Wednesday, March 26, 2014

General Economics

FOX Business | Durable Goods Orders Rise 2.2% in February
Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rebounded more than expected in February and shipments snapped two straight months of declines, providing fresh signs the economy was shaking off some of its winter gloom.
CNN Money | Top incomes can be fleeting
There are few lifetime memberships in the exclusive club of high-income taxpayers. In fact, there's a lot of turnover in the top 1%, entry into which took at least $389,000 of adjusted gross income in 2011 -- a threshold met by nearly 1.37 million returns that year.
Bloomberg | Rising Utility Costs Lingering After Winter’s Chill Fades
U.S. consumers got a glimpse of rising future utility bills during the winter as coal- and nuclear-plant shutdowns boosted reliance on natural gas.
USA Today | Best retirement advice for many: Never retire
By now, we all know how difficult retirement is — especially the planning part. But there is a group of people who believe they have a solution: Never retire.
CNBC | Declining US profits signal inevitable recession: SocGen bear
Albert Edwards, Societe Generale's uber-bearish strategist, has once again taken aim at economists bullish on the U.S. economy, highlighting a contraction in corporate profits that could leave the country exposed to external shocks and an "inevitable" recession.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | The Rise Of The Nanny State Is Why America Needs A Regulatory Budget
Washington refuses to control spending, and it certainly doesn’t control the costs of federal regulations it imposes on citizens at the rate of over 3,500 annually.
Investors | Reaganomics Vs. Obamanomics: Two Wholly Different Outcomes
Despite adding almost a trillion dollars to our national debt and failing to keep the unemployment rate at or below 8% as advertised, liberals consider President Obama's signature stimulus package — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — a success, in part because of the number of jobs it "saved."
Fortune | America's thorny affordable housing crisis
A new report argues that there are just 31 affordable housing units for every 100 families who need them. Addressing this problem raises more questions than it answers.
National Review | Land of Inequality
From the end of World War II until the 1990s, California possessed a magnetism unique among the 50 states. It was — according to a mythology that was probably overwrought even in those halcyon days — an American Eden, a place where ambition and unfettered imagination combined to make even the most exotic dreams seem feasible.
NY Sun | Lagarde’s Waterloo
The failure today in the Senate the so-called “reform” of the International Monetary Fund is an encouraging moment. Senator Reid had tried to tie the scheme, a lunge for money, to the Ukraine rescue, but then retreated, saying the IMF part of it would not have been able to pass the House.

WSJ | Asia Misses Out on Capital Spending Bump
Capital investment in emerging markets, especially Asia, is lagging the developed world, a trend likely to damp growth prospects in many nations.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
FOX Business | Forget Enrollment, There’s Another Major Piece Missing from ObamaCare
Much emphasis has been placed on enrollment stats as the Affordable Care Act’s inaugural open enrollment period comes to an end. But there’s a key function on the federal exchange that remains inactive: the mechanism to reconcile payments between the government and insurance companies.
NBER | Who Benefits when the Government Pays More? Pass-Through in the Medicare Advantage Program
Governments contract with private firms to provide a wide range of services. While a large body of previous work has estimated the effects of that contracting, surprisingly little has investigated how those effects vary with the generosity of the contract.
CATO | The Medicaid Mess
Even as those parts of Obamacare that have not yet been postponed stagger toward the finish line on March 31, one part of the president’s health-care law continues to build momentum. As of this writing, 25 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs in accordance with Obamacare. This includes several states governed by Republicans, including Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Ohio (Governor John Kasich has described the expansion as part of his duty as a Christian).


CNBC | What the bond market might say about the Fed
After the Fed ruffled markets in the past week, the Treasury's 5-year note auction Wednesday should get more attention than usual as traders watch to see whether the prospect for higher rates has been fully priced in.
Bloomberg | Measuring the Handouts to Big Banks
The largest U.S. banks and their lobbyists have been trying hard to counteract the growing impression that they present an unacceptable threat to the economy. In a new series of papers, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York offers some evidence that they probably won’t like.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Bullard Says Fed Hasn’t Discussed Date to End QE
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said policy makers haven’t committed to a specific month to end bond purchases even as it would take a significant shift in the outlook to alter the path of tapering.
Real Clear Markets | The Volcker Rule Increases the Likelihood That Banks Will Default
Last Thursday, without any fanfare, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released the economic analysis for the Volcker Rule. The timing-approximately three months after the OCC and its fellow regulators released the final rule-and the substance of the analysis are troubling.

WSJ | Atlanta Fed’s Lockhart Says Second Half of 2015 Is Soonest Rates Could Rise
The Federal Reserve will likely begin to raise interest rates in the second half of 2015, but it could be much longer because the U.S. labor market needs time to fully recover from the recession, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said Tuesday.
WSJ | Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Washington’s Battle Over the IMF
Democrats are yielding on another fight with Republicans over major changes to the International Monetary Fund, this time to clear a U.S. bailout for Ukraine. Where does that leave the U.S., the IMF and the fund’s members? Here’s everything you could possibly want to know, and why it matters.


WSJ | IRS Says Bitcoin Is Property, Not Currency
The Internal Revenue Service made its first pronouncement on the issue Tuesday, saying it will treat bitcoin and other virtual currencies like property such as stocks, and not currency, giving a potential boost to investors but imposing extensive record-keeping rules. The rule generally would impose capital-gains taxes, rather than higher regular tax rates, on investors' profits.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options
The credit, worth up to $2,500 per student, can be claimed for a student's qualifying expenses incurred during the first four years of post-secondary education.


CNN Money | Pew: Online news organizations have created 5,000 jobs
How many reporting jobs have new online news organizations created? Pew Research Center has tried to put a number on it: 5,000.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | How America Loses a Job Every 43 Seconds
The first of next month is a big day for the U.S., and not because it's April Fools' Day. April 1 is when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begins accepting new H-1B visa petitions for 2015.
FOX Business | New Study Argues Long-Term Unemployed Don’t Put Much Pressure on Overall Jobs Market
The long-term unemployed, according to a new study, exert relatively little pressure on the overall economy and have a different effect on the macro economy than the short-term unemployed. This “unlucky subset of the unemployed”, it said, will more likely not find a job than find one.
The American | A National Minimum Wage Is a Bad Fit for Low-Cost Communities
A one-size-fits-all minimum wage, without any adjustments for the significant differences in the cost of living across the country, will disproportionately affect low-skilled workers in low-cost areas.

WSJ | Where Did They Get a Raise Last Year?
Nationwide, the average growth of personal income slowed to 2.6% in 2013 from 4.3% in 2012, the report found. Residents in every state saw weaker income growth from a year earlier, ranging from a 7.6% rise in North Dakota to the 1.5% gain in West Virginia.
Café Hayek | More on How Minimum Wage Legislation Harms Even Employed Workers
The positive net returns of improved worker morale would be captured chiefly by each firm that raised its workers’ wages, no ‘publicness’ aspect of the efficiency gains from higher wages would prevent any firm that can profit from raising its workers’ wages from raising those wages.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico | Student loan debt deal comes with tax catch
Millions of taxpayers struggling with student loan debt are being pitched what may seem like a dream come true this tax season: lower monthly payments and a chance to see a chunk of their debt disappear.