Tuesday, April 29, 2014

General Economics

FOX Business | When Investing, Most of Us Set Ourselves Up for Losses, It's Time to Stop
While the Federal Reserve has indicated it will not be raising short-term interest rates any time soon, the Fed does not control long-term rates. “By reaching for yield out the maturity curve, investors are putting themselves at greater risk for price declines if interest rates move higher,” warns Davidson. “The catalyst,” he says, “will be a return to ‘normal.’”  
CNN Money | Home prices cool in February
Home prices cooled off in February, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Prices were relatively unchanged compared to January. Compared to a year ago, prices rose 12.9%. That's down from an annual gain of 13.2% in January.
Bloomberg | Euro-Area April Economic Confidence Unexpectedly Declines
Euro-area economic confidence unexpectedly fell in April, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank as it considers unprecedented steps to avert the risk of deflation.
WSJ | GAO: U.S. Foreclosure Review Could Have Generated Higher Payments
A comprehensive review of major banks' foreclosure files could have delivered an additional $1.5 billion in cash to consumers if it wasn't halted last year, a federal watchdog has found.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Johnson-Crapo is Obamacare for homebuilders
Nationalizing health care, which represents one-sixth of the economy, has been nothing short of a disaster. Nearly everyone recognizes that, but Congress hasn’t noticed. The Senate will vote Tuesday to establish a permanent federal presence in housing, which represents another one-sixth of the economy. Government manipulation of the housing sector was one of the primary causes of the Great Recession, and an Obamacare-style takeover will make things worse.
Real Clear Markets | With the Keystone Delay, U.S. Is the Only Loser
President Obama chose Good Friday to announce another delay in the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring crude oil from Canada to our refineries near the Gulf. If the pipeline is not approved, Alberta's oil will go to Asia-and the United States will be the big loser.
Politico | America’s Housing Market Is Broken
They say that the best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining. So now that we are out of the financial storm, this is the time to fix our broken housing finance system. If we don’t, we will be no better prepared for the damage that will rain down when the next tempest comes.
Heritage Foundation | How Social Security Works in 2014
Social Security touches the life of almost every worker in America, yet few know how the program works. In practice, Social Security uses complex benefit formulas and detailed rules that make it difficult for people to understand the program’s scope, its financing, how benefits are determined, and a number of other issues.

Health Care

National Journal | How Many People in Each State Are Missing Out on Medicaid Coverage?
Under the Affordable Care Act, states could qualify for expanded Medicaid funds from the federal government as of Jan. 1, 2014. The ACA provides that if a state opts to expand its Medicaid program, the federal government will cover all of the state's costs to cover newly eligible people for the first three years, and at least 90 percent of the costs after that. But in conservative states where opposition to the ACA is running high, many state governments have refused to accept the expansion funds, arguing that Medicaid is a fiscally untenable system.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
NBER | How Do Providers Respond to Public Health Insurance Expansions? Evidence from Adult Medicaid Dental Benefits
A large and growing number of adults are covered by public insurance, and the Affordable Care Act is predicted to dramatically increase public coverage over the next several years. This study evaluates how such large increases in public coverage affect provider behavior and patient wait times by analyzing a common type of primary care: dental services.
Heritage Foundation | Four Years of Obamacare: Early Warnings Come True
Four years after Congress passed the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, speculation on its effects is largely over. High-profile presidential promises notwithstanding, millions of Americans must now pay higher insurance premium costs and deductibles and deal with the cancellation or disruption of their existing coverage.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Is James Rickards Right About A Coming Monetary Apocalypse?
James Rickards, bestselling author of Currency Wars, has a new New York Times bestseller out, about the possible imminent collapse of the dollar: The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System (Portfolio/Penguin). More interestingly, he writes about what could come next: a golden age.
Bloomberg | Yellen’s Dots Dash Effort for Greater Fed Clarity on Rate Rises
Janet Yellen’s effort to provide clarity on the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s main interest rate by publishing policy makers’ forecasts is instead creating confusion.

WSJ | ECB Finds Inflation Expectations Better Anchored than in U.S.
European Central Bank officials have repeatedly expressed confidence that inflation expectations remain firmly anchored even though annual euro-zone inflation, at 0.5%, is far below the bank’s target of just under 2%.
Weekly Standard | Is the Federal Reserve Killing Growth?
Everybody seems to agree that the U.S. Federal Reserve's quantitative-easing program, which involves buying bonds to lower interest rates, plays a role in spurring economic growth. Folks differ on whether the contribution to growth outweighs the risk of inflation. 


CNN Money | The biggest tax breaks in 2014
More than $1 trillion of the estimated $1.4 trillion in so-called tax expenditures this year will benefit individuals, according to a new analysis from the Tax Policy Center.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Business As Usual
The Senate will soon vote on the infamous $85 billion “tax extenders” bill (the EXPIRE Act), the 15th such renewal of a host of expiring “temporary” tax provisions. Tax economists generally agree that temporary tax policies are ineffective for economic growth, so why will these tax breaks likely be renewed yet again?


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | The low wage jobs explosion
The labor market has been recovering since the Great Recession ended, but many of the jobs created have been in low-wage industries, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, a left-leaning group.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | U.S. to pay off $78 billion in April-June quarter
The U.S. Treasury expects to pay off $78 billion of debt in the third fiscal quarter, compared to an earlier projection, given in February, that it would pay off $40 billion, the government said Monday.