Wednesday, January 28, 2015

General Economics

Wall Street Journal | Strong Dollar Squeezes U.S. Firms
The stronger dollar is slicing sales and profits at big American companies, prompting them to put renewed emphasis on cost cutting and cramping the broader U.S. economy.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Obama’s Robin Hood economics won’t help the middle class
If the president really wants to help the middle class, he will stop trying to mandate equal results and concentrate instead on legislating equal opportunity.
Wall Street Journal | Greece’s Last Evasion
Whenever I think of Greece and its economy, I can’t help but recall the stool-sample story.
Wall Street Journal | How Student Debt Harms the Economy
To the growing catalog of damage caused by the decades-long run-up in the cost of higher education, we may have to add another casualty. On top of the harm high tuition and other charges are inflicting on young people, and the way their struggles are holding back today’s economy, we must add the worry that tomorrow’s economy will suffer, too.
Forbes | Have 91% of Gains During the Recovery Gone to the Top?
Forgive me for going out of order and not taking up the Economic Policy Institute’s productivity/compensation chart as promised in my inaugural column in this series. But Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez has published the latest estimates on income concentration in the United States, extending a series he has produced with Thomas Piketty. His summary notes that the top one percent captured 91 percent of the income gains from 2009 to 2012. These kinds of figures are some of the most popular in depictions of inequality trends, but it is not at all clear that they are saying what people think they are.
Forbes | Why Is The Recovery So Slow? Too Much Regulation
The political debate over in Washington tends to be arguing, from one side at least, that it was lack of regulation that caused the Great Recession. Further, that we need more regulation in order to make everything better. And that’s certainly a possible explanation.

Wall Street Journal | China’s Local Government Debt Could Be Source of Trouble
To understand the consequences of China’s building boom and the risks associated with its recent slowdown, you need to have some insight into the inner workings of local government finance that has helped to fund the construction of buildings, bridges and roads. A WSJ story by my colleagues Lingling Wei and Bob Davis provides insight.
Wall Street Journal | U.S. Gas Prices End Their Record-Breaking Streak of Daily Declines
For the first time in four months, gasoline is a little more expensive today than it was yesterday.