Wednesday, August 13, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | Japan’s Economy Shrinks the Most Since 2011 Quake on Tax
Japan’s economy contracted the most since the record earthquake three years ago as consumption and investment plunged after an April sales-tax increase aimed at curbing the world’s biggest debt burden.
National Journal | Atlanta's Housing Recovery Is a Tale of Two Cities
In the affluent suburb of Dunwoody, Ga., northeast of downtown Atlanta, the housing market is recovering. Only 12.3 percent of homes in Dunwoody's 30338 ZIP code are valued lower than the outstanding mortgage balance. Home prices are rising. Just a short drive south is Riverdale, a lower-income community where 80 percent of the residents are African-American. A whopping 76 percent of homes in Riverdale's 30296 ZIP code are underwater.
Bloomberg | Worst Retail Sales Showing in Six Months in Slow Start to Third Quarter
U.S. retail sales stalled in July as discounting by merchants such as Macy’s Inc. (M) failed to counter the effects of feeble wage growth.
Market Watch | U.S. business inventories rise 0.4% in June
Business inventories rose 0.4% in June to a seasonally adjusted $1.74 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | EDITORIAL: It’s not inequality, stupid
Decrying income inequality is growing more popular with the shrill voices on the left as their policy nostrums, including the stimulus that didn't stimulate, have left crippled the economy, with more than 40 million Americans looking for jobs.
CNN Money | 5 myths about buying a home
From housing bubble to foreclosure crisis to somewhere in between, the housing market has changed dramatically over the past decade -- and so have many of the rules of homebuying.
Washington Times | The patriotism of prosperity
A few weeks ago, it was quite revealing - but not surprising - to hear Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew imply that corporate America should willingly pay the highest corporate tax rates in the world as part of its "patriotic" duty.
AEI | Non-Treasury Chinese investment in the US headed to $100 billion
The American Enterprise Institute-Heritage Foundation China Global Investment Tracker follows Chinese investment all over the world. Through June 30 2014, and excluding China's gigantic holdings of American treasury bonds, the U.S. had received over $70 billion in Chinese investment. This is the most of any country, and much more could be on the way.

Gallup Politics | Government, Economy, Immigration Are Top U.S. Problems
Americans say the government, immigration, and the economy in general are the most important problems currently facing the country.
Wall Street Journal | How Washington Would Respond to an Economic Jolt From Overseas Tensions
What could go wrong? U.S. economic policy makers have that question on their minds these days as escalating tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe threaten to restrain a mounting U.S. recovery.
Market Watch | Regulators propose single mortgage-backed security for Fannie and Freddie
Looking to improve liquidity and move the ball forward on housing-finance reform, the regulator of Fannie Maeand Freddie Mac is requesting comment on creating a single mortgage-backed security for the finance giants, officials said Tuesday.
Library of Economics and Liberty | Haidt and the Moral Foundations of the Welfare State
I recently asked whether accusations of excessive "selfishness" are to be understood as accusations of insufficient "altruism", or rather as accusations of insufficient "groupishness".

Health Care

News                                                                                                                     | ObamaCare Enrollment Is Shrinking, Top Insurers Say
ObamaCare exchange statistics should clear up any doubt as to why the Obama Administration has been tight-lipped about enrollment since celebrating 8 million sign-ups in mid-April
Politico | Immigration status may cost people Obamacare coverage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is sending letters this week to 310,000 people whose citizenship or immigration status is in question, saying they must send documents by Sept. 5 or they will lose their coverage at the end of the month.
National Journal | How Governors Could Become America's Health Care Czars
Courts have put more and more power in the hands of states to run health care coverage—and not in the way the Affordable Care Act intended.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Federal Reserve | The Great Recession: Moving Ahead
The recession that began in the United States in December 2007 ended in June 2009. But the Great Recession is a near-worldwide phenomenon, with the consequences of which many advanced economies--among them Sweden--continue to struggle. Its depth and breadth appear to have changed the economic environment in many ways and to have left the road ahead unclear.
Real Clear Markets | Insurers Aren't Banks, So Don't Regulate Them That Way
Only a few weeks ago, there was rampant speculation in the financial community that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) - the super-group of regulators established by the Dodd-Frank Act to prevent future financial cataclysms - was on the threshold of designating Metropolitan Life as the third insurer (after AIG and Prudential) to be "systemically important."


Cato | New Market Tax Credits Fail to Deliver
Created in 2000 as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act, the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program provides tax credits to “spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects in low-income areas.”
California Beach Pundit | Taxes Don't Lie
As far as I can tell, the debate over the U.S. economy's health and growth—or lack thereof—still rages.


Forbes | On The Border, The GOP Is Outraged At The Wrong Thing
The immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border these days is an odd one. Adherents of the party of free-enterprise, the Republicans, are opposed to the migration of free labor across the border, arguing that agents of the state should stop people and turn them away, if not submit them to government justice.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | White House: State, Local Minimum-Wage Efforts to Help 7 Million Workers
Stymied by Congress on efforts to lift the federal minimum wage, Obamaadministration officials on Tuesday touted state and local pay-floor increases as having the potential to boost the broader economy.


Fox Business | U.S. Budget Deficit Running 24.2% Below 2013

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
USA Today | Debt: The big threat to a happy retirement