Friday, January 18, 2013

General Economics

CNN Money | China growth points to gradual recovery
China recorded its weakest growth in 13 years last year, but a rebound in 2012's final quarter removed any lingering concern that the world's second- biggest economy might be heading for a hard landing.
Bloomberg | Michigan Sentiment Index Unexpectedly Falls to One-Year Low
Consumer confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in January to a one-year low as higher payroll taxes began to take hold.
CNN Money | Europe: It's Japan, only worse
The plot line has an all-too-familiar ring to it: One of the biggest engines of global growth seizes up in the aftermath of a massive financial bubble, sending equities into a tailspin and the economy into a recession.
Bloomberg | U.S. Carmakers Urge Obama to Punish Japan for Weak Yen
President Barack Obama should tell Japan’s new government that the U.S. will retaliate for policies aimed at weakening the yen, a group representing Ford Motor Co. (F), General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler LLC said.
Market Watch | Feds ok tough appraisal rule for high-risk loans
Federal regulators on Friday issued new tougher rules for appraising higher-priced mortgages, but lenders will have until January 2014 to implement the regulations.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The hidden burden of regulation
Americans cashing their first paychecks of the year are starting to feel the pain. Higher taxes in the “fiscal cliff” deal are just the beginning of the extra cash Uncle Sam will be collecting in 2013. The unprecedented expansion in regulation on President Obama’s watch means wallets are going to be much thinner by the end of the year.
Real Clear Markets | Economic Growth Must Be Washington's Plan A
If the great football coach Vince Lombardi was alive today, he could modify his famous speech, "What it Takes to Be Number One," to address our fiscal problems:
Washington Times | Persistent plague of Washington waste
Archaic, bloated, duplicative, wasteful, inefficient government is like the weather. People complain about it, but no one has figured out how to change it.
FOX Business | Housing Market in 2013: What to Expect
When the housing market imploded in 2007 and took the economy with it, experts said the real estate market would never look the same again. Now, nearly six years after the crash, the dust has finally cleared and we have a true picture of the new housing landscape.
Fortune | Lucky 2013: A case for economic good times
It's easy to predict gloom and doom for the U.S. economy. But strong growth and job recovery are no pie-in-the-sky fantasies.
Bloomberg | Why We Now Oppose Drilling in the Arctic
The Arctic Ocean is subject to some of the most volatile weather patterns on the planet. Geologists believe it also contains vast undersea oil and gas reserves.
NBER | Gasoline Prices, Fuel Economy, and the Energy Paradox
It is often asserted that consumers undervalue future gasoline costs relative to purchase prices when they choose between automobiles, or equivalently that they have high "implied discount rates" for these future energy costs.
CBO | CBO's Economic Forecasting Record: 2013 Update
For more than three decades, CBO has prepared economic forecasts that underlie the agency’s projections for the federal budget and cost estimates for proposed federal legislation.

Market Watch | Cities’ pensions face big shortfall
Unmanageable promises and an unsteady economy have resulted in shortfalls for state governments’ retiree pension and health programs that now total almost $1.4 trillion
WSJ | Secondary Sources: Manufacturing Jobs, Great Stagnation, Black Swans
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
Heritage Foundation | Transparency in Government: Finding Out How Much the Government’s Mistakes Are Costing Us
One of the little known costs that taxpayers unwittingly pay is the Judgment Fund administered by the Treasury Department. This fund is used to pay “judicially and administratively ordered monetary awards against the United States” when it loses lawsuits, as well as settlements by the government of threatened or actual lawsuits.

Health Care

Washington Post | Can Oregon save American health care?
In 2011, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber faced a vexing problem: The state had a $2 billion hole in its Medicaid budget and no good way to fill it.

Heritage Foundation | Will Obamacare Go the Way of Prohibition?
Steve Benen on MSNBC’s “The Maddow Blog” dismisses congressional efforts to repeal all or parts of Obamacare and admonishes conservatives to get with the program. Why? He says Obamacare “is here to stay.”


