Thursday, March 6, 2014

General Economics

FOX Business | U.S. Fourth-Quarter Productivity Slashed
The U.S. government on Thursday sharply revised down nonfarm productivity for the fourth quarter, mirroring the economy's slow growth pace in the same period.
CNN Money | Staples to close 225 stores
Staples will close 225 stores in North America by the middle of next year as the office supply retailer tries to trim costs in the face of weaker sales.
WSJ | Winter's Impact Blunts Modest Growth Across U.S.
Unusually cold weather hampered economic growth nationwide in recent months while several pockets of the country showed strength, underscoring the disruptive impact Mother Nature has had on recent data.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The American | How to Avoid Another Global Financial Crisis
September 15, 2008 was not just the beginning of the financial crisis, which may very well have been the greatest financial crisis ever (the Great Depression of the 1930s was a far more devastating economic problem). In the hours and days following the Lehman Brothers default that day, there was a virtual breakdown of the global financial system.
WSJ | How Housing Policy Hurts the Middle Class
The American dream traditionally meant that anyone could get ahead based on ability and hard work. But over the past few decades, the United States government created incentives through housing programs and the tax code that changed the dream for many Americans. Middle-class families began to think of homes as investments, not just shelter. When the housing market crashed, everyone suffered—homeowners, investors, wage-earners and taxpayers.
Fortune | Is the bond market rigged?
Big IPO-like spikes, clients being favored over others, and the potential for unfair Wall Street profits. This certainly sounds like another manipulated market.
AEI | Who should get Fannie and Freddie’s profits?
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, operating entirely as an arm of the government, entirely dependent on the credit of the government, and getting huge subsidies and favors from the government, have begun making large profits, all of which they are paying to the US Treasury. Speculators in the old, junior preferred stock and common stock of Fannie and Freddie are objecting that this is unjust.
The Atlantic | The U.S. Economy's Big Baby Problem
Last September, the U.S. government announced that our birthrate fell to "another record low" in 2012, following a long, steady slide since the Baby Boom after World War II. 

WSJ | Fed’s Williams Still Expects US Growth At 2.5%-3% This Year
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said Wednesday he continues to have an optimistic view of the economy’s outlook despite recent weakness in growth.
WSJ | Driving Through the Data Fog
Economic data are by nature imprecise: Witness how often the initial readings need to be revised, in some cases significantly.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
National Journal | Another Obamacare Delay
The Obama administration said Wednesday that insurers can wait until 2016 before canceling plans that don't comply with Obamacare.
Investors | White House Admits ObamaCare Work Study 'Misleading'
The White House last month quietly amended a study aimed at disproving any negative ObamaCare effect on the workweek, admitting it counted 29.5-hour workers as clocking 30 hours.
Heritage Foundation | Compensation and Obamacare’s Impact on Low-Wage Workers
In February, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a budget outlook that showed significant changes in the effect of Obamacare on the supply of labor. This led to a furious outcry from Obamacare proponents and critics

WSJ | You Should Be Eating a Lot Less Sugar
Sugar consumption should make up less than 5% of a person’s daily diet to avoid health issues such as obesity or tooth decay, according to the World Health Organization Wednesday.


Bloomberg | ECB Keeps Interest Rates on Hold as Draghi Gets Reprieve
The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged as stronger inflation (ECCPEMUY) and economic output reduced the need for officials to take action.
CNBC | Fed's Williams sees rate hike in mid-2015 as jobless rate falls
The Federal Reserve will probably need to start raising short-term U.S. interest rates in the middle of next year as economic growth picks up and the jobless rate falls, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNBC | Fed's Plosser 'very worried' about QE consequences
Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser is "very worried" about the potential for unintended consequences of the Fed's massive quantitative easing program.

WSJ | Yellen Says Fed Still Missing Its Goals
The Federal Reserve is still falling short of its goals of controlling inflation and fostering full employment, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Wednesday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Reforming Taxes, Goosing the Economy
Tax reform done right can boost economic growth, spur job creation, and reduce the deficit. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) took a big step toward this vital goal last week by releasing a comprehensive plan to modernize the income-tax code.
CRS | An Introduction to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
The low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program is one of the federal government's primary policy tools for encouraging the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing.


Bloomberg | College Grads Taking Low-Wage Jobs Displace Less Educated
Jeanina Jenkins, a 20-year-old high-school graduate from St. Louis, is stuck in a $7.82-an-hour part-time job at McDonald’s Corp. that she calls a “last resort” because nobody would offer her anything better.
CNN Money | States not waiting for Congress to raise minimum wage
In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged mayors, governors and state legislators not to wait for Congress to raise the minimum wage, and to take action into their own hands.
Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level in Three Months
Fewer Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, an indication companies are holding on to staff even as cold weather threatens to slow the world’s largest economy.
Market Watch | Planned layoffs fall in February: Challenger
After soaring in January, announced layoffs pulled back last month, hitting the lowest tally for a February since 2000, according to data released Thursday by outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
FOX Business | 'Missing Workers': A Lost Piece in the Unemployment Puzzle
The official unemployment rate, currently at 6.6%, may drastically understate the number of unemployed Americans, with almost 6 million people not being counted, according to recent research from the Economic Policy Institute. The EPI refers to this group as "missing workers."


National Journal | The Ugly Truth Behind Obama's Budget
By proposing to expand the earned-income tax credit to workers without children, the White House acknowledges that low wages aren't sufficient for many Americans.
WSJ | Obama Scales Back Budget Goals
The White House offered a tax and spending plan Tuesday that was largely absent of lofty new policy goals, acknowledging the limited ambition of both political parties to renew a fight over the budget with midterm elections looming.

Heritage Foundation | 5 Things to Know About Obama’s Budget
The President’s Budget — 212 pages long — included a wide range of proposals and Heritage experts shed light on a number of these in a Live Analysis yesterday. Here are five things you should know about the President’s budget