Friday, January 11, 2013

General Economics

Politico | Wind industry awaits tax guidance on PTC rule
The sector is eagerly waiting for federal tax experts to give detailed guidance that interprets a language change to the PTC, the crucial industry support that was extended by one year in the final fiscal cliff package.
Bloomberg | Trade Deficit in U.S. Jumps on Pre-Holiday Surge in Imports
The trade deficit unexpectedly widened in November as American retailers stocked up on imported goods for the holidays and demand for foreign automobiles rebounded following superstorm Sandy.
Politico | Pew poll: Rich-poor tension eases
Despite the polarizing presidential campaign, Americans see less tension between groups like the rich versus the poor than they did before the election, but they do see a major partisan divide, a Pew survey finds.
CNN Money | Postal Service's fiscal cliff coming this spring
The U.S. Postal Service is facing its own fiscal cliff this spring.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Wells Fargo earnings: Good but not great
The bank beat estimates, but sales slowed. Wells' numbers showed signs the mortgage refi boom may be coming to an end.
WSJ | 'Cliff' Deal Seen Hitting Growth
Washington's last-minute deal on the fiscal cliff left many questions unanswered and will trim about 0.7 percentage point from growth in 2013, according to economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey.
24/7 Wall St. | The Undercovered Story of 2013: A European Recovery
If you watch and read financial news avidly, you will almost certainly admit that with all of the stories on Washington D.C., the fiscal cliff, Obama administration officials leaving in droves, gun control and other American issues, the media has lightened up drastically on the coverage of what is happening in Europe. We might even argue that the media has taken its eye off the ball on coverage “across the pond.”
Washington Times | Governor Tax Hike
November’s election results shook Republican resolve. Seeing Barack Obama retain his grip on the White House inspired a number of GOP statehouse leaders to wave the white flag on taxes during the “fiscal cliff” debate. On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell went a step further by proposing to raise taxes by $3.1 billion as part of his transportation agenda.
NBER | Macroeconomic Performance During Commodity Price Booms and Busts
Fluctuations in commodity prices are often associated with macroeconomic volatility. But not all nations are created equal in this regard. The macro response to commodity booms and busts depends both on the structural characteristics of the economy and on the policy framework that is in place.

Calculated Risk | Question #2 for 2013: Will the U.S. economy grow in 2013?
Economic growth: Heading into 2013 there are still significant downside risks from the European financial crisis and from U.S. fiscal policy. Will the U.S. economy grow in 2013? Or will there be another recession?
WSJ | Secondary Sources: Visualizing Labor Market, Middle Income Trap, 1800s Banking
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NY Times | America’s Health Disadvantage
It is no secret that the United States spends a lot more on health care than any other country yet ranks far behind other advanced nations in keeping its citizens healthy. This has been well documented in studies of older people and of newborn infants. It is now shockingly clear that poor health is a much broader and deeper problem than past studies have suggested.

Heritage Foundation | Obamacare Exchanges: State of the States
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave seven more states “conditional approval” to operate state-run Obamacare exchanges.
Heritage Foundation | Health Care Spending Remains Stable, but Not for Long
This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary released the National Health Expenditures report for 2011. The report shows that growth in national health spending remained relatively low in 2011, growing at 3.9 percent.


Market Watch | U.S. import price index declines 0.1% in December
Prices paid for goods imported into the U.S. declined 0.1% in December, with lower prices for both fuel and nonfuel imports, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected import prices to rise 0.1% in December.
Bloomberg | Japan’s Abe Unveils 10.3 Trillion Yen Fiscal Stimulus: Economy
The Japanese government will spend 10.3 trillion yen ($116 billion) to drive a recovery from a recession in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s first major policy initiative to end deflation and boost growth.
Market Watch | Plosser: Inflation risks unless Fed tightens
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said Friday there are some risks to inflation in the medium to longer run unless monetary policy is tightened more quickly than the Fed anticipated in its last statement.
CNN Money | Food prices boost China inflation
Higher food prices brought on by a bone-chilling spurt of cold weather pushed China's consumer price index higher in December.
Market Watch | Fed hawks get their day in the sun
Two of the year’s most hawkish voting members of the Federal Reserve on Thursday expressed their concerns over the central bank’s loose policy, raising questions about whether the Fed will manage to escape its policy as well as potential bubbles being formed.

