Wednesday, March 5, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | No Signs U.S. Catching Up With Growth Trend, Stiglitz Says
The U.S. economy is showing no signs of catching up with its past growth trend and advanced economies are at risk of “Japanese-style malaise,” Columbia University Professor and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said.
Market Watch | ISM services index falls to 51.6% in February
U.S. service-sector companies expanded in February at a sharply slower pace and bad weather was only part of the problem, a survey of executives found.
WSJ | China to Set Growth Target as National People's Congress Begins
In the past two decades, the world has come to depend on China's pattern of handily exceeding its own official target for economic growth.
Bloomberg | Americans Shut Out of Home Market Threaten Recovery: Mortgages
Kirk Rohrig is concerned he may soon join the growing ranks of Americans shut out of the housing recovery and the financial benefits that spring from it.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Caller | Paul Ryan’s poverty plan charts a moderate path, not a conservative one
The House Budget Committee chaired by Congressman Raul Ryan released a 204-page report on federal welfare programs Monday. It provides useful discussions of 92 programs that cost taxpayers $799 billion a year.
Bloomberg | A Semi-Defense of the Efficient-Market Hypothesis
The case of Halliburton Co. vs. Erica P. John Fund Inc., scheduled for oral argument tomorrow in the U.S. Supreme Court, may produce one of the most important securities-law rulings in decades. Either the court will curtail the right of investors to sue as a class in securities-fraud cases, or it won't. I hope it's the latter, but here's the rub. The precedents securing that right have been based on the Supreme Court's endorsement of a questionable theory: the efficient-market hypothesis.
Businessweek | Defying Skeptics, Some Business Schools Double Down on Capitalism
Free market purists are thriving on some business school campuses, where a handful of student and institutional initiatives have formed to promote the tenets of capitalism.
NBER | Trade and Uncertainty
We offer a new explanation as to why international trade is so volatile in response to economic shocks. Our approach combines the uncertainty shock idea of Bloom (2009) with a model of international trade, extending the idea to the open economy.
CBO | Testimony on Public-Private Partnerships for Highway Projects
The United States has a network of over 4 million miles of public roads. That system has faced increasing demands over time: The number of vehicle miles traveled (both passenger and commercial) rose from approximately 700 billion in 1960 to just under 3 trillion in 2012

Heritage Foundation | Happy 225th Birthday, U.S. Constitution!
One day after a snowstorm shut down D.C., Congress is back in session today. Its hearings might not make much news, but March 4 is actually an astonishing anniversary. It was 225 years ago that the Constitution officially came into effect, when members of Congress were sworn in for the first time in New York City.
Library of Economics | NGDP targeting is not a "fragile" policy
This post tries to tie together some diverse observations about the sticky wage/NGDP shock model. The motivation for this (unfortunately long) post was the observation that many non-economists seem to find the sticky wage/NGDP shock model to be appealing.

Health Care

National Journal | Hospitals Push to Stop Budget Cuts to Health Care Providers
A hospital lobbying group hopes to convince Congress to avoid making roughly $2 billion in cuts to health care providers, arguing that the health care system is generating savings and that slashing payments further would jeopardize future innovations in care.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Uprooting Obamacare with better ideas
As a child, I was attracted to anything that dealt with medicine. Many stories featured Johns Hopkins Hospital, and I was eventually privileged to spend 36 years at Johns Hopkins working with brilliant and caring colleagues who dedicated their lives to the art and science of healing.
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 | Another Obamacare Delay in the Works
The announcement, which could come this week, would allow health insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet minimum coverage requirements in the President’s signature health care law. The Washington Post, citing undisclosed insurance industry sources, projected the extension could last one to three years longer.


