Monday, October 22, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | Greece Austerity Diet Risks 1930s-Style Depression: Euro Credit
Greece is spiraling into the kind of decline the U.S. and Germany endured during the Great Depression, showing the scale of the challenge involved in attempting to regain competitiveness through austerity.
CNN Money | Why debt is a threat to national security
The national debt is not on the official agenda for Monday's presidential debate on foreign policy.
Bloomberg | Asset-Backed Securities May Face Tougher Basel Bank Rules
Banks trading asset-backed securities may face tougher capital requirements and stricter oversight from global supervisors amid concerns that regulation is failing to curb excessive-risk taking.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Show Them the Money
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan promised that when 49 states squeezed $25 billion out of the nation's five largest banks in February, the money would be used to "provide immediate relief to homeowners." Now comes the rest of the story.
Barrons | Teetering on Another Cliffhanger
The fiscal cliff is not the exclusive reason for corporate America's paralyzing vertigo: A pending "regulatory cliff" also is contributing to dizzying uncertainty that has put the brakes on major investment decisions and, consequently, hiring.
Washington Times | Another housing bailout?
There are glimmers of hope in the housing market. Starts and prices are on the rise — an upbeat signal the likes of which hasn’t been seen in years. Still, the recovery is fragile and could be easily reversed given the huge numbers of homeowners who are underwater, heading into foreclosure, or both.
CATO | Red Tape Is Strangling the Recovery
For years politicians have bickered about the best prescriptions for the economy. From the right, it's lower taxes; from the left, the remedy is stimulus spending and government programs. Lost in the cacophony is one solution to our economic challenges about which both Republicans and Democrats claim to agree: rolling back the rising tide of red tape strangling small businesses.

Calculated Risk | Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 865 Institutions
The OCC released its enforcement actions through mid-September 2012 and the FDIC got back to closing a few banks, which led to many changes to the Unofficial Problem Bank List. For the week, there were nine removals and two additions leaving the list at 865 institutions with assets of $333.2 billion.
AEI | Is inequality really a problem for U.S. economic growth?
Economist Robert Gordon recently wrote a paper in which he asked the provocative question, “Is U.S. economic growth over?”  And he identifies income inequality as one of “headwinds”  facing the economy
Calculated Risk | Schedule for Week of Oct 21st
The key U.S. economic report for the coming week is the Q3 advance GDP report to be released on Friday. Also New Home sales will be released on Wednesday.
National Review | Welfare Recipients Aren’t the Only Government Dependents
As was noted on the Corner yesterday, total means-tested welfare spending has now reached $1 trillion. That’s a 32 percent increase in the last four year.
Calculated Risk | On Greece: More Austerity, More Recession, More Extremism
The first two articles discuss the rise of extremism in Greece as the country suffers through another year of recession (the unemployment rate in Greece is over 25%). The third article notes that the next tranche of aid is expected by mid-November.

Health Care

USA Today | Doctor shortage could take turn for the worse
The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2020, the shortage will amount to more than 90,000 doctors, including 45,000 patient care physicians. Why such a shortfall? The baby boom generation is getting older and will require more medical care in the coming years.
Bloomberg | Doctor Shortage Spreading in U.S. Presaged in Las Vegas
Once a problem limited to rural areas, the doctor shortage is now hitting large population centers such as Las Vegas and Detroit where people are forced to wait weeks or months or travel hundreds of miles for care.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | What John D. Rockefeller And The Houston Texans Can Tell Us About Healthcare
Think about this. The most powerful and richest man on the planet, someone who had access to the best doctors in the world, could not save his grandson.
Washington Post | Obamacare’s rhetoric vs. its reality
Just recently, the Internal Revenue Service issued an 18-page, single-spaced notice explaining how to distinguish between full-time and part-time workers under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Heritage Foundation | Medicare Roundup 10/19: Setting the Record Straight
In recent weeks, liberal politicians, editorialists, and policy analysts have vigorously attacked reform of Medicare based on a defined contribution financing. In fact, this approach to reforming Medicare has a long bipartisan tradition going back to the 1980s and Representatives Richard Gephardt (D–MO) and David Stockman (R–MI). In fact, much of this criticism is distorted, misleading, or just plain wrong.


Market Watch | Countdown to change at the Fed
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke is likely to step down at the end of his term in January 2014 regardless of who wins the U.S. presidential election, many Fed watchers now believe.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Fed Falls to Inconsistent and Contradictory Depths
Speaking earlier this week, New York Federal Reserve President Bill Dudley indicated a growing frustration with what he termed the "concentration of mortgage origination volumes at a few key financial institutions".
WSJ | If Ben Bernanke Sought Advice
We appreciate that you have a significant interest in Mr. Obama's success, but we would advise you to reduce your risk by steadily rolling back your position. We assume you will be able to help Mr. Obama understand that your shareholders have lost confidence in his investing plans, though they apparently remain quite charmed by him.

Market Watch | Should central banks cancel government debt?
The debate over quantitative easing may be due to take a new twist as investors ponder suggestions central banks that have engaged in the practice could just cancel the government debt they’ve accumulated in recent years.


USA Today | Taxes go up in 2013 for 163 million workers
President Barack Obama isn't talking about it and neither is Mitt Romney. But come January, 163 million workers can expect to feel the pinch of a big tax increase regardless of who wins the election.

Tax Foundation | Charts of the Day
Married Filers in 1960 and Today
AEI | Tax fact of the day
In 1921, when the tax rate on people making over $100,000 a year was 73 percent, the federal government collected a little over $700 million in income taxes, of which 30 percent was paid by those making over $100,000.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Goodbye, good jobs
A bankruptcy auction for the mortgage company ResCap this week in Manhattan could decide the fate of hundreds of workers in Waterloo, Iowa and other U.S. cities (and perhaps as many in India).

Calculated Risk | State Unemployment Rates decreased in 41 States in September
Regional and state unemployment rates were generally lower in September. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, six states posted rate increases, and three states had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Political Calculations | The Real Trend for New Jobless Claims
The number of Americans applying for unemployment insurance has fallen sharply since summer. The four-week moving average of first-time jobless claims inched up by 750 last week to 365,500.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Telegraph | IMF's epic plan to conjure away debt and dethrone bankers
So there is a magic wand after all. A revolutionary paper by the International Monetary Fund claims that one could eliminate the net public debt of the US at a stroke, and by implication do the same for Britain, Germany, Italy, or Japan.
Forbes | Raise Taxes And Cut Government Spending To Reduce Debt? Not Really
At some point, the U.S. government will have to deal with its exploding debt load. Typically, we hear that the solution involves “some combination of reduced spending and higher taxes.” Proponents often claim that this solution is “mathematically inevitable.”
Daily Finance | Thanks a Lot for the Disastrous Economic Legacy, Baby Boomers
As a group, boomers (partly through the politicians they elected) didn't just take full advantage of the successful economic times they lived in. They went well beyond their ample means, leaving their children and grandchildren with over $16 trillion in federal debt. Compared to just $228 billion when the first boomer was born, that's an increase of 7,018%.
Washington Times | ‘Wastebook’ unearths government excess
When Americans go to the polls we won’t just be making a decision about what kind of government we want. We will be making a decision about what kind of government we will tolerate. In recent elections politicians from both sides of the aisle promised to go through the budget line by line and make hard choices. That hasn’t happened.

Marginal Revolution | How to improve state-level fiscal policy
Some states rely too much on income taxes for their revenue and others rely too much on sales taxes (see the paper’s map on p.26).  We could have better state-level automatic stabilizers.