Friday, February 8, 2013

General Economics

Bloomberg | European Employers Urge Obama To Advance U.S.-EU Trade
The BusinessEurope employers’ federation called on President Barack Obama to advance trade talks with the European Union in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address.
WSJ | Scant Pickup in Economic Growth Seen for 2013
Economists are forecasting the same steady, if unspectacular, growth this year that they were expecting in 2012. Last year's predictions proved too optimistic, but they say this year the economic fundamentals are sturdier.
Bloomberg | Record Oil Exports Shrink Trade Deficit as U.S. Fills Energy Gap
Record petroleum exports helped shrink the U.S. trade deficit to the smallest in two years as America moves closer to achieving energy self-sufficiency, a goal the nation has been pursuing since the 1973 Arab oil embargo.
Market Watch | Consumer credit increases $14.6 bln in December
U.S. consumers increased their debt in December by a seasonally adjusted $14.6 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.
Bloomberg | Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell in December
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers unexpectedly fell in December for the first time in six months as companies tried to keep pace with cooling sales.
CNBC | US Citizens Braced for Austerity Impact
From long delays at the nation's airports to huge potential lay-offs of government workers to less accurate weather forecasts, Americans may soon feel the pinch of austerity.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | The Worst Five Years Since the Great Depression
In February, 2009, I wrote for the Wall Street Journal an article entitled Reaganomics versus Obamanomics. The article explained that the emerging Obamanomics was pursuing exactly the opposite of every policy of the enormously successful Reaganomics, and predicted that it would produce exactly the opposite results.
Fortune | A sign the housing recovery just might stick
Mortgage applications were higher again in January. If individual buyers dominate home sales as opposed to investors, we might see a more sustainable housing recovery.
WSJ | Fed's Stein Sees Risks for Credit Markets
A Federal Reserve official pointed to signs of overheating in some corners of the credit markets and raised uncomfortable questions for the central bank about how to address the trend if it continues.

WSJ | Analysis: So Much for That GDP Contraction
The U.S. trade gap narrowed sharply in December, the biggest deficit contraction in nearly four years. The unexpected decline likely means last week’s reported contraction in GDP will be revised to a positive number.
WSJ | Ranking Economists’ 2012 Predictions: The Best and Worst
Arun Raha of power-management company Eaton Corp. was the year’s top economic forecaster, according to the Wall Street Journal’s annual rankings.

Health Care

CNN Money | Fewer people will have employer health insurance, CBO projects
As "Obamacare" kicks in, a growing number of Americans will move away from employer-provided health insurance plans, according to the latest forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office.
Washington Times | ‘Obamacare’ health care reform ALREADY forcing doctors to close practices
After 25 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Tamzin Rosenwasser packed in her dermatology practice in 2011, barely a year after the passage of President Obama’s health care initiative. The timing wasn’t coincidental.

Neighborhood Effects | Distinguishing between Medicaid Expenditures and Health Outcomes
Preserving Medicaid funding became even more crucial to the Obama administration after the Supreme Court ruled last summer that states were not required to expand their Medicaid coverage. Administration officials are working hard to convince states to expand and do not want any federal funding cuts that could discourage governors from implementing the law.


CNBC | The Fed's Global 'Unintended Consequence'
The week ahead sees policymakers from the Group of 20 – or 20 leading economies – meet in Moscow.
CNS News | Fed Has Bought More U.S. Gov’t Debt This Year Than Treasury Has Issued
So far this calendar year, the Federal Reserve has bought up more U.S. government debt than the U.S. Treasury has issued.
CNN Money | Inflation slows in China to start new year
After hitting a seven-month high to close out 2012, China's consumer price index dipped in January.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Monetarists Don't Seem To Get Monetizing
The American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis recently wrote a post ostensibly in defense of the Federal Reserve's QE programs. If not a full argument in favor, at the very least Mr. Pethokoukis is arguing that current Fed policy has been at least consistent with the historical norm.

Economist | Jeremy Stein leans against the wind
Before the crisis, monetary policymakers generally agreed that they should not concern themselves with financial stability until after something bad had already happened. Prevention was the job of the regulators, they said.


CNBC | Restored Payroll Tax Pinches Those Who Earn the Least
Jack Andrews and his wife no longer enjoy what they call date night, their once-a-month outing to the movies and a steak dinner at Logan's Roadhouse in Augusta, Ga. In Harlem, Eddie Phillips's life insurance payment will have to wait a few more weeks. And Jessica Price is buying cheaper food near her home in Orlando, Fla., even though she worries it may not be as healthy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Tax hikes you may have forgotten about
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a lot to do with tax policy, and the new taxes it created are starting to add up. A 2.3 percent medical device excise tax will raise $1.7 billion in revenues this year, while the new unearned income Medicare contribution tax on high-income savers will raise $20.5 billion. A tax on pharmaceuticals that took effect in 2011 will also raise $2.9 billion this year.


CNN Money | Washington D.C. jobs: Ground zero for budget cuts
Washington, D.C., is ground zero for federal jobs. Which means, residents better prepare for layoffs and furloughs.


Politico | Sequester cuts a time bomb for GOP?
Republicans open to letting billions in sequester cuts go through figure they can blame the president if the economy goes south.
CNBC | Obama Looks for 'Big Deal' on Spending Cuts and Taxes
President Barack Obama told fellow Democrats on Thursday he is willing to agree to a "big deal" with Congress on spending cuts and tax reforms to end the fiscal uncertainty over the deficit.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NY Times | Kick That Can
John Boehner, the speaker of the House, claims to be exasperated. “At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”
Mercatus | Ten Things the Latest CBO Report Tells Us About Federal Finances
Earlier this week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its updated outlook for the federal budget. Here are ten lessons it teaches us about the troubled state of federal finances.
CBO | Monthly Budget Review
The federal budget deficit was $295 billion for the first four months of fiscal year 2013, $54 billion less than the shortfall recorded for the same period last year, CBO estimates. Without shifts in the timing of certain payments in both years, however, the deficit for the four-month period would have been about $84 billion lower this year than the amount in fiscal year 2012.