Friday, August 8, 2014

General Economics

National Journal | Is It Too Soon After the Recession to Roll Back Food-Stamp Programs?
As the U.S. economic recovery accelerates, states are beginning to wind down special allowances for food assistance that were put in place during the recession. Some states no longer qualify for allowances because their economies have recovered, while others reject them for political reasons.
Fox News | What Economic Recovery
President Obama was doing a little jig on the tables last week at the White House – figuratively, or course – when we got a decent jobs and GDP report.
CNN Money | Thanks Putin! German stocks pummeled
German investors are feeling the pain of escalating tensions with Russia that may have already pushed Europe's largest economy into reverse.
Market Watch | U.S. wholesale inventories rise 0.3% in June
U.S. wholesale inventories grew by 0.3% in June, while sales increased 0.2%, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Anniversary of a Market Event That Changed Everything
Tomorrow is an auspicious anniversary largely unknown to even confident observers of the panic period, with events of that date changing the very character of the financial system irredeemably.
The Fiscal Times | Obama’s $11 Billion High Speed Rail to Nowhere
The Obama administration has spent almost $11 billion to build a high-speed rail system that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Politico Magazine | Do Your Job, Mr. President
"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."
Market Watch | The most popular gauge of world growth is useless
GDP is the cornerstone of how we measure economies. But increasingly, it is meaningless.

Wall Street Journal | WSJ Survey: Economists See Second-Half GDP Growth of 3%
The U.S. economy looks set to steadily accelerate after a weather-pummeled first-half crawl, but the most upbeat economists in The Wall Street Journal's monthly forecasting survey say the business sector holds the key to even stronger growth during the second half.
Wall Street Journal | U.S. Firms Put Teens To Work To Keep Them From Dropping Out of School
A failure to obtain a high school diploma can be a costly decision for the person who drops out and for society as a whole. That’s why some businesses are getting involved by putting teens to work, as a story in the Journal showed today.

Health Care

The Daily Signal | Insurance Giant’s Drop in Small-Group Plans Looks Like Obamacare Trend
More Americans are enrolled in individual health insurance plans. In part, though, that’s because under Obamacare fewer are enrolled in group plans. And one health care analyst says this may be the beginning of a trend.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Daily Signal | Why Obamacare’s $332 Million ‘Rebate’ to Consumers Isn’t That Great
The Department of Health and Human Services recently touted $332 million in rebates owed to consumers this year because of Obamacare’s Medical Loss Ratio provision, which requires insurers to spend a large percentage of the premium dollars they receive on medical care.


Bloomberg | Nightmares About 2,500% CPI to Frame Interest-Rate Debate
Russian memories of hyperinflation are giving the central bank scope to keep raising interest rates should prices spiral following a government ban on U.S. and European food imports.

Wall Street Journal | Economists Still Betting on Mid-2015 Fed Rate Rise, WSJ Survey Shows
The Federal Reserve is likely to hold off raising interest rates from rock-bottom lows until summer of next year despite recent improvement in the labor market, according to a survey of economists from The Wall Street Journal published Thursday.


The Washington Times | Derailing the tax-reform train
There's a much bigger, largely untold story behind the renewed debate over U.S. corporations who merge with foreign firms to reduce their federal tax bills.
Market Watch | Tax inversions help, not hurt, the economy
More American multinational companies are merging with foreign corporations and moving their headquarters offshore to avoid onerous U.S. corporate taxes, a process known as “inversion.” Since 2012, about 15 inversions have occurred, with another half-dozen deals in the works.


National Journal | Seattle's Minimum-Wage Hike Is Sure to End in Disaster
The announcement sounded like the premise of a feel-good summer movie. High schoolers in Seattle set to start working in ice cream shops and summer camps are given a raise by their City Council.
Market Watch | Labor productivity improves 2.5% in second quarter
Productivity in the April-June quarter increased 2.5%, compared with a revised 4.5% drop in the prior quarter, according to a preliminary reading by the Labor Department.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | Workers to see 3% pay hike next year
Employers expect to increase worker salaries by an average of 3% in 2015, only slightly better than the 2.9% hike they gave this year, according to human resources consulting firm Mercer.

Wall Street Journal | How Low Can Jobless Claims Go?
The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 289,000 last week, the second-lowest level of the year.
AEI-Ideas | US job gains could be ready to pick up speed
The US economy has added 200,000 jobs or more for six straight months. That hasn’t happened since 1997.


Wall Street Journal | Junk-Bond Exodus Accelerates
Investors pulled a record $7.1 billion from junk-bond funds in the week ended Wednesday, fund tracker Lipper said, the latest sign of investor anxiety following a long rally.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Congressional Research Service | Reducing the Budget Deficit: Overview of Policy Issues
The federal budget deficit was the largest it has been since World War II as a percentage of GDP from 2009 to 2012, peaking at 10.1% of GDP.
Congressional Budget Office | Monthly Budget Review for July 2014
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $462 billion for the first 10 months of fiscal year 2014, CBO estimates—$146 billion less than the shortfall recorded over the same span last year.

Wall Street Journal | Consumer-Spending Growth Crashed in Nevada After the Recession
Consumer spending went bust in Nevada like nowhere else in the country.