Friday, January 25, 2013

General Economics

Market Watch | Keystone pipeline: Who wins when the oil flows?
A decision on TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline is fraught with political peril for the Obama administration, but for investors the question to ask is clear: If the line is going to be approved, which companies will benefit?
Bloomberg | German Business Confidence Gains Third Consecutive Month
German business confidence rose more than economists forecast in January, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is recovering from a slump at the end of last year.
Market Watch | Housing market’s latest obstacle: Appraisals
What’s that $1 million house really worth? Depends who you ask.
CNN Money | Europe eyes growth windfall from U.S. trade pact
European leaders came to the Swiss resort of Davos this week eyeing the potential windfall gains that could flow from a free-trade agreement with the United States.
FOX Business | New Home Sales Slump in December
New single-family home sales fell in December although the median sales price rose and the sector still appears set to be a bright spot in the country's economic recovery.
Washingotn Times | Fracking’s rise in U.S. inspires the world
The U.S. energy industry clearly still leads the way on the revolutionary drilling method that has upended global energy markets, but the rest of the world is beginning to catch up as nations seek to replicate American success in oil and natural gas development.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Deconstructing Obamanomics: What Is The Real Goal?
As President Barack Obama begins his second term, democratically returned to office by a majority of Americans who seem to buy what he is selling, it would profit us to pause a moment and examine the discrepancies between the vision he expounded in his inaugural address and the economic reality that surrounds us. This leads to a pivotal question: What, exactly, is the underlying purpose of Obamanomics, and how would we know?
WSJ | Yes, Mr. President, We Are a Nation of Takers
In President Obama's second inaugural address, he not only outlined an ambitious agenda for his second term but also seemed intent on shutting down debate about the social-welfare state and its impact on American life.
Fortune | Why Americans still feel poor
Stocks are up again, but home prices are the real barometer of personal wealth.
Politico | How to renew the American dream
Immigrants remind us of our potential as a free people. Throughout American history, this nation’s great experiment in individual liberty and free enterprise has attracted people committed to building a better future for themselves and their families. Immigrants are by nature risk takers, entrepreneurs who often have the work ethic, drive, energy, creativity and passion necessary to succeed.
NY Times | Housing Offers Hope of Strength in the Economy
A funny thing is happening to the United States housing market. It is getting better at an accelerating rate.

Heritage Foundation | World Economic Forum: An Opportunity to Promote Economic Freedom
Masters of the world’s economies are converging on the small resort town of Davos, Switzerland, this week for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). These “Davos M[e]n” include the world’s top business leaders, central bankers, and politicians.
WSJ | Analysis: Fall in New Home Sales Doesn’t Change Story of Housing Recovery
Sales of new homes in the U.S. fell in December, a decline of 7.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000. Even so, that end-of-year rate was well above that of a year earlier, marking the beginnings of a recovery for the building industry.
FOX Business | Govt. Waste, Fraud & Abuse
When it comes to cutting the purse strings, nobody is worse than Congress… and I mean nobody.
WSJ | Banking Crises Do Lasting Damage to Productivity
Banking crises appear to hurt national productivity more than other financial disasters like hyperinflation and currency collapses, Bank of England researchers reported Thursday, in findings that may shed light on a puzzling weakness in Britain’s economy and influence the central bank’s response.
Café Hayek | Measuring Growth
We might think of three paths to growth or three ways that the world gets better

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | Health care threatens to crush U.S. growth
The 2012 annual report for the federal government, released last week, continues to use dubious accounting standards to avoid putting the cost of government retirement promises into the headline deficit of $1.1 trillion. But its disclosures have improved somewhat, and the new information should be read closely.


Bloomberg | ECB Says Banks to Repay More Than Forecast of 3-Year Loan
The European Central Bank said banks will next week repay more of its emergency three-year loans than economists forecast in another sign the euro region’s debt crisis is abating.
CNN Money | Say goodbye to more bank branches
Overall, banks closed 2,267 branches last year and opened only 1,149, according to research firm SNL Financial. That resulted in a total loss of 1,118 branches nationwide -- the highest level since 2005, when the firm began tracking closures.
CNBC | Interest Rates Will Spike This Year: Soros
There will be a dramatic rise in interest rates as soon as there are clear signs the U.S. economy is picking up, billionaire financier George Soros told CNBC.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Making the case for negative interest rates
Former Fed official Alan Blinder talks about how to fix the economy, where the next crisis will come from, and how scared investors should be.
Real Clear Markets | With Each Central Bank Move, Nations Are Impoverished More
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA is back in the news again, making headlines for derivatives trades. The oldest banking concern in the world cannot seem to catch a break, having trod down the hidden road toward its own version of extend and pretend.


Bloomberg | Sweden Warns U.S. Against Targeting Welfare With Tax Deficit
The U.S. will never be able to afford the kind of welfare benefits enjoyed by Europeans unless it raises taxes, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said.
WSJ | In Senate, New Push on Taxes
If House Republicans' aim this week was to draw contrasts with Democrats on deficit-cutting, they got their wish sooner than they expected.
CNBC | Governors Push Bigger Reliance on Sales Taxes
Republican governors are moving aggressively to cut personal and corporate income taxes, including proposals that would increase reliance on state sales taxes, setting up ambitious experiments in tax reform that could shape what is possible on a national level.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | Carbon Taxes, Path Dependency and Directed Technical Change: Evidence from the Auto Industry
We construct new firm-level panel data on auto industry innovation distinguishing between "dirty" (internal combustion engine) and "clean" (e.g. electric and hybrid) patents across 80 countries over several decades.
CBO | Refundable Tax Credits
The U.S. tax code contains many preferences that lower or eliminate the amount of taxes owed. Those preferences include deductions, exclusions, and tax credits, which can be either refundable or nonrefundable.


WSJ | Hasbro to Cut 10% of Workforce
"We had a number of strong product initiatives, but consumer demand through much of the holiday season was less than anticipated in both the U.S. and certain international markets," Chief Executive Brian Goldner said. "As a result, fourth-quarter revenue did not meet our expectations."

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | 3 things Washington could do to create more jobs
A year ago, both political parties seemed to agree that our nation’s biggest problem was finding enough good jobs for everyone who needed one.
Heritage Foundation | Labor Unions: Declining Membership Shows Labor Laws Need Modernizing
U.S. labor laws do not meet the needs of modern American workers. The laws prevent union members from receiving individual raises and non-union employees from having any substantive voice on the job.


Politico | Fiscal fights: Who will blink first?
Speaker John Boehner’s House Republicans and President Barack Obama — joined by congressional Democrats — want entirely different things out of the three-step fiscal fight that will take place over the next 90 days.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Making budget risk personal
House Republican leaders seized the high ground this week in the continuing battle to rein in spending, forcing Senate Democrats to produce their first budget in nearly four years.

CATO | ‘Unthinkable, Draconian’ Spending Cuts
It’s my job to advocate for spending cuts. It’s a job I’ve been doing in one form or another for over a decade. If I’ve ever experienced a victory, it must have been a pretty small one, because I can’t recall any.