Bloomberg | Michigan Sentiment Index Unexpectedly Falls to One-Year Low
Consumer confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in January to a one-year low as higher payroll taxes began to take hold.
Bloomberg | Fed Adds $610 Million to Banking System With Five-Day Repos
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York temporarily added $610 million of reserves to the banking system with repurchase agreements as part of a program to test the central bank’s operational readiness.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Bank Reform Takes One Flawed Step Forward
The Financial Accounting Standards Board finished 2012 on a high note, issuing a draft new rule to change the way banks build reserves against losses on loans. It is a major step forward from our current system. Still, FASB's proposed rule is flawed conceptually and in its application, and in itself it cannot achieve the international consistency that is desirable.
Fortune | Fed official: Our bond-buying is potentially toxic
If interest rates were to suddenly rise to their historic levels, the Federal Reserve's investment portfolio could be doomed.
Washington Times | IMF chief Lagarde says U.S. must ‘pull together’
In her first major speech of the new year, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday called for “all sides to pull together” in Washington to solve the country’s debt and growth problems, saying the world’s leading economies must follow through on fiscal and market reforms to avoid slipping back into recession.

WSJ | What a Fed Loss Might Look Like
One worry among Federal Reserve officials, divided over how long the central bank should stick with its bond-buying programs, is the possibility that the Fed could record a loss on its books.


Washington Times | Giant banks get tax break
Consumer advocates have complained that the nation’s mortgage lenders are getting off easy in a deal to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on many homeowners after the collapse of the housing bubble.

Heritage Foundation | Effective Marginal Tax Rates: A Growing Discussion
Did you notice how your paycheck shrank in January? The expiration of temporary payroll tax cuts boosted marginal tax rates about two percentage points for most Americans.
CATO | Based on a Review of Studies Looking at the Impact of Taxes on Growth, Academic Research Gives Obama a Record of 0-23-3
How do you define a terrible team? No, this isn’t going to be a joke about Notre Dame foolishly thinking it could match up against a team from the Southeastern Conference in college football’s national title game. I’m asking the question because a winless record is usually a good indication of a team that doesn’t know what it’s doing and is in over its head.


Politico | Obama Jobs Council hits 1 year without official meeting
President Barack Obama's Jobs Council hit a notable milestone on Thursday: one year without an official meeting. The 26-member panel is also set to expire at the end of the month, unless Obama extends its tenure.


National Journal | House GOP Seeing Sequester, Not Debt Ceiling, As Fight to Pick
Republicans appear to be willing to avoid a showdown over the debt limit and instead use the sequester as their main negotiating lever in upcoming fiscal fights with the White House and Senate Democrats.
CNN Money | Debt ceiling stop-gap: GOP would pay some bills over others
With the way forward on the debt ceiling still murky, a Republican proposal to be unveiled next week seeks to protect payments of three groups over everyone else: bond investors, seniors and military troops.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Debt-Ceiling Gimmickry Is Unbecoming A Rational Government
Congressional Republicans again are threatening to not raise the legislatively-imposed U.S. public debt ceiling (currently $16.4 trillion), just as they did back in August 2011, when they caused S&P to downgrade U.S. debt from its triple-A status for the first time.
Reuters | Analysis - Preparing for the unthinkable: Could markets handle a U.S. default?
Squabbling in Washington over the debt ceiling is again raising the spectre that the United States may be forced to delay payments on its debt. While the stigma of a default would be damaging enough to investor sentiment, the chaos from a breakdown in financial markets' systems that might result would be even scarier.
Real Clear Markets | To Solve the Debt Ceiling, We Must Solve the Dollar
Both sides of the political aisle keep talking about the debt ceiling showdown in the context of financial Armageddon.

WSJ | Paulson: U.S. Government Faces ‘Debt Bomb,’ Needs Presidential Leadership
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Thursday that the U.S. government faces a “debt bomb” that can only be confronted if political leaders make changes to entitlement programs like Medicare, adding that otherwise a crisis would be so predictable “it’s like flying into a cliff – you can just see it.”