unemployment. The interest rate Spain must pay to finance its steep budget deficits remains too high to permit a sustainable economic recovery.
WSJ | Why Dodd-Frank Rules Keep Losing in Court
Since the mid-2000s, regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission have been challenged six times in the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C. The SEC lost every time. I brought four of those lawsuits, and sometimes am asked why the agency has such difficulty defending its rules.
National Review | Unleash the Mind
America’s wealth is not an inventory of goods; it is an organic entity, a fragile pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, visions. To vivisect it for redistribution is to kill it.
CNN Money | What we got for $50 billion in 'green' stimulus
Over 770,000 homes weatherized. A doubling of energy from wind and solar. Cleaning 688 square miles of land formerly used for Cold War-era nuclear testing.
Four Percent Growth | The ‘Mother May I?’ State
The economic costs of TSA have been the subject of endless analyses. We know that nearly 70,000 people are employed to staff airport security checkpoints and that this largely inefficient effort to stop hi-jacking accounts for roughly 4% of the federal personnel budget.

Political Calculations | Forecasting GDP for 2012-Q3
Now that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Statistics has published its third and final, for now, estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2012, we can use our "modified limo" forecasting technique to project approximately where GDP will be recorded for the third quarter of 2012!

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | No Easy Answers In Effort to Curb Health Spending
My book about the federal budget, which emphasizes the fiscal significance of rising health spending (it was 10% of federal spending in 1960, is 25% today and is headed to 33% within a decade), has many readers asking:


Bloomberg | Draghi Says ECB Stands Ready to Start Buying Govt Bonds
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank is ready to start buying government bonds as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, putting the onus on Spain to decide whether it wants a bailout.
Market Watch | Fed minutes of Sept. meeting: 5 things to watch
With the sharp new turn in Fed policy agreed to at the September meeting of Fed policy makers, economists will be looking for clues of any new rules of the road in the minutes of the Fed’s Sept. 12 and 13 meeting.
CNBC | Should Central Banks Have Coordinated Stimulus Moves?
In the space of 30 days, five major central banks round the world took turns to deliver aggressive stimulus measures in a bid to counter a deteriorating economic outlook and boost domestic growth.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Bernanke May Owe Milton and Anna Another Apology
It’s time for the Fed to put the “money” back in monetary policy. Maybe a re-reading of Friedman and Schwartz is in order.
CNBC | IMF Chief Economist Says Crisis Will Last a Decade
The world economy will take at least 10 years to emerge from the financial crisis that began in 2008, the International Monetary Fund's Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Economist | The broken transmission mechanism
Since the crisis hit in 2008, there has been a sharp divide between those who believe that the monetary authorities have been insufficiently aggressive and those who believe that central banks have done everything possible given that households and businesses have no interest in taking on new debts.
WSJ | Researchers Aim to Quantify Impact of Fed Rate Guidance
Researchers at the New York Fed are working to get a handle of the hard-to-quantify effects of the central bank’s rising reliance on forward monetary-policy guidance, noting existing models don’t appear up to the task.


CATO | Post-Debate Analysis: Debunking Obama’s Flawed Assertions on Tax Deductions and Corporate Welfare
In a violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, my brutal overseers at the Cato Institute required me to watch last night’s debate


Washington Times | Unemployment falls in nearly 90 pct. of U.S. cities
Unemployment rates fell in August in nearly 90 percent of large U.S. metro areas, mainly because more people gave up looking for work.
Market Watch | U.S. initial jobless claims climb to 367,000
The number of applicants for unemployment benefits bounced higher last week, data showed Thursday, underscoring the slow pace of job creation in the United States.


WSJ | Europe Officials to Weigh Further Budget Integration
A draft report circulated to European officials this week sets the stage for a far-reaching debate over how euro-zone governments might surrender yet more national control over economic decisions in exchange for money from a common budget that would be used to soften the blow of recessions.
CNN Money | Credit card delinquencies drop to 11-year low
Credit card customers are more responsible than they've been in over a decade.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Roll Call | What Would It Take for Action on Fiscal Cliff?
The subject of the fiscal cliff is a bit like the old "Perils of Pauline" movie serial. There will be numerous episodes where the country's economy, like Pauline, hangs in the balance - until the next episode.

AEI | Here’s what happened the last time America went over a fiscal cliff ….
Going over the fiscal cliff would hit the fragile U.S. economy with about $800 billion of tax increases (mostly) and spending cuts in calendar 2013, or about 5% of GDP. Now there’s not much history of this sort of thing in the United States, but there is some.