Tuesday, April 15, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Detroit to auction vacant homes online. Starting bid: $1,000
In its ongoing battle to fight blight and boost home values, Detroit is launching a website where it will auction off vacant homes that were seized in tax foreclosures.
WSJ | WTO Raises Forecast for Global Trade
The Geneva-based trade body Monday raised its estimate for growth in the value of trade in goods to 4.7% from 4.5% as economic growth showed signs of recovery. Despite the improvement, the forecast remained below the 5.3% average registered over the past 20 years.
Market Watch | Empire State index slows to 1.3 in April
The Empire State manufacturing index, the first of the many regional manufacturing gauges to be released, slipped to 1.3 in April from 5.6 in March, the New York Fed said Tuesday.
WSJ | Euro-Zone Industrial Output Rises Slightly
Industrial production across the 18 countries that share the euro rose slightly in February, although output in many of the currency area's troubled southern members declined.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | 3 reasons the economy has some spring in its step
That was a common refrain market watchers heard in recent months, as a slew of confusing data showed that consumers and the economy weren't quite as healthy as they should have been.
Investors | American Companies Think The Unthinkable — Leaving The U.S.
Walgreen, America's venerable drug-store chain, is thinking the unthinkable: relocating to Europe. Not because it sees growth and opportunity there, but because of onerous taxes here in the U.S. It's an ominous trend.
AEI | After the crisis
At the beginning of the Great Recession, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff warned that the recovery might be a long one because the recession had been preceded by a financial crisis. Typically, recovery from financial crises takes at least a decade. While Keynesian ideologues predicted a normal V-shaped recovery because of the Obama stimulus, those with a sense of history warned that long-run policies such as permanent tax cuts were the only medicine capable of delivering sustained growth.

Health Care

Politico | Smaller premium hikes forecast in 2015 for Obamacare
The CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation released a series of new estimates Monday on the law’s costs and the number of people it will cover. The figures show that 12 million more Americans will have health coverage in 2014 than would have been the case without Obamacare — down from a February projection of 13 million because of a dip in expected Medicaid enrollment. Many Republican critics of the ACA have sharply questioned whether the program is reaching the nation’s uninsured.
National Journal | What Obamacare Means for Your Taxes
The law's biggest tax provision—billions of dollars in tax credits to help people cover the cost of their premiums—is already in effect, but doesn't affect the taxes due on Tuesday. A handful of smaller provisions, mostly affecting wealthy households, will show up for the first time in this year's filing.


FOX News | Five things you should know about the Federal Reserve’s obsession with inflation
Americans struggle with stagnant wages and rising prices. Yet the Federal Reserve is obsessed with boosting inflation with easy money policies that may actually discourage reforms that would help jobs creation and lessen income inequality.
FOX Business | Food, Rental Housing Bump Up U.S. Consumer Inflation
U.S. consumer prices rose in March, but inflation pressures remained generally benign, which should give the Federal Reserve ample scope to keep interest rates low.
Bloomberg | Yellen Says Higher Capital Rules May Be Needed for Big Banks
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said additional capital may be required for large U.S. banks whose source of funding could be at risk during a financial crisis.
WSJ | IMF Members Weigh Options to Sidestep U.S. Congress on Overhaul
The U.S. would lose its veto power on the International Monetary Fund's executive board under a plan being considered by some emerging economies. The countries are fed up with the United States' failure to ratify a four-year-old deal to restructure the emergency lender.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Dodd-Frank Comes for the Insurers
For nearly 150 years, states have regulated America's insurance companies. In all that time, even during the 2008 financial crisis, this stable industry has fortified the broader economy. Now the federal government has set out to fix something that isn't broken, foisting federal banklike regulation on insurance companies.


