Thursday, January 17, 2013

General Ecnomics

Bloomberg | U.S. Mortgage Rates Little Changed With 30-Year at 3.38%
U.S. mortgage rates were little changed, keeping borrowing costs close to record lows as home values climb after the worst slump since the Great Depression.
FOX Business | Housing Starts Hit Highest Rate Since June '08
U.S. home building closed out 2012 with the most new homes started since June 2008, as the Commerce Department reported on Thursday a 12.1% rise in housing starts last month.
Bloomberg | Euro Area Seen Stalling as Draghi’s Pessimism Shared: Economy
The euro-area economy won’t return to growth until the next quarter as a recovery in Italy is delayed and France continues to shrink, according to a survey of economists.
WSJ | Fed Reports Point to Subdued Economic Growth
The U.S. economy expanded in recent weeks as consumers stepped up spending, but weak hiring is restraining growth, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.
CNN Money | Citigroup posts big earnings miss
Citigroup's new CEO, Michael Corbat, is off to a shaky start at the helm of the third largest U.S. bank.
Bloomberg | Manufacturing in the Philadelphia Area Unexpectedly Shrinks
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in January, an indication companies are becoming more concerned about across-the-board U.S. government spending cuts that could slow growth.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Too Big To Fail Banks Crumble Before Greedy Federal Government In Mortgage Deal
The $8.5 billion mortgage settlement agreed to by ten major banks on January 7 reveals, once more, the coercive power of government to expropriate assets from businesses judged guilty by public opinion without proof of legal wrongdoing.
Investors | Texas A Model State For Dynamic Job And Economic Growth
The American economy has had little to cheer about since the 2008 financial meltdown and the resulting recession. Recovery has been feeble, and many states continue to struggle. One bright spot in the general gloom, however, is Texas, which began shining long before 2008.
WSJ | After Four Bleak Obama Years, an Opportunity
As President Obama prepares to be sworn in a second time, it's a good moment to consider the state of the union during his era.

Calculated Risk | CoreLogic: Negative Equity Decreases in Q3 2012
CoreLogic ... today released new analysis showing approximately 100,000 more borrowers reached a state of positive equity during the third quarter of 2012, adding to the more than 1.3 million borrowers that moved into positive equity through the second quarter of 2012.
Economist | A response to David Beckworth
Last month, I joined an ongoing conversation within the blogosphere about the shortage of safe financial assets. My conclusion was that the shortage exists for good reasons and that certain governments could help alleviate it by issuing more bonds.

Health Care

CNN Money | The high cost of raising the Medicare age
Raising the Medicare eligibility age would save money for the federal government ... but it would raise health care costs for nearly everyone else.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | In health, we’re not No. 1
Anyone interested in health care ought to digest the findings of a massive new report from the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, which compared Americans’ health with that of people in other advanced countries.


Bloomberg | Fed Concerned About Overheated Markets Amid Record Bond-Buying
Federal Reserve officials are voicing increased concern that record-low interest rates are overheating markets for assets from farmland to junk bonds, which could heighten risks when they reverse their unprecedented bond purchases.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Gold, Greenbacks and Inflation: A History and a Warning
The Federal Reserve, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is tasked by Congress with managing the money supply so as to preserve price stability while maximizing employment. But with the central bank having increased the money supply by 25% since the financial crash of 2008—while the federal government has borrowed $5 trillion—can inflation be far off?


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | Don't give up on tax reform
Some observers were quick to conclude that the New Year’s Eve fiscal cliff agreement “killed” tax reform for 2013. It’s certainly true that President Obama’s insistence on a tax rate hike as the price for preventing trillions of dollars in tax increases on all Americans was a huge missed opportunity. But reports of the death of tax reform are greatly exaggerated.


Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell to Lowest Level in Five Years
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell more than forecast last week to the lowest level in five years, pointing to further improvement in the labor market.


Bloomberg | California, Unsaved, Speeds Toward a Wall of Debt
A cursory glance at Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget could make you believe that California’s days of fiscal gloom are over as he champions a balanced budget and newfound “fiscal restraint.”

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | How to Wage the Debt-Ceiling Fight
The debt limit must soon be increased, and President Obama insists that Congress give him the ability to borrow without any accompanying budget reforms or spending cuts. He argues that only a long-term, "clean" debt-limit bill is responsible fiscal policy, and that anyone who disagrees risks government default and a financial catastrophe.
Politico | Tough compromises are key to budget challenge
We are just days out from the year-end bipartisan deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, but it seems that Republicans have already returned to their partisan corner and are once again girding up to fight to protect the wealthiest Americans from paying a penny more in taxes.
CATO | America’s Spending Crisis
Despite four years of annual budget deficits of over US$1 trillion and the most sluggish economic recovery since World War II, voters have rewarded President Barack Obama with a second term.

Market Watch | Democrats push bill to eliminate debt ceiling
A handful of House Democrats said Wednesday that they’ve introduced a bill to repeal the U.S. debt limit, something they say is a Republican tool of “blackmail” to force spending cuts.