Monday, September 8, 2014

General Economics

National Journal | It's Not Been Working on the Railroads
Deregulation has been a popular theme in U.S. politics for decades, but a Surface Transportation Board hearing here last week on railcar shortages and service delays provided an example of how dependent rural America still is on a federal regulatory agency to push the railroads to provide vital services.
Wall Street Journal | The Outlook: Services Sector Gauge Finally Gets Its Due
A quarterly reading from the Commerce Department has quietly emerged as one of the most consequential government reports, with the power to roil estimates for U.S. economic growth and the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
Bloomberg | Germany’s Trade Surplus and Exports Reach All-Time Highs
The Washington Times | Wary Americans: Only 22 percent say the economy is going to improve
Yes, about that U.S. Economy: Wary Americans remain in a defensive posture when it comes to their pocketbooks, and for good reason.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Washington Times | EDITORIAL: Head Start: An $8 billion, ineffective political sacred cow
Head Start, the federal preschool program for low-income kids, is a politician's favorite.
Politico Magazine | The Threat to American Democracy
Building the United States of America has been long, arduous and rife with setbacks. But throughout the years, we have undoubtedly moved toward a more inclusive democracy.
Politico Magazine | What the Economist Doesn't Get About Slavery - And My Book
We think of authors as people who lay themselves bare in their books, but perhaps reviewers of books reveal their innermost fears and beliefs as well.
Wall Street Journal | Study Raises Red Flags for Economy
Can the U.S. compete internationally? Its companies can. Its workers cannot.

Health Care

National Journal | The Cities Where Obamacare Plans Are Getting Cheaper
Obamacare premiums will barely change next year in some of America's biggest cities, but consumers are still at risk for big price increases if they're not willing to change plans.

Wall Street Journal | Is Another Health-Care Spending Shakeup Coming for U.S. GDP?
The Commerce Department’s Quarterly Services Survey estimates revenues at service-providing companies. It keeps a fairly low profile in the world of economic indicators, but plays an important role in the calculation of gross domestic product because it provides hard data on services spending.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | As Jobs Stagnate, Janet Yellen Plays Economic Pinball
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appears to view the U.S. economy as a pinball game, where the Fed’s job is to keep the ball caroming back and forth between inflation and unemployment, all the while hoping that the whole thing doesn’t just go “TILT,” as it did in late 2008.
The Washington Times | EDITORIAL: The ‘monetary-easing’ money trap
The plates to print money across the world ought to come with a warning label.
Wall Street Journal | The Fed Is Looking Like a Sovereign Wealth Fund
The Federal Reserve recently made clear it is planning to maintain its enormous balance sheet—roughly $4.5 trillion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities—for many years, while keeping interest rates near zero at least into 2015.
Bloomberg | Fed Seeks to Calm Congressional Demand for More Oversight
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has tried to repair damaged relations with Congress during her first seven months in office. The fix-up isn’t going very well.
AEI | Why did economists believe in the 'zero bound' for interest rates?
As shown by these recent quotes from The Wall Street Journal, we are getting used to the idea that interest rates can be negative. So why did so many economists assert confidently for years that nominal interest rates could not go below zero– that there was a “zero bound,” as they said?


Bloomberg | Schumer Anti-Inversion Tax Plan Could Reach Back to 1994
A top Senate Democrat’s proposal to limit future deductions for companies that moved tax addresses out of the U.S. as many as 20 years ago would penalize dozens of so-called inversion deals.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
With the midterms looming, few D.C. insiders expect Congress to accomplish much this fall. That's too bad, because a handful of influential politicians from very different ideological backgrounds agree on a simple policy solution that would boost the economic fortunes of millions of low-income working Americans: expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                    | The Worst Job Stat Continues to Get Even Worse
Amid all the focus on boosting the minimum wage and legislating living wages, virtually no one seems to have noticed what is happening to the workweek in low-wage industries.
Zero Hedge | 53 Million Temps: All You Need To Know About The "Jobs Recovery"
After years of ignoring the obvious, the Federal Reserve has been finally forced to admit that the labor force participation rate matters
NBER | The Labor Market Impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Oil Drilling Moratorium
In 2010, the Gulf Coast experienced the largest oil spill, the greatest mobilization of spill response resources, and the first Gulf-wide deepwater drilling moratorium in U.S. history. Taking advantage of the unexpected nature of the spill and drilling moratorium, I estimate the net effects of these events on Gulf Coast employment and wages.

Wall Street Journal | Minimum-Wage Fights Create Rift Among Cheerleaders
National Football League cheerleaders pushing for fair wages won an initial victory last week, but not all of their former colleagues are rooting them on.
Wall Street Journal | The August Jobs Report in Six Charts
The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1%
Calculated Risk | Public and Private Sector Payroll Jobs: Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama
By request, here is an update on an earlier post through the August employment report.
Wall Street Journal | Did Unemployment Benefits Boost Jobless Rate? Only Slightly, Fed Paper Says
The extension of unemployment benefits offered during and after the Great Recession had very little to do with boosting the jobless rate, a new Federal Reserve Board papersays.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fox News | How low can you go: Graduating without debt
When Forbes magazine published its listing of America’s top colleges, looking at “best value” as a criteria, I knew that “value” for many prospective students really means “debt.”  For today’s graduates, shiny promises quickly lose their luster when the student loan payment book arrives before a job offer.