WSJ | Fed’s Record-Breaking Profit
The Federal Reserve is breaking all kinds of records these days. Its balance sheet has swelled to more than $2.9 trillion and will reach new highs in 2013 as the Fed purchases $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage-backed bonds.
Economist | Mario's waiting game
The euro area is mired in recession and unemployment in the single-currency zone continues to scale new heights, reaching 11.8% on figures out this week, up from 10.6% a year earlier. But the European Central Bank did nothing to help today, leaving its key interest rates unchanged. The governing council took the decision unanimously, ECB president Mario Draghi told the press conference.


FOX News | Millions noticing paychecks lighter today, due to payroll tax hike
Gabriella Hoffman’s paycheck is a little lighter today, thanks to a payroll tax increase that is forcing millions of Americans to make the kind of tough budget cuts their representatives in Washington lawmakers seem unwilling to tackle.
Bloomberg | Private Equity’s Carried Interest Eyed by Congress: Taxes
The preferential tax rates that private-equity managers pay on some profits survived Congress’s Jan. 1 budget deal. That victory may not last.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Governor Tax Hike
November’s election results shook Republican resolve. Seeing Barack Obama retain his grip on the White House inspired a number of GOP statehouse leaders to wave the white flag on taxes during the “fiscal cliff” debate. On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell went a step further by proposing to raise taxes by $3.1 billion as part of his transportation agenda.

The Volokh Conspiracy | Tax Rates and Political Ignorance
Three-quarters of likely voters believe the nation’s top earners should pay lower, not higher, tax rates, according to a new poll for The Hill.
FOX Business | New Government Report Backs Car Mileage Tax
A new government report backs federal mileage-based user fees, which drivers would have to pay at tollbooths.


FOX Business | Ford to Hire 2,200 U.S. Workers in 2013
Ford is hiring 2,200 salaried workers and thousands of more hourly workers in the U.S. as it moves forward with an aggressive hiring plan aimed at helping the company expand its fleet.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Effective unemployment among young people: 16.3 percent
It is a little-known fact that in the 2012 election, 18- to 29-year-olds, who turned out in even greater numbers than in the youth-driven 2008 election, shifted a whopping 11 points away from President Obama, making millennials the single-largest swing demographic. Historically, this was the greatest decline in support among this age group for any president who has been re-elected.
Washington Times | Another lost year for America’s workers
President Obama’s decision to name Jack Lew, his chief of staff and former budget director, to be his Treasury secretary sent a depressing signal that the economy and jobs won’t be his highest priority in a second term.


CNN Money | Latest debt ceiling fix-it: IOUs
The list of sorry ways to address the unthinkable is growing. Call the latest debt ceiling work-around the IOU Plan.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Myth of Government Default
Three false arguments, pushed hard by the Obama administration and accepted on faith by the media and much of the political establishment, must be laid to rest if the American people are to understand the issues at stake in the federal "debt ceiling" debate.
Washington Times | Obama’s real problem
President Obama says the government doesn’t have a spending problem. This is like saying actress Lindsay Lohan doesn’t have an alcohol problem. It is the epitome of narcissistic self-delusion. If Mr. Obama truly believes this, then America is doomed to suffer national bankruptcy and economic collapse.

Calculated Risk | Question #1 for 2013: US Fiscal Policy
US Policy: This is probably the biggest downside risk for the US economy in 2013. I assume some sort of fiscal agreement will be reached soon, but how much austerity will be included?