Wednesday, February 20, 2013

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Zombie foreclosures: Borrowers hit with debts that won't die
Borrowers are discovering that their foreclosed homes are coming back to haunt them -- long after they have moved out.
Bloomberg | JPMorgan Leads U.S. Banks Lending Least Deposits in 5 Years
The biggest U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. are lending the smallest portion of their deposits in five years as cash floods in from savers and a slow economy damps demand from borrowers.
CNN Money | Home construction off to strong start
Home construction got off to a strong start in 2013, as builders filed for the greatest number of permits in more than four years in January

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Obama "Recovery:" Less Unemployment, But More Dependence
A strange and disturbing new social pattern is unfolding before our eyes in America today: growing dependence on government handouts in the face of declining unemployment rates. Though we are now preparing to enter into the fourth year of recovery from our Great Recession, the roster of Americans seeking and obtaining entitlement benefits from our government just seems to keep on going up.
WSJ | Take the Public-Private Road to Efficiency
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out an array of new spending proposals, including a $50 billion plan for highways, bridges and other projects. He wants to attract "private capital" for the plan, but the problem is that federal planners would remain in control of the allocations.
Washington Times | Energy’s bad charges
The White House insists investments in renewable-energy technologies will pay off with a strong middle class. As President Obama declared in last week’s State of the Union, increasing government spending on solar panels will “drive down costs even further” and kick off an explosion in the green jobs of the future.
NY Times | ‘Currency War’ Is Less a Battle Than a Debate on Economic Policy
Never mind about North Korea; the talk in some quarters is that the biggest threat to Asia and the rest of the world today may very well be a “currency war,” in which countries race to devalue their currencies in a desperate attempt to stimulate growth.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Recession Prompted Big Spike in Short-Distance Moves
The recession forced a surprisingly high number of Americans to make short-distance moves, new research shows.
Heritage Foundation | Calvin Coolidge: Bigger Government Isn’t Better
Less than a century ago, the United States enjoyed an economic boom under the leadership of a quiet, restrained, and often forgotten American. Calvin Coolidge valued limited government and based his action (or more often inaction) on his commitment to personal responsibility, frugality, and honesty.
Neighborhood Effects | Why did the ratings agencies mess up so badly?
When companies or countries issue debt, ratings agencies assign grades based on how creditworthy the issuers are believed to be. Low grades can cost the issuers dearly.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obamacare will hurt young people most
Brace yourselves for higher medical insurance costs that will hit young and old alike as a result of President Obama’s nationalized health care mandates.
CATO | Obamacare: Nothing to Brag About
During last week’s State of the Union address, one item curiously went almost unmentioned. We heard all about President Obama’s past triumphs and future plans, but his health-care-reform law was strangely missing. Sure, there was one throwaway line about how Obamacare was reducing health-care costs, but the seminal achievement of the president’s first term was almost ignored.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Wholesale Prices in U.S. Rise 0.2% on Higher Food Costs
Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose in January for the first time in four months, reflecting higher costs for food and pharmaceuticals.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | Federal Reserve: Unconventional Monetary Policy Options
The "Great Recession" and the ensuing weak recovery have led the Federal Reserve (Fed) to reevaluate its monetary policy strategy. Since December 2008, overnight interest rates have been near zero; at this "zero bound," they cannot be lowered further to stimulate the economy.

Taxes

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CATO | New Hampshire’s Governor vs. Kids and Taxpayers
In her budget address before the legislature last Thursday, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan pledged to repeal the nascent Opportunity Scholarship Act (OSA). The law grants tax credits to businesses that help low- and middle-income students afford independent and home schooling.
Heritage Foundation | Simpson–Bowles Redux: Another $600 Billion Tax Increase
Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, former co-chairs of the 2010 White House deficit-reduction panel whose plan failed, released an outline for a new proposal on their own today. A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America’s Future lacks any significant details but does include a $600 billion tax increase in addition to the $618 billion already being raised from the fiscal cliff deal.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Unemployed would lose benefits if federal budget cuts go through
The long-term unemployed can kiss goodbye almost 10% of their weekly jobless benefits if federal budget cuts go into effect on March 1.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | How Obama’s minimum wage proposal will kill jobs
President Obama’s turns at self-congratulation during his State of the Union address last week might pass without notice, if he hadn’t advertised our “economic recovery.” When he took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate had reached a limping 7.9 percent. Now, four years and more than $1 trillion in stimulus spending later, it’s a much cheerier 7.8 percent.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Rhetoric Turns Harsh as Budget Cuts Loom
With less than two weeks to go before the latest fiscal face-off, rhetoric heated up Tuesday as the political parties exchanged fire over whom to blame if looming spending cuts take effect.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created
A week from now, a dramatic new federal policy is set to go into effect that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more. In a bit of irony, President Obama stood Tuesday with first responders who could lose their jobs if the policy goes into effect.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Small Business Owners to Congress: Fix the Debt with Entitlement Reform
The National Small Business Association’s economic report finds, “The growing national debt is the number one thing small businesses thin[k] Congress and the administration should address.” Small businesses employ the majority of American workers and are vital to the innovation that grows the American economy.