Thursday, November 29, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | IMF paper: China investment excessive
China's policymakers are leaning too heavily on investment to boost economic growth, a strategy that could destabilize the world's second largest economy, according to a paper prepared by International Monetary Fund researchers.
Bloomberg | U.S. Economy Grew at 2.7% Rate, More Than First Estimated
The economy in the U.S. expanded more than previously estimated in the third quarter as a narrower trade deficit and gains in inventory overshadowed a smaller gain in consumer spending.
WSJ | Greater Euro-Zone Unification Proposed
European officials proposed an overhaul of euro-zone institutions that would create a common budget for the 17 nations using the common currency and, ultimately, grant powers to issue debt collectively backed by the currency bloc.
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Economic Sentiment Unexpectedly Up in November
Economic confidence in the euro area unexpectedly rose in November even as the single-currency bloc was mired in its second recession in four years and leaders worked to contain the debt crisis.
CNN Money | Nearly 15 million households on food stamps
The number of American households receiving food stamps jumped nearly 10% in 2011.
CNBC | Volcker Says Rule Is Already Changing Wall Street
In a rare interview, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker told CNBC that his namesake rule has already changed the way Wall Street does business, despite the delays in crafting the final draft of the rule, which regulatory officials now say won’t happen until next year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | GOP must fight corporate welfare
No one accuses establishment Republicans of being terribly brave or bright, but this insanity has got to stop: Democrats repeatedly frighten Republicans into accepting their statist agenda and then blame them for behaving like, well, Democrats. Republicans just keep falling for it.
Washington Times | Obamanomics still isn’t working
President Obama promised he’d put America back to work again. Four years into his presidency, things aren’t looking much brighter. It is a sign of the times that a fractional boost in the mood of shoppers is hailed as joyful news. Consumer confidence ticked up from 73.1 to 73.7 in November, according to the Advisory Board’s index, which was released Tuesday.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Experts: Governors won’t resist Medicaid expansion for long
Governors will eventually succumb to pressure to expand their Medicaid programs, a pair of health care experts predicted Thursday, arguing that the prospect of medical practices going out of business will force their hands.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
FOX Business | Fed's Fisher: Rates to Stay Low Through 2015
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, a top U.S. Federal Reserve official repeated on Thursday that the Federal Reserve's interest rates would remain at low levels until 2015.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Obama Is Flexible on Highest Tax Rates
President Barack Obama signaled he wouldn't insist tax rates on upper-income Americans rise to Clinton-era peaks as part of a deficit-reduction deal, showing new flexibility as he tries to accelerate talks with congressional Republicans.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | A quick primer on soaking the rich
The Oracle of Omaha came on the show yesterday and promoted his plan to impose a minimum 30 percent tax on millionaires and billionaires. Warren Buffett said such a tax was necessary because fully a quarter of the 400 richest Americans (who averaged $200 million in income) paid a tax rate of less than 15 percent - and six of those super-rich individuals paid nothing at all.
Washington Times | Feel-good tax hikes are bad economic policy
“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.” So proclaimed President Obama in his first post-election news conference.
Investors | Fiscal Cliff Endgame Will Include Tax Hikes On The Rich
As a practical matter, the debate over higher taxes is finished. If there's an agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff," it will almost certainly contain large tax increases mostly or entirely on the wealthy.
WSJ | The Great 2012 Cashout
Perhaps you've heard from various economic sages that tax rates don't matter either to economic growth or taxpayer behavior. Don't tell that to the companies and individuals who are busy cashing out their investments or paying dividends to get ahead of the Obama tax scythe in January.
CATO | All about Taxes
If Republicans would only agree to dump Grover Norquist, Democrats will agree to cut spending and reform entitlements. Then, we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya as we usher in a new era of compromise and fiscal responsibility. Except that now that Republicans have agreed to raise taxes, er, revenue, as part of an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, liberals appear to have decided that there really isn't a need to cut spending after all.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Tax Foundation | Buffett's Case for Minimum Tax on the Rich Fails on All Accounts
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times [found here], Warren Buffett is once again insisting on a new super-minimum tax on the super-wealthy. He suggests that the rich pay an effective tax rate of 30 percent  on incomes between $1 million and $10 million and a 35 percent effective tax rate on incomes above that.
Heritage Foundation | Bipartisan Tax Reform? It Happened in 1986
Whenever Washington leaders start talking about the economy, they like to refer to deals and legislation from years past. In the latest fiscal cliff talks, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 has come up. Why?
AEI | Top 10 things Obama’s $82 billion tax hike on the rich would buy
President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy will bring in roughly $82 billion a year. Since the federal government is spending well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in each year, that won’t put much of a dent in our fiscal problems.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
USA Today | Construction industry faces worker shortage
Contractors are struggling with shortages of workers as the home-building market comes to life and some commercial sectors strengthen. The crunch is affecting a handful of states, including Texas, Arizona, Iowa and Florida.
Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease as Sandy Effect Dissipates
Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments last week as the labor market disruptions wrought by superstorm Sandy ebbed.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CBO | Unemployment Insurance in the Wake of the Recent Recession
Far more workers were laid off in 2008 and 2009 than in 2006 and 2007. The number of workers who lost their job and started receiving UI benefits peaked at 14.4 million in 2009, whereas an average of roughly 8 million laid-off workers started receiving benefits in each fiscal year from 2004 to 2007.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Fiscal cliff countdown: Automatic spending cuts
There's one part of the fiscal cliff that nearly everyone agrees on: avoiding the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin on Jan 2.
National Journal | Is Our Debt Burden Really $100 Trillion?
Wanna scare somebody about America's debt on the eve of the fiscal cliff? I mean, really scare somebody? Here's a trick. Don't talk about the debt. Talk about "unfunded liabilities."

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Outlines of a Budget Deal Are Obvious
With a big assist from Ohio, the president clinched a second term after a tough fight. In his victory statement, he pledged to "continue our economic progress" and see "our servicemen and women . . . come home." There were high hopes and a belief he had a mandate.
AEI | A debt strategy for the next 30 years
The United States is on an unsustainable fiscal course. This year marks the fourth in a row that the U.S. federal deficit will exceed $1.1 trillion. Since the end of 2007, the federal debt, now $11 trillion, has doubled as a share of annual GDP-from 36% to 73%. The long-term outlook is even worse. 
WSJ | Unbalanced
Republican fiscal cliff negotiators are infuriated because they can't get the White House to propose serious spending cuts. They complain that behind closed doors the White House team and congressional Democrats want only one thing: higher taxes.
Heritage Foundation | What’s in the Fiscal Cliff?
The nation is now firmly on track to go over the fiscal cliff in January 2013 unless Washington takes action. The uncertainty leading up to the fiscal cliff—especially Taxmageddon—is already hurting the economy today and, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office, could send the country back into recession in 2013

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Keith Hennessey | More on the President’s veto bluff
Yesterday I argued that the President is bluffing on his veto threat. Today I want to respond to some great feedback from friends and readers. Warning: discussions of negotiating strategy and tactics can get a little dense.
National Review | Repeat after Me: Social Security Adds To the Deficit
In this morning’s USA Today,  Senator Dick Durbin tries to make (again) the case that “Social Security is not in crisis.” His piece repeats the ideas that Social Security “continues to bring in new funds annually through payroll taxes,” “has a substantial trust fund” and “does not add a penny to the deficit.” However, both the existence of a positive balance in the trust fund and the payroll-tax collection don’t prove the senator’s point that Social Security is not in crisis.