Thursday, November 8, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | Trade Deficit in U.S. Unexpectedly Narrows on Record Exports
The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in September to the lowest level in almost two years as exports climbed to a record.
WSJ | Home Prices Up 7.6% From Year Ago
Home prices appreciated in a growing number of cities during the third quarter, the latest evidence that the real estate recovery is gaining momentum and breadth.
Bloomberg | European Investors Put Adventure Back in Venture Capital
The life of a European venture capitalist is usually pretty civilized, punctuated by trips to the converted warehouses of London’s trendy Silicon Roundabout neighborhood or Berlin’s stately Prenzlauer Berg district, where entrepreneurs swap ideas in Vietnamese restaurants and faux-dive coffee shops.
CNN Money | Businesses face 'exhausting process' with insurers
Few small business owners were insured for a storm like Sandy, but even those that were might be in for some nasty surprises.
FOX News | Americans took out more student loans in September, boosting consumer credit $11.4 billion
Americans took out more student and auto loans in September to boost consumer borrowing to a record level. But they cut back on credit card borrowing, a sign many remain cautious about taking on high-interest debt.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Dysfunctional government might save us
The dismal state of our national finances is going to require that the United States downsize the government over the next four years. We don’t have any other options.
The American | Why Growth Is the Environment’s Best Friend
The single best thing we could do to minimize energy’s impact on the environment is to not only maximize our own economic growth but also to help developing countries increase theirs.
Real Clear Markets | Hurricane Sandy Exposes Infrastructure Neglect
When President-elect Barack Obama announced in December of 2008 his intention to create a massive stimulus package to jumpstart the economy, mayors from across America sent him a list of some 4,000 ‘ready-to-go‘ projects.

Health Care

National Journal | Major Regulations for Health Reform Coming Soon
Regulators are likely to be busy in the lame duck, with major regulations needed to implement President Obama’s health care law.
Politico | States face swift deadline on health exchanges
Tuesday’s election ensures that President Barack Obama’s health care law marches on — but once again, its success is at the mercy of the states.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | Studies Show: Medicaid Patients Have Worse Access and Outcomes than the Privately Insured
Established as a fundamental component of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, Medicaid is a jointly funded federal and state program that pays for health care for low-income individuals.


Market Watch | Focus on Draghi as ECB leaves rates unchanged
Mario Draghi will command the spotlight Thursday after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, a day after he underlined growing worries over a slowing German economy.


USA Today | What exactly could happen to taxes, federal spending
You'll see some changes in the U.S. Tax Code during the second Obama administration, and they may come quickly, if Congress allows the nation to fall off the so-called "fiscal cliff."
CNN Money | Californians approve massive tax hike on the wealthy
Californians approved a measure Tuesday that raises taxes on the wealthy and hikes the state sales tax. It is expected to bring in $6 billion a year, on average, over five years.


National Journal | Three Small Steps to a Modest Jobs Deal
For the last several years in Washington, lawmakers acted like winning the next election was more important than getting the country back to full employment. Tuesday’s election should mercifully end that. Growth remains substandard. Both parties own a solid piece of the federal government. It’s now in both Democrats’ and Republicans’ political and policy interests to juice up job growth.
Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims fall 8,000 to 355,000
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000 in the week ended Nov. 3, a number that was distorted by hurricane Sandy.
CNN Money | Greek unemployment at new record high
Greek unemployment hit a new record of 25.4% in August as five years of recession and government spending cuts continued to take their toll, with young people hit hardest.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | Jobs will be the real test for Obama
It’s still about jobs. What will determine the core success of President Obama’s second term is progress — or the lack thereof — in reducing long-term unemployment. We know this from exit polls, which ranked the economy as the top issue (selected by about 60 percent of voters) and, more important, from common sense.


WSJ | Greek Lawmakers Pass Austerity Deal
Greek lawmakers narrowly approved a multibillion-euro austerity package early Thursday in an effort to win more bailout funds, but the measures also threaten to deepen the country's brutal recession and destabilize its fragile politics.
NY Times | Boehner Strikes Conciliatory Tone in Talk of Fiscal Cliff
The House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, striking a conciliatory tone a day after the Republican Party’s electoral drubbing, said on Wednesday that he was ready to accept a budget deal that raises federal revenue as long as it is linked to an overhaul of entitlements and a reform of the tax code that closes loopholes, curtails or eliminates deductions and lowers income tax rates.
Market Watch | Draghi: Up to Spain to make bailout decision
The European Central Bank stands ready to implement its aggressive bond-buying program, known as outright monetary transactions, or OMTs, but it remains up to Spain or other governments to decide whether to seek help, ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The President's Cliff Walk
So much for the post-election honeymoon. The financial markets took a header Wednesday on (take your pick) the return of European troubles, the risk of a Beltway breakdown over the looming tax cliff, or the greater prospect of a major tax increase arriving in 2013. The most important question now is how a re-elected President Obama is going to deal with this economic policy mess.
Real Clear Markets | The Challenge of Private Debt For the Post-Election Economy
Congratulations to President Obama on his victory this week. I hope he really wanted it because he faces some stiff economic challenges in his second term; chief among them the slow private debt deleveraging that will hamper economic growth for at least the next few years.
Washington Post | Make a deficit deal now
Unlike previous times, when there may have been many months or even years for officials to continue fighting long-standing policy battles, important decisions need to be made in the next two months to address the “fiscal cliff.”
CBO | The Federal Budget Deficit Shrank in Fiscal Year 2012 but Still Exceeded $1 Trillion
Last month, the Treasury Department reported that the federal government incurred a budget deficit of $1.1 trillion for fiscal year 2012—$207 billion less than that in 2011.

Economist | Still a long way to go
My colleague rightly notes that the next four years have the potential to be better than the last four years. The bleeding stopped long ago. Job growth continues to outpace population growth, albeit ever so slightly.