Friday, November 2, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | Mid-Sized Banks Split From Wall Street in D.C. Lobbying
Mid-sized banks that mostly let Wall Street and small firms speak for the industry during the debate over the Dodd-Frank Act have decided it’s time to carve out their own agenda in Washington.
CNN Money | Gas shortage continues in areas hit by Sandy
Many of the gas stations in the New York City region were still out of commission Friday due to the effects of Superstorm Sandy, and long lines continued to form at the stations that are still operational.
WSJ | Manufacturing Expands, Construction Spending Rises
The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded last month, but employment weakened, according to data released Thursday by the Institute for Supply Management.
Bloomberg | Japan May Have Entered Recessionary Phase, Some BOJ Members Say
Japan’s economy, the world’s third biggest, may have entered a “recessionary phase,” according to some Bank of Japan board members.
WSJ | Banks See Mortgage Requests Rising
Americans are increasingly asking their banks for mortgages but banks are wary of lending money to buy homes, a trend that could crimp the housing recovery.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | Europe is 'main drag' on global recovery
The world's two largest economies have been showing signs of improvement, but experts say the recession in Europe remains the biggest challenge to sustained global growth.
WSJ | Daylight-Saving Time Is Past Its Prime
Saturday night marks the end of daylight-saving time for 2012. Time for those clocks to "fall back" an hour to standard time, when the sun really is highest at high noon.
Bloomberg | Disasters Create Bigger, Not Better, Government
Whew. That was the general reaction when President Barack Obama told waterlogged New Jersey that “we are here for you.” After all, these days, a president is expected to “be here.”
Real Clear Markets | One Year Later, Occupy Wall Street, Keynes, and Pyramids
I certainly do not claim to be an Egyptologist nor do I have any particular or special knowledge of Egyptian pyramids or archeological expertise outside of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But there is a kind of historical ubiquity to those pyramids in the Egyptian desert, particularly in what they can potentially represent even to the modern mind.
AEI | Dodd-Frank and too big to fail receive too little attention
When, in the first debate, Mitt Romney referred to the Dodd-Frank Act as "a big kiss" for the Wall Street banks, he opened a discussion that has received too little attention in this election season.

WSJ | World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country
Manufacturing in much of the world remained in contractionary territory in October, but there were signs of hope as China returned to expansion and U.S. growth continued.
Economist | Losing interest
People earn income from a variety of sources. In the United States, almost $1 trillion of household income comes from the interest on assets Americans have accumulated over time, while about $180 billion is paid out in interest payments.
Coordination Problem | Newsflash: Crony Capitalism is a Creature of the State
My colleague Matt Mitchell is presenting his paper "The Pathology of Privilege: The Economic Consequences of Government Favoritism."  Matt is part of the research team at Mercatus set up to study American capitalism.
AEI | Has Obama failed by his own measures?
Progress under Obama has kept the unemployment rate above 8 percent for most of his presidency (administration officials predicted unemployment would not go above 8 percent and would be below 6 percent by now), lowered real family income by 5 percent, and left 12 million people unemployed, about one-third of whom have been out of work for more than one year.
WSJ | Economists React: ‘Naive’ to Think of Sandy as Stimulus
Superstorm Sandy will influence the U.S. economy for at least the next few months. Gauging the disaster’s effect requires assessing economic activity that might be lost entirely against activity that is substituted with other products or services (like when entertainment spending falls but hardware-store sales rise).
AEI | Net neutrality as ‘crony capitalism’
In a famous 1959 article, Ronald Coase called out the Federal Communications Commission for letting political pressures affect the allocation of valuable broadcast licenses. More than 50 years later, not much has changed.
National Review | The Paradox of Energy Efficiency
Lighting efficiency has improved during the last three centuries by many thousand-fold, from sputtering candles to modern LEDs, as Jeff Tsao and his colleagues from the Sandia National Laboratory note in the July 2012 issue of the journal Energy Policy. But the result “has been an increase in demand for energy used for lighting that nearly exactly offsets the efficiency gains.”

