Friday, April 4, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Dreary outlook for formerly hot housing markets
To sort out what you can expect in real estate this year, MONEY zeroed in on four markets: upscale neighborhoods, new investor favorites, booming growth cities, and once-busy areas that have quieted down. Whether your local real estate market is heating up or cooling off, here's what you need to know about buying, selling or renovating your home.
Bloomberg | To Export U.S. Oil or Not Boils Down to Industry Profit
When Big Oil began preparing last year to challenge the decades-old rules against exporting U.S. crude, the debate seemed fanciful. Then Russia took over Crimea and the idea of using American energy -- oil as well as natural gas -- to reshape global affairs became a Washington pet project.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Obama flunks economics lesson from Henry Ford
President Obama flew Wednesday to Ann Arbor, Mich., where the jobless rate is close to 8 percent, to boast about his economic policies.
Forbes | The War On Poverty Was Designed To Fail
The War on Poverty failed because it was designed to fail.  The progressive welfare state that grew out of the War on Poverty cannot be reformed.  It must be ripped out of the fabric of American life and replaced, at least at the federal level, by an “opportunity and credit state.”  What that kind of system would look like will be outlined in a future “Unconventional Logic.”
AEI | Building better housing assistance
Housing assistance for low-income Americans is premised on a simple value that most Americans share: no citizen should go without a roof over his head. But policy has done a poor job of achieving that goal. As of January 2013, more than 610,000 Americans were homeless. Many more are paying very high percentages of their income toward rent or are doubling up with other households.
Heritage Foundation | Using the Index of Economic Freedom: A Practical Guide
In 2014, the Index of Economic Freedom, co-published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, celebrates its 20th anniversary. For two decades, the Index, by cataloguing economic policy developments of the globe, has served as a beacon for people around the world who recognize enhanced economic liberty and individual opportunity as the surest path to greater prosperity.

WSJ | Fannie, Freddie Overhaul Will Translate Into Higher Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates could rise by as much as 1.5 percentage points for homeowners with weaker credit or smaller down payments under various legislative proposals to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a study prepared for an industry group.

Health Care

National Journal | Will Premium Spikes Cause Another Round of Obamacare Bashing?
Now that Obamacare's first enrollment window has closed, we know approximately how many people (at least 7.1 million) picked an insurance plan through the law's new exchanges. But one thing we still don't know is whether big premium hikes are looming in 2015.
CNN Money | Stuck in Obamacare limbo
Laporta, 63, is an occupational therapy assistant at a private school in Syracuse, N.Y., and no longer qualified for the school's plan because she was working fewer hours. She suffers from arthritis, requiring injections twice a year that would cost $5,000 each without insurance.
WSJ | States Grapple With Fixing Problem-Plagued Health Exchanges
Deep problems with state-run health-insurance exchanges are prompting a handful of states to rethink their systems for next year's enrollment period.
Daily Mail | 'The debate over repealing this law is over': Obama boasts 7.1 MILLION have signed up to Obamacare - but study shows just 858,000 newly insured Americans have paid up!
A triumphant President Barack Obama declared Tuesday his signature medical insurance overhaul a success, saying it has made America's health care system 'a lot better' in a Rose Garden press conference.

Heritage Foundation | Obamacare Costs Force Kansas Hospital to Lay Off Employees
A Kansas hospital is laying off 15 employees in anticipation of multi-million-dollar losses due to Obamacare.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | America's economic enemy: Super-low interest rates
The Federal Reserve wants to reduce unemployment, but low borrowing costs could translate to more debt.
Real Clear Markets | Monetary Policy Was Born Out of a Mistake
Modern monetary policy as it is conducted operationally was born out of a mistake, discovered by accidental action. One of the primary doctrines of the early Federal Reserve System was that it needed to be self-sufficient, thus no taxpayer funds were to go to its support. Each individual reserve bank thus needed a manner in which to accumulate "earnings" to pay staff and cover operational costs. To do so required the reserve branches to hold a portfolio of securities in which they could "earn" interest in sufficient quantity as to hold to that early doctrine.
Fortune | The problems with debt-hungry banks
Highly leveraged banks pose risks to the financial system, but policymakers could ease the problem by reforming tax policies favoring debt over equity.


