Thursday, October 25, 2012

General Economics

WSJ | Euro-Zone Activity Declines Further
The euro-zone economy declined further at the start of the fourth quarter, business surveys suggest, with sentiment in Germany—the euro zone's biggest economy and key source of financial support—worsening markedly.
USA Today | Economists see less pain, slow gains in 2013
Almost two-thirds of the 48 economists surveyed predict the so-called fiscal cliff issue will be resolved without significant damage to the economy.
CNN Money | Microsoft is risking an $18 billion empire on Windows 8
Windows has been Microsoft's most reliable cash cow for nearly three decades. The software giant is gambling all of that success on what it deems to be the company's future: a radically redesigned Windows 8.
Bloomberg | Orders for U.S. Capital Goods Stagnate Spending Slumps
Orders for U.S. business equipment stalled in September, capping a quarterly slump that signals investment will cool in the second half of the year.
CNN Money | Foreclosures fall in 62% of U.S. cities
Foreclosures fell in nearly two-thirds of the nation's largest metro areas during the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac Thursday.
Market Watch | Pending home sales inch higher in September
Pending home sales edged up 0.3% in September after a sharp drop in the prior month, a trade group reported Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The American | Energy Is Everywhere
Nearly half of what people pay for energy comes ‘embodied’ in the various goods and services that they use, and about half of that comes down to two things: food and health care.
Politico | Paul Ryan: Stop 'dependency' culture
As Mitt Romney continues to defend himself over comments that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government services, his running-mate Paul Ryan will say in Ohio on Wednesday that “upward mobility” is stalled for many Americans.
WSJ | Consumption and the Myths of Inequality
In multiple campaign speeches over the past week, President Obama has emphasized a theme central to Democratic campaigns across the country this year: inequality.

Economist | Rebalancing, and the big squeeze
The euro zone would like to make its way out of recession at some point; the longer it stays there the more painful and less successful is fiscal consolidation.
Calculated Risk | New Home Sales and Distressing Gap
New home sales have averaged 364,000 on an annual rate basis through September. That means sales are on pace to increase 19% from last year (and based on the last few months, sales will probably increase more than 20% this year).
AEI | Blame Bush? The two charts that show how the Great Recession really happened
Washington has produced lots of policy in response to the Great Recession. TARP, the $800 billion stimulus, Dodd Frank, HAMP and HARP, the QEs.
Heritage Foundation | CHART: Paul Ryan Lays Out a Vision for Reforming Welfare, Fighting Poverty
In his speech today at Cleveland State University, Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI) laid out a vision for reforming the nation’s approach to poverty.

Health Care

Health Care IT | HHS questions GOP calls to suspend meaningful use
Health and Human Services officials, who spoke this week at the CHIME12 Annual Fall Forum, are pushing back against Republican questions of the appropriateness of the $27 billion meaningful use EHR Incentive Program.
News Medical | Obama administration to relax Medicare benefit rules
As part of a proposed settlement in a national class-action lawsuit, the federal government would expand benefits for skilled nursing and home health care to the chronically ill.


WSJ | Fed Keeps Rates Low, Says Growth Is Moderate
The Federal Reserve stuck to its assessment Wednesday that the economy is growing moderately and voted to keep its support in place to help the job market recover.
Market Watch | Fed sticks to QE3 plan, given mixed growth signals
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday continued to express concern about the U.S. economy as it maintained its ultra-easy policy stance.
CNN Money | Higher yields on savings? It will be awhile
The Federal Reserve said in September it would buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities a month until the labor market rebounds. The goal: to free up banks to lend more.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | The Case for Nominal GDP Targeting
The history of central banking is a story of one failure after another. This does not mean our actual monetary regimes have been the worst of all possible regimes—far from it. But it does mean we can improve policy by learning from experience. Every proposed reform is a response to a previous failure, an implicit display of lessons learned.

