Thursday, August 21, 2014

General Economics

National Journal | Battle Over Postal-Service Cuts Looms in September
The stage is being set this month for another round of argument and angst over the future of the U.S. Postal Service when Congress returns to work in September.
Bloomberg | Family Dollar Spurns Dollar General Bid on Antitrust Concern
Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) spurned a $9 billion offer from Dollar General Corp. in favor of a lower bid from Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR), saying it was concerned the Dollar General deal wouldn’t be able to pass antitrust hurdles.

Wall Street Journal | Did Most States Really Fall Back into Recession Since 2009? A Look Inside the Zany New GDP Numbers
Most states in the U.S. have experienced at least two consecutive quarters of economic decline in the years since the national recession ended, according to new data from the Department of Commerce.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Washington Times | How to slow the pace of medical progress
The Americans infected with the Ebola virus appear to be improving - very welcome news, especially given the virus's death rate, which is estimated to be as high as 90 percent.
The Daily Signal | Type the Title You Want People to See
Despite the recent news that the Medicare Part A trust fund is projected to remain solvent for four more years than previously projected, it is important to understandthat Medicare’s financial status still calls for immediate reforms.


Bloomberg | Fed’s George Says Job Gains Signal Rates Can Rise
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George said she’s encouraged by broad-based employment gains that show the world’s largest economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Politico Magazine | Stop Depending on the Fed
America's slow average rate of economic growth is double trouble, as Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer recently pointed out.
The Heritage Foundation | The Fed’s Failure as a Lender of Last Resort: What to Do About It
The Federal Reserve’s actions during the 2008 financial crisis have rekindled interest in the Fed’s role as a lender of last resort. A lender of last resort (LLR) is supposed to provide credit when funds are not available from any other source.
CNBC | Five reasons the Fed should raise rates now
Forty-seven consecutive Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meetings resulting in an overnight target rate of 0.00 percent to 0.25 percent. Sixty-seven months of short-term interest rates being at near-zero levels.


Wall Street Journal | North Carolina Reins in Tax Incentives for Movie Companies
North Carolina is eliminating one of the nation's most extensive programs for awarding tax breaks to film companies, in a retreat from a race among states to lure Hollywood productions.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Tax Credits Won't Lift Economic Growth
There's a policy debate among conservatives in Washington about the best way to cut taxes and reform the tax code. The supply-siders want to replicate the success of Reaganomics with lower marginal tax rates.


Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Declined More Than Forecast Last Week
Fewer Americans than forecast applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the U.S. job market is making progress as the world’s largest economy grows.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Do Higher Minimum Wages Create More Jobs?
Since the release of the May jobs report, President Obama and many in the media have been crowing about new evidence allegedly showing that minimum-wage hikes stimulate job growth.
Business Week | It's Not a Skills Gap: U.S. Workers Are Overqualified, Undertrained
In the debate over why the U.S. has been so slow to emerge from the Great Recession, many have laid the blame on what’s become known as the skills gap: Despite an abundance of workers, too many simply aren’t qualified to fill the jobs available.
NBER | Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages and Skill Mismatches: Evidence for the US
Concerns that there are problems with the supply of skills, especially education-related skills, in the US labor force have exploded in recent years with a series of reports from employer-associated organizations but also from independent and even government sources making similar claims.

Café Hayek | Reconsider That Happy Narrative About Minimum Wages
One of George Mason University’s star PhD economics students, Ms. Liya Palagashvili, along with a GMU undergrad student, Ms. Rachel Mace (who was taught recently in a GMU econ class by Liya), weigh in in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal to debunk a happy narrative about the minimum wage.
Wall Street Journal | Why Are Jobless Claims Falling So Fast?
The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 298,000, marking the third time in the last five weeks they have fallen below the 300,000 level.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg View | European Austerity Is a Myth
Just as France's and Italy's poor economic results prompt the leaders of the euro area's second and third biggest economies to step up their fight against fiscal austerity, it might be appropriate to ask whether they even know what that is.