CNN Money | Pot taxes won't be as high as hoped
It's been just three months since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, but economists don't think the state will raise as much in taxes as was hoped.
CNBC | Average tax bill for the 1% this year: $525,000
For most Americans, the tax increases passed in January 2013 look like ancient history. But for the wealthy, the bill for those changes is now coming due.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
ATR | Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office
Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.
Washington Times | A sadder and poorer Tax Day
The federal government will consume 20.5 percent of America’s total income this year. It’s not as bad as in France or Greece, but somewhat worse than when we formed these United States. When we were Colonies under the British, the average tax burden on American colonists was 2 percent. That was considered unbearable, and the revolution was on.
Politico | The Case for Tax Reform
For many Americans, today’s Tax Day thoughts will likely center on how much of a year’s earnings must be surrendered to Uncle Sam to fund the federal government. But another concern is why we lose so much income and so many jobs because our tax system is so badly designed. For our elected officials, Tax Day also offers the chance to consider the most significant economic policy change they could make to raise growth and incomes: tax reform.
WSJ | Top Earners Feel the Bite of Tax Increases
The jump in federal tax rates that kicked in last year is causing sticker shock for many higher earners this tax season. That, in turn, is rekindling a debate over a question likely to smolder for a long time: How much more could—or should—taxes go up on the well-to-do?
Real Clear Markets | On Tax Day, Tax-Cutting Candidates Take Center Stage
By Tax Day, April 15, Americans have spent an average of 27 hours filling out their tax returns. Tax collections are at a record high. The government's numerous encounters with the debt ceiling and a potential default have placed fiscal policy front and center in this year's midterm elections.
Mercatus | Trends in EITC Spending and Numbers of Beneficiaries
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable tax credit given to qualifying low-income working Americans, has been heralded as an effective anti-poverty tax incentive by commentators on both sides of the aisle since it was first introduced in 1975.

Heritage Foundation | Where Did Your Tax Money Go?
Major entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) gobbled up 49 percent, while more federal benefits took another 20 percent. These additional “income security” benefits include federal employee retirement and disability, unemployment benefits, and welfare programs such as food and housing assistance. Obamacare spending didn’t really kick in until 2014, so that will show up in next year’s breakdown.
Heritage Foundation | Most Small Businesses Burdened by Costly Tax Preparation Process Support Tax Reform
Small businesses are increasingly burdened with tax preparation costs, with a majority spending over a week per year on federal tax preparation and thousands of dollars on external accounting firms, according to the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) 2014 Taxation Survey released last week.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
National Journal | Should the U.S. Adopt the German Model of Apprenticeships?
Germany is all the rage these days as a model for possible economic solutions. The country boasts an 8-percent youth unemployment rate, a data point that looks practically quaint compared to the U.S. teen unemployment rate of more than 20 percent.

WSJ | Finding a Full-Time Job May Get Easier, But Not for Everyone
Some 7.4 million Americans last month were working part-time jobs because they couldn’t find full-time work. Many of them will have better luck as the economy improves, but others could be locked out by the changing nature of the U.S. economy, four Federal Reserve economists argue in a new analysis.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | CBO Estimates U.S. Deficit Will Shrink More Than Expected in 2014
The U.S. government's gap between spending and revenue will be narrower both this year and later in the decade compared with prior estimates, driven in part by reductions in near-term military spending and falling longer-run costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office said.
Washington Times | Wasteful spending is why your taxes are so high
Some of us waited until the last minute to stuff a tax return in an envelope and drop it in the mail at the stroke of midnight, but we share something with those who e-filed months ago. We all wonder why our taxes are so high.
Heritage Foundation | President Obama’s 2015 Budget: How Government Expansion Will Limit Opportunity, Slow Economic Growth, and Erode Financial and National Security
President Barack Obama revealed his budget request for the 2015 fiscal year on March 4—one month after the legal deadline for the President’s budget proposal. The document outlines the President’s agenda for a government that allegedly will bring “opportunity, growth, and security” through higher federal spending, cuts in the armed forces, more than $1 trillion in tax hikes, and broad government overreach into the affairs of individuals, businesses, and localities.