Wednesday, November 21, 2012

General Economics

Bloomberg | Most Americans in Decade Project Economy Will Get Better
More Americans this month said the world’s largest economy will improve than at any time in the past decade, led by a surge among Democrats following the re- election of President Barack Obama.
Market Watch | Leading economic index rises 0.2% in October
It's likely that the U.S. economy will continue to "modestly" expand through early 2013, the Conference Board said Wednesday as it reported that its leading economic index rose 0.2% in October after increasing a downwardly revised 0.5% in September.
Bloomberg | Japan’s Exports Reach Three-Year Low as Recession Looms: Economy
Japan is suffering its worst year for exports since the global contraction in 2009 as Europe’s crisis, China’s slowdown and a diplomatic dispute with the Chinese hurt manufacturers and deepen the risk of a recession.
Bloomberg | U.S. Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index Rises Less Than Forecast
Confidence among U.S. consumers rose less than anticipated in November, indicating the impending fiscal tightening may be starting to damp Americans’ moods.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Government keeps meddling in the housing market
Friday’s grim financial report from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — it’s insolvent to the tune of negative $31 billion — is prompting fresh scrutiny of the government’s role in housing, particularly the mayhem caused by federal backing of mortgages involving low down payments and low credit scores.
Fortune | Where to invest with the U.S. on top in oil
The U.S. is expected to become the world's top oil producer by the end of the decade, and investment opportunities abound.
Politico | Want American exceptionalism? Fix Immigration
Carlos Gutierrez, on CNN’s “State of the Union” last weekend, had this to say: “If we get this right, the 21st Century is ours. If we get it wrong, shame on us.”
Forbes | Obama: The Worst Keynesian Ever
The president is bent on raising taxes big time, if not on January 1, when all sorts of rates are scheduled to go up, then shortly thereafter as the new, more Democratic Congress convenes to do its damage.

Health Care

Washington Times | Health law directives strengthen coverage for drugs
The Obama administration has strengthened the prescription drug coverage that will be available to the millions of people who will get insurance through the nation’s new health care overhaul starting late next year.
National Journal | New Health Regs Bring Clarity for Insurers
It was a clarifying, if not entirely cheerful, day for the insurance industry on Tuesday, as the Obama administration released long-awaited regulations about how insurance products must be designed and sold under the health reform law in 2014.

Heritage Foundation | Medicaid Is Failing the People It Is Intended to Help
Heritage’s Kevin Dayaratna finds in a recent survey of academic literature that “Medicaid’s so-called safety net cripples the very people it is designed to help.”


Real Clear Markets | Upon Reflection, Second Thoughts On QE3
The costs to the real economy of economic policy uncertainty have recently been studied and quantified in a widely cited paper by Scott R. Baker, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis. Baker et al. focus primarily on economic uncertainty engendered by fiscal and regulatory measures. Little, if any, attention is paid to the possibility of the negative effects of elevated uncertainty about monetary policy.

Economist | Battle of the BOJ
It is rare in Japan for politicians to say anything meaningful enough to move markets. But in the space of a few days, Shinzo Abe, who is leading in opinion polls to become Japan’s next prime minister, has spoken so provocatively about monetary policy that it has sent the stockmarket, currency and bond markets into spasms of hope and fear.
WSJ | Bernanke: Cutting Interest Rate on Reserves to Zero Would Provide Little Stimulus
Cutting to zero the interest rate the Federal Reserve pays banks to park excess reserves on its books wouldn’t add much stimulus to the economy, Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Tax moves to make now — fiscal cliff or not
To do year-end tax planning right, you should take a two-year perspective. You don’t want to make a move that lowers your 2012 tax bill but raises your 2013 tax bill by more. Right now, taking a two-year perspective is difficult, because we don’t yet know what the 2013 federal income tax landscape will look like.
Weekly Standard | Gorging the Beast
A dedicated libertarian, William Niskanen was also a dedicated pot-stirrer. For him the two vocations—pressing the case for small government and, at least intellectually, making trouble—were inseparable.
Investors | Are Budget Cuts Or Tax Hikes Better For The Economy?
Should debt-ridden and economically struggling Western governments be doing everything possible to reduce their deficits?


WSJ | U.S. Jobless Claims Stay Elevated Due to Sandy
The number of new unemployment claims remained elevated last week as the lingering effects of superstorm Sandy continued to cause workers in the Northeast to seek jobless benefits.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Why the holidays are the best time to find a new job
Contrary to a persistent myth, many companies do hire in December. Here are six ways to get on their radar.


CNN Money | Deficit reduction? Not without entitlement reform
As the fiscal cliff nears, the question remains whether policy makers will meaningfully address the biggest drivers of the national debt: Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
Market Watch | Bernanke presses lawmakers to resolve fiscal cliff
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was in New York City Tuesday to send a message back to Washington: Cut a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, and don’t play politics with the federal debt limit again.
WSJ | Most Households Face 'Fiscal Cliff'
Almost all American households would take a financial blow next year—and low-income families would be among the hardest hit—if the White House and Congress fail to solve the "fiscal cliff" of big tax increases and spending cuts set to start Jan 2.
Bloomberg | Europe Fails to Seal Greek Debt-Cut Deal in IMF Clash
European policy makers head into their second confrontation this week saying they’re likely to fall short of agreement on a seven-year budget plan just as they failed to strike a deal on Greek debt.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Stuck on the fiscal cliff
As fiscal cliff negotiations between Congress and the White House start in earnest this week, conservatives are under pressure to stay true to their principles.
CATO | Misreading the Fiscal Cliff
The fiscal cliff is now less than six weeks away. Negotiators are reportedly locked away behind closed doors working on a grand bargain to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts that will hit on January 1.