Tuesday, January 21, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Weak outlooks make investors nervous
Stocks tumbled Tuesday after quarterly reports from three blue chip companies disappointed investors.
Politico | Mike Lee to give tea party SOTU response
Sen. Mike Lee will deliver the tea party’s response to the president’s State of the Union Address, a major tea party group announced Tuesday.
Bloomberg | IEA Sees Higher Oil Demand on Recovery in Developed Nations
Global oil demand will increase this year more than previously forecast, the International Energy Agency said. A ban on U.S. crude exports may crimp output growth, the Paris-based group said.
CNN Money | Global economic recovery feeds growing inequality
The economic recovery is gathering pace but too few people are feeling the benefits, and experts warn that rising inequality is the single biggest risk the world economy faces.
Bloomberg | How America’s Fracking Boom Helps to Boost Treasuries Demand
America’s shale boom is providing an unintended benefit to U.S. government bonds.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Bureaucracy In America Now Goes All The Way Down
There’s a popular story, almost surely apocryphal, involving the philosopher Bertrand Russell (or William James, take your pick) and a skeptical woman who spoke up at one of his lectures. 
Washington Times | When law enforcement is arbitrary, freedoms are compromised
Without the rule of law, a civil and prosperous society cannot long endure. The annual reports of “The Economic Freedom of the World” and the “Index of Economic Freedom” show very large declines in the international ranking of the United States in the rule of law over the past decade. The rule of law is dependent on the laws being perceived as reasonable, few enough in number and clearly written so that citizens can understand what is expected — and on the laws being fairly and impartially enforced by those in all branches of government.
WSJ | Profits Show Biggest Banks Are Back From the Brink
Large U.S. banks are finally emerging from the wreckage of the financial crisis, on the back of rising profits, a recovering economy and drastic cost cutting.

WSJ | U.S. Stock Values Have Analysts Worried
Corporate-earnings reports are trickling in, and they aren’t great. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. was a little better than anticipated; General Electric Co. was as expected; Best Buy Co. was terrible.

Health Care

National Journal | Congress Braves First Steps in Medicare Reform
Congress is getting serious about changes to Medicare, even if that means cutting coverage to services that senior citizens have long enjoyed.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Young and the ObamaCare-less
ObamaCare's defenders say its troubles are over as more people sign up and, by the way, stop griping because the law is here to stay. Much evidence says otherwise, to the extent that the embroidered information the White House is willing to release counts as evidence.
Real Clear Markets | New Rules to Deprive Seniors of Drugs, Doctors
Two provisions in lengthy proposed regulations published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Federal Register on January 10 would deprive seniors of vital drugs and make it more difficult for them to see their doctors.
CATO | More Woes Are Ahead for the ACA
Even setting aside the debacle surrounding the rollout of, last fall was a bad time for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


CNN Money | Big banks to stop offering payday-like loans
Several big banks are exiting the small dollar, short-term loan business after federal regulators warned that they would look into whether these high-interest, payday-like loans violate consumer protection laws.

WSJ | Taming Bubbles is Hard, But Central Banks Can Try: Dallas Fed Paper
Can government officials pop an asset bubble by warning one is forming? New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas suggests a lot depends on timing and credibility.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | A Novel Way to Skirt Taxes
Will two North Carolina business owners succeed with a tax-avoidance technique—one that billionaire Sam Zell once tried—and wipe out current income taxes on their company's profits?


CNN Money | Europe's lost generation?
One in four young people in Europe are out of work. These 20-somethings share their stories.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Top employers for flexible and work-at-home jobs
For great perks, nice campuses, and a strong esprit de corps, the employers on Fortune's list of the best companies to work for are hard to top. But what if you're looking for a job that might let you work from home or from some other remote location, at least part of the time?
National Review | The Working Rich
There is in Dallas an establishment called the Idle Rich Pub, where you can find an excellent plate of fish and chips but few if any actual idle rich folk, who seem to be scarce as hen’s teeth.
Heritage Foundation | Most Minimum-Wage Jobs Lead to Better-Paying Opportunities
The minimum wage does not need to rise for minimum-wage employees to get a raise. Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers make above the minimum wage a year later. This happens because most minimum-wage jobs are entry-level positions. They teach unskilled and inexperienced workers basic employment skills. Without these skills, they cannot qualify for higher-paying jobs. As they acquire these skills, they become more productive and can command higher pay.

Café Hayek | Minimum-Wage Hikes: Some Data
Is there any other issue where the data conforms so strongly to basic economic intuition, and yet is widely written off as a coincidence?


National Journal | The Hidden Danger for Republicans Lurking in the Budget Deal
Congress approved its first regular spending bill in years this past week, in a move hailed by many as a return to fiscal sanity. But there's a potential danger for Republicans lurking in the depths of the $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriation package that sailed through both houses: Obamacare.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Student Loans, the Next Big Threat to the U.S. Economy?
Tiffany Roberson works for the state of Texas as a parole officer, teaches part-time, and is living with her parents after having completed her master’s degree. She’s held off marrying her boyfriend of four years and starting a family because she owes more than $170,000 in federal and private student loans that she took out to pursue her education in criminal justice. “I’ve never gone into default,” the 30-year-old says. “What really hurts is people say I’m a bum for living at home.”

Market Watch | Geithner said U.S. would respond to S&P downgrade: report
Ex-U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told the chairman of McGraw Hill Financial Inc. in 2011 that the U.S. would respond to Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the country’s debt, Bloomberg is reporting Tuesday.
CATO | Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which Nation Has Increased Welfare Spending the Fastest of All?
There’s an old joke about two guys camping in the woods, when suddenly they see a hungry bear charging over a hill in their direction. One of the guys starts lacing up his sneakers and his friend says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear.” The other guys says, I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you.”