Wednesday, June 11, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | World Bank Cuts Global Growth Forecast After ‘Bumpy’ 2014 Start
The World Bank cut its global growth forecast amid weaker outlooks for the U.S., Russia and China, while calling on emerging markets to strengthen their economies before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
Bloomberg | Lew Urges Policy Changes to Strengthen U.S. Growth Potential
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the U.S. needs to boost the economy’s capacity to grow so the benefits are shared more widely, as unemployment is “still too high” and wages are lagging.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | How North Dakota's economy doubled in 11 years
Fueled by a massive oil boom, the state's economic output has more than doubled in just 11 years, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data on state gross domestic products (GDP) released Wednesday.
Washington Times | Satisfied with mediocrity
The government reported last week that the economy created only 217,000 jobs in May, with hardly a peep of serious complaint from the White House or Democrats in Congress.
WSJ | Treasury Secretary Lew Warns of Lower Potential Economic Growth
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday that the country faces the possibility of a permanent downshift in economic growth unless businesses increase investments, the workforce is improved and infrastructure woes are fixed.
NBER | Quantifying the Lasting Harm to the U.S. Economy from the Financial Crisis
The financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession left the U.S. economy in an injured state. In 2013, output was 13 percent below its trend path from 1990 through 2007.
AEI | Europe in Denial
Among the more glaring weaknesses in European policymaking over the past few years has been the complacency of its political elite. Sadly, today, despite clear evidence that the European political center is crumbling, the European political elite manages to convince itself that this is but a fleeting phenomenon of no great significance.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Short Unhappy Life of ObamaCare
President Obama claims the debate over the Affordable Care Act is "over," but in coming weeks and months expect it to intensify. Health-insurance companies will soon begin releasing preliminary rate estimates for next year's plans. Industry experts say consumers should once again brace for significantly higher premiums.
Real Clear Markets | A Healthcare Stumble That Could Wreck the Obamacare Facade
The inclusion of not-for profit "cooperatives" in President Obama's signature health law was supposed to offer progressive policymakers a lesser alternative to a so-called public option. The co-ops were a concession to those who wanted the ACA to include a government-run health plan.
CATO | Obamacare: Still Failing
It may turn out that the VA scandal and the controversy surrounding the prisoner swap for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl were actually good news for congressional Democrats. That’s because they’ve managed to keep the media and voters from focusing on the latest bad news about Obamacare.

Daily Signal | Obamacare Can’t Handle the Truth: Data Not Adding Up for Enrollees
Obamacare prompts one huge headache right off the bat for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the newly confirmed secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.


Bloomberg | Fed Prepares to Maintain Record Balance Sheet for Years
Federal Reserve officials, concerned that selling bonds from their $4.3 trillion portfolio could crush the U.S. recovery, are preparing to keep their balance sheet close to record levels for years.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | What If the Fed Has Created a Bubble?
Investors might be surprised to learn that they have a lot riding on something that they pay very little attention to: macro-prudential regulation, or what central banks and other government agencies do to reduce the risk of systemic financial disasters.

WSJ | Two Fed Officials Suggest Reverse Repos May Need Borrowing Limits, After All
The presidents of the New York and Boston Fed banks have made the case  in recent weeks that financial stability concerns could lead to changes in the way a program to control short-term interest rates is finally implemented.


WSJ | Sam Brownback's Tax-Cut Push Puts Kansas Out on Its Own
Two years ago, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out an aggressive program of tax cuts to turn this slow-growing state into a Texas-like economic powerhouse—and serve as a model for Republican leaders in other states.

WSJ | Japan to Decide Later This Year on Further Sales-Tax Rise
Japan’s government reaffirmed earlier this week that it will decide by the end of this year whether to raise the nation’s sales tax again, this time to 10% — seen as a crucial step to getting its fiscal house in order.


WSJ | OECD Jobless Rate Fell in April
The rate of unemployment across the 34 nations that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development fell in April, but the number of people without jobs remained 10.3 million higher than before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Seattle and the price of a ‘living wage’
The voters of SeaTac, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, lined up in big numbers last spring to show how much they care about the poor, voting to mandate a “living wage” of $15 an hour for workers in the city’s hospitality and transportation industries. Since the beginning of the year, businesses have had to pay an extra $5.68 an hour on top of the state’s minimum wage of $9.32 an hour.

WSJ | Vermont Pushes Minimum Wage to New Highs
Vermont became the first state to approve a minimum wage above President Barack Obama’s $10.10 an hour goal, potentially creating a series of oneupmanship that could elevate wage floors in pockets of the country.


Market Watch | Students get debt relief so colleges can charge more
President Barack Obama signed an executive order this week capping student-loan payments for 5 million borrowers to 10% of their income. This comes on top of recent legislation that does the same for most other students.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | How Congress Can Improve Government Programs and Save Taxpayer Dollars
The current budget process provides Congress with few incentives for eliminating programs that do not work and waste taxpayer resources. Moreover, the federal government suffers from duplicative and overlapping programs, which would be more effective and cost less if they were consolidated.