Wednesday, August 6, 2014

General Economics

Fox Business | Oil Prices Drop on Demand Concerns
Analysts expect the U.S. Energy Information Administration to report that domestic oil supplies fell by 1.7 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 1, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.
CNN Money | Want a cheap mortgage? Move to these states
Your credit score isn't the only thing determining whether or not you get a good rate on your mortgage. Where you live can also have a big impact.
Bloomberg | Trade Gap Shrinks to Five-Month Low as U.S. Imports Drop
The gap shrank 7 percent to $41.5 billion, the smallest since January, from May’s $44.7 billion, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The drop in purchases of foreign goods from the highest levels on record included declines in autos, cellular phones and the lowest petroleum imports in more than three years.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Universal Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
A universal basic income, or UBI, is radical in the best sense of the word. It cuts through the perverse incentives that currently discourage the poor from taking jobs and encourage them to game the system.
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Obama’s fulfilled promise of electric rates skyrocketing
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the price of electricity jumped to a record 14.3 cents per kilowatt-hour in June, compared to 12.4 cents per kilowatt-hour when he took office. That 1.9 cent jump may not sound like much, but it costs an average customer an extra $205 per year.
USA Today | Charles Koch: How to really turn the economy around
Government, business and workers need to address values and incentives.
Real Clear Markets | Nothing Is More Impoverishing Than Demonization Of the 1 Percent
We extol the top 1% everywhere, except where it's most important: the economy. If we call a ceasefire to the left's class warfare, it is clear how incongruous their call to accept this exception is. What we have is a conflict between America's quest for the best and the left's goal for control.
Cato Institute | Kicking Social Security’s Empty Can Down the Road
“Since the 2004 Trustees’ report was issued, the program’s unfunded obligation has grown larger by a whopping $14.5 trillion.”

WSJ: The Numbers | Why It’s Worrying That U.S. Companies Are Getting Older
Moreover, it has become more difficult for younger companies to survive and compete with the bigger ones. Business failures are more frequent and likely among start-ups, which may account for the fall in business creation after the 1990s. The economy has grown more advantageous for incumbent firms and less helpful for fledgling ones.
WSJ: Real Time Economics | U.S. Home Prices Slowed Down in June
Prices were up 7.5% for the year ended in June. That’s down from a revised 8.3% year-over-year increase reported for May, which was initially reported as an 8.8% gain.

Health Care

National Journal | If You Like Your Obamacare Plan, It'll Cost You
Consumers could be hit with major price increases, without even knowing it, if they don’t switch their health care plans.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Notable & Quotable: ObamaCare
Premiums for individual major medical plans in Florida that are compliant with the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) regulatory requirements will go up an average of 13.2% in 2015, according to data provided to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) by insurance providers.


Bloomberg | Big Banks’ ‘Living Wills’ Get Failing Grade
Wall Street banks spent two years asking U.S. regulators what they should put in hypothetical bankruptcy plans to prove they aren’t “too big to fail.” The agencies broke their silence yesterday with a grade: Fail.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Real 'Systemic Risk' Is the FDIC's Broken Resolution Process
There are many complicated and potentially costly issues that must be solved before a large bank could be successfully dismantled and sold in pieces in an FDIC resolution. However, these issues are merely a subset of the issues the FDIC must solve if it is going to undertake a Title II resolution of the largest, most complex and internationally active institutions and downsize them in the resolution process.


Fox Business | Treasury Weighing Actions to Stem Tax Inversions
The Obama administration said on Tuesday it was considering administrative actions to discourage U.S. companies from moving to other countries to reduce their tax bills, given the failure of Congress to address the issue.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Morici: Abusive taxes and enforcement are driving companies and citizens to leave America
The U.S. tax system is so burdensome and arbitrary that a 2013 study undertaken by a European think tank ranked it 94th out of 100, right after Zimbabwe, for its impact on business competitiveness. No wonder the U.S. economy is growing at half the pace as during the Reagan-Clinton years and creating about one-sixth the jobs.
AEI | Corporate tax is broken and needs major surgery
Policy makers and experts widely agree that current proposals to limit corporate expatriations are only a stopgap and that broader reforms are needed. President Barack Obama and Rep. David Camp, the Republican chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, among others, have proposed cutting the corporate tax rate and eliminating tax breaks that help many firms avoid tax.

WSJ: Real Time Economics | South Korea Targets Household-Corporate Income Gap in Tax Plan
The widening household-corporate income gap—a sign of business success not proportionately workers’ bank balances—is what the new policy is designed to address.
Cato Institute | Corporate Inversions, Tax Rates, and Tax Revenues
News outlets are running stories about the rise in corporate tax inversions. Inversions are financial reorganizations that place U.S. firms under foreign parent corporations. They are one of the many ways that companies are responding to America’s uniquely high corporate tax rate.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus Center | How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create?
In the past two years, a spate of misleading reports on intellectual property (IP) has generated significant confusion among policymakers. Billed as empirical research, the reports aim to convince policymakers and the public that implausibly high proportions of US output and employment depend on expansive intellectual property rights.

Calculated Risk | Comments on Employment Report
The 25 to 54 participation rate decreased in July to 80.8%, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio decreased to 76.6% from 76.7%.


Fox Business | It's Been 3 Years Since S&P's U.S. Downgrade
Today marks a noteworthy anniversary: It was three years ago that Standard & Poor's made the unprecedented move of downgrading the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+.
Bloomberg | U.S. Treasury Keeps Size of Two-, Three-Year Note Auctions
The U.S. Treasury Department said it will maintain the size of its two-year and three-year note auctions and also keep the amount of longer-term bond issuance unchanged from the previous quarter.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | Stimulus for Clunkers
A new study shows the Obama program cost car makers money.