Tuesday, November 13, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | Euro-zone recession threatens global economy
The euro-zone economy is deteriorating alarmingly. While the German-inspired policy of austerity is essentially right, its implementation, over far too short a period of time, is forcing the region into recession. Social disorder, especially as the weather improves next spring, is a real probability.
Bloomberg | German Investor Confidence Unexpectedly Fell in November
German investor confidence unexpectedly declined in November as the sovereign debt crisis curbs growth in Europe’s largest economy.
Market Watch | NFIB small-business optimism index nudges up
Small-business optimism nudged higher in October on mild improvement in expectations for earnings and sales ahead, according to data released Tuesday.
CNN Money | Japan's economy contracts at swift pace
Japan's economy contracted at an annual rate of 3.5% in the latest quarter, sparking concerns of a sustained regional slowdown.
Bloomberg | BofA Chief Moynihan Says Fiscal Cliff Already Hurts Economy
Bank of America Corp.’s commercial customers are already reacting to the “fiscal cliff” that looms over the U.S. budget by putting off purchases, Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan said.
Market Watch | Storm and ‘cliff’ muddy economic picture
The U.S. economy entered the fourth quarter on solid footing, but the aftershocks of hurricane Sandy and the looming “fiscal cliff” could make for some shakier moments soon.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | U.S. oil and gas industry could be key to economic recovery
There are many tough challenges facing our nation. America’s oil and natural gas industry could play a large role in solving many of them if we committed to more domestic energy production. Home-grown American energy could raise investment in the United States’ economy by hundreds of billions of dollars, create vast numbers of jobs, generate billions of dollars to the government, and increase our global security.
CATO | Stopping the Runaway Train: The Case for Privatizing Amtrak
When Congress created Amtrak in 1970, passenger-rail advocates hoped that it would become an efficient and attractive mode of travel. More than 40 years of Amtrak operations have disappointed them, as Amtrak has become the highest-cost mode of intercity travel and remains an insignificant player in the nation's transportation system.

Economist | A monumental burden
Debates over the effect of regulation on the economy typically focus on national rules when quite often it is the local restrictions that end up having the greatest costs.
Economist | Testing the case for bottom-heavy banks
Banks used to be harder to topple than they are now. As the chart in this week’s Free exchange print article—Strength in numbers—shows they used to hold much more equity, a financial shock absorber that sits at the bottom of their balance sheets.
WSJ | Don’t Expect Lower Oil Prices Even as U.S. Output Surges
The U.S. is set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. But don’t expect that to translate into lower prices at the pump.

Health Care

National Journal | States Get Extension on Exchange Planning
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to states on Friday, advising them that they would have more time to develop their "blueprints." The original deadline was next Friday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obamacare taxes mean Obamacare layoffs
America’s race toward the so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic, massive tax increases is only part of the problem. This Thelma has her Louise — the Obamacare taxes — and hand-in-hand, these two terrors are racing toward Jan. 1.

FOX Business | Obamacare to Jack Up Insurance Premiums
If you haven't already heard from your employer about open enrollment -- well, brace yourself. Premiums are high and rising. According to a survey from the National Business Group on Health, employers  expect their health insurance costs to increase 7%. And, 60% of those employers plan to ask workers to pay higher monthly premiums.
Library of Economics | Coming ObamaCare Challenges
Economists at Duke University calculated that if every American actually got all of the recommended screenings and tests, the average primary care physician would have to spend 7 ½ hours of every working day doing nothing else but giving preventive care to mainly healthy patients!


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Escape From Basel
While taxpayers wonder if Washington is going to throw them off a cliff of scheduled tax hikes, another potential economic calamity has been postponed. On Friday, bank regulators announced that they will not impose complicated new rules on New Year's Day. Let's hope they don't impose them on any other days.
Real Clear Markets | The Fed Dismisses the Needs of Savers
With a second Obama administration, many expect that the Federal Reserve will continue quantitative easing. This has lowered interest rates, reducing the return from savings. Seniors are particularly hard-hit, because 10 percent of their income comes from interest on savings.


CNN Money | Labor to press Obama on tax hike for wealthy
A cadre of top labor leaders is headed to the White House on Tuesday to press their concerns about the fiscal cliff.
Politico | Fans, foes at war over wind tax credit extension
More than 37,000 jobs are at stake, the industry warns, if policymakers don’t extend the production tax credit for wind, an obscure tax perk that has emerged as one of a litany of contentious issues that lawmakers are going to have to tackle during the lame-duck session.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Barrons | Shock Treatment
The so-called fiscal cliff has all to do with tax increases and almost nothing to do with spending cuts. Can the economy survive?


National Journal | Poll: Americans Want Congress to Act on Jobs
Last week’s elections have left Americans more optimistic about the prospects of President Obama and Congress reaching agreement on the most important issues facing the federal government, according to a United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll conducted ahead of the crucial lame-duck session beginning this week.

Heritage Foundation | Chinese Imports Create U.S. Jobs and Help the Poor
The recently concluded presidential campaign contained a substantial amount of China-bashing from two candidates fighting over who would be tougher on trade.


Market Watch | Fiscal cliff isn’t America’s worst money problem
Going over the so-called fiscal cliff may, on the face of it, “improve” U.S. public finances, reduce the deficit and slow the rise of America’s debt mountain.
Bloomberg | Europe Gives Greece 2 More Years to Reach Deficit Targets
Euro finance chiefs left unanswered how they’ll fill a fresh hole in Greece’s balance sheet without tapping their own bailout-weary taxpayers for money after giving the country two extra years to trim its budget deficit.
WSJ | Italy's Big Banks Struggle With Austerity
Italy's two largest banks continue to suffer under the weight of deteriorating loans, but one-off gains from bond buybacks have helped offset sluggish core business which has been hit by austerity measures across Europe.
National Journal | Tough Road to a Debt Deal, Even for a Community-Organizer-in-Chief
President Obama’s reelection campaign managed to community-organize its way to electoral victory and a second term. Now we'll find out whether the same kind of grassroots approach can help Obama push his policy agenda through a divided Congress.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The looming ‘fiscal cliff’
Unless action is taken soon, the United States is set to undergo one of the largest series of tax increases in the past half-century. The rapid rise in U.S. federal government spending over the past decade has been even more troubling. If the past century has taught us anything, it’s that high spending and high taxes are a recipe for economic disaster. Yet this is the course our newly re-elected president seems to favor, and it will leave him with a very tarnished legacy.
Mercatus | Reducing Debt and Other Measures For Improving U.S. Competitiveness
At more than $16 trillion, the United States’ gross national debt has grown to equal its gross domestic product—a level that for other nations has marked an economic tipping point.