Friday, July 11, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Hispanics' massive wealth gap
Hispanic households amassed $109,000 in wealth, on average, compared to $495,000 for all households in 2010, according to a recent report by St. Louis Federal Reserve researchers.
National Journal | The Case for International Institutions
What if global powerhouse institutions, which people love to hate in a knee-jerk way, actually did their jobs pretty well during the Great Recession? That's the premise of The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression (Oxford University Press, 2014), a counterintuitive book from Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, as well as a prolific tweeter and frequent contributor to The Washington Post.
CNN Money | Wells Fargo is lending its mountain of cash
In its second quarter earnings report Friday, Wells Fargo (WFC)showed a solid jump in loan and deposit growth, a sign that it continues to function more like a main street local bank than an investment banking powerhouse.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Returning federal lands back to the states
Tensions are rising in the wake of federal busybodies who are making such pests of themselves that land, and who owns it, is becoming a hot-button issue west of the Rockies. Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy’s high-profile standoff with the Bureau of Land Management earlier this year put the issue into the headlines.
Real Clear Markets | Renewable Fuel Standards Are a Pain In the Gas
Washington has a long-standing fascination with the nation's energy markets that generates an endless stream of legislation and regulation in pursuit of a wide range of policy objectives, from energy independence to climate change.
CNN Money | Business wants immigration reform. Why? Because they can't find enough workers
As the nation deals with an immigration crisis at its borders, businesses are stepping up their calls for reform.
Forbes | The Supreme Court's Fiercest Fights Are Mostly About Other People's Money
With the Supreme Court’s session finished for the term, many commentators have been looking back over all their decisions and highlighting trends and key cases. Many of the commentators have focused on the political split between the liberal and conservative justices or between the female and male ones. However, allow me to propose a new way of analyzing the cases: look at whether the litigation involves other people’s money.
Mercatus | State Economic Prosperity and Taxation
Policymakers frequently debate how different methods of taxation affect their states’ economies. While most economists agree that higher taxes result in reduced investment and innovation, previous studies have not found overwhelming evidence that higher tax rates lead to lower eco­nomic growth.
AEI | Does innovation lead to prosperity for all?
Without a doubt, exciting new technologies, including in robotics, 3-D printing, and gene therapy, are impressive. Blood markers and the ability to reengineer genetic DNA have achieved fantastic breakthroughs. Nanotechnology and biotechnology have improved living standards significantly. In the future, machine-to-machine interfacing and the use of ultra-powerful quantum computing will know no bounds.

WSJ | Business Executives More Likely Than Public to Say Inequality Is a Problem
U.S. executives are more likely than the general public to see economic inequality as a problem, according to a Harris Poll released Tuesday. Though, they were divided on how big an issue inequality is.
WSJ | Are More Young Adults Falling Through the Cracks?
It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy for many young Americans—unless, that is, they’re not working, not in school and feeling incredibly anxious about looking lazy.
CATO | Ignoring the Law of Supply and Demand
A recent report from Fannie Mae finds that baby boomers are not leaving their comfortable suburban homes for lively inner-city communities with walkable streets. As a news article about the report observes, this challenges the “conventional wisdom that ‘empty nester’ baby boomers would eventually downsize from the homes where they raised families, flocking instead to apartments or condos.”

Health Care

Politico | The verdict is in: Obamacare lowers uninsured
Survey after survey is showing that the number of uninsured people has been going down since the start of enrollment last fall. The numbers don’t all match, and health care experts say they’re not precise enough to give more than a general idea of the trend.

CATO | Google Co-Founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page: Health Care Regulation Is Blocking Innovation
Health is just so heavily regulated, it’s just a painful business to be in. It’s just not necessarily how I want to spend my time. Even though we do have some health projects, and we’ll be doing that to a certain extent. But I think the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high that I think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus | Legislation to Reform the Federal Reserve on its 100-Year Anniversary
I will focus my remarks on the portions of the proposed legislation that relate to the Federal Reserve’s role as a regulator and supervisor of financial institutions—an area in which its ambitions outstrip its capabilities.
Market Watch | Fed's George says rates may need to rise this year
Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said Thursday that many monetary policy indicators she uses are pointing to the need for a possible rate hike this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mercatus | Inflation Targeting: A Monetary Policy Regime Whose Time Has Come and Gone
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, however, Western Kentucky University professor David Beckworth suggests that inflation targeting as a monetary policy regime is inadequate because it is unable to deal with large supply and demand shocks in the economy and contributes to financial instability.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CRS | The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options
The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)—enacted on a temporary basis by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5) and extended through the end of 2017 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240; ATRA)—is a partially refundable tax credit that provides financial assistance to taxpayers who are attending college, or whose children are attending college.

FOX Business | The Tax Consequences of Losing Your Job
Losing your job is hard enough without having to consider tax planning, but unfortunately, that’s exactly what needs to be done in order to help keep your finances intact.


WSJ | Skills Shortage Means Many Jobs Go Unfilled
Growing numbers of small-business owners say unfilled job openings are thwarting their growth at a time of high confidence in the economy.


CNN Money | Should you raid your retirement savings to slash debt?
"The 401(k) always appears to be a pretty good place to borrow from..." said Margaret Starner, senior vice president of financial planning at Raymond James & Associates. "But it's a slippery slope."

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Signal | Ending the Export-Import Bank Is All About Governing
This morning I read a piece in Politico about a difficult choice for Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee: reauthorize the Export Import Bank or let its charter expire?

WSJ | Even Finance-Conscious Consumers Spend Swiftly After Payday
Americans step up their spending after payday—no surprise—but it’s not because the cash is burning holes in their pockets, a new study found.