CNN Money | The top 1% and what they pay
Everyone talks about the 1% -- but who are they exactly? It takes at least $389,000 to make the club: That was the minimum threshold of adjusted gross income in 2011, the most recent year for which the IRS has final data.


Politico | Jobs growth steady, not great
A tepid jobs report on Friday showed the economic recovery has yet to turn the corner despite expectations among some economists and market watchers that robust jobs growth in March would put an end to several months of weak data.
Bloomberg | Long-Term Unemployed Make for Just as Strong Hires
People who have been out of work for an extended period, once hired, tend to be just as productive on the job as those with more typical work histories, according to an analysis of almost 20,000 employees.
Politico | Senate’s jobless aid vote delayed
Final approval of the Senate’s unemployment insurance proposal has been delayed until next week, as Democrats rejected Republicans’ request for a vote on their amendment.
National Journal | Don't Give Up on the Long-Term Unemployed
On Friday morning, another closely watched jobs report will tell us the number of new positions the economy has (or has not) created. That top-line figure usually receives most of the attention and news headlines. But buried within the data is a far more worrisome figure: the number of people out of work for more than six months. In February 2014, that statistic topped 3.8 million Americans, down from a high of 6.7 million in April 2010.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Obama's Wage 'Compassion' Means Poor Face A Higher Effective Tax Rate Than 1 Percenters
President Obama and the Democrats continue to push for an increase in the minimum wage. Against much evidence that such a law is very ineffective at reducing poverty, the administration is still touting the benefits they claim would help millions of workers. Yet, it turns out that, for the sort of worker about whom we should be most concerned, such a policy actually benefits the federal government more than the worker.
Real Clear Markets | The Long-Lasting Damage Of a National Wage
Progressives are practically united in supporting an increase in the national minimum wage. The only disagreement is by how much: President Obama proposes raising the national minimum wage by almost 40% over the next few years to $10.10 per hour and indexing it to inflation thereafter.
Fortune | 3 reasons to worry about March's jobs report
Private sector jobs finally surpassed their previous peak in 2008, according to March's jobs report. The data bore some cheery news this morning, but it's hard to get too excited once we take a closer look.
Market Watch | For long-time unemployed, full-time work is elusive
On the 10th month of her job search, Lori DeSousa, who had been applying for marketing jobs, walked into her local Walgreens to ask about a part-time job as a cashier.

WSJ | 5 Takeaways from the March Employment Report
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 192,000 in March, close to expectations. But the average for the first quarter of 2014 was just 178,000, below the 194,000 averaged in all of 2013. The latest employment report shows an economy that is adding jobs but not at a robust pace.
Heritage Foundation | March Jobs Report: No Change in Unemployment Rate
The sectors with strongest growth were food services and drinking places (+30,000) and temporary help services (+29,000). With additions in these lower-wage sectors, the average wage ticked down a penny, giving back part of last month’s strong 9-cent gain. The best news in the report was that the labor force participation rate ticked up 0.2 percent, the employment rate rose slightly, and the average workweek recovered from a winter decline.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CBO | Letter to the Honorable Paul Ryan on the feasibility of CBO undertaking the analyses that would be required by the amendments to H.R. 1874, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013
H.R. 1874 would require CBO to prepare, to the extent practicable, a macroeconomic impact analysis of the budgetary effects of major legislation—defined by the bill as legislation with expected budgetary effects greater than one-quarter of one percent of the currently projected gross domestic product of the United States in any fiscal year for the period covered by cost estimates prepared by the agency. (That period generally extends for 10 years.) Many of the proposed amendments to H.R. 1874 would broaden the types of potential effects that CBO would be required to analyze.