Friday, November 16, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Exports Fell in September as Economy Contracted
Euro-area exports fell in September as the region’s economy slipped into a recession for the second time in four years.
CNN Money | FHA exhausts reserves
The Federal Housing Administration has exhausted its reserves, forcing it to institute another round of measures to shore up its finances.
Bloomberg | Machinery Stocks Gain as Global Slowdown Worries Abate
Machinery stocks are attracting investors who are optimistic about economic-growth prospects worldwide, even as the fiscal cliff looms in the U.S.
Market Watch | Foreign net sales of Treasurys hit record in Sept.
Foreign investors were net sellers of $18.3 billion of Treasurys in September, the largest amount on record, Treasury Department data released Friday showed.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Mortgage lending standards are too tight: Bernanke
Mortgage lending standards now appear to be “overly tight,” and are preventing creditworthy borrowers from buying homes, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.
Real Clear Markets | Goat Economics: Why the Laffer Curve Is No Joke
Goat herding is one of the world's oldest economic professions.  It is because goats are excellent at reproduction, and easy to feed and raise.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Library of Economics | Friedman on Immigration History
Did the United States begin in 1875?
AEI | Charts: Warfare State and Innovation State down, Welfare State up
So what exactly is the cause of America’s fiscal problem?  And it is not just about declining defense budgets

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | States Given More Time to Decide on Health Exchange Plan
States received an extra month from the Obama administration to decide whether to build online marketplaces for medical insurance after Republican governors pressed their resistance to the president’s health-care law.
Washington Times | Full serving of disgust over health reform cost
In the latest employer backlash against the high costs of President Obama’s signature health-care plan, a major Denny's and Dairy Queen franchise owner says he is considering adding an “Obamacare” surcharge that would raise his restaurant’s prices by 5 percent.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
AEI | Markets in everything: Market-based, low overhead medical care with transparent pricing as an antidote to Obamacare
I’ve featured the market-based, consumer-driven Surgery Center of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City several times before on CD, see posts here and here.  Unlike most other medical providers, the Surgery Center actually posts transparent pricing and offers deeply-discounted, payable-in-advance, cash-only medical procedures.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Fed sets new stress tests for US banks
The Federal Reserve, preparing to embark on its latest round of so-called stress tests, released the details Friday of three economic scenarios it will use to judge the health of the U.S.'s largest lenders.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Fed's Plosser opposes more bond buying
More asset purchases by the Federal Reserve would not help the economy and would pose substantial risks to the central bank down the road, said Charles Plosser, the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, on Thursday.
Real Clear Markets | It's a Good Bet the Fed Doesn't Know What It's Doing
I often find myself rereading both the minutes and the transcript for the June 24 & 25, 2003, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. So much of that two-day meeting contained heavy discussion about the very conditions that we now find ourselves trying to overcome.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Why Lower Tax Rates Are Good for Everyone
Surveyed ahead of the October Federal Reserve meeting, Wall Street’s biggest banks expected the central bank to continue its bond buying efforts for at least one more year.
The American | Let’s Raise Taxes on the Middle Class
Serious base-broadening will require a net increase in the tax burden on the middle class, which benefits hugely from the biggest tax breaks.
WSJ | Backing Away From the Cliff
President Obama and GOP congressional leaders appear to be locked in a Mexican standoff over raising tax rates on the rich, especially after the president insisted in his press conference on Tuesday that he wouldn't sign any tax bill that extends the tax rates on the richest two percent.
CBO | Illustrative Examples of Effective Marginal Tax Rates Faced by Married and Single Taxpayers: Supplemental Material for Effective Marginal Tax Rates for Low- and Moderate-Income Workers
In this document, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) illustrates effective marginal tax rates under the tax and transfer systems for hypothetical families consisting of a single parent with one child, a married taxpayer with two children, and a single taxpayer with no children.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Chrysler to hire 1,250 in Michigan
Chrysler announced today that it will add 1,250 new jobs at three of its Michigan plants and invest $238 million in those facilities.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | What a fiscal-cliff plunge would cost you
Of course, most experts still think lawmakers will eventually reach some sort of deal (or at least kick the can further down the road). If that happens, some but not all of these tax hikes are still likely to go into effect as part of any deal to fix the nation’s giant budget deficit. But just which ones is anybody’s guess.
CNN Money | Fiscal cliff will roil state budgets
States would see massive cuts in federal spending should the nation fall over the fiscal cliff, according to a new report. But they could also see their tax revenue jump as federal tax rates rise.
Politico | Opening gambit on fiscal cliff negotiations
After months of talking about the fiscal cliff publicly, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans finally expect to get down to business privately on Friday. Sort of.
CNBC | Obamacare, Host of Others Need Slashing: Simpson-Bowles
Americans interested in getting the national debt crisis under control likely will have to endure cuts to popular programs like defense, Social Security — and the nationalized health insurance program known as Obamacare.
CNN Money | Postal Service posts record $16 billion loss for 2012
The U.S. Postal Service announced a record loss of $15.9 billion for the fiscal year 2012, which it blamed primarily on a mandate to set aside billions of dollars for a retirement heath fund.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | How to Get to a Grand Bargain
It is unrealistic to think that Congress could negotiate a far-reaching fiscal "grand bargain" during its brief lame-duck session this winter. Lawmakers' first order of business, then, should be to postpone all elements of the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff—spending cuts, revenue increases and the debt limit—for three months, until March 31. This would provide Washington enough time to negotiate a responsible compromise.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | IMF Draws Line in Sand on Greek Debt
The International Monetary Fund drew a line in the sand on Greek debt negotiations Thursday, saying the fund’s European bailout partners must do more to cut the ailing country’s debt for the sake of the global economy and the fund itself can’t offer any better loan terms.