Thursday, October 2, 2014

General Economics

CNN Money | Federal workers lose big by pulling out of low-cost retirement plans
Soldiers. Park rangers. IRS agents. They all have access to one of the cheapest retirement savings plans available.
Market Watch | Factory orders fall 10.1% in August
Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories fell 10.1% in August, the U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday.
Wall Street Journal | U.S. Oil Falls Below $90 a Barrel
U.S. oil prices dropped below $90 a barrel on Thursday morning for the first time in 17 months as oil producers showed no signs of cutting back production despite a global glut.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
AEI | Why the ‘most important chart about the American economy you’ll see this year’ has big problems
Bard College economist Pavlina Tcherneva has cooked up a frightening and much-shared income-inequality chart (see above) — “the most important chart about the American economy you’ll see this year,” according to Vox —  that seems to confirm the worst: America has become a winner-take-everything society.
Fortune | Why the housing recovery hasn't jumpstarted the economy
Home prices have rallied, but the economic plight of young workers is holding up a broader recovery.
National Journal | Four Ways to Help Millennials Break into the Tight Housing Market
When one of the mortgage industry's top advocates bought his first house in Colorado in the late 1980s at the age of 27, he thought more about the pride of owning a home than its potential appreciation in value.

Market Watch | IMF chief Lagarde warns of ‘new mediocre’ era
In a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Lagarde said that, unless policymakers find new ways to work together to spur growth beyond slashing short-term interest rates to zero, the global economy risks entering an era of lackluster growth.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                    | Next Big Bailout May Go To ObamaCare Health Insurers
It didn't get much attention outside Capitol Hill, but late last week House Republican leaders scuttled a vote to repeal an ObamaCare bailout plan for major health insurance companies if they lose money on new Affordable Care Act policies.
Wall Street Journal | ObamaCare's Anti-Innovation Effect
Of the many unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the least noticed is its threat to innovation.


Fox Business | European Central Bank Hones Quantitative Easing Plans
The European Central Bank will buy bundles of loans and other forms of secured debt from mid-month in an attempt to kick start a languishing euro zone economy, despite misgivings in Germany and elsewhere.
Bloomberg | Dollar Aids World Economy Amid Currency War for Faster Inflation
It was four years ago last week that Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega declared a “currency war” was underway as the U.S. dollarfell amid easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Washington Times | Liberty and wealth require sound money
Conservatives hold that wealth and liberty correlate.
NBER | The Role of Dynamic Renegotiation and Asymmetric Information in Financial Contracting
Using data from SEC filings, I show that the typical bank loan is renegotiated five times, or every nine months.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Which States Make You Pay an Amazon Sales Tax today begins collecting sales tax from purchasers in Minnesota and Maryland, marking the 22nd and 23rd states where the online retailer assesses the levy.


Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreased Last Week
The number of Americans who filed applications for unemployment benefits last week unexpectedly fell, a sign the job market is making more headway.
Fox News | Five reasons Americans can’t find jobs
Friday, the Labor Department is expected to report the economy added about 215,000 jobs in September, about half of what is needed each month to bring unemployment down to pre-financial crisis levels.
Bloomberg | Workers in Part-Time Limbo Point to U.S. Job-Market Slack
The labor-market recovery that Federal Reserve ChairJanet Yellen seeks is proving incomplete as many U.S. workers languish in part-time jobs.
Wall Street Journal | Business Graduates Show Least Interest in Their Work, Poll Finds
Business is the most popular course of undergraduate study at U.S. colleges and universities. It is also the one most likely to produce people bored with their jobs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fox Business | Technology is Not Destroying Middle-Class Jobs
As far back as I can remember I’ve heard that jobs will be replaced by technology. I heard it when I was a kid growing up on a steady diet of sci-fi books in the '60s.

Market Watch | Small-business employment sees strongest gain of the year
Here’s another positive indicator on the jobs front: A measure of small-business employment is the best of the year.
Wall Street Journal | Unemployment Hurts Happiness More Than Modest Inflation, New Paper Says
Unemployment is much more damaging to society than moderate levels of inflation, making central bankers’ disproportionate focus on the level of consumer price growth misguided, a former Bank of England rate-setter now at Dartmouth College writes in a new paper.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Student-Loan Debt: A Federal Toxic Asset
Only about 56% of borrowers are making payments. At the peak of the mortgage crisis, 10% fell behind on payments.
Real Clear Markets | Don't Buy the Hype, Our Budget Problems Haven't Gone Away
Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman recently assured his readers that the "great fiscal panic has fizzled" and that the concern about debt and deficits had been "a false alarm."
Real Clear Markets | Changing Demographics and the Federal Budget
One of the key themes that has emerged in recent years is the effects of the aging U.S. population on the economy and the federal budget.
Cato Institute | Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors 2014
The recession of 2007-2009 knocked the wind out of state government budgets, but revenues and spending have grown steadily in recent years.