Friday, June 27, 2014

General Economics

Politico | How immigration reform died
Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, had just explained why she declared him the “deporter in chief” in a speech in early March. Obama, who was infuriated when he first heard Murguia’s remarks weeks earlier, sat in silence, trying to keep his anger in check, according to advocates in attendance.
CNN Money | Millennial-driven housing boom coming
Some 11 million recent grads were living with a parent in 2012, according to Pew. The homeownership rate for those under age 35 was 36% in the first three months of 2014, down from a high of 43% in 2005, according to the Census.
National Journal | Where Homeowners Are Still Underwater
There's been a lot of encouraging news about the housing market recently. New home sales are up, foreclosures are down, and a decreasing number of people owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last month, homeowners' equity reached the highest level since the recession began. 
FOX News | Texas-Oklahoma segment of Keystone spouts big dividends, says study
A new study claims that a just-built 485-mile stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a huge economic boon for two dozen rural and poor Oklahoma and Texas counties—and will create the same significant impact in five other states if the project’s long stalled northern segment ever wins White House approval.
CNN Money | Americans still hesitant to spend more
Personal income rose 0.4% in May, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It may not sound like much, but it marked the fifth straight month in a row that incomes rose. Not only that, but incomes are rising faster than inflation -- an encouraging sign that people are gaining more buying power.
Bloomberg | Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Rose in June From Month Earlier
Consumer sentiment improved in June as higher stock prices and an improving labor market helped bolster Americans views of the economy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The end of American democracy?
There are so many scandals plaguing the administration of Barack Obama that any sentient historian would have to contemplate whether this nation’s status as the world’s model democratic nation has finally come to an end.
Forbes | Conservatives Should Oppose Social Engineering Even By Conservatives
Recently a group of conservative intellectuals banded together to create a conservative policy reform agenda. Using the title “Room to Grow,” these self-styled reform conservatives are pushing conservatives to have a positive agenda, to be for something rather than simply blocking the liberal agenda. That is a good idea, on its face. The problem is that conservative social engineering has the same drawback as liberal social engineering: government is still distorting markets and picking winners and losers.
Bloomberg | Who Wins and Who Loses as Oil Spike Challenges Global Economy
No matter how hard residents of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Turkey work, they won’t strike oil. Nor will those in the Philippines, India and Thailand. They’ll be the biggest losers if this month’s spike in crude prices is extended, say UBS AG economists Larry Hatheway and Andrew Cates.
Market Watch | Summers: Economic pickup could come on unstable ground
The former Treasury secretary for President Bill Clinton and the head of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama says it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the economy could accelerate — but the acceleration could come on unstable footing.

Health Care

CNBC | An Obamacare bailout? Insurers already got one!
For ordinary consumers, the answer varies. A lot of Americans who never had insurance before have indeed been able to find health coverage AND health care, (they're two different things, after all).
CNN Money | Obamacare = opportunity for insurers
For insurers, Obamacare spells opportunity: They are flocking to sell more policies on more state exchanges for 2015.
WSJ | Federal Health-Exchange Plans to Automatically Renew
The Obama administration plans to automatically renew for next year the health plans and premium subsidies that consumers obtained through the Affordable Care Act's federal insurance exchange.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | The ACA is the Problem, Not CBO
Lately there has been a flurry of articles and columns about how the Congressional Budget Office is no longer able to tell us whether the Affordable Care Act will reduce or worsen the federal budget deficit. Those interested in federal budget policy should understand an important truth underlying this coverage: the problem here lies not with CBO, it is with the ACA. While the ACA’s costs are proving real, several of its provisions designed to produce budget savings are not yet doing so.
CNBC | Obamacare Will Suck the Life Out of the Economy
The word "unexpectedly" for negative economic reports has become a much-mocked clich̩ in the media over the past five-plus years of recovery, but this week's final look at first-quarter economic growth deserves an exception. First estimated at a meager 0.1 percent annualized rate, and then downwardly revised to -1.0 percent in May, most economists expected a smaller revision to the downside Рin the -1.5 percent-1.8 percent range.

