Monday, November 19, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | GDP Accelerating to 2.9% Helping U.S. Overcome Sandy Woes
The U.S. economy looks set to weather the headwinds from Hurricane Sandy and the budget battles in Washington after picking up speed in the third quarter.
Market Watch | Sales of existing homes rise 2.1% in October
Sales of existing homes rose 2.1% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million from a downwardly revised rate of 4.69 million in September, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.
Investors | Obama's Economy: What We've Learned Since Re-election
Obama II: In the "now they tell us" file, add a vast array of reports that have come out since the election showing just how weak the economy really is. Looks like the president will need a new scapegoat soon.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Lame-duck Congress should be saving economy
Only days after voters cast their ballots, members of the 112th Congress have returned to Washington for the most consequential lame-duck session in many years. At issue is the “fiscal cliff.”
WSJ | Liberating Money Funds
Judging by the long faces on money-market fund lobbyists last week, we're starting to think Washington might reform an industry that received a federal rescue in 2008. On Tuesday, the federal Financial Stability Oversight Council proposed one rule change that would protect taxpayers in the next crisis, plus two others that may not.
Washington Times | Global warming hysteria will kill jobs
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have boosted shale gas production from zero a few years ago to 10 percent of all U.S. energy supplies in 2012, observes energy analyst Daniel Yergin. It has increased U.S. oil production 25 percent since 2008, in the face of more federal land and resource withdrawals, permitting delays and declining public land production.
AEI | FHA, the next housing bailout: Update and evaluation
It was no surprise to this observer when the recently released 2012 fiscal year actuarial review of the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) main single family mortgage insurance fund concluded that it was insolvent. 

Neighborhood Effects | The Study of American Capitalism
The more government is involved in an economy, the more the profitability of business will depend on government policy. Even those entrepreneurs who would prefer to avoid cronyism are pushed into it, because they must become politically active to maintain their profitability.
Calculated Risk | NAHB Builder Confidence increases in November, Highest since May 2006
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) increased 5 points in November to 46. Any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.
Heritage Foundation | More Misleading Numbers on Poverty
This past week, media outlets have been abuzz, heralding the news that poverty levels in the United States are higher than previously thought. But the numbers are misleading.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obamacare repeal possible with strong state legislatures
Despite the bad news from the election, the GOP continues to make politically significant gains in their tally of state governorships, increasing their majority from 29 to 30. This might seem like modest cause for reassurance, but it could signify an important route forward for the GOP, given the partisan firewall surrounding the presidency and the Senate.


Economist | Will next time be different? A report from the 30th Cato monetary conference
Mr Smith argued that America’s Great Recession (or, as some prefer, Lesser Depression) was qualitatively similar to the Great Depression but qualitatively different from all the other downturns the country experienced since the beginning of the 20th century.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Carbon taxes won’t save the planet
Global-warming alarmists are hoping Hurricane Sandy and President Obama’s re-election will force panicky congressional Republicans into agreeing to a “carbon tax” in 2013. If you can do simple math, you can figure out that a carbon tax would have no effect other than an inflationary one.
National Journal | Higher Investment-Tax Rates Won't Slow Economic Recovery
Lawmakers may raise capital-gains and dividend taxes as part of a deficit deal. If so, they needn’t stress about the economic aftershocks.
AEI | Should the top marginal income tax rate be 73 percent?
When they won the 2011 Nobel Prize in economics for their research on the causes and effects of government policy on the macroeconomy, Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims were given a unique opportunity to connect their academic work to actual government action.

FOX Business | Fiscal Cliff: Why Raising Taxes Isn't the Solution
In the debate over taxes and the fiscal cliff, all the talk is pretty high level stuff. We talk about tax rates, tax brackets, but not dollars and cents. Today, I’m going to talk about dollars and cents, and if you have a weak stomach, well, you might want to sit down.


FOX News |
The union that brought the 85-year-old baker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread to its knees is holding out hope that a buyer will salvage chunks of the company and send the union's members back to work, even as Hostess Brands Inc. gears up for a fire sale.


Bloomberg | U.S. Banks Have Provided $26.1 Billion Under Foreclosure Accord
The five largest U.S. mortgage servicers have provided about $26.1 billion for borrowers so far under a $25 billion settlement over abusive foreclosure practices, according to a court-appointed monitor.    
Bloomberg | Treasuries’ Foreign Buying Doubles China’s Sales
Even with all the concern about the so-called fiscal cliff, another confrontation over government borrowing limits and Chinese ownership of U.S. debt, foreign investors can’t get enough Treasuries.
Politico | Appropriations panels quietly work on omnibus
Defying expectations, House and Senate appropriations committees are making steady progress in writing an omnibus spending bill for the coming year, hammering away like shipbuilders in the desert, hoping for a winter flood to carry them out to sea.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | The ‘fiscal cliff’ deal we need
The first reason to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” is economic. The $500 billion of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for early 2013 would probably cause a new recession.

Library of Economics | Altering the Federal Debt Structure: Go Long
One advantage the United States has that Canada didn't is low interest rates. Interest rates today are much lower than when the Canadian government altered course.