Wednesday, January 22, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Europe's economy: What could go wrong?
Just when you thought the worst was over for Europe, political risk and financial uncertainty could return in 2014.
CGI | Home prices: Your local forecast
After 2013's big gains, home prices are expected to moderate this year. CoreLogic Case-Shiller expects prices to increase by the mid-single digit percentages for the 12 months through September. See how your market is expected to fare.
Washington Times | As U.S. supply accelerates, gas prices stuck in neutral
America is in the midst of an energy boom has left the country floating in crude oil and natural gas — but consumers are seeing only modest returns at the gas pump, where analysts said the chief benefit has been stability, not cost-cutting.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Investors | Fact-Free Left Turns Blind Eye To Socialism's Past
Someone summarized Barack Obama in three words — "educated," "smart" and "ignorant." Unfortunately, those same three words would describe all too many of the people who come out of our most prestigious colleges and universities today.
WSJ | The Emerging-Market Comedown
The beguiling idea of "convergence" still lives. But it shouldn't. The basic notion of convergence is that incomes in poor nations will rapidly catch up—or converge—with those in rich nations.
Forbes | The Minimum Wage Nonsense Impedes Economic Progress
Raising the minimum wage is once again a key component of the Democrats’ election-year strategy. Indeed, the Democrats have momentum on their side. According to a recent report in The Christian Science Monitor, 14 states raised their legal minimum wage last year.
Real Clear Markets | In the War On Poverty, Cash Assistance Will Fail
Fifty years have passed since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared an "unconditional war on poverty." More recently, President Obama has declared a new war, this time on income inequality. This shift in focus is somewhat misguided.
CNN Money | Why growing income inequality matters
The concern about growing income inequality is not about begrudging the wealthy their success, says economist Jared Bernstein. The worry is that it is curbing everyone else's economic potential.
Market Watch | Congress won’t give Obama blank check on trade deals
The proposed new trade agreement between the U.S. and several Pacific Rim countries may be the boon that advocates say it is, or it may be the corporate sellout described by its opponents.

WSJ | Vital Signs: More Households Don’t Own a Car
A study out this month by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute finds that a larger share of U.S. households do not own a car, light truck or SUV. In 2012, 9.22% of all U.S. households were without a vehicle, little changed from 9.29% in 2011 but continuing an uptrend started since 2007, just before the economy fell into recession.
CATO | Mr. President, Increasing the Minimum Wage Is Wrong Medicine for Ailing Economy
When President Obama advocates a higher minimum wage in his State of the Union Address, he will no doubt argue that by increasing the minimum to $10.10, workers will have fatter pay checks and spend more, thus stimulating the economy and creating more jobs.  In fact, economic logic tells a different story. 

Health Care

National Journal | Can Obamacare Save Medicare?
Mitt Romney continually accused President Obama of "robbing Medicare to fund Obamacare" throughout the 2012 election. Now, long after the campaign, the charge lives on as one of Republicans' top talking points as they attempt to shore up support among seniors.
Bloomberg | Target to Drop Health Insurance for Part-Time Workers
Target Corp. (TGT) will end health insurance for part-time employees in April, joining Trader Joe’s Co., Home Depot Inc. and other U.S. retailers that have scaled back benefits in response to changes from Obamacare.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | A physician’s view on the sanctity of life
Several years ago, I was consulted by a young woman who was 33 weeks pregnant and was on her way to Kansas get an abortion. I informed her of the multiple options available to her outside of abortion and she decided to go through with the pregnancy even though the child had hydrocephalus and required neurosurgical intervention after birth a few weeks later. She kept the baby and loves the beautiful child that has resulted.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | How to End the Fed's Rule-Making Secrecy
While many have raised concerns about the Federal Reserve's unprecedented monetary policies, there is comparatively less discussion of its regulatory activities—most of which take place in secret. This is especially problematic since the Fed was granted broad-ranging regulatory authority after the financial crisis, particularly in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.
Weekly Standard | No Statistics, No Mischief
It's been more than a week now and I’m beginning to suspect she’s not going to call, so here I will offer Janet Yellen the advice I’ve been hoping to give her privately since the Senate confirmed her as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve. My advice is: Think about John Cowperthwaite. By this I mean: Really think about 
AEI | Three lessons for Mario Draghi
History is bound to judge harshly the European Central Bank’s recent decision to leave policy interest rates unchanged. For it did so despite the fact that European inflation is now running at less than  half of the ECB’s 2 percent inflation target.
CATO | Bernanke’s Monetary Mess
Most who have graded Prof. Ben Bernanke’s twelve years at the Federal Reserve have issued marks which range from A to a gentleman’s C. I think those marks are much too generous. Indeed, I think a failing mark would be more appropriate.


Bloomberg | Japan Must Mull 25% Corporate Tax Rate, LDP Policy Planner Says
Japan’s government should clarify its plans for cutting corporate taxes when it revises its growth strategy in June, a senior ruling party official said, adding to calls for lower levies on profits.


National Journal | Why Are Fewer People Looking for Jobs?
When the national jobless rate fell from 7 percent to 6.7 percent, much of the decline was due to Americans leaving the workforce. The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch grimly noted the LFPR for December 2013 was 62.8 percent. That matched October's data and heralded the lowest LFPR since 1978.
CNN Money | They're hiring!
These 24 companies on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list are each planning to fill 1,000 or more jobs in the coming year. We asked their recruiters for the inside scoop on how to get noticed and ace an interview.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Examiner | Wall Street adviser: Actual unemployment is 37.2%, 'misery index' worst in 40 years
Don't believe the happy talk coming out of the White House, Federal Reserve and Treasury Department when it comes to the real unemployment rate and the true “Misery Index.” Because, according to an influential Wall Street advisor, the figures are a fraud.

WSJ | Strange Brew: Long-Term Unemployment and the Beveridge Curve
One of the mysteries of the job market is why companies aren’t filling openings like they used to. The answer may lie within the large number of people who have been unemployed for a very long time.


Bloomberg | Floating Notes Debut in U.S as Cash Chases Fewer Securities
The U.S. Treasury Department’s floating-rate notes may generate strong investor demand given a scarcity of money-market securities and a looming debt limit that’s accelerating a decline in bill supply.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Making Budget Rules Work
The United States faces severe fiscal challenges—most notably, the unsustainable growth of entitlement spending and a mounting debt burden that raises concerns about the government’s ability to pay it back without strangling economic growth. These threats reflect the inability of Congress and presidents to make the hard choices necessary to restore fiscal responsibility to the federal budget.