Tuesday, November 27, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Fed's Lockhart warns on cyber-threat facing banks
The U.S. financial system and its regulators need to "update our thinking" about the threat of cyber-attacks given the spike and magnitude of recent events, said Dennis Lockhart, president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, on Tuesday.
Bloomberg | Demand for U.S. Capital Goods Climbs in Spending Rebound
Demand for goods such as machinery and electronics climbed in October by the most in five months, signaling companies are starting to overcome concern the looming fiscal cliff will derail the U.S. economy.
Market Watch | Case-Shiller shows home prices rise again
U.S. home prices rose in September for the sixth month, signaling that the housing market is "in the midst of a recovery," according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Tagging the Taxpayer
Just in time for Christmas, banks and their lobbyists are asking Uncle Santa for the greatest regulatory gift: the extension of a taxpayer subsidy. The lobbying plan is to attach this banker benefit to legislation addressing the fiscal cliff, or any other legislative vehicle that moves in late December.
Washington Times | Battling a bailout culture
Some Americans believe in the founding principle that individuals are responsible for their own well-being and will voluntarily aid those in need. Others believe that people should be required to take care of their fellow citizens.
Barrons | A Cause for Thanksgiving, Part I
M. King Hubbert should be spinning in his grave. In defiance of Hubbert's theory of "peak oil," the International Energy Agency recently predicted that the U.S. will have energy independence by 2020 and return to its former place as the world's biggest producer of oil. By 2030 or sooner, according to the IEA, North America will be a significant energy exporter.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Secondary Sources: No Fiscal Cliff Progress, Buffett Tax Avoidance, Services Spending
In spite of what you may be reading elsewhere, we are no closer today to avoiding the fiscal cliff than we were the day after Election Day. All of the so-called progress to date has been one of three things: the media looking for a story, a misunderstanding of what it’s going to take to get a deal or hype.
AEI | When fighting inequality produces more inequality
I like Jonathan Haidt a lot, and there’s much good sense in this recent NYTimes op/ed about common threats to the nation’s future and the possibility of liberals and conservatives agreeing on the need to face these threats.

Health Care

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Some Obamacare Legal Challenges Are Alive and Well
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in granting a petition for rehearing in Liberty University v. Geitner, vacated the U.S. Fourth Circuit’s prior dismissal of Liberty’s challenge to Obamacare and directed the Fourth Circuit to reconsider its decision in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in NFIB v. Sebelius (2012).

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | SEC Chairman Schapiro to Step Down Next Month
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro will step down on Dec. 14, the agency announced on Monday. President Obama will designate SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter as chairman when Schapiro leaves next month, the White House said in a separate statement.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Tagging the Taxpayer
Just in time for Christmas, banks and their lobbyists are asking Uncle Santa for the greatest regulatory gift: the extension of a taxpayer subsidy. The lobbying plan is to attach this banker benefit to legislation addressing the fiscal cliff, or any other legislative vehicle that moves in late December.
AEI | Use tax collection on interstate sales: The need for federal legislation
In this article, I argue that the time has come for Congress to authorize states to require use tax collection by out-of-state sellers.
Heritage Foundation | Tax Policy: Obama Is Still Wrong on Tax Rates
In his first press conference after the election, President Barack Obama said, “What I’m not going to do is extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent that we cannot afford and according to economists will have the least positive impact on the economy.”

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Greg Mankiw | A Master of Tax Avoidance
Warren Buffett has an op-ed in today's NY Times on one of his most popular themes: The rich should pay more in taxes.  At first blush, his position seems noble: A rich guy says that people like him should pay more to support the commonweal.  But on closer examination, one realizes that Mr Buffett never mentions doing anything to eliminate the tax-avoidance strategies that he uses most aggressively.

Employment

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | On Dec. 3, the Supreme Court will hear a case determining the future of more than 2 million jobs and tens of thousands of landowners.
On Dec. 3, the Supreme Court will hear a case determining the future of more than 2 million jobs and tens of thousands of landowners.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | OECD: Fiscal-cliff failure could trigger recession
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday warned of a "hesitant and uneven recovery over the coming two years," saying it expects global growth of 1.4% this year and next.
WSJ | Talks Over Fiscal Cliff Stay Stuck in Low Gear
Congressional leaders return to Washington this week facing the prospect that talks with the White House over the country's budget impasse have barely progressed, a reminder of the philosophical divisions that remain despite both sides' early professions of optimism.
Bloomberg | Fiscal Cliff Compromise Elusive as Congress Returns
Republicans’ post-election rhetorical openness to higher taxes comes with a price that neither side of the fiscal debate in Washington may be willing to pay.
Bloomberg | Greece Wins Easier Debt Terms as EU Hails Rescue Formula
European finance ministers eased the terms on emergency aid for Greece, declaring after three years of false starts that Europe has found the formula for nursing the debt-stricken country back to health.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Why $16 Trillion Only Hints at the True U.S. Debt
A decade and a half ago, both of us served on President Clinton's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, the forerunner to President Obama's recent National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. In 1994 we predicted that, unless something was done to control runaway entitlement spending, Medicare and Social Security would eventually go bankrupt or confront severe benefit cuts.
Real Clear Markets | Kick the Cliff Down the Road, Then Start Negotiating
With the election and Thanksgiving out of the way, the rest of the year is shaping up to be an epic showdown between Democrats and Republicans over tax policy and how to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. At this point there appears to be little room for optimism that either side will give enough ground to avert the spending cuts and tax hikes that will otherwise go into effect within weeks.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Calculated Risk | Greek Debt Deal Reached
Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund clinched agreement on a new debt target for Greece on Monday in a breakthrough towards releasing an urgently needed tranche of loans to the near-bankrupt economy, officials said.
John Taylor | A Way to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff without Creating Another One
So far the fiscal cliff debate has mainly been about whether tax revenues should be on or off the table with little mention of spending. But the economics of the debate—as distinct from the raw politics—make no sense without considering spending.