Friday, February 15, 2013

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | G-20 at Odds Over Fiscal Goals as Fails to Meet 2010 Aim
Group of 20 governments disagreed over the strength of new fiscal goals as they risk missing the targets set three years ago.
Market Watch | Feb Empire index above zero, first time since July
The Empire State manufacturing index moved into positive territory for the first time since July, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Friday.
FOX Business | The Government Redefines 'Investment'
When the president says that the country needs more "investment" it is crucial to note that this is code for more printing of money. What that means is further and significant devaluation of our dollar, which  will disproportionately hurt the middle class.
Bloomberg | Production Unexpectedly Decreases as U.S. Factories Cool
Industrial production in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in January as factories took a breather after the biggest back-to-back gain in three decades.
Market Watch | U.S. consumer sentiment rises: Univ. of Mich.
The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment gauge rose to a preliminary February reading of 76.3 -- the highest level since November -- from a final January reading of 73.8, reports said Friday.
Bloomberg | Foreign Demand for U.S. Assets Rises on Global Slowdown
International purchases of U.S. stocks, bonds and other financial assets rose more than forecast in December as investors sought shelter from slowing global growth.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | How Do Countries Grow Rich? It's Much Easier Than You Think
Economists have been talking for decades about why some countries get wealthy, and some do not. It was the subject of Adam Smith’s famous book, The Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. I suggest that the secret could be expressed in four words: Low Taxes, Stable Money. I call this the Magic Formula.
WSJ | Generational Theft Needs to Be Arrested
We come from different backgrounds, parties and pursuits but are bound by a common belief in the promise and purpose of America. After all, each of us has been the beneficiary of the choices made—and opportunities created—by previous generations of Americans.
Washington Times | Obama’s duct-tape economic plan
President Obama’s second-term wish list to jump-start his stalled, job-starved economy looked a lot like his warmed-over, half-baked proposals of the past.
Fortune | Why some homeowners are turning down free money
Borrowers who are still smarting from the mortgage crisis are passing up some real deals and missing out on real cash.
Washington Post | A natural gas strategy Democrats should heed
“THE NATURAL-GAS boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence,” President Obama declared in his State of the Union addressTuesday night. “That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”
NBER | Size-Dependent Regulations, Firm Size Distribution, and Reallocation
In France, firms with 50 employees or more face substantially more regulation than firms with less than 50. As a result, the size distribution of firms is visibly distorted: there are many firms with exactly 49 employees.
CATO | Barack Obama’s Warfare State
In his fifth State of the Union address, President Barack Obama hit all the main talking points that everyone expected he would. What he did not say, though, should concern many Americans.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Gaps in health law dental coverage
The health care law was supposed to go a long way toward getting more kids access to dental care. But as it stands now, the effort may fall short.
CNBC | State Exchange Buildout Shifts Into High Gear
Vermont is a small state with just 660,00 residents, but getting the health insurance exchange here ready in time for the rollout of Obamacare in 2014 is still a very big job.

Monetary

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Fed Action This Year More Powerful Than in 2012
Changes in the way the Federal Reserve is conducting monetary policy has made the actions taken by the institution more powerful this year compared to 2012, a top central bank official said Thursday.
NY Times | The Convergence of George Will and Sherrod Brown
By breaking up the biggest banks, conservatives will not be putting asunder what the free market has joined together. Government nurtured these behemoths by weaving an improvident safety net and by practicing crony capitalism.

Taxes

News                                                                                                                             
Politico | Lawmakers unveil an online sales tax bill, again
Lawmakers unveiled Thursday what they hope will be the final federal online sales tax bill, promising that this will be the year Congress deals with the issue.
National Journal | Carbon Tax a Long Shot, but Here’s How It Would Work
A pair of Democratic senators just announced legislation that would tax carbon emissions and use the proceeds to fund clean-energy projects and provide rebates to consumers. They know the bill is almost certain to fail in the GOP-controlled House. When it does, it will set the stage for the “executive actions” on climate change that President Obama promised during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Europe Taxes the World
Stop the digital printing presses. The Obama Administration has found another tax it doesn't like—too bad this one is also in Europe. U.S. opposition helped to sink the EU's airline carbon tax last year, and this week the Treasury came out against the new tax on financial transactions by 11 EU nations.
Washington Times | Now the shuffle on tax reform
Both presidential candidates — and the leaders of both political parties — were outspoken in their support for tax reform last year. Democrats have reneged on their pledge, however, hurting the cause of deficit reduction.

Employment

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | What’s the Minimum Wage in Your State?
President Barack Obama has called for raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, from $7.25 today, and to link additional increases to inflation. The proposal is likely to have a bigger impact on some states than others.
Library of Economics | Illegality, Minimum Wages, and Credible Commitment
Co-blogger Bryan Caplan finds "strange" the claim that "employers prefer to hire illegal immigrants because they don't have to pay them minimum wage or follow other labor market regulations." I don't find it strange at all.
CATO | How Does Immigration Impact Wages?
Many Americans are curious about the impact of immigration on the wages of other Americans.  The best research on this focuses on the period between 1990 and 2006, when almost 17 million people immigrated to the U.S. lawfully and a net 12 million came unlawfully.

Budget

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | The nature of the beast
If you listen to Washington Democrats these days, you’d think that America’s economic and fiscal woes could all be solved if we would simply raise taxes. Evidently the tax increases last month served only as an appetizer for the big-government crowd. Now the spenders are back for the main course. It will never be enough. As my dad used to say about the instinctive reactions of members of the animal kingdom, “it’s the nature of the beast.”
Washington Times | The balanced budget dream
Under a law that just took effect, Barack Obama will be the first president required to send Congress a budget that balances at some point in the future. Since that point isn’t likely to be in anyone’s lifetime, Republicans once again are looking to a constitutional amendment to impose restraint.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Why Should I Care About the U.S. Debt?
Unfortunately, high government debt is having more of an impact on each of us than we realize. Heritage’s Romina Boccia explains that high levels of federal debt are linked to all of these problems for Americans:
WSJ | Does the Government Profit from Student Loans?
With borrowers increasingly falling behind on their federal student loan payments, some analysts are predicting taxpayers will eventually be on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in losses.