Wednesday, January 30, 2013

General Economics

CNN Money | Spain sinks deeper into recession
Spain's second recession in three years deepened in the fourth quarter of 2012, as domestic demand sank in the face of government spending cuts and record unemployment.
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Economic Confidence Rises More Than Forecast
Economic confidence in the euro area rose more than economists forecast in January, adding to signs that the 17-nation currency bloc may be emerging from a recession.
Bloomberg | Economy in U.S. Contracts as Defense Spending Slumps
The economy in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter, restrained by the biggest plunge in defense spending in four decades and dwindling inventory growth as household purchases picked up.
CNN Money | Regulations are killing my business
These small businesses are being squeezed by local regulations requiring specific licenses. All are fighting back with the help of the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm.
Market Watch | U.S. ‘lacks’ payback plan for Ally bailout: report
The Treasury Department has no “concrete exit plan” for its taxpayer-infused investment in Ally Financial -- formerly known as GMAC -- and its lack of a strategy may be why it continues to be owned by the U.S. government more than four years after the peak of the 2008 crisis, a watchdog group said Wednesday.
CNN Money | Energy prices on the rise again
Energy prices have been rising fast. But not enough to derail the economic recovery. Not yet anyway.
CNBC | US Mortgage Applications Fall as Refi Demand Drops
Applications for U.S. home mortgages tumbled last week after three consecutive weeks of gains, with refinance demand slumping as interest rates rose, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama’s path toward energy poverty
In his inaugural address last week, President Obama demonstrated that he is putting people at risk with misguided climate and energy policies.
Bloomberg | It’s Too Soon to Celebrate a Recovery
As the economy begins to show signs of strength, people naturally want to know, how long will the damage from the financial crisis linger? A new paper from the Bank of England suggests it may be much longer than we would like.
NBER | Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting
Using recently available large-sample micro data from 36 countries, we document that experience-earnings profiles are flatter in poor countries than in rich countries.

Heritage Foundation | Colorado Energy Office Misspends Millions in Stimulus Funds
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) misspent millions in stimulus funds and could not account for a variety of other financial statements, according to a new audit from the Colorado state auditor.
Calculated Risk | Comments on Q4 GDP and Investment
The Q4 GDP report was negative, with a 0.1% annualized decline in real GDP, and lower than the expected 1.0% annualized increase.
Café Hayek | Mark Steckbeck on Standards of Living
The Liberal Order‘s Mark Steckbeck sends this informative e-mail to me, in response to Mark Perry’s and my recent essay in the Wall Street Journal

Health Care

Politico | The invisible health-care panel
A panel charged with helping devise solutions to the nation’s health care workforce crisis is having a workforce crisis of its own: It hasn’t been funded, and it’s never met.


Bloomberg | Rising Bond Yields Show Bernanke QE Converges With Growth
Since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in September began a third round of asset purchases aimed at lowering interest rates and spurring growth, bond yields have climbed. The trend may signal that his program is working.

Economist | How should central banks think about the financial system?
Most of what we call money is actually short-term debt created by private financial firms, like bank deposits, rather than anything directly controlled by the government through monetary policy, like currency.
WSJ | What to Expect From Fed
The Federal Reserve wraps up its first meeting of the year today, and the 2:15 p.m. statement is expected to change little from the last time policymakers gathered.
Economist | Say when
The Federal Open Market Committee will be meeting today and tomorrow and is expected to announce a continuation of the open-ended purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities begun last year.


CNN Money | Get ready to file your taxes
Wednesday marks the beginning of tax season, when most Americans can submit their returns to Uncle Sam.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The State Tax Reformers
Washington may be a tax reform wasteland, but out in the states the action is hot and heavy. Nine states—including such fast-growing places as Florida, Tennessee and Texas—currently have no income tax, and the race is on to see which will be the tenth, and perhaps the 11th and 12th.


Bloomberg | Economy in U.S. Contracts as Defense Spending Slumps
The economy in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter, restrained by the biggest plunge in defense spending in four decades and dwindling inventory growth as household purchases picked up.

WSJ | Small Business Tops in Job Creation, but Also Job Cuts
Looking for a job? Try applying at small companies. Want a steady job? It might be better to target a big one.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | There certainly is a difference between pink unicorns and spending cuts
House Republicans were wise to suspend the debt ceiling until the middle of May, effectively resequencing the series of upcoming fights over the federal budget. They are now poised to make their stand in March, using pressure points provided by the sequester - the across-the-board cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary spending - and the expiration of the stopgap measure currently used to fund the government.
CATO | The Debt Deniers’ Fantasy
It’s not quite on a par with 9/11 truthers or Obama birthers, but recently a number of liberal commentators have descended into the fever swamps of denialism by rejecting the most basic facts about our debt and deficit. Mind you, they are not arguing about the best policies to reduce the debt — taxe hikes vs. spending cuts — but actually denying that the problem exists at all.