Health Care

Market Watch | Boomers’ health insurance at stake at the polls
Medicare isn’t the only major health program in play. The future of the “Obamacare” reforms could have a big financial impact for some older workers

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Parable of Health-Care Rationing
Imagine you're a Belgian industrialist with an idea for a device that treats certain cancers. You're convinced it would be a huge improvement over the existing standard. But it would also be hideously expensive, at least initially, and your specialized contraption will put your country's public-health accountants in a cold sweat. How to convince investors you're not insane?
Heritage Foundation | Obama’s Medicare Plan: Seniors Will Pay More
Today’s seniors are facing higher Medicare costs. Over the next five years, current law, as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also known as “Obamacare”), and President Obama’s budget proposals guarantee higher costs for today’s seniors.


Bloomberg | Gross Says Fed Accommodative Even With Job Gains: Tom Keene
Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve will continue its accommodative monetary policies even with the U.S. economy adding more jobs than forecast last month.
WSJ | Japan Bank Steps Up Attack on Deflation
The Bank of Japan took additional monetary easing action as a drop in exports and output forced it to lower its economic outlook. It also issued a joint statement with the government stressing a commitment to fight deflation.
Bloomberg | Rosengren Calls for QE3 Until Unemployment Falls to 7.25%
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said the Fed should buy mortgage bonds until the jobless rate falls to 7.25 percent and hold the target interest rate near zero until hitting 6.5 percent unemployment.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Economic Booms And Busts Of The Gold Standard Era
The Keynesian economists claim that gold standard systems have historically caused “booms and busts.” Recently, I asserted that no major economic event was caused by a currency of stable value. The purpose of a gold standard system is to provide a currency of stable value – as stable as can be achieved in our imperfect world – and, for the most part, it achieved this goal over a period of centuries.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | More Obama means higher taxes
If you boil down President Obama’s fatally foolish scheme to fix the economic mess he’s put us in, it comes down to raising taxes on everybody.
Politico | Why advanced manufacturers need tax reform
How can we bring manufacturing jobs to our country? This is a question that has been asked of President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney by voters countless times this election season. In today’s changing global landscape, competing countries are working hard to attract and foster advanced manufacturers to serve as the backbone of vibrant economic growth.

Tax Foundation | Chart of the Day
The Changing Composition of U.S. Businesses
AEI | Under Obama, investment taxes will be twice as high as our competitors. Maybe the Secretary of Business can look into that
Well, even the average effective U.S. corporate tax rate, around 28%, is above that of other advanced economies, around 23%


USA Today | Payroll processor changes job tracking methodology
A nationwide payroll processor has changed how it tracks monthly changes in private-sector jobs to better foreshadow the more closely watched monthly employment report.
CNN Money | October jobs report: Hiring increases, unemployment up
Hiring was surprisingly strong in October, while the unemployment rate ticked higher, according to a report released just four days before the presidential election.
Bloomberg | U.S. Solar Job Growth Outshines Rest of Economy, Non-Profit Says
The U.S. solar energy industry added jobs at about eight times the rate of the rest of the economy in the 12 months ended in September, according to a report from the Solar Foundation.

CATO | A Four-Picture Indictment: Final Pre-Election Jobs Report Is Not Good News for Obama
In some sense, President Obama is fortunate. I predicted a long time ago that he would win re-election if the unemployment rate was under 8 percent.


WSJ | Greek Austerity Pressure Rises
Greece's Parliament narrowly approved a law Wednesday that gives the government greater flexibility to privatize the country's public utilities as euro-zone finance ministers all but ruled out a proposal to reduce the amount of debt that Greece owes them.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Your Tab for the Debt
For the past three decades, the conventional wisdom in Washington has been that no one ever lost an election running up the debt. That's because the debt—which stood at less than $2 trillion in the early 1980s and now is near $16 trillion—is an amorphous concept. Everyone knows it's bad but no one has any concept how it affects them personally.