Tuesday, December 2, 2014

General Economics

Wall Street Journal | Basic Costs Squeeze Families
The American middle class has absorbed a steep increase in the cost of health care and other necessities as incomes have stagnated over the past half decade, a squeeze that has forced families to cut back spending on everything from clothing to restaurants.
Wall Street Journal | Lower Oil Prices Will Help Boost Global Economy, IMF’s Lagarde Says
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Monday said falling oil prices will help boost economies in the U.S. and across much of the globe, a net positive for a world struggling with slowing growth.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | The Obvious Reason for the Decline In Median Income
Much has been made recently of the fact that real median household income has been stagnant over the past twenty years and falling for the past seven. While there are many problems with using median household income as a measure of the economic health of the middle class, it is still important to examine what is causing this middle-income stall. A major, and overlooked, part of the answer appears to be quite simple: Americans are working less.
Wall Street Journal | Big Winners and Big Losers Among 2014’s Most Active Stocks
What makes a stock popular? A list of the 20 companies whose shares have been traded most frequently this year, as a percentage of outstanding shares, indicates that investors sit up and pay attention for a variety of reasons. And a rising price seems to be only one of them.
Fortune | Why China keeps throwing trillions in investments down the drain
There are two indisputable facts about China’s mammoth investments in its infrastructure and factories. One, they are a growth engine, accounting for roughly half of the country’s GDP increase since 2000. The other fact is that China’s investment rate, averaging 43% of GDP since 2000, is greater than any other major economy in history.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The New Yorker | Obamacare’s Inertia Problem
Obamacare has had a rough month: it's being challenged in a Supreme Court case; House Republicans are trying to undermine it with a lawsuit; and its poll numbers are terrible.


Bloomberg | Central Banks Likely to Stay Easy in 2015 as Normalcy Is Elusive
The world’s central bankers could be forgiven for thinking that things are never going to get back to normal. More than six years after the financial crisis plunged the world into recession, monetary policy looks nothing like it did before those events.
Market Watch | Fed closer to getting rid of considerable time language: Fischer
The U.S. central bank was closer to getting rid of its forward guidance that interest rates would be kept close to zero for a "considerable time," said Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer on Tuesday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Do Immigrants Boost Economic Growth? Yes
The questions of how many legal immigrants should be admitted to the United States, and what level of skills these immigrants should have, are among the most divisive issues in the current U.S. domestic policy landscape. Much of the controversy that they spark can be traced to a single issue: do immigrants help or harm the economy?


Market Watch | Boehner seeks Republican support for plan to avoid government shutdown
The government won’t shut down next week if John Boehner can help it. But nor will President Barack Obama get all he wants on immigration.