Library of Economics | Is Fiat Money a Bubble?
I thought the mainstream view was that fiat money was--in most mainstream theories and possibly in practice--a bubble.
Daily Capitalist | Very Good News About The Fed
It’s not what you were thinking (today’s FOMC report). The good news was that Bernanke and Geithner see the handwriting on the wall. They will both head for the unemployment lines if Romney wins. Geithner says he wants out if Obama wins. His replacement will be another lackluster Keynesian. While Bernanke’s appointment will not run out until January 2014, my call is that he will be asked to resign by Romney, after a suitable period of time after the election to calm the markets.


WSJ | Tax-Evasion Allegations Dog Greece
A former Greek finance minister on Wednesday accused financial-crime investigators of failing to pursue leads against Greeks who salted away more than €1 billion in Swiss bank accounts, fueling a new round of finger-pointing over Athens' alleged failure to move against wealthy tax dodgers.

Economist | Fun with tax
Depending on your viewpoint, tax may be the price of civilisation or it may be a form of legalised theft. What is undoubtedly true is that it is less onerous now than was the case until recently, in the rich world at least.
AEI | Taxing the rich: Not just an American controversy
The Czech Republic is waiting for the resolution of a dispute about a “tax on millionaires” which threatens the approval of the 2013 budget and could bring down the Czech government. Sound familiar? It turns out that neither the desire to tax the rich nor the fierce opposition that such proposals provoke is unique to the United States.


Bloomberg | Firings Highest Since 2010 as Ford to Dow Face Slump
Ford Motor Co. (F) and Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) joined a growing number of companies firing thousands of workers as sluggish U.S. growth and Europe’s deepening recession lead to a persisting slump in sales.
Market Watch | U.S. initial jobless claims drop to 369,000
First-time applications for unemployment benefits declined last week, government data showed Thursday, but the number of new claims filed stands little changed over the past few months in a reflection of slow U.S. hiring trends.
Bloomberg | Outsourcing Turns Inside-Out as Indians Open U.S. Centers
Janie James says she was cool at first when Indian outsourcing giant Infosys Ltd. (INFO) approached her about a job near Atlanta, even though she was unemployed. She didn’t know much about the company, and it seemed a step down from her old vice-president post at Primerica Inc. (PRI)

Calculated Risk | Updates to the ADP Employment Report
The newly expanded ADP National Employment Report will be issued each month by the ADP Research InstituteSM, a specialized group within ADP that provides insights around employment trends and workforce strategy.
WSJ | More People Eschew Jobless Benefits Than Scam System
Some people scam the system to get jobless benefits they don’t deserve. But far more don’t claim the benefits for which they are eligible, according to research by economists working with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.


National Journal | Congress Could Punt On the Fiscal Cliff
Lawmakers are downplaying hopes that they will avert the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts and automatic budget cuts set to hit in January with a major deficit-reduction and tax deal, but they suggest a partial fix is likely.
WSJ | Greek, European Officials Dispute Budget Reprieve
Greece said Wednesday that a loan agreement it is negotiating with its creditors would give the country an additional two years to meet its budget targets in exchange for deep budget cuts and other measures.
National Journal | White House Holds Back on Sequester Details
There’s a funny thing happening at federal agencies. When it comes to the details of the looming $1.2 trillion cut to their budgets, agency officials find themselves unable to explain just how those cuts would affect myriad programs on the ground. Instead, they have a unified message: talk to the Office of Management and Budget.

Neighborhood Effects | States Look to Rainy Day Funds to Avoid Future Crises
For the past nine quarters, state revenue collections have been increasing and are now approaching 2008 levels after adjusting for inflation. Many state policymakers are no longer facing the near-ubiquitous budget gaps of fiscal year 2012, but at the moment those memories seem to remain fresh in their minds.
National Review | Austerity U.K. Edition, Part 2
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman has a series of charts today that are supposed to show that austerity has failed in Britain. The charts show that economic growth in the country has diverged from what one would expect it to be (because we know how accurate economic forecasts and projections often are).