Thursday, May 22, 2014

General Economics

National Journal | Small-Business Owners Love What They Do, Despite the Economy
In a new Gallup and Wells Fargo survey released this week, 84 percent of small-business owners say that if they had they could do it all over again they would still start their own business. (Wells Fargo is also a sponsor of National Journal's Next America project.) To the 600 small-business owners who were polled, the independence and decision-making that come with their job are invaluable benefits.
Bloomberg | Gain in U.S. Leading Index Points to Second-Quarter Rebound
The index of U.S. leading indicators rose in April for the fourth straight month, showing the economy will strengthen after a slowdown earlier this year.
CNN Money | Mortgage rates fall - lowest since October
Interest rates have been pushed down as investors, skittish about the economy, have abandoned stocks for U.S. Treasuries, according to Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Bloomberg | Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Rise for First Time This Year
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes increased in April as a bigger supply of properties lured buyers and raised prospects for a stronger spring selling season.
Market Watch | Markit flash manufacturing PMI moves higher in May
U.S. manufacturing picked up to a 3-month high in May, according to the flash purchasing managers index released by Markit on Thursday. The manufacturing PMI rose to 56.2 compared to the 55.4 in April.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The not-so-Great Society turns a rickety 50
President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his Great Society 50 years ago Thursday, and it was another date to live in infamy. The nation is much the worse for it.
Mercatus | Increasing the Effectiveness of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in Protecting Consumers
Testimony Before the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services
CATO | A Champion of Economic Freedom
It is easy to become discouraged about the U.S. economy: slow economic growth, rising debt, the massive weight of government spending, taxes, and regulation. Few politicians from either party seem willing to take the difficult stands necessary to address the out-of-control growth of government.

WSJ | Why Housing Isn’t As Cheap as It Looks
A growing number of economists and policy makers are faulting last summer’s spike in mortgage rates for a broad slowdown in housing activity that began last fall.
Market Watch | Texas dominates ranks of fastest growing cities
The Census Bureau released Thursday data on population growth by cities, and three located near Austin, Texas, were among the fastest growing of cities with populations over 50,000.  San Marcos, Cedar Park and Georgetown all were in the top 10, and Austin itself gained more people — 21,000 — of cities with less than 1 million residents.
WSJ | Larry Summers: Student Debt Is Slowing the U.S. Housing Recovery
Former White House adviser Lawrence Summers said Wednesday that student debt is slowing the housing recovery and the broader economic recovery, adding a prominent voice to the debate in Washington over whether Congress should reduce Americans’ student-loan burdens.
Library of Economics | The Great Society at 50
Fifty years ago, Lyndon Johnson gave his famous "Great Society" address at the University of Michigan. In an interesting essay on "The Great Society at 50", AEI's Nicholas Eberstadt presents a very balanced and nuanced account of the "Great Society", that he ultimately deems as a "project that ended up at war with itself".

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | After Obamacare's launch, a look ahead
Even though the enrollment window has closed, you can add or change an individual plan in some circumstances, such as if you lose your job, move, divorce, or have a baby. Otherwise, you're locked out until enrollment reopens on Nov. 15.

Heritage Foundation | Nevada Jumps Ship on Its Sinking Obamacare Exchange Website
The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Board, which runs Nevada’s exchange under the Affordable Care Act, announced yesterday it would fire website contractor Xerox Corp. and transfer from the state website, known as Nevada Health Link, to the federal website,


Bloomberg | Bubble States Underemployment Rates Haunt Yellen
Residents of the U.S. states that suffered the steepest home price declines and record foreclosures face labor markets that remain impaired five years after the most severe recession since the 1930s ended.
WSJ | Fed Officials Tussle Over Labor Market Slack
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has argued consistently in recent months that labor markets are abundant with slack that will hold inflation and wages down. But she hasn't convinced all her colleagues.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Fed's Blueprint for Financial Control
Much of the financial world hangs on Janet Yellen's every word, looking for policy portents in language that is crafted to be circumspect about the central bank's plans. A more useful place to look for guidance on regulation of the financial system is Daniel Tarullo, a Federal Reserve Board governor and its point man for banking reform. Mr. Tarullo gave a speech in Chicago on May 8 that was as unsettling as it was, by the Fed's inscrutable standards, unguarded.
Bloomberg | Ikea Economics Lure Central Bankers Seeking New Tools
Sweden invented the central bank, establishing the Riksbank in 1668 after the public lost confidence in the paper money produced by Stockholms Banco. Bank-rescue strategies in the 1990s and efforts to improve central-bank communications through forward guidance taught lessons to first responders in the recent global financial crisis.
CATO | Don’t be Fooled by Taper Talk
Since last June, most thought the U.S. Federal Reserve’s so-called taper was just around the corner. Well, the Fed’s large-scale asset purchasers did finally begin to take action, but they did so later than most anticipated. It now appears that the door will close on the Fed’s massive asset purchase program late this year.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
USA Today | Rep. Dave Camp: Take uncertainty out of tax code
Hardworking families and businesses are struggling in this economy, wages are flat and businesses aren't growing. The culprit? A broken tax code that is hurting our ability to create good-paying jobs.


Bloomberg | Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast
More Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, showing uneven progress in the labor market.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | A five-part battle plan to hire more veterans
When it comes to helping vets adjust to the civilian job market, good intentions go only so far. Here's how one company gets results.
Heritage Foundation | Equal Pay for Equal Work: Examining the Gender Gap
The White House and many in Congress argue that employers pay women less than men for the same work. They point to figures showing that women earn 77 cents for each dollar men earn. Such statistics ignore other factors that influence pay.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Why is the federal government so hard on debtors?
Since the financial crisis, the government has become one of the largest holders of American debt, and critics say its inflexibility is holding back the recovery.