Friday, August 15, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Fell in August to Nine-Month Low
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentimentindex dropped to 79.2, the lowest since November, from 81.8 in July, according to data issued today. It was lower than any economist surveyed by Bloomberg projected and represented the biggest negative surprise in a decade.
Market Watch | August Empire state index retreats from 4-yr high
The Empire State manufacturing survey retreated to 14.7 in August after hitting a four-year high of 25.6 in July, the New York Fed said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 20.0 reading, in the gauge where readings above zero indicate improving conditions.
Bloomberg | Broad Gain in U.S. Factory Production Signals Strength: Economy
Factories in July were the busiest in five months as cars rolled off U.S. assembly lines at the fastest rate in 14 years and a stronger economy encouraged American companies to invest in equipment.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is A Balance Of Compassion Versus Cost
With the current invasion by tens of thousands of children pushing immigration reform once again to the front of the U.S. policy agenda, many people wonder why we cannot achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Market Watch | Riskiest subprime auto loans coming from car companies: Fed study
The surge in subprime auto loans since the end of the recession has been most pronounced among riskier borrowers, and auto finance companies typically tied to car manufacturers are leading the parade, according to a new study released by the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
National Journal | Keeping Obamacare Premiums In Context - Health Care Edge
When we're trying to get a handle on Obamacare premiums, there are enough metrics and enough outliers to help both sides of the Obamacare debate paint the picture they want to see.


Bloomberg | Wholesale Prices in U.S. Rise at Slower Pace as Fuel Drops
Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose at a slower pace in July as fuel costs dropped by the most in eight months.
The Fiscal Times | Farmers and Consumers Seeing Spike in Food Prices
It seems consumers and farmers both have a lot to complain about this year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Heritage Foundation | Quantitative Easing, The Fed’s Balance Sheet, and Central Bank Insolvency
More than five years after the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve’s role is still the subject of much debate. One source of controversy has been the extent to which the Fed allocated credit directly to possibly insolvent institutions. Critics argue that the Fed should have allowed insolvent firms to restructure through bankruptcy and should have provided credit only to sound banks on a short-term basis.
Real Clear Markets | More Evidence That the Federal Reserve Is Superfluous
While the Federal Reserve is most notable for its role in monetary policy, the autonomous Fed plays an active role in regulating banking institutions. When not beefing up its balance sheet through quantitative easing, the Fed is quietly seeking to expand its scope of operations, especially in the area of electronic payments networks.
New York Times | Why a Rule on Loan Losses Could Squeeze Credit
No bank loses money on every loan, at least not if it is going to stay in business.

Wall Street Journal | Bullard: Fed Getting Close to Policy Goals
Falling unemployment and rising inflation are bringing the Federal Reserve closer to its goals more rapidly than policy makers had foreseen, and may justify raising interest rates as early as the end of the first quarter of 2015, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Thursday.


Fox Business | The IRS Has a Tax Cheat Sheet for Small Business Owners
Taxes are a big deal—especially for small business owners. The IRS can end up taking more than 50% of your Schedule C profit in ordinary income taxes and self-employment taxes. After all, the highest tax bracket is now 39.6% and the self-employment tax is 15.3%.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Testing the limits of ‘sin’ and making it pay
Sin has never been more popular, and its popularity is greatest among government economists who never tire of figuring out how to make it pay.
CNBC | Democrats don't want to solve tax-inversion issue
President Barack Obama made clear that corporate inversions are on his target list last week. Through what the president brands as an "economically unpatriotic tax loophole," firms use cross-border transactions to reduce their tax burden substantially by re-domiciling outside the United States.
Heritage Foundation | Yes, Low-Tax States Are Out-Competing High Tax States
First, an apology. In a July 2 article in this newspaper [Investors Business Daily] I erred in citing Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers comparing the superior job creation performance of no-income-tax Texas and Florida with the two states with the highest income-tax rates, California and New York.


The Daily Signal | A Little Cafe That Sparked a Big Minimum Wage Debate
With its waitress and single cook, its retro-style booths with pale green cushions and its stainless steel wrap-around countertop, the Oasis Cafe could be any local diner in any town in the Midwest.


Bloomberg | U.S. Investment Outflow Hits Record as China Cuts Holdings
The U.S. posted a record cross-border investment outflow in June asChina and Japan reduced their holdings of Treasuries and private investors abroad sold bonds and notes.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Congressional Budget Office | Sequestration Update Report: August 2014
By law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is required to issue a report by August 15 of each year that provides estimates of the caps on discretionary budget authority in effect for each fiscal year through 2021. Minor adjustments to the caps for 2014 have been made since CBO’s previous report on the topic, which was published in January 2014.