Monday, July 14, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | China's growth stagnates as property threat grows
China's economy is in danger of missing its growth target as risk balloons in the country's all-important real estate sector, according to a CNNMoney survey of economists.
Bloomberg | Citigroup Reaches $7 Billion Mortgage-Bond Settlement
Citigroup Inc. (C) agreed to pay $7 billion in fines and consumer relief to resolve government claims that it misled investors about the quality of mortgage-backed bonds sold before the 2008 financial crisis.
Market Watch | Three reasons why big investors are betting on housing
Just ask Federal Reserve officials , who laid out a laundry list last week of factors behind the sluggish housing market. To name just a few: credit standards are strict, families are having trouble saving enough for high down payments, and costs are rising.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Economy needs consumers to chip in
Consumer spending is the fuel that runs a modern economy. Oh sure, businesses have to invest and hire to get the party going, but consumer spending generates more than two-thirds of the nation’s economic activity. When they spend more, businesses hire and invest more.
Bloomberg | How to Fix the Credit-Rating System
The credit-rating industry has been one of the more successful fugitives from stricter regulation since the financial crisis. The companies' failure to do their appointed jobs was as spectacular as that of the banks, and at the very center of the whole mess -- yet the regulatory follow-through has been minimal. The vital function that the companies failed to discharge should be rethought.

Health Care

Daily Signal | Temp Agency: Obamacare Is Causing Businesses to Hire Part-Time, Not Full-Time, Employees
Under pressure to comply with the Affordable Care Act, some South Carolina businesses are cutting back by hiring more part-time rather than full time employees.


Bloomberg | Draghi Seen Delivering $1 Trillion to Banks in ECB Offer
Mario Draghi’s newest stimulus tool will hand banks more than 700 billion euros ($950 billion) of cheap funding, economists say.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | The end of quantitative easing is good news
The Federal Reserve’s unconventional “quantitative easing” strategy will not turn into a “QE-ternity” after all. Many a Wall Street wag had suggested that might happen after then-Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke announced an indefinite program of $40 billion per month in asset purchases in September 2012. But on Wednesday the Fed released minutes of its internal discussions showing that the central bank, under new chair Janet L. Yellen, plans to stop quantitative easing in October.

WSJ | Fed’s Evans: Inflation Over 2% Not Necessarily a Catastrophe
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said Friday it’s pretty unlikely the economy will suddenly grow fast enough to drive him to move forward his expected timing of the central bank’s first interest rate increase.
WSJ | Rate Debate Heats Up Among Fed Officials
A debate is intensifying among the Federal Reserve's regional bank presidents about whether to push interest rates up from zero sooner than planned because of recent improvements in the U.S. job market, potentially signaling a broader discussion that could change the rate outlook.


CNN Money | Drug maker willing to pay more to escape U.S. tax
Chicago drug maker AbbVie is a big step closer to slashing its tax bill: Its U.K. takeover target, Shire, said it would recommend accepting a new, higher bid.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Why Targeted Tax Breaks From States Don't Work
Nobody knows what the total value is of all the tax breaks given by state and location governments as incentives to attract or keep businesses within their borders. A 2012 estimate by the New York Times placed the sum somewhere above $80 billion per year. All these incentives create three problems: states over-compete against each other, local communities become hostages to large employers, and small, perhaps innovative companies are placed at a clear disadvantage.
Washington Times | Enabling American companies to compete at home and abroad
Consensus regarding the need to repair our long-broken tax code can be easily found among lawmakers of all stripes — Republican or Democrat — and pro-reform talking points are never in short supply.
AEI | Fixing the child care penalty
The current tax code denies families appropriate tax relief for work-related child care expenses. A new Senate bill would help correct this problem.


Bloomberg | Can't Get a Job From an Algorithm, or So It Seems as Hot Resumes Go Nowhere Fast
One morning last month, a group of job seekers gathered in a cool basement meeting room under a Washington condominium to hear a talk and share stories.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America
There has been a distinctive odor of hype lately about the national jobs report for June. Most people will have the impression that the 288,000 jobs created last month were full-time. Not so.
CRS | Job Creation in the Manufacturing Revival
The health of the U.S. manufacturing sector is of intense interest to Congress. Numerous bills aimed at promoting manufacturing have been introduced in Congress, often with the stated goal of creating jobs. Implicit in many of these bills is the assumption that the manufacturing sector is uniquely able to provide well-paid employment for workers who have not pursued advanced education.


Gallup | Consumers Spending More, Just Not on Things They Want
Slightly less than half of all Americans (45%) report spending more than they did a year ago, while 18% report spending less. A closer look at these numbers reveals Americans' increased spending is on household essentials, such as groceries, gasoline, utilities, and healthcare, rather than on discretionary purchases.
WSJ | U.S. Budget Deficit Narrows in First Nine Months of Fiscal Year
The federal government's deficit from October through June totaled $366 billion, down 28% from the same period a year earlier, the U.S. Treasury Department said Friday. The federal fiscal year began Oct. 1.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Daily Signal | Why Is Congress Again Using a Budget Process that Will Protect Ineffective Programs?
Last week, Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., signaled her chamber already has begun to lay the groundwork for an omnibus budget bill in September, CQ Roll Call reports. Instead of debating on their own merits each of the 12 spending bills that fund government agencies and programs, Congress would bundle all of them into one massive package and rush it through the voting process at the 11th hour.