Tuesday, February 4, 2014

General Economics

Politico | Obama knocks Keystone jobs estimate in interview
President Barack Obama questioned how many construction jobs the Keystone XL pipeline would create in an interview shown on Fox News on Monday night.
Bloomberg | Keystone Foes Struggle for Silver Lining in U.S. Report
Activists fighting the Keystone XL pipeline are digging deep into a more than 7,000-page environmental analysis to marshal reasons President Barack Obama should reject the project.
CNN Money | World markets battered again
Japanese stocks took another dive on Tuesday, leading global markets lower as investors took their cue from a dismal performance on Wall Street.
Bloomberg | Natural Gas Surges as Forecasts Show Arctic Cold Persisting
Natural gas futures jumped in New York, rising for the first time in four days, on forecasts for a polar blast that would deplete stockpiles of the heating fuel.
Market Watch | U.S. factory orders fall 1.5% in December
Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories fell 1.5% in December, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Verdict On Keystone XL Is In
With the State Department's announcement that the Keystone XL pipeline poses no environmental risks, the verdict is now in, and the pipeline should be approved.
Washington Times | Why the people don’t trust government
No one tests the historic optimism of the American people quite like your average politician. Poll after poll finds a deep distrust of government, with more than two-thirds saying they can’t believe what they hear from Washington.
Washington Times | A world of economic trouble
There are many signs that the world may be headed for a new economic slump, or worse. Which countries are best positioned to weather such a downturn and which are not?
Fortune | Why banking and work-life balance don't mix
Citigroup is the latest Wall Street bank to limit work hours, but that won't mean underlings will have more time to kick back.
Time | Nearly Half of America Lives Paycheck-to-Paycheck
The economic picture is looking brighter these days. The federal government announced Thursday that economic growth had picked up to its fastest pace in two years, while employment growth over the past five months has averaged a healthy 185,000 new jobs. But as evidenced by a report out Thursday from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, nearly half of Americans are living in a state of “persistent economic insecurity,” that makes it “difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future.”
Reason | "We imagine that punishing the rich will miraculously uplift the poor," Says Washington Post Columnist
Evidently the Democrats hope that flogging the class warfare, uh, the growing inequality meme will enable them to cling to their control of the U.S. Senate and put them in charge of the House of Representatives.

Market Watch | Home-price growth predicted to slow down this year
The pace of annual home-price growth moderated at the end of 2013 and is expected to slow down this year as pricier properties entice more sellers to place their homes on the market, thereby expanding supply, data released Tuesday morning signal.
WSJ | World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country
Much of the world’s factory sector was expanding in December, slowing just a bit from the previous month.

Health Care

National Journal | Bad News for Obama’s Antiobesity Effort
With the obesity epidemic in full swing and millions of American living in neighborhoods where fruits and vegetables are hard to come by, the Obama administration thought it saw a solution: fund stores that will stock fresh, affordable produce in these deprived areas.
WSJ | Health-Care Law Expected to Take Greater Toll on Workforce
The Affordable Care Act is projected to reduce the number of full-time workers by roughly 2.3 million people through 2021 and insure 2 million fewer people this year than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.
National Journal | How Republicans Built a Better Obamacare Ad
Wearing a blue blouse and clutching a coffee mug, Chapel Hill businesswoman Sheila Salter sits at the counter of a well-appointed North Carolina kitchen in a recent TV ad. What she says is the stuff of Democratic nightmares.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | No Miracle in Medicaid Expansion
To hear Gov. Terry McAuliffe tell it, expanding Medicaid would provide hundreds of thousands of Virginians with better coverage, save hospitals and businesses more than $1 billion and stimulate the economy. Best of all, it would cost Virginia taxpayers hardly anything. Hallelujah, it’s a miracle!


WSJ | Yellen Sworn In at Federal Reserve
Yellen Sworn In at Federal Reserve

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | The Great Federal Reserve Fallacy
The mighty U.S. Federal Reserve is an edifice built on a foundation of fallacy. The Fed’s policies and pronouncements, and even the law that it operates under, are based upon the “Phillips Curve,” the fantasy that we can trade higher inflation for lower unemployment.
Market Watch | Richmond Fed's Lacker sees continued tapering
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said Tuesday that he expects tapering of the central bank's bond-buying program to continue.
Forbes | Bernanke Gave Us Plenty Of Inflation -- And Stagflation
As Ben Bernanke departs his chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, we might wish to say that despite his outsized monetary policy, inflation never came. The revealing statistic is the consumer price index. Ever since the monetary blowouts began in late 2008, that number has not even averaged 2%. In certain months, the CPI has even been negative.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Tax Effect Behind the Market Selloff
After last year's low volatility and impressive gains, stock market investors have been whipsawed in early 2014. Stocks dropped sharply in January, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling more than 5%, and falling again Monday.
Market Watch | Most tax-friendly states for retirees
When it comes to finding a state to which to retire, there are plenty of factors to consider.

Library of Economics | The Sucker Tax
Minnesota experimented to determine what increases tax compliance. Groups of tax payers were sent two different informative messages. One message described the beneficial things the tax money would be spent on: education, health care, law enforcement, etc. Not too surprisingly this strategy didn't work.


National Journal | How the Economy Still Stinks for the Unemployed, in One Chart
National Journal reported last winter on the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank's new "spider chart" visualizing the labor market's progress. With the January jobs report just a few days away, let's check back in and see how things are moving.
CNN Money | Will Obama's pledge get the unemployed back to work?
President Obama rallied 300 companies and got them to agree they won't purposefully weed out job applications from the long-term unemployed.

WSJ | Should Fed Worry That Smaller Share of Americans Are Working?
Why aren’t more people working? A new study put out by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests a worrying drop in the share of Americans with a job is due mostly to demographic factors.
WSJ | How Would Raising Minimum Wage Affect Small Business?
With the minimum wage shaping up to be one of the hottest issues to watch in 2014, The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta discusses the issue with a group of entrepreneurs and economic experts in this recent, live Q&A.


Market Watch | CBO cuts 2014 deficit estimate by $46 billion
The U.S. budget deficit for fiscal 2014 will total $514 billion, or 3% of gross domestic product, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday.
Politico | John Boehner: GOP needs debt plan ‘consensus’
Speaker John Boehner urged Republicans to rally around a plan to lift the debt limit and said the House cannot allow the Senate to dictate the contours of the legislative battle.
WSJ | Tax Refunds Add Urgency on Debt Ceiling
A fresh battle over the debt ceiling is looming, and lawmakers will have less time and flexibility to negotiate than in earlier fights because of the annual rush of people seeking tax refunds this month.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Personnel Costs May Overwhelm Department of Defense Budget
While most Americans are cognizant of the pressures that rising health costs place on big-ticket budget items like Medicare and Social Security, defense spending is often framed strictly in terms of military action.

Heritage Foundation | New CBO Report: $514 Billion Deficit in 2014, Surging to Trillions by 2022
The nation’s fiscal situation is much worse today than when President Obama first took office. Public debt borrowed in credit markets stands at 73.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a level last seen after World War II. And yet, the news and many lawmakers will tout a very different story.
Heritage Foundation | Get Ready For a Year of 'Inaction' On the National Debt
President Obama had an opportunity to satisfy the vast majority of voters by making the national debt a “high priority” in his State of the Union speech. But he squandered his chance.