Tuesday, January 14, 2014

General Economics

FOX Business | JPMorgan Kicks Off 4Q Bank Earnings With a Beat
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) disclosed a 7.3% slowdown in fourth-quarter profits on Tuesday, but managed to surpass forecasts thanks to lower loan-loss reserves that helped offset slumping investment-bank revenue.
CNN Money | Retail sales edge higher in December
This holiday season wasn't the Christmas miracle that retailers were hoping for, but sales were slightly higher in December.
Market Watch | NFIB small-business optimism index rises
The small-business optimism index of a trade group rose 1.4 points to 93.9 in December, according to data released Tuesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | The unspoken underside of emerging markets: personal security
If you were offered an attractive job in Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, or another high-potential emerging market, would you take it? Or would you think seriously about whether you really wanted to bring your family there, and wonder if you'd be able to sleep at night worrying about their safety?
WSJ | America's Dwindling Economic Freedom
World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.
Investors | New Mortgage Rules Another Empty Obama Promise
Misregulation: The president's new consumer credit czar is doing a victory lap in the media over new mortgage rules, which go into effect this week. He claims they'll stop another crisis. What a screaming joke.
Washington Times | Why is America losing its economic freedom?
For generations, people worldwide who yearn for freedom have looked to the United States. Here, every citizen can speak his mind, pursue his passion and exercise other God-given liberties that are unjustly denied many others around the globe.
Market Watch | U.S. economy can stand on its own, forecaster says
With household and federal balance sheets in better shape, the U.S. economy is increasingly able to stand on its own and will be able to shrug off the effect of somewhat higher interest rates this year, says Avery Shenfeld, winner of the December Forecaster of the Month award.
AEI | Europe’s outlook in 2014
An unhealthy sense of complacency about Europe’s economic and political outlook pervades European policymaking circles. It does so despite the fact that the European periphery’s economy is still very depressed, which is driving a disturbing political divide between the euro’s southern and northern member countries.

WSJ | More Detailed Data on Income, Growth and Spending Coming This Year
The Commerce Department will roll out several new reports this year to measure the U.S. economy with more detail at the local and industry level.
Heritage Foundation | Paul Ryan: Government Traps the Poor
How to boost the poor out of the “poverty trap?” Stop letting the government keep them there, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) says.
WSJ | Half of U.S. Counties Haven’t Recovered From Recession
About half of the nation’s 3,069 county economies are still short of their prerecession economic output, reflecting the uneven economic recovery, according to a new report from the National Association of Counties.

Health Care

Politico | Young adults make up one-fourth of Obamacare enrollees
Just under a quarter of Obamacare sign-ups so far have been in the critical 18-to-35-year-old age range, the Obama administration revealed Monday, the first time officials have given demographic data about health plan enrollees.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Legal Poison Pill for ObamaCare
The Obama administration is in the habit of selectively enforcing the law. It has justified this practice as an expedient to bypass congressional "dysfunction" and preserve the president's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Yet that strategy may backfire on both counts. The administration's nonenforcement gambit promises only to prolong the current legislative stalemate while preparing the way for a broader rollback of the ACA.
Mercatus Center | Will The Recent Slowdown in Health Care Cost Growth Improve Medicare’s Financing Outlook?
While analysts debate the reason for the recent slowdown in the growth of US health care costs, another key question is whether this trend suggests transformational, sustainable changes in the health care system that may ease the pressure on Medicare finances.


Market Watch | U.S. import price index flat in December
Prices of goods imported into the U.S. were unchanged in December and they fell 1.3% for the full year, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
Bloomberg | Fed to Release Plan to Limit Banks’ Commodities Activities
The Federal Reserve is poised to take a preliminary step toward limiting banks’ involvement with physical commodities amid congressional scrutiny, according to three people briefed on the discussions.
Market Watch | What’s up with prices?
These days, prices for a number of goods and services have suddenly begun to rise. Some are obvious, others are not. But most of them appear to be escaping the government’s number-crunchers, when it comes to showing up in its various price indexes.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | International risks for the Fed Reserve
On Wall Street, international bond traders are fond of saying that when the winds are strong even turkeys fly. By this they mean that when global financial conditions are favorable, even countries with bad economic and political fundamentals have little difficulty in borrowing at very low interest rates.


CNN Money | Biggest tax changes you'll see in 2014
You can expect some changes in your 2013 taxes that you'll pay early in 2014, especially if you're wealthy. 2014 has fewer adjustments, but they could hit your bottom line if you're rich or own a home.


CNN Money | 75 economists back minimum wage hike
A Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour got the backing Tuesday of 75 leading economists.
National Journal | Senators Closing In on Deal to Extend Unemployment Insurance
Senators are inching closer to a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment insurance, with a group of Republican lawmakers and the Democratic leadership both signaling an agreement could be close.
CNN Money | 2.3 million children have a long-term jobless parent
That's three times more than in 2007, according to research by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. The report comes as Congress considers whether to extend recession-era jobless benefits.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Who Is Dropping Out Of The Labor Force, and Why?
Although many economic indicators are heading in a positive direction, last week's December jobs report highlighted the problem of the declining labor force participation rate, the percentage of people aged 16 and over who choose to work or look for work.
NCPA | Most of the Benefits of a Minimum Wage Increase Would Not Go to Poor Households
Most people who earn the minimum wage or slightly more are the only earners in their households and, therefore, are poor, right? And so, if the federal government or state governments raise the minimum wage, that will be a nicely targeted way of helping poor people, right?

Library of Economics | Minimum Wage Not Well Targeted at Reducing Poverty
Economists Joseph J. Sabia and Richard V. Burkhauser examined the effects of state minimum wage increases between 2003 and 2007 and reported that they found no evidence the increases lowered state poverty rates.


FOX Business | U.S. Posts $53B Budget Surplus in December
The U.S. government last month posted the largest budget surplus for any December on record, boosted by payments from government-controlled housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Bloomberg | State Fiscal Strains Lingering in Recovery, Report Says
U.S. state revenue isn’t rising fast enough to keep up with the cost of funding pensions, health care and public works projects, underscoring financial strains that persist during the economic recovery, according to a report.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | State Fiscal Condition: Ranking the 50 States
New research from Sarah Arnett examines states’ abilities to meet their financial obligations in the face of state budget challenges that have far outlasted the Great Recession. Fiscal simulations by the Government Accountability Office suggest that despite recent gains in tax revenues and pension assets, the long-term outlook for states’ fiscal condition is negative (GAO 2013).
Politico | $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled
House-Senate negotiators rolled out a $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday night — a giant package that fills in the blanks of the December budget agreement and promises to restore some order to government funding over the next year.

Heritage Foundation | Want Spending Reduced? Support Cutting Your Favorite Government Program
It’s time for citizens to hold elected officials accountable about spending – even if that means their favorite government-funded program gets axed.
Heritage Foundation | Heritage Experts Weigh In On Massive Omnibus Spending Bill
The following is a running tally of some of the pork projects, ineffective government programs, and giveaways for corporate cronies included in the massive, 1,582-page spending bill. We will update this post with reaction from Heritage experts as they examine the $1.012 trillion bill.