Tuesday, December 11, 2012

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Pimco Sees Global Growth Slowing After U.S. Tightening
Pacific Investment Management Co., manager of the world’s largest mutual fund, said global growth will be hampered next year by a slowdown in the U.S. economy.
Market Watch | U.S. trade deficit rises 4.9% to $42.2 billion
The U.S. trade deficit increased 4.9% in October to $42.2 billion, as imports of crude oil rose and American exports of manufactured goods fell to the lowest level in nearly a year.
Bloomberg | German Investor Confidence Jumps to 7-Month High on Outlo
German investor confidence jumped more than economists forecast to a seven-month high in December on speculation Europe’s largest economy will gather momentum next year.
Market Watch | NFIB small-business optimism index plunges
Small-business optimism plunged in November in the wake of President Barack Obama's re-election, according to data released Tuesday.
CNN Money | Forget the fiscal cliff, the economy is rebounding
The fiscal cliff may be unresolved, but Americans are still upbeat about the economy, according to a TD Ameritrade survey.
CNBC | Wall Street Worries Washington Will Wreck Economy: CNBC Survey
Wall Street's concerns about Washington are escalating, with the December CNBC Fed Survey finding growing investor angst about a recession, the fiscal cliff and the Fed's monetary policy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Penalized for success
Last week, Christine Jacobs, the CEO of Theragenics Corp., a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that makes medical devices and is involved in cutting-edge cancer cures, wrote a letter to President Obama explaining why it was necessary to “begin moving our U.S. manufacturing to Costa Rica.”
Real Clear Markets | It's a Fact That Politicians Wreck Work Incentives
Despite gains in employment and a drop in the jobless rate in November, the labor force data released Friday were disturbing. They showed a drop of 350,000 in the number of people in the labor force, a big decline for one month and an extension of a troubling trend.
Heritage Foundation | TAG: Phase Out Unlimited Bank Deposit Guarantees
In 2008, in the midst of a financial crisis, federal regulators extended bank deposit guarantees beyond the statutory $250,000 limit to cover all “transaction,” or checking, deposits. Later codified by Congress, the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program is due to expire on December 31, 2012. Congress is considering a two-year extension. It should not do so.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Harvard Business Review | How Corruption Is Strangling U.S. Innovation
For all the talk of the fiscal cliff, however, I believe the US is facing a much more serious problem, one that has simply not been talked about at all: corruption. But this isn't the overt, "bartering of government favors in return for private kickbacks" corruption.
Economist | Reverse contagion
In the old days, banks in the rich world lost money after lending too much to the global South, which then affected their ability to make loans at home and to other poor countries. Now, thanks to the ongoing crisis in the euro zone, we are witnessing a new phenomenon, where banks that lose money in their home markets withdraw from otherwise profitable activities abroad.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
National Journal | HHS Tells States: No Partial Medicaid Expansion
States that wish to expand their Medicaid programs at federal expense in 2014 will have to cover everyone earning below certain income thresholds, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday, dashing the wishes of states that had hoped to use federal dollars to pursue more moderate expansions.
Politico | GAO hits Medicaid on waste
The Medicaid program has government employees and contractors doing some of the exact same work, which is wasting government time and money, according to a new Government Accountability Office report released Monday.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CATO | Tennessee Rejects an ObamaCare Exchange
I’m not a fan of the law.  The more I know, the more harmful I think it will be for small businesses and costly for state governments and the federal government.  It does nothing to address the cost of health care in our country.  It only expands a broken system…

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Fed Seen Pumping Up Assets to $4 Trillion in New Buying
The Federal Reserve will amplify record accommodation tomorrow by announcing $45 billion in monthly Treasury buying that will push its balance sheet almost to $4 trillion, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Why quantitative easing isn't working
The problem is that companies appear to be using that cheap money to pay off old debts, or just hoarding it, instead of spending it on new hires, building factories or other types of business investments, which is normally the way low-interest rates boost the economy.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
CNBC | Next Battle on the 'Cliff's' Edge: Estate Taxes
The fight over taxing the wealthy has largely focused on income taxes. But there's another tax that's becoming the source of growing dispute in Washington: the estate tax.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama’s secret middle-class tax hikes
President Obama continued to gallivant around the country on Monday, pushing to raise taxes on those deemed wealthy. The surprise will come in less than three weeks when the rest of us see our taxes go up as well.
Investors | Sometimes Government's Biggest Tax Bite Is Out Of Poor
Some government policies help some people at the expense of other people. But some policies can hurt welfare recipients, the taxpayers and others, all at the same time, even though in different ways.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Library of Economics | When Taxes are Cut, What Does Regressive Mean?
How starting with a progressive tax system and cutting everyone's taxes by the same percent gives you a regressive tax cut.

Employment

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Shrinking Labor-Force Participation Responsible for Most of the Drop in the Unemployment Rate
Recent job numbers show an added 146,000 jobs in November and an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in October.
AEI | For federal workers, the grass isn't greener in the private sector
If public employees are underpaid, they ought to get raises when they switch to the private sector. But they don't, and that fact is telling. Debates over compensation for public employees have raged at all levels of government over the past few years.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Calculated Risk | BLS: Job Openings "little changed" in October
The number of job openings in October was 3.7 million, essentially unchanged from September.
WSJ | Employment Index Little Changed in November
A compilation of U.S. labor indicators was little changed in November, according to a report released Monday by the Conference Board.
WSJ | Modest Job Growth, Less Take-Home Pay Is Recipe for Depressed Consumer
Worries about the consumer outlook are elevated. First, despite a surprise pop in November, hiring is not accelerating at the end of 2012. Second, consumers are more pessimistic about the future as households realize they likely face higher tax bills next year. Modest job growth and less take-home pay won’t support substantial increases in consumer spending.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Treasury selling final AIG shares
The Treasury Department is selling its final shares of American International Group Inc., ending taxpayer ownership of the insurance company and winding down one of the most contentious chapters of the 2008 financial crisis.
Market Watch | No compromise on higher taxes: Obama
President Barack Obama took his fiscal-cliff strategy on the road on Monday, telling an enthusiastic crowd in Michigan that he’s insisting on higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a year-end budget deal.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Truly Balanced Approach to the Deficit
Washington needs to pursue structural reforms in the country's important but unsustainable entitlement programs and in an inefficient, outdated tax code. By doing so, lawmakers can responsibly avoid the immediate cliff while addressing the long-term fiscal crisis and spurring job creation.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Raise Taxes? Cut Spending? How Would You Reduce the Deficit?
Lawmakers in Washington are currently struggling, again, to come up with a far-reaching deal to put the U.S. budget onto a more sustainable long-term course. If they fail, a bundle of spending cuts and tax increase, known collectively as “the fiscal cliff,” will take effect in early January.