Tuesday, May 27, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Cut your cooling costs by 30% or more
With electric rates predicted to climb 10% by summer, cranking up your air conditioner could cost you big this year. But that doesn't have to mean living in a sweat lodge.
FOX News | Taxpayers paid $5.7 million for global warming games
Taxpayers paid more than $5 million to create climate change games, including voicemails from the future warning that “neo-luddites” will kill global warming enthusiasts by 2035.
CNN Money | Mail delivery to your door at risk
Currently, 37 million American homes and businesses get mail delivered to their doors. Now, about 15 million of them are at risk of losing home delivery if House Republicans have their way.
Bloomberg | Durable Goods Orders in U.S. Unexpectedly Increase
Orders for durable goods unexpectedly climbed for a third month in April, a sign U.S. factories will help the world’s biggest economy strengthen.
WSJ | Signs of a Suburban Comeback
The long tug of war between big cities and suburbs is tilting ever so slightly back to the land of lawns and malls. After two years of solid urban growth, more Americans are moving again to suburbs and beyond.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Future for new college graduates looks bleak
It’s that time of year again — graduation season. While commencement ceremonies should be a time of celebration for college graduates, it has rather become a moment of panic.
Fortune | Home price growth slows down across 20 U.S. cities
Home values for single-family residences increased 12.4% from March 2013, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, which tracks property values across the top 10 and 20 biggest U.S. metropolitan areas. That's the slowest 12-month gain since July and down from the 12.9% annual increase reported in February.
Real Clear Markets | Obama's Plan To Make the Poor Even Poorer
President Obama has called inequality "the defining challenge of our time." But on June 2 he will announce new "cap-and-trade" environmental regulations that will make the poor a lot poorer and the rich a little less rich.
Fortune | The U.S. has the world's most competitive economy. So what?
The fact that the American economy is the world's most competitive comes as cold comfort to the nation's unemployed and to those who have not experienced real wage increases in a generation.
CNN Money | Did Piketty get it wrong? Analysis questions author's data
On one side is Thomas Piketty, author of the best-selling tome "Capital in the Twenty-First Century." He argues that wealth inequality is growing and "threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values," and published the data behind his conclusions online.
Mercatus | Why We Need Regulatory Reform in Two Charts
The Problem: The American regulatory system has no working, systematic process for reviewing regulations for obsolescence or poor performance, facilitating the accumulation of a vast stock of regulations.
AEI | What conservatives don't understand about the modern US economy
A new manifesto making the rounds in conservative circles is as much a time-travel tale as the new comic-book movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Activists hope that embracing supposedly timeless economic policies, such as tax cuts and balanced budgets, will unite and then ignite the Republican Party. Reagan-era nostalgia, unfortunately, is not much of a superpower. Without recognition that new economic challenges require new thinking and new solutions, this tired GOP sequel is unlikely to attract much of an audience.

WSJ | Poor Americans Direct 40% of Their Spending to Housing Expenses
Housing and food expenses absorb more than half of low-income Americans’ annual spending. Even the wealthiest Americans devote a sizable share of their spending to keeping a roof over their heads and food in their refrigerators.
Heritage Foundation | 6 Small Towns With Big Government Problems
Out-of-control government, most common to Washington, D.C., can trickle down to small towns, too.

Health Care

WSJ | New Costs From Health Law Snarl Union Contract Talks
Unions and employers are tussling over who will pick up the tab for new mandates, such as coverage for dependent children to age 26, as well as future costs, such as a tax on premium health plans starting in 2018. The question is poised to become a significant point of tension as tens of thousands of labor contracts covering millions of workers expire in the next several years, with ACA-related cost increases ranging from 5% to 12.5% in current talks.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Where is the Innovation in Health Care?
Health care in the United States is stuck in a rut. Americans are spending more on the same old care. The disastrous Obamacare rollout creates more problems than the administration can spin that it “solves.” We have simply grown to accept rising prices and stagnating service as a fact of life.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Bond Market to Fed: Your 4% Rate Forecast Is Way Too High
The bond market, unparalleled in predicting shifts in the U.S. economy over the decades, has a message: interest rates aren’t going to rise as high as even the Federal Reserve’s own forecast.
WSJ | Lagarde Says Central Banks May Have to Consider Financial Stability
Central bankers around the world may have to take financial stability into greater account, in addition to their usual duties of keeping inflation low while maintaining close cooperation with each other, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said Sunday.

Market Watch | Fed should make exit decisions while things are quiet, former top staffer says
The Fed is not expected to make any move toward the exit until it is finished tapering its bond-buying program in the fourth quarter. This gives the Fed a few meetings of relative calm to explain its exit to the market, said Brian Sack, a former senior Fed officials, in an interview  with the Wall Street Journal.
Library of Economics | The goal of monetary stimulus is to boost saving
Negative deposit rates" means that the banks will charge the customer for saving money and placing it in the bank. According to Keynesian theory (if there really is such a thing) government needs to spur "aggregate demand" in order to stimulate the economy to increased production. Keynes had no respect for savings...only spending.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Saving the Internet from killer taxes
The time to protect Internet freedom is now. That means telling the government to butt out and stay out. Period. That’s why Congress must make permanent the ban on Internet-access taxes that expires in the fall.
Real Clear Markets | How Tax Havens Complicate the U.S. Corporate Tax
The House of Representatives will soon vote on making permanent six temporary tax breaks for business, including the look-thru rule for CFCs (controlled foreign corporations). Although this rule seems like a technical exemption, it allows U.S. multinationals to move a lot of their foreign profits to tax havens and thereby serves as a major deterrent to sensible tax reform.
WSJ | U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Maryland Double-Taxation Case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide the scope of a state's power to tax residents' income when those earnings have already been taxed by another state.

WSJ | IMF Lagarde Urges Tax Overhaul to Tackle Inequality
Inequality casts “a dark shadow” across the global economy and countries should consider overhauling their tax systems to tackle gulfs in incomes and wealth, according to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
FOX Business | 5 Steps to Help Turn an Internship Into a Job
“Students that make a good impression during the course of their internship are much more likely to get hired by an organization, or at least be able to make valuable networking connections that they will be able to use as a future reference,” says Penny Loretto, a career expert and blogger for

WSJ | In Grist for Fed’s Debate, Researchers Say Unemployment Rate isn’t Undercounting Slack
If policymakers think the job market has considerable slack, with many more available workers than available jobs, they might hold down short-term interest rates for longer to bolster the economic recovery. If they think the labor market is getting tight, they might raise rates sooner to head off inflation as wages rise.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Reason | Nothing Left to Cut?
Modern Democrats do not have the will to shrink the federal waistline. Sadly, modern Republicans are little better: Despite paying lip service to balanced budgets, the elephants of the Grand Old Party are too often just as gluttonous as their opponents, and averse to naming specific programs that deserve the ax.