Tuesday, January 28, 2014

General Economics

FOX Business | Working Class Americans Rely Most Heavily on Food Stamps
The recession may have been officially over since September 2010, but Americans are still feeling the pain. So much so that working-age people are, for the first time, the majority of those who rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the U.S.
Politico | Keystone: Why the wait?
The Obama administration is nearing a crucial milestone in its review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, but one vexing question remains: What took so long?
FOX Business | Durable Goods Orders See Biggest Drop Since July '13
Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly fell in December as did a gauge of planned business spending on capital goods, which could cast a shadow on an otherwise bright economic outlook.
CNN Money | Home prices show signs of topping out
Home prices are showing signs of topping out: The S&P/Case-Shiller index posted its first month-over-month decline in 10 months on Tuesday.
WSJ | Europe Can Be Optimistic—in the Long Term
The global elite can be a downbeat bunch. Old-timers at last week's World Economic Forum in Davos insisted this year's gathering was the most optimistic since before the global financial crisis, given the backdrop of economic recovery and the apparent easing of the euro crisis. Yet it was a strange sort of optimism, accompanied as it was by plenty of anxiety about an array of risks from the developed and emerging world that participants fretted could at any moment undo the recovery.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Obama's State Of The Union Address: If You Like Your Income Inequality, You Can Keep It
President Barack Obama was right when he said, “The long-term unemployed are not lazy. They’re not lacking in motivation. They’re coping with the aftermath of the worst economic crisis in generations.” He should know, his policies prolong the situation.
CNN Money | Farm bill ends subsidies, cuts food stamps
A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Monday agreed to a deal on a farm bill that would end direct subsidies to farms in favor of crop insurance.
Forbes | Here's The Real Reason Markets Are Diving
Stocks are falling because of brewing troubles in emerging markets. And those troubles are the result of economic ignorance: too many central bankers don’t know how to defend their currencies, which are under attack. If they don’t get their act together, we could have another big financial crisis like that which hit in Asia in 1997-98.
National Review | The Inequality Bogeyman
During a recent lunch in a restaurant, someone complimented my wife on the perfume she was wearing. But I was wholly unaware that she was wearing perfume, even though we had been in a car together for about half an hour driving to the restaurant.
AEI | Is the economic crisis In Greece really over?
A growing chorus of senior European policymakers, including ECB President Mario Draghi and European Commission President Jose Barroso, keep reassuring us that the worst phase of the Euro crisis is over. They also keep telling us that there is now no risk of any country leaving the Euro. Evidently they are not paying much attention to the recent worsening in political and economic developments in Greece.

WSJ | One Cause of Inequality: More Rich Marrying One Another
Income inequality is a hot topic in Washington. President Barack Obama is expected to highlight inequality and economic mobility in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
CATO | Is School Choice Worth Celebrating? A Look at the Evidence
When I began studying education policy back in the early 1990s, parent-driven education markets were generally thought of as a new, radical and speculative adventure—uncharted waters where, heaven help us, “thar be monstars.” That was a mistaken view then, and it’s positively absurd now.
WSJ | Exports Good, Imports Bad? It’s Not So Simple
For countries in Europe right now, there is a widely accepted path to economic success: become more German. Exports, the heart of Germany’s success in driving economic growth, are good. Imports? They helped cause Europe’s debt crisis, because countries had to borrow more to fund external deficits. Not good.
CATO | A Primer on State of the Union Economics
Until recently, President Obama’s December 4 “Remarks on Economic Mobility” were thought to preview his State of the Union address by defining “dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” as “the defining challenge of our time.”  
Library of Economics | German President defends the market economy
Germany's President, Joachim Gauck, has given a talk at the Walter Eucken Institute. The Eucken Institute keeps the tradition of the Freiburg school of economics alive. For an introduction to Ordoliberalism, you may give a look to this paper by Viktor Vanberg. Also, Larry White has a very interesting (and most amusing) chapter on Ordoliberalism in his magnificent The Clash of Economic Ideas.
Café Hayek | Pondering Modern Personal Financial Wealth
Bill Gates’s net worth is about $72 billion, having made his money in the market through voluntary exchange.  Bill Gates is America’s richest human being, measured in monetary terms.  What does this fact mean?

Health Care

National Journal | Republicans Unveil Their Obamacare Replacement
A trio of Senate Republicans on Monday introduced their plan to replace Obamacare with a new system that is built largely around making individuals responsible for a higher portion of their health care costs.
FOX Business | What Deadline? Most Americans Unaware of ObamaCare Deadline
The White House, lawmakers, policy analysts and the health-care and insurance industries are all keeping a watchful eye on March 31 as it brings to an end the enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.But that’s about all who is aware of the approaching deadline—which could be a problem since the law relies on consumer participation.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | Individual Mandate under ACA
Beginning in 2014, ACA requires most individuals to maintain health insurance coverage or otherwise pay a penalty. Specifically, most individuals will be required to maintain minimum essential coverage, which is a term defined in ACA and its implementing regulations and includes most private and public coverage (e.g., employer-sponsored coverage, individual coverage, Medicare, and Medicaid, among others).

Heritage Foundation | New Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Say Obamacare Is Poorly Performing
Roughly two-thirds of Americans polled in a new survey by the Associated Press-GfK say the health law isn’t doing well. Of the respondents who have tried, or live with someone who tried  to sign up for health coverage through Obamacare’s state or federal-run insurance exchanges, 71 percent had problems, the AP said in a news article about the poll.


Bloomberg | Yellen Faces Test Bernanke Failed: Ease Bubbles
Janet Yellen probably will confront a test during her tenure as Federal Reserve chairman that both of her predecessors flunked: defusing asset bubbles without doing damage to the economy.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama wants to tax the world
The administration and many in Congress seem to have learned nothing from the Obamacare disaster. Now that they have destroyed the world’s best health care system, they are in the process of further destroying what was at one time a very functional global financial system.
Mercatus | The IRS Puts America on Hold
The IRS’s mission statement is to “provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” Yet the Economix blog of the New York Times recently posted the following graph on declining performance of IRS customer service representatives (CSR). The data come from a series of annual reports released by Taxpayer Advocate Service—an independent organization within the IRS. 


Politico | State of the Union 2014: Obama to raise minimum wage for federal workers
President Barack Obama will act to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10, fulfilling a big wish for liberals, the White House announced.
FOX Business | Job Insecurity: The American Worker's Reality
While the U.S. economy showed some signs of improvement last year, many American workers are not feeling these improvements when it comes to their careers, according to a new poll conducted by Op4G for
CNN Money | The state of the minimum wage
President Obama is expected to shine a spotlight on the minimum wage in his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, as pressure mounts in Washington to create a framework to address inequality.
CNN Money | Companies to pledge help for long-term jobless
A handful of large corporations say they plan to sign on to a White House plan aimed at boosting hiring of the long-term unemployed.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Obama Tries New Tack for Long-Term Jobless
President Barack Obama is trying to accomplish through voluntary pledges what many lawmakers have tried to do for years with little success: banning companies from refusing to hire people just because they have been out of work for a while.


WSJ | U.S. Budget Proposal to Be Released March 4
The White House on Thursday said it would release its budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 on March 4, roughly a month later than scheduled, a delay it attributed to the December budget deal signed between Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.).

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The “Unsustainable” Path of Federal Fiscal Policy
In the fourth part of our series on what the Congressional Budget Office labels the “unsustainable” path of federal fiscal policy, we explore how decisions about federal fiscal policy impact both short-run and long-run economic activity.