WSJ | NY Fed Boosts Reverse Repo Maximum Bid to $7 Billion
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is boosting the maximum bidding size available to participants in a program now being tested to see if it can provide better control over short-term interest rates.
Economist | No cushion needed, apparently
The Fed should have learned more recent experience. When nominal rates are at zero you do wait until full employment, or almost-full employment, before tightening policy. You do that because you want inflation to overshoot, because that is how you provide additional stimulus at the ZLB, and because that is how you avoid landing at the ZLB in the first place.
WSJ | Bernanke Urges Emerging Markets to Prepare for End of Fed Stimulus
Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday urged emerging-market countries to do more to protect themselves from the impact of an eventual end to the Fed’s economic stimulus efforts.


CNN Money | Same-sex couples still face tax nightmares
Married same-sex couples finally have the right to file their federal taxes jointly this year. But for many of those living in states that don't recognize their unions, this will be the most complicated and expensive tax season yet.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | A few Obama tax ideas have bipartisan sheen
Most of President Barack Obama’s budget is dead on arrival with congressional Republicans — but a handful of tax ideas can boast a bipartisan sheen.
WSJ | Recalling the Days When Democrats Cut Taxes
Fifty years ago last week, on Feb. 26, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the sweeping tax cuts that had been championed by his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. The law brought the top marginal income-tax rate down to 70% from 91% and the bottom marginal rate down to 14% from 20%. The 22 rates in between also were cut.

CATO | More Taxes than Meets the Eye in Obama’s Budget
Yesterday’s budget from President Obama claimed to raise taxes by $650 billion in addition to the $650 billion in tax hikes from January 2013. However, careful analysis shows that the president wants much more money from American’s pocketbook.


CNN Money | February jobs report: Expect more winter blues
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict Friday's jobs report will show the unemployment rate remained at 6.6% and the U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs in February.

Market Watch | Economic spotlight: Watch these clues on job creation in February
For a hint at what Friday’s U.S. employment report might offer, payroll processor ADP weighs in Wednesday with its estimate of how many private-sector jobs were created in February.


Politico | 5 takeaways from President Obama’s budget
The White House document — price tagged at $3.901 trillion — serves a different purpose. It’s packed with political messaging and some of the leading arguments from the Democratic playbook headed into the midterms.
Bloomberg | Obama’s Budget Proposal Benefits Students, Highways
President Barack Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget proposal would benefit low-income families, college students, researchers and highway users, setting the tone for Democratic priorities in an election year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama’s budget blueprint dead on arrival
House Speaker John A. Boehner’s got a problem. With great fanfare, President Obama delivered his fiscal 2015 budget to Congress on Tuesday, but “global warming” has the grounds around the Capitol frozen as hard as concrete. Mr. Boehner and the House have nowhere to bury the president’s budget.
Fortune | The myths and realities of America's debt
As President Obama sends his budget to Congress Tuesday, U.S. deficits have come down at a faster rate than at any time since the end of World War II.
Investors | Obama's Bizarro World Budget For Fiscal 2015
Fiscal Irresponsibility: Just how out of touch is President Obama? In the midst of a faltering economy and rising global threats, he proposes a budget that would sharply cut defense spending and impose $1.8 trillion in tax hikes.

WSJ | Three Reasons Not to Ignore the Obama Budget
For years now, the conventional response to any presidential budget has been to declare it “dead on arrival,” or sometimes “dead before arrival.”  Today’s partisan gridlock guarantees that much of President Obama’s new budget will be somewhere between attacked and ignored on Capitol Hill.  Veteran budget wonk Stan Collender describes this year’s White House budget as “more dead on arrival than most.”
CATO | Obama’s New Budget: Burden of Government Spending Rises More than Twice as Fast as Inflation
There are lots of provisions that deserve detailed attention, but I always look first at the overall trends. Most specifically, I want to see what’s happening with the burden of government spending.
Heritage Foundation | A Quick Guide to Obama's 2015 Budget
Yesterday, Heritage experts dove into President Obama’s new budget proposal. Check out our infographic to see just a few of the disturbing things they found.