Friday, September 12, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Rises to Highest in 14 Months
American consumer confidence rose to the highest level in more than a year in September, as households’ views on the outlook for the economy brightened.
Market Watch | An economic puzzle has been revised away
Payrolls growth has been strong, the unemployment rate has come down, manufacturing and service sentiment was buoyant, consumer credit was expanding, the stock market continues to improve, house prices are still mending, consumer confidence was improving — but consumers weren’t spending?
CNBC | Why the key to the economy could be in your gas tank
Gasoline is once more a wild card for the economy—but this time it's a potential positive because prices could fall sharply.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Public Pensions Are Still Marching To Their Death
Public employee pension systems have long been a source of problems. State government politicians are continually tempted to underfund pension plans in favor of using that money for something with an immediate payoff.
CBO | Modeling the Budgetary Costs of FHA's Single Family Mortgage Insurance: Working Paper 2014-05
This paper presents the simulation model that CBO uses to project the budgetary costs of the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA's) single-family mortgage insurance program
Forbes | Sorry, Obama Fans: Reagan Did Better on Jobs and Growth
Supporters of President Barack Obama, such as one of his campaign donors Robert Deitrick, an Ohio financial advisor often quoted in Forbes and elsewhere, insist that the Obama economy has been much more robust than Ronald Reagan’s. Are they right?
Wall Street Journal | Family Dollar Tree General
The dollar-store boom of recent years is a commentary on the state of the American economy. So is the fact that federal antitrust regulators may decide which of two corporate suitors is allowed to buy the Family Dollar chain.
AEI | Scotland's threat to Europe
Small as Scotland’s economy might be, a yes vote in its September 18 iindependence referendum would have profoundly negative implications not simply for Scotland’s long-term economic prospects but also for those of the rest of the United Kingdom and for the Eurozone.

Wall Street Journal | Who Really Benefits from Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Index? Depends How Long You Live
Budget battles in recent years have thrust politicians and budget wonks into heated debates over how to adjust Social Security benefits for inflation. | Our Regulated Society
Last night, after a productive meeting in Indianapolis, I flew home to Monterey. Well, not quite to Monterey. That was the plan. But the plan didn't work out. And the reason it didn't work out is a tale of regulation.

Health Care

The Fiscal Times | Businesses Consider Dumping Employee Health Coverage - See more at:
As new provisions under Obamacare began to take effect, more and more employers are considering shifting their workers onto private health exchanges - instead o f offering the traditional employer-based plans.
Wall Street Journal | Doctoring in the Age of ObamaCare
It has been four years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so I thought it may be useful to provide the perspective of a physician providing daily medical care. I am an endocrinologist in Washington, D.C., and have been in solo private practice for 17 years after seven years at an academic institution.
National Journal | A Simple but Critical Fix Is Needed Now for the Nation's Disability System
Social Security Disability Insurance, which provides basic but essential protection from income loss due to life-changing disability or illness for more than nine in 10 American workers and their families, is one of the cornerstones of our Social Security system.
The Daily Signal | Obamacare Can’t Take Credit for Slower Health Spending Growth
Some of Obamacare’s big supporters say the new law has already contributed to decreases in the rate of growth of health spending.


Bloomberg | EU’s Barnier Seeking U.S. Swaps Deal Before December
The European Union’s top financial-services official said he’s seeking a deal with U.S. regulators on rules for swaps clearinghouses before a Dec. 15 deadline for EU banks to face tougher capital rules.
Market Watch | U.S. import price index down 0.9% in August
The prices paid for goods imported into the U.S. declined by 0.9% in August, the biggest drop since last November, led lower by fuel prices, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Wall Street Journal | ECB's Draghi Sees Ways to Expand Stimulus
The European Central Bank's program to buy asset-backed securities would be more effective if it were expanded to riskier, or mezzanine, tranches of ABS, ECB President Mario Draghi said Friday, adding that such an expansion would require guarantees from national governments.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | We're Living In An Age of Convolutions
When historians look back on this specific period of time searching for a unifying moniker to create a justifiable shorthand and generalization it will more likely than not become known as an age of convolutions.

Wall Street Journal | Fewer Economists See Fed Rate Hikes Starting Before Next Summer
Fewer economists expect the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates early next year, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal in recent days, after the Labor Department released a disappointing August employment report.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | The Senate Still Wants to Tax the Net
Get ready for new taxes on your monthly Internet access bill. A pending plan on Capitol Hill would extend the current ban on such taxes—but only until just after the November elections. Pro-tax politicians think they can get away with soaking consumers once they've left the voting booth.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Skills Gap Bumps Up Against Vocational Taboo
The Obama administration and governors from Michigan to North Carolina have a solution for some of the U.S. manufacturing sector's woes: German-style apprenticeship programs.


Wall Street Journal | U.S. Deficit in August Narrows from a Year Earlier
The U.S. budget deficit narrowed in August from the same month a year ago as tax revenue increased and government spending slowed.

Wall Street Journal | Loan Forgiveness Isn’t the Best Use of Government Resources, Paper Says
A new paper says that government policies to fund mortgage debt reduction for underwater homeowners, while helpful, are a less efficient use of government resources than other types of mortgage relief, including refinancing.