Tuesday, July 1, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | Growth at U.S. Factories Holds Near Fastest Pace of Year
Growth at U.S. factories held in June near the fastest pace of the year, a sign that manufacturing helped boost the economy in the second quarter.
Market Watch | Home prices rise 1.4% in May; 10 states hit records highs
As spring sales continued, U.S. home prices in May rose 1.4%, and 10 states set record highs, according to data released Tuesday.
National Journal | The 5 Best and Worst Cities for Small Businesses, According to Small-Business Owners
There are a number of surveys that use state and federal data to determine how good places are for small businesses. But a new survey released Tuesday asks small-business owners what they think of their hometowns.
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Manufacturing Slows on France as Spain Gains
Manufacturing in the euro area slowed more than initially estimated in June as a deepening of France’s downturn offset a rise in Spanish activity to a seven-year high.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | 4 signs the stock market is overheating
CNNMoney took a look at a slew of recent data on stock valuations and corporate sentiment, and while the prospects for global economic growth remain robust, savvy investors need to stay vigilant.
Market Watch | Economy this year will be no better than last year
The sharp drop in first-quarter gross domestic product virtually guarantees that growth for the year as a whole will be minimal, at best.
AEI | Is a new housing bubble possible?
Would it be possible to have a new housing bubble? Yes, of course. How long does it take to forget the lessons of the last crisis? By the historical record, about 10 years, and it is already eight years since the peak of the great U.S. housing bubble of 1999-2006, and five years since the end of the financial crisis of 2007-2009. As former-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wittily observed, “About every 10 years, we have the biggest crisis in 50 years.”
Daily Signal | Congress Needs to Get Serious About Eliminating Some Government Programs
Summer is here and school is out.  For many parents this means toys everywhere around the house and never-ending debates to get the kids to put their stuff away. Or, some parents may choose to just pick up after their kids.

WSJ | Value of Americans’ Foreign Holdings Decline to Start Year
The value U.S.-owned foreign assets shrank by $108 billion, or 0.5%, during the first quarter 2014, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Health Care

Politico | SCOTUS decision ignites Obamacare, contraception fight
Just when the health care law seemed to be in a better place, with a big finish to the enrollment season and the early embarrassments fading into the background, the Supreme Court handed Obamacare’s opponents their biggest legal victory yet.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | I Was Right About the ACA
Around and after the time that the Affordable Care Act was enacted, many analysts identified problems with claims being made about the law, and we offered explanations of its likely actual effects. Too often these were brushed aside amid efforts to promote the ACA in the face of growing public opposition. But four years into the ACA, it is remarkable how well our predictions have been borne out.
Politico | Waste, errors in health care remain huge issues, experts agree
Despite health care industry concerns about wasteful and unnecessary care, it’s nearly impossible for patients to overrule their doctors when they think they’re getting a procedure they don’t need, a prominent patient care advocate argued Tuesday.


FOX News | Five tough facts about inflation and Fed policy
It has printed trillions of dollars to save big banks from their financial crisis debauchery and to keep interest rates low to spur economic recovery, but those have not improved the lot of ordinary Americans.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Financial Post | The Fed is ‘playing with fire’
Les jeux sont faits: Those infamous words uttered by Ed Rooney to an unsuspecting and unimpressed young lady in the classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off caused the poor school principal to end up a bit wet in the face. The translation into English is: the game is up. I suspect the Fed at some point is going to end up with something else on its face … but more like egg than soda.
Washington Times | The inevitability of inflation
Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” There’s a third certainty in life, however: inflation.
WSJ | Stop Us Before We Kill Again
The big financial news over the weekend, other than betting on the World Cup, is that the world's premier central bankers club is now warning the world about each other. The Bank for International Settlements issued a report warning that global monetary policies are reaching their useful limit and may be contributing to financial excesses that could turn out badly if central bankers aren't careful.
CRS | Export-Import Bank: Overview and Reauthorization Issues
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank or the Bank), an independent federal government agency, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the United States. It operates under a renewable charter, the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 (P.L. 79-173), as amended.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | An act of economic strangulation
Do you know why the U.S. economy shrank almost 3 percent in the first quarter of this year? When the news of the dreadful gross domestic product (GDP) number came out last week, many were surprised, but none were more surprised than the folks in the Obama administration. Many of their supporters had been saying this was the year of a real economic recovery.
Mercatus | A Tale of Three Taxpayers
Have income tax cuts really favored the wealthy at the expense of middle- and lower-income earners? Much of the popular rhetoric says they have; as one 2011 article puts it: “The effective tax burdens on the wealthy are lower now than at almost any time in the past fifty years, thanks to past rate cuts and a proliferation of tax exemptions which . . . shower most of their benefits on the affluent.” Yet analysts can parse tax data in various ways to prove or disprove this point.
Heritage Foundation | Read My Bits: No New Taxes (Permanently)
At midnight on October 31, Congress’s long-standing moratorium on state Internet taxation expires, freeing state and local governments to tax online access and other Web services enjoyed by Americans.

WSJ | Epitaph for the Corporate Income Tax
All those recent headlines about more U.S. companies contorting themselves to move their legal headquarters to Ireland or Britain could serve as an epitaph for the 105-year-old U.S. corporate income tax.


FOX Business | No Entrepreneurial Soil More Fertile than in America
Seven score and 11 years ago, Abraham Lincoln’s inspired speech at the Gettysburg Cemetery dedication included these words: “…our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Bloomberg | Euro-Area Jobless Rate Unchanged as Crisis Legacy Lingers
The euro-area unemployment rate was unchanged in May as the currency bloc struggled to shake off the legacy of the debt crisis.

WSJ | Economists Haven’t Been This Upbeat About Jobs Since 2010
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal predict the economy added 218,000 jobs in June. During the five-year economic recovery, the only time that the consensus estimate was higher was in May 2010, a month in which figures were sharply inflated by the temporary hiring of census workers.


WSJ | Federal Pension-Plan Safety Net Faces Severe Funds Squeeze
The federal safety net for a type of private-sector pension plan common in the transportation, construction and other industries is at risk of collapse in coming years, according to a report released Monday.