Tuesday, February 12, 2013

General Economics

Bloomberg | Home Prices Rise in 88% of U.S. Cities as Recovery Gains
Prices for single-family homes climbed in almost 88 percent of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter as the housing recovery broadened.
Market Watch | At the retail level, economy could stutter
We’re about to find out how consumers reacted to higher taxes and less take-home pay in January.
Bloomberg | Too-Big-to-Fail Bill, Fund Bonuses, Libor: Compliance
U.S. Representative John Campbell plans to offer legislation aimed at reducing the size of “too- big-to-fail” banks by requiring them to hold more capital including long-term debt.
Market Watch | NFIB small-business index edges up in January
A measure of small-business sentiment saw a slight gain in January, helped by an increase in the number who expect the economy to improve.
CNBC | Economic Forecast: More Jobs, Faster Growth
The first half of 2013 is expected to be sluggish as government spending cuts dampen growth and a payroll tax increase crimps consumer spending.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | ‘College-for-all’ policy bad for students, bad for jobs
Evidence continues to mount that college is not for everyone, but the United States persists in the fiction that students are shortchanged without a four-year degree. The real losers in the final analysis are young people who are counseled to pursue a sheepskin when they have neither the interest nor ability.            
CBO | Growth in Means-Tested Programs and Tax Credits for Low-Income Households
The federal government devotes roughly one-sixth of its spending to 10 major means-tested programs and tax credits, which provide cash payments or assistance in obtaining health care, food, housing, or education to people with relatively low income or few assets.
Real Clear Markets | Obama Must Drop Green For Real Energy
In his State of the Union address tonight President Obama will call for more "investments" in green energy to help the economy, according to White House sources.
CBO | Federal Means-Tested Programs and Tax Credits - Infographic
Federal means-tested programs and tax credits provide cash payments or assistance with health care, nutrition, education, housing, or other needs to people with relatively low income or few assets.

WSJ | Number of the Week: Expect Wider Trade Gap in 2013
$2.196 trillion: The total value of U.S. exports in 2012. The U.S. looks set to grow faster than most advanced economies in 2013, but there’s a downside to being the cleanest dirty shirt in the laundry pile: a wider trade deficit.
Library of Economics | Capacity Utilization & Economic Growth: A Broken Relationship
In the past, there was quite a strong relationship between changes in capacity utilization and short-term GDP growth, especially if you leave out the service sector (which is usually stable anyway).
WSJ | Vital Signs Chart: Mortgage Rates Highest Since September
Mortgage rates held steady last week after climbing in January. The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage stands at 3.53%, the highest since September — though well below the 6% level seen five years ago.
WSJ | Vital Signs Chart: Lending to Businesses Increases
Banks’ commercial and industrial loans climbed a seasonally adjusted $21.9 billion in December, the biggest jump since February 2012, the Federal Reserve said.

Health Care

WSJ | In Medicaid, a New Health-Care Fight
Employers in several states are bracing for higher health-care costs as some governors, worried about the impact on state budgets from the federal overhaul, resist a planned Medicaid expansion.

WSJ | Health-Care Fraud Crackdown Ties in Corporate Effort
U.S. officials are trumpeting their success at winning record recoveries from health-care fraud, which comes amid a collaborative effort with health-care companies and other parties.


Bloomberg | ECB Ready to Offset Banks’ Accelerated LTRO Payback
The European Central Bank is poised to offset any acceleration in emergency loan repayments by the region’s banks to ensure reduced liquidity doesn’t undermine its monetary policy.
Bloomberg | G-7 Concerned About Excess Yen Moves, Official Says in Comment
The Group of Seven is concerned about excess moves in the Japanese yen and investors misinterpreted an earlier statement on exchange rates, an official from a G-7 nation said.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | How banks could get blown away by bond bubble
A Federal Reserve governor is publicly raising concerns about a bond bubble, and he thinks banks could take a big hit.
Forbes | Virginia House Sets The Stage For Bipartisan Monetary Reform
The elevation of reform of our broken monetary system to a bi-partisan economic issue may be the biggest positive development of the next two years.
AEI | The biggest loser: Europe and the global currency war
In currency wars, where some countries pursue policies deliberately aimed at cheapening their currencies, there are generally winners and losers. Judging by recent currency movements, Europe is the biggest loser in the present global currency war.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama proposed tax increases will not solve debt problem
In a few short weeks, my youngest daughter will have another birthday, which means I will have another teenager in my house. She is part of a young American generation that has no memory of our nation not at war.


CNN Money | Barclays cuts 3,700 jobs in clean-up bid
Barclays is cutting 3,700 jobs and scaling back investment banking in Europe and Asia in a bid to clean up its reputation and revive profits after a series of damaging scandals.
CNBC | Immigration Reform: Good or Bad for the Economy?
Legalize or not is the hotly debated question in Washington holding the fate of 11 million undocumented immigrants on a tight rope.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | Fed official: Fixing the job market could take years
Healing the job market should take "center stage" on the Federal Reserve's agenda, but that task could still take years, a high-ranking member of the central bank said Monday.
Washington Times | Obama State of the Union should focus on one thing: Jobs
President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. He should spend his entire speech talking about the one big issue Americans care about: jobs. This address needs to be different from the half-dozen or more times the president has claimed he would pivot back to jobs. He needs to follow up his speech with clear and constant leadership on the economy.


Washington Post | Finger-pointing trumps problem-solving as automatic budget cuts loom
Just about everyone in official Washington is in agreement that big across-the-board spending cuts at the Pentagon and throughout domestic federal programs on March 1 are a bad idea.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Projected Deficits in CBO’s 2013 Budget and Economic Outlook
On February 5, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic Outlook for fiscal years 2013 to 2023. While the report might suggest the US economy and federal budget are on the road to recovery, such an assessment would be shortsighted.