Tuesday, March 18, 2014

General Economics

FOX Business | Report: NY AG Launches High-Frequency Trading Probe
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reportedly launched a probe into whether U.S. stock exchanges and other venues give high-frequency traders improper advantages.
CNN Money | Income inequality hits retirement confidence
Wealthier retirement savers are regaining confidence that they'll be able to afford to retire comfortably, but lower-income workers remain worried their nest eggs will fall short.
Bloomberg | Housing Starts in U.S. Little Changed From Stronger January
Housing starts in the U.S. were little changed in February after declining less than previously estimated a month earlier, indicating the home-building industry is stabilizing after bad winter weather curbed construction.
WSJ | Senate Lawmakers Unveil Bill to Eliminate Fannie, Freddie
Senate lawmakers released their first draft of a bipartisan bill Sunday spelling out their proposal, previously announced last week, to eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The legislation replaces the mortgage-finance giants with a new system in which the government would continue to play a potentially significant role insuring U.S. home loans.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Policy | The Complicated Reality of 'Too Big to Fail'
"Too big to fail" continues to generate headlines five years after the start of the financial crisis. The scarlet letters of TBTF overshadow any positive news for the big banks. But do we know really the full story?
Real Clear Markets | Inequality As a Barrier to Growth? Invented Out of Thin Air
The idea that inequality limits a country's economic growth is on the verge of becoming conventional wisdom. But, despite the latest International Monetary Fund report, no one has proved the negative macroeconomic effects of inequality.
Politico | 6 Things Congress Should Do Right Now
It’s Nov. 5, 2014, the morning after the midterm congressional elections. The United States has woken up to another shellacking. But this time the debacle is not specific to either Democrats or Republicans. Instead, it is Congress as a whole—a complete rejection, due in large part to its repeated inability to help put America back on the path of sustained economic growth, full employment and increasing prosperity for more than just a wealthy few.
Fortune | An aging population won't make America poor
Technological advances will demand fewer workers and could offset the impacts of an aging workforce.
Mercatus | Regulatory Reform in Florida: An Opportunity for Greater Competitiveness and Economic Efficiency
Regulation often seems like the neglected stepchild of government. Yet, while politicians and pundits focus on headline-making topics like taxes and entitlements, the regulatory bureaucracies keep adding more and more pages of regulatory code.
Heritage Foundation | Revealing Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Budget Costs: A Step Toward GSE Elimination
The current budgetary treatment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as off-budget federal entities, meaning that they are excluded from budgeting rules and processes, creates deficit reduction in appearance only with several ill effects.

WSJ | Signs of Slowing in Housing
First the National Association of Home Builders said its members feel less upbeat about the future. The housing market index increased to 47 in March but that was after the index plunged 10 points to 46 in February. A reading below 50 means more builders view conditions as poor rather than good.

Health Care

Politico | Health law enrollment hits 5 million with 2 weeks to go
The administration said 5 million people have signed up for coverage with two weeks to go until the March 31 deadline,. The surging pace could revive White House hopes of enrolling 6 million by the end of the month.
National Journal | States Engaging in Fiscal Madness
I have decided to hang out a shingle as a political consultant. I'll deal in sure-fire proposals, ones that voters cannot resist, ones that are guaranteed to enhance their popularity.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Why Democrats Should Back the President on Free Trade
When it comes to international trade agreements, Democrats have been sounding a lot like the "party of no." From congressional leaders to some in the party base, pessimism about free trade has become almost a reflex. The default position portrays trade deals as a threat to American jobs and wages, exposing our economic weaknesses to the world, rather than as opportunities to grow our economy and maximize our strengths.


FOX Business | Fed Will Diagnose How Well Economy is Recovering
The Federal Reserve's policymaking group is likely to continue wrangling over the pace of tapering during its meeting this week, say economists and others who watch the goings-on of the central bank of the United States.
CNN Money | China loosens grip on its currency
China's central bank has further loosened its hold on the yuan, making a big move that gives teeth to a government pledge to move toward a more market-driven economy.
Bloomberg | Inflation in U.S. Shows Little Momentum as Fed Meets
The cost of living in the U.S. was little changed in February, showing inflation remains well below the Federal Reserve’s goal as policy makers meet to decide on the path of interest rates.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Fed Seen Adopting Qualitative Guidance as Job Market Gains
The Federal Reserve will probably discard its 6.5 percent jobless rate threshold while adopting qualitative guidance for signaling when it will consider raising the benchmark interest rate, economists said in a survey.
Forbes | Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wiggly
The Republican National Committee recently passed a resolution, by the unanimous vote of its National Committeepeople, calling for the creation of a national Monetary Commission.  This legislation is prime sponsored in the House of Representatives by Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tx) and in the US Senate by Republican whip John Cornyn (R-Tx).
Fortune | On eve of stress tests, Fed asks banks for more info
Regulators have grown increasingly concerned about banks' interest rate risk.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Wall Street Trains Fire on Idea of a Bank Tax
Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and other big banks are marshaling opposition on Capitol Hill to kill a proposal by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) to tax the nation's largest financial firms, according to people familiar with the efforts. The companies are curtailing financing for GOP lawmakers and warning of an economic hit, these people say.


AEI | Recent Senate deal on unemployment benefits shows that bipartisanship isn’t always good
The deal combines two big policy mistakes that I have criticized before: a corporate welfare provision that lets employers underfund their workers’ pensions and a (largely retroactive) extension of unemployment benefits that does nothing to cure the long-term unemployment crisis.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | What's behind the collapse in teen employment?
Data from the Brookings Institution shows that teen employment declined 42% from 2000-2011. What is it with kids these days?

WSJ | Nevada Takes Lead in Job Creation
The annual pace of job growth in the Silver State was the fastest in the U.S. in January, rising 3.4% from a year earlier, according to the Labor Department’s report on regional and state employment released Monday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Obama’s 2015 budget: The good and the bad
After 50 years of the War on Poverty, we have neither a clearly defined mission nor a consensus on policy options. We don’t even have a good way to measure poverty. President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget is an example of the jumble that U.S. anti-poverty efforts have become, featuring both ill-conceived and promising policies.