Tuesday, January 13, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | NFIB small-business index hits more than eight-year high in December
A measure of small-business confidence rose in December to the highest level in more than eight years, according to data released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | OPEC’s squeeze on U.S. oil independence could succeed
The price of crude oil, adjusted for inflation, is at 1979 levels, having fallen by more than 50% since June 2014.
Washington Post | The economy’s broken record: Lots of jobs, but no raises
If you ever figured out what partying like it's 1999 means, go ahead and do that now. Because after the economy added 252,000 jobs in December and 50,000 more in revisions to previous months, 2014 was the best calendar year for job growth since then.
Real Clear Markets | The Open U.S. Economy and Newton's Third Law
Since the Great Recession, the importance of global capital flows and foreign economic policy have become increasingly apparent in the determination of U.S. financial (bond and equity) and real (real estate) asset prices.
Fox Business | What a Market Correction Would Really Look Like
In considering this aging bull market, some sobering facts from John P. Hussman, Ph.D., of the Hussman Funds: “Recall that the 2000-2002 [market] collapse wiped out the entire total return of the S&P 500 in excess of Treasury bill returns, all the way back to May 1996."

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Nothing Could Be Simpler Than Cheap Health Insurance
Insurance is a simple formula for adding efficiencies into the market of life's unexpected misfortunes. By pooling risk and lowering costs today, consumers are protected from having to absorb a high priced event in the future.


Wall Street Journal | Fed’s Lockhart Looks to Summertime for First Fed Rate Increase
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart pointed on Monday to summertime as the most likely time he would favor an increase in interest rates.


Market Watch | Transaction-tax plan brings fresh Wall Street battle to Capitol Hill
A top House Democrat said Monday he wants a broad new plan to bolster the middle class to be paid for in part by a fee on financial transactions, a proposal that brings a fresh battle over Wall Street to Capitol Hill.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
National Review Online | Time for the 0–10–100 Tax 
Under the new GOP Congress, the future looks bright for fundamental tax reform. So Republicans and thinking Democrats should embrace my modest proposal: The 0-10-100 Tax Plan.
Forbes | The Problem With Van Hollen's Financial Transactions Tax Is That It Won't Raise Any Revenue
Various parts of the left have got themselves all into a tizzy of joy over Rep Chris Van Hollen’s suggestion of a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) on Wall Street. There’s one really serious problem with such an FTT: it won’t actually raise any revenue.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Obama’s Dead-End Community College Plan
On Thursday President Obama proposed making two years of community college tuition free for responsible students. Two years gets a student closer to an associate’s degree and halfway to a bachelor’s degree, and college completion is the gateway to social mobility. All good things, right?


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | To Make Welfare Work, Hand It To the States
Nearly $20 trillion has been spent since the War on Poverty began 50 years ago, and the poverty rate has barely declined. In a new paper published by the Manhattan Institute today, I suggest that giving states flexibility to design their own welfare programs would catalyze state-based reforms designed to shift people out of poverty and into the workforce. This flexibility, combined with capping federal welfare funds to states at the rate of inflation and the number of people below the poverty line, could save billions of dollars a year.
Washington Post | The risks of the new dynamic scoring rule
ON ITS face, there is nothing particularly mischievous about the budget accounting rule that the House of Representatives adopted last week. It simply calls for the two nonpartisan bodies that keep score on fiscal matters, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, to “incorporate the macroeconomic effects” of “major” tax or mandatory spending legislation when they develop official cost estimates: That is, analysts are supposed to factor in the wider impact on growth, employment and inflation and how that might feed back to make the budget deficit larger or smaller.