Friday, March 8, 2013

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Japan's economy begins to grow again
Japan's economy performed better in the fourth quarter than previously thought, according to revised data released Friday that could embolden the government in its drive to stimulate growth and end deflation.
Bloomberg | Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Increase More Than Forecast
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers jumped in January by the most in more than a year as companies shrugged off concerns about fiscal policy and ramped up in anticipation of rising consumer demand.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | Four things Obama must do to boost trade
As President Barack Obama indicated in his State of the Union address, promoting growth and economic security are top priorities for his second term.
WSJ | The Financial Bonanza of Big Data
Every year, Amazon.com earns billions of dollars in revenue from its "personalization" technologies, such as product recommendations and computer-generated emails, that are estimated to account for as much as one-third of all sales. The amount of data needed to feed these tools is mammoth. But its value on Amazon's ledger? Zero.
Fortune | Stress test results: Banks could lose nearly half a trillion dollars
In its annual stress test of the nation's largest banks, the Federal Reserve estimated that these firms would lose $462 billion dollars if the economy were to enter another recession similar to the one we just had.
NBER | Winning the War: Poverty from the Great Society to the Great Recession
This paper considers the long-run patterns of poverty in the United States from the early 1960s to 2010. Our results contradict previous studies that have argued that poverty has shown little improvement over time or that anti-poverty efforts have been ineffective.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Heritage Foundation | Advancing Economic Freedom: Leading from Behind Doesn’t Work
Advancing economic freedom around the world has markedly stagnated in recent years, particularly due to the lack of America’s leadership, says Terry Miller, chief editor of The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, in a recent interview with the Langley Intelligence Group Network.
Economist | Ready to work
Neither fiscal cliff, nor sequester, nor any other Washington chicanery can derail an American recovery that looks like maybe hitting its stride. Not yet, at least. Despite fears that a first quarter full of uncertainty over fiscal showdowns, expiring tax cuts, and automatic spending increases would present serious headwinds to the American economy, private firms seem willing to keep hiring, and at an impressive pace by the standards of this expansion.
Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: Welfare Reform Is Back
Last summer, the Obama Administration gutted the successful 1996 welfare reform law by offering to waive its work requirements. Now the debate is back, as several Members of Congress are trying to restore the reforms that helped so many out of poverty.
WSJ | U.S. Deleveraging? Not So Fast
Here’s a status report on deleveraging in the U.S. economy, based on today’s flow of funds report, which tracks debt levels among households, business, financial institutions and government.

Health Care

News                                                                                                                             
CNBC | Who's Hiring: Health Care, Yes; Wall Street, No
The health-care industry boasts the most job listings at nearly 640,000 — more than double the postings in retail, which offer the second most job postings. Health care has had the most job listings for years, according to Indeed, given the increasing demand for services and a shortage of registered nurses.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
CATO | The Fed: ObamaCare “Leading to Layoffs”
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released an edition of its so-called “beige book,” that said the 2010 healthcare law is being cited as a reason for layoffs and a slowdown in hiring.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Bloomberg | Bullard Sees Fed Continuing Bond Buying as Inflation Stable
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the central bank probably will press on with its asset purchases as contained inflation expectations give it time to continue the quantitative easing.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Draghi Signals Economy Must Worsen for ECB to Cut Rates
Mario Draghi signalled that Europe’s stuttering economy will have to get worse before he’ll consider cutting interest rates.
WSJ | The Federal Reserve's 'Fiscal Crunch' Trap
Annual budget deficits have surged past $1 trillion and, according to the International Monetary Fund, gross U.S. government debt is currently at 107% of GDP. The good news: Congressional Budget Office estimates suggest that as a result of declining deficits, the level of debt relative to GDP will stabilize over the next several years.

Taxes

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama’s Plan B: Raise revenue by closing tax loopholes
President Obama has been pleading with House Republican leaders lately to raise government revenues by overhauling the tax code to erase loopholes and other income exemptions.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
FOX Business | Google to Shed 1,200 More Jobs at Motorola Mobility
Google’s Motorola Mobility division began layoffs this week in a plan to axe 10% of the smartphone maker's workforce as it looks to streamline costs and return to profitability, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday.
Market Watch | U.S. economy gains 236,000 jobs in February
The U.S. added 236,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9%, marking the lowest level since December 2008, in another sign that hiring and economic growth are gaining momentum.
Washington Times | Nancy Pelosi demands $10.10 per hour minimum wage
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that recent Wall Street gains mean one sure thing: The minimum wage should be hike to $10.10 per hour.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | The Cruel Things President Obama Is Doing To The Labor Market
President Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage and the health insurance employer mandate will combine to destroy job opportunities for young, unskilled workers in cities and towns across the country.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
WSJ | Quiz: Who Counts as Unemployed?
We pulled together 20 fictional cases to test your knowledge of labor force concepts. Your mission: Figure out where the following people should be classified in the labor force. Read closely; when it comes to jobs, details matter.

Budget

News                                                                                                                             
CNN Money | Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008
Hiring picked up in February, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to its lowest level since December 2008.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Jumping the Sequester
The phrase "jumping the shark" describes that gimmicky moment when something once considered significant is exposed as ludicrous. This is the week the White House jumped the sequester.
Washington Post | Deficits do matter
Dick Cheney and Paul Krugman have declared from opposite sides of the ideological divide that deficits don’t matter, but they simply have it wrong. Reasonable liberals and conservatives can disagree on what role the federal government should play yet still believe that government should resume paying its way.
CBO | Monthly Budget Review
The federal budget deficit was $495 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2013, $86 billion less than the shortfall recorded for the same period last year, CBO estimates. If lawmakers enacted no further legislation affecting spending or revenues, the federal government would end fiscal year 2013 with a deficit of $845 billion, by CBO’s estimate, compared with $1.1 trillion in 2012.
CATO | Round One Goes to the Budget Hawks
“The budget hawks have defeated the defense hawks.” So read one analyst’s verdict last Friday on the news that, despite months of dire warnings from the Obama administration and the Pentagon’s allies on Capitol Hill, automatic budget cuts to the U.S. Defense Department would go into effect after all. Bill Kristol, the influential editor of the Weekly Standard, was despondent, writing, “the Republican party has, at first reluctantly, then enthusiastically, joined the president on the road to irresponsibility.” But have fiscal scolds really vanquished their neoconservative rivals within the GOP?