Tuesday, March 11, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | 3 reasons the White House is optimistic on growth
The U.S. economy in the next two years is well positioned for growth assuming no adverse shocks or bad policy decisions.
Market Watch | Feb. small-business sentiment slumps: NFIB
Small-business sentiment slumped in February, on concerns over sales, the economy and employment driving the downturn, according to data released Tuesday.
CNN Money | Social Security is the best deal
Choppy markets and rising health care costs needn't stop you from having the money for the retirement you want. We asked five of the brightest minds in retirement planning for their big ideas to help you cruise through the obstacles.
WSJ | Shaking Up the Classroom
Instead, in the "Content Level 7" room at Washington Elementary, 10 students, ages 11 to 14, gather around teacher Nelly Lopez for help in writing essays. Eight sit at computers, plowing through a lesson on sentence structure, while a dozen advanced students work on assignments in pairs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | America Needs to Rethink 'Retirement'
Washington is abuzz over the politics of work. Will ObamaCare create jobs or destroy them? What would raising the minimum wage do to youth unemployment? And what to do about the long-term unemployed? Yet there is an odd political silence about a future vision for jobs and economic growth.
WSJ | Energy Exports as Foreign-Policy Tool
For a sagging president and a discredited Congress, the Ukraine crisis actually could be a blessing in disguise. It gives them a chance to do something big: Start a historically significant drive to transform's America's energy picture.

Health Care

Politico | Medicare drug changes put on hold after criticism
The Obama administration has dropped controversial plans to overhaul the Medicare prescription drug program amid withering criticism from the industry, patient advocacy groups and lawmakers that the changes would limit seniors’ access to certain medications and choice of plans.
CNN Money | Why casino workers hate Obamacare
Casino workers are preparing to strike against several Las Vegas establishments, but their real target is President Obama.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Unions Conclude Obamacare Will Make Inequality Worse
A new report from the union UNITE HERE, entitled The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse, concludes that the Affordable Care Act will increase inequality because low-income Americans will have fewer hours of work and have to pay more for health insurance. At the same time, according to the report, insurance companies will gain $965 billion in federal transfers to provide health insurance.

WSJ | Explorer: Decode the Health Law’s Subsidies Explorer can now calculate premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions. Explore how they stack up in 36 states using the federal marketplace.


Market Watch | ECB to inspect $5.16 trillion of bank assets
The European Central Bank Tuesday laid out exactly how regulatory authorities should probe the assets of 128 of the euro-zone’s largest banks currently under review.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Repo Fire-Sale Plan Said Within Reach After Fed Sounds Alarm
Wall Street’s biggest firms are close to agreeing on a plan that would safeguard the financial markets from the crippling fire sales that engulfed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos.
Market Watch | OECD calls for Fed to be cautious in tapering
The U.S. Federal Reserve should proceed cautiously in scaling back its asset purchase program, while signaling its intentions clearly so as to minimize the impact on developing economies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday.
AEI | Do we really need a larger IMF?
John Maynard Keynes famously observed, “when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Evidently the same may not be said of the U.S. Treasury regarding the appropriate size of the International Monetary Fund.

WSJ | Fed’s Evans: Time to Revise Forward Guidance
The Federal Reserve official who was instrumental in guiding the central bank to provide detailed verbal guidance on the potential timing of interest rate increases says the time has arrived to change this system.


CNN Money | Colorado gets $2 million from marijuana taxes
Colorado raked in about $2 million from taxes on recreational marijuana in January, the first month it was legal to sell non-medicinal pot in the state.
Bloomberg | Obama’s Tax-Credit Boost Plan Refocuses Poverty Debate: Economy
Policy makers on both sides of the partisan divide, from Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to Mitt Romney’s economic adviser Glenn Hubbard, favor expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. This rare harmony holds the potential to reshape the debate on bridging the growing opportunity gap.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Obama Democrats Versus Kennedy Democrats
Kennedy, Truman, and FDR were liberals. But they were true American patriots, who like Reagan, led the rebuilding of America’s defenses to defeat the Fascists, and the Communists. But today’s Democrat Party of Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bill DeBlasio, and Hillary Clinton is more Marxist than any party in Communist China, or formerly Communist Russia.
CRS | Restrictions on Itemized Tax Deductions: Policy Options and Analysis
The President and leading Members of Congress have indicated that income tax reform is a major policy objective. Some itemized deductions are visible candidates for "broadening the base" of the individual income tax and cutting back on tax expenditures and primarily consist of deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable contributions.

FOX Business | What Changes to Expect on Your 2013 Tax Return
The countdown is on with just five weeks to go to April 15! Tax season is upon us, and if you are wealthy or simply well-to-do, steel yourself, you are about to get soaked. Tax changes for the 2013 tax year are huge and the nation's top earners are likely to see their tax rates rise above a whopping 50 percent.
Library of Economics | Milton and Rose Friedman on High Taxation
When the law interferes with people's pursuit of their own values, they will try to find a way around. They will evade the law, they will break the law, or they will leave the country. Few of us believe in a moral code that justifies forcing people to give up much of what they produce to finance payments to persons they do not know for purposes they may not approve of.


WSJ | New York Fed Unveils New Tools To Gauge Labor Market Health
Federal Reserve officials have for some time argued that when they take stock of the labor market, they do so based on a broad array of measurements that go beyond the unemployment rate alone.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The responsibility to resist fiscally irresponsible politicians
If your personal spending rises faster than your income each year, you eventually will go bankrupt. Responsible people understand this and thus refrain from taking on more debt than their income can support.
Investors | As Global Debt Soars, Where's The Big Recovery?
A new study says governments around the world boosted their debts by more than 40% to over $100 trillion in response to the global financial crisis. Where's the promised recovery from all that spending?
Mercatus | More Taxes and Spending in the President's FY 2015 Budget
President Obama just released his budget proposal for FY 2015. This week’s charts compare these new budget projections from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the most recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
CRS | Mandatory Spending Since 1962
Federal spending is divided into three broad categories: discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and net interest. Mandatory spending is composed of budget outlays controlled by laws other than appropriation acts, including federal spending on entitlement programs.
CBO | Monthly Budget Review for February 2014
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $379 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2014, CBO estimates, $115 billion less than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year.