CATO | ObamaCare’s Exchanges Perform More than a Dozen Functions Besides Issuing Subsidies
One of the issues underlying Halbig v. Sebelius and three similar lawsuits making their way through federal courts is whether Congress intentionally restricted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA) private health-insurance subsidies to individuals who buy coverage through state-established exchanges. If so, that would mean the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to issue subsidies in the 34 states that did not establish exchanges (i.e., that have federally established exchanges) is illegal. For more on the IRS’s attempt to rewrite the PPACA in this fashion, click here.


Bloomberg | Yellen Spending Mix Lacks Ingredient of Higher Pay
Janet Yellen and her Federal Reserve colleagues are finally succeeding in their efforts to generate higher inflation. Now they must do the same for wages to prevent U.S. households from getting squeezed.
FOX Business | Walking a Tightrope: How Deutsche Thinks the Fed Will Exit Ultra-Loose Policies
Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, crafted a chart that examines how the Federal Reserve could exit its ultra-accommodative monetary policy.  

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Fed Needs to Return to Monetary Rules
As the Federal Reserve's large-scale bond purchases wind down, financial markets and policy makers now are focused on when the Fed will move to increase interest rates. There is a more fundamental question that needs to be answered: Will the central bank continue its highly interventionist and discretionary monetary policies, or will it move to a more rules-based approach?
Market Watch | Bullard: Markets think Fed is more dovish than it is
Financial markets think the Federal Reserve is more dovish than it actually is, said St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard on Thursday.

Market Watch | ‘Dreaded conflict’ for the Fed: slower growth and faster inflation
The numbers coming out of the Commerce Department on Thursday morning weren’t on their face alarming for the Federal Reserve, but they certainly didn’t make lives any easier — inflation is heating up while consumer spending seems lackluster. The PCE measure of inflation rose to 1.8% year-on-year — getting closer to the central bank’s 2% target — while consumer spending rose just 0.2% on the month to take the year-on-year move to 3.7%.
WSJ | Fed’s Lacker: Rates Could Rise Even If Economic Growth Remains Subdued
The Federal Reserve is likely to begin raising interest rates next year even if the U.S. economy doesn’t experience a substantial acceleration in growth, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said Thursday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | Congress Should Be Cautious About Expanding the Child Tax Credit
Members of Congress have renewed the discussion of increasing the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to help the beleaguered middle class. Their desire to help the middle class is laudable. The slow recovery and President Barack Obama’s faulty economic policies have hit the middle class hard, but increasing the CTC is not the best way to deliver relief. The better approach would be tax reform that reduces disincentives to engage in economically productive activities.

FOX Business | S&P: Cut Corporate Taxes to Create 10M New Jobs
Lowering corporate tax rates and simplifying the maniacally-convoluted tax code is slowly catching fire. S&P Capital IQ has provided an estimate on just what would happen to the U.S. economy if the effective corporate tax rate paid by S&P 500 companies dropped to Switzerland’s average, effective rate of 22.4% from our current 32.3%.
WSJ | After Tax Increase, Signs of Recovery in Japan Consumption
Japanese private consumption showed signs of recovery in May after it plunged on April’s sales-tax rise, an encouraging sign for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to lift the economy out of its long funk.


Washington Times | ALL of the net jobs gains in the U.S. since 2000 have gone to immigrants
Since 2000, all of the net jobs added by the U.S. economy have gone to immigrants, both legal and illegal, according to a report being released Friday by the Center for Immigration Studies that challenges prevailing wisdom that the country needs an influx of workers.

WSJ | Massachusetts Sets Nation’s Highest Minimum Wage
Massachusetts will reach the level—50% higher than the federal rate–in three steps of $1 increases. The new law supplants Vermont as the state set to have the highest wage floor. Legislators there earlier this month approved raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by 2018.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Fiscal Times | How to Stop the Epidemic of Student Debt Defaults
This week, while analysts debated the seriousness of the student debt crisis, one statistic went unchallenged: Student loan defaults are at their highest rate in 20 years, affecting over 7 million borrowers.  - See more at: