Tuesday, May 20, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | When getting a reverse mortgage makes sense
The reverse mortgage has long been viewed as a last resort for older Americans with home equity but little cash. Now it's poised to become a mainstream financial strategy -- at least that's what regulators and financial services firms are hoping. But you should be cautious about jumping in.
WSJ | Germany Must Help Others Back to Growth, IMF Says
Germany must help the rest of the euro zone's struggling economies recover and Berlin should spend significantly more on transport infrastructure projects over the next four years than it has promised so far, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.
CNN Money | 'I'm too afraid to sell my home'
In hot real estate markets all over the country, homeowners are feeling stuck: They know they can get top dollar if they sell their home, but fear they will have no place to go if they leave.
CNBC | Uh oh! Fed exit may cause 20% stock drop: Boockvar
When the Federal Reserve ends its latest bond-buying quantitative easing program, stocks could drop 15 percent to 20 percent, said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Five Myths About Imports
On Monday, President Obama issued a proclamation marking the start of World Trade Week. The proclamation used some form of the word "export" eight times. How many times were imports mentioned? Zero.
Real Clear Markets | It Costs You a Fortune For Obama To Be Green
Although climate change ranks close to the bottom of Americans' concerns, well below jobs and the economy, President Barack Obama is proposing a new set of solar energy policies that he describes as "good for job growth and good for our economy."
Washington Times | Recalling the Reagan-Kemp vision
Most Republicans plan to run their fall campaigns focusing on the Obama scandals — admittedly a target-rich area — with scandals involving Obamacare, Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service and Veterans Affairs. All of this is not a vision of the future, though.
Real Clear Markets | Has Rising Inequality Brought Us Back to the 1920s?
It is now commonplace to say American inequality has reached a peak not seen since the roaring ‘20s. Though often repeated, the claim is flatly untrue under the most comprehensive-and meaningful-definition of family income.

Health Care

Politico | Free preventive care can still cost
“Free” preventive health care is one of Obamacare’s chief selling points. But as millions of newly covered people begin to seek that benefit, some are still getting stuck with bills.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Health care rationing is next
Whistleblowers within the Veterans Affairs health system are coming forward with tales of brutal disregard for the health and life of those who served our country. Allegations of extensive waiting times for lifesaving care, deaths while waiting and horrific mismanagement have triggered outrage. Unfortunately, the VA abuses are just the tip of a much larger, more menacing iceberg. The iceberg is health care rationing, and it’s inherent in single-payer systems like the VA.
National Journal | Should the Government Slap Tobacco-Style Regulations on Fatty Foods?
Specifically, the groups recommend that the government control the way the food and beverage industry advertises, to ensure companies aren't implying unhealthy food is good for children and adults. Additionally, they advise governments to require statements on food packaging about how high or low the content of salt, saturated fat, and sugar is in relation to dietary guidelines. On a broader scale, the organizations call for a reversal of food policy, calling on taxes for unhealthy foods and subsidies for healthy ones.

Heritage Foundation | Indiana Governor Defends Expansion of Medicaid Alternative to 350,000
Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, the Republican governor promoted the Healthy Indiana Plan and his efforts to expand the program, started in 2008 to provide insurance to poorer workers who don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid. If approved, the Indiana program could serve 350,000 residents — up from 40,000.
Heritage Foundation | 60 Percent of Voters Say Obamacare Debate Is Not Over
Obamacare is a huge factor for voters this fall, a new Politico poll shows, with 89 percent of respondents saying it will affect their votes.


Bloomberg | ECB Weighing Fed-Style Meeting Schedule on Policy
The European Central Bank is considering holding its meetings to set interest rates every six weeks instead of monthly, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Fed Hawks vs. Doves: The Sequel
We are in the dog days of Fed-watching now, but the boredom won't last long. Once the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announces a few more $10-billion-a-month "taperings" of asset purchases, the financial markets will fixate completely on the Federal Reserve's eventual "exit" from its current extraordinarily easy monetary policy. It will be all Fed, all the time.
Forbes | The Gold Standard Had Nothing To Do With Panics And Busts
One of the main reasons that detractors of the gold standard contend it is a “barbarous relic” (in John Maynard Keynes’s phrase) is that it was implicated in so many financial panics and economic busts back in its heyday in the 19th century. As the New York Times’ pet Internet troll once put it, sarcastically, “under the gold standard, America had no major financial panics other than in 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1907, 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933. Oh, wait….returning to the gold standard is an almost comically (and cosmically) bad idea.”
Market Watch | Williams says first rate hike likely second-half 2015
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said Monday it will likely be more than a year before the central bank begins raising interest rates.
Fortune | Is the Fed quietly planning new bitcoin regulations?
Minutes from a recent Federal Reserve Advisory Council meeting suggest the regulator is more interested in the virtual currency than previously thought.
Market Watch | Low interest rates have few fans
As just about everyone must know by now, interest rates are the lowest they have been in quite some time. Short-term rates have been close to zero since 2008, while long-term rates are hovering at their lowest levels in decades.


CNN Money | Credit Suisse pleads guilty in tax evasion case
The Justice Department said that Credit Suisse, for a period of time spanning decades and continuing through 2009, "operated an illegal cross-border banking business" to help thousands of banking clients conceal their income from the IRS.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Tax Foundation | How Much Do U.S. Multinational Corporations Pay in Foreign Income Taxes?
The United States’ worldwide system of corporate taxation requires multinational corporations to pay taxes twice, first to the foreign country in which they do business and then to the IRS after they repatriate their profits.


Bloomberg | Lower-Rung U.S. Workers Get Leg Up in Bankers' View
Life is looking up for Marco Ruiz, whose four months of unemployment ended in December when a landscaping company in Dallas hired him at $9.50 an hour, with small raises since then and a promotion two weeks ago.
WSJ | CFPB to Top Up Employees' Pay After Performance Disparities Found
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday said it would distribute extra compensation to employees who received lower performance rankings after a review determined the regulator consistently gave higher performance rankings to whites, younger employees and higher-paid workers.

WSJ | Modern Forms of Slavery Generate $150 Billion a Year in Profits for Exploiters
Millions of slaves and other forced laborers around the world are generating an estimated $150.2 billion a year in profits for their exploiters, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization.
Library of Economics | Tucker on the Young Unemployed
Consider: Why does any business hire an employee? It happens based on the belief that the business will make more money with the employee than without it. The business pays you, you do work, and, as a result, there are greater returns coming in than there would otherwise be.


Nerighborhood Effects | Municipal pension news: Baltimore to offer DC plan
Earlier this month, Baltimore’s city council approved a measure to give the city’s workers a choice between a defined contribution or defined benefit plan plan. According to Pensions and Investments, new hires will contribute 5 percent of their salary to whichever plan they choose, a significant increase from the 1 percent that workers were required to begin contributing to the city’s pension system last year.
Washington Post | ‘Federal judge strikes down D.C. budget autonomy law, says only Congress can act’
The District’s bid to win more spending freedom from Congress through a ballot referendum is not legally permissible, a federal judge ruled Monday, dealing a setback to officials who argued that voters had the power to amend the city’s charter and change its relationship with overseers on Capitol Hill.