Wednesday, January 14, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S. retail sales slump in December
Retail sales in the U.S. sank in December largely because of cheaper gasoline prices, but most stores posted surprisingly weak results during the busiest month of the shopping season.
Market Watch | U.S. import prices fall 2.5% in December owing to cheaper oil
The prices that Americans paid for imported goods fell 2.5% in December, the biggest drop in six years, amid a sharp decline in oil prices that's expected to help keep inflation on the low side for months to come.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Dodd-Frank Most Likely To Be At the Root Of a Future Crisis
In an op-ed last week, Treasury Secretary Lew defended Dodd-Frank against efforts by the new Congress to reform the financial law. In his view, changing-or even suggesting changes to-Dodd-Frank seems to be tantamount to inviting another financial crisis. Far from being the cornerstone of a new era of financial stability, however, Dodd-Frank is more likely to be at the root of a future crisis.
Wall Street Journal | World Bank Lowers Outlook for Global Economic Growth
The World Bank cut its outlook for global growth Tuesday, saying a strengthening U.S. economy and plummeting oil prices won’t be enough to offset deepening trouble in the eurozone and emerging markets.

Wall Street Journal | World Bank: India Set to Become World’s Fastest-Growing Big Economy
India is on course to overtake China to claim the position as the world’s fastest growing, big economy in the next two years, the World Bank said Tuesday, the latest vote of confidence in the roadmap set out by the new leaders of the South Asian nation to revamp the economy.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Daily Signal | ‘There Is Just So Much Confusion Out There’: How Obamacare Figures Into Your 2014 Taxes
In addition to the normal thrills and chills of the income tax filing season, this year consumers will have the added excitement of figuring out how the health law figures in their 2014 taxes.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
City Journal | Of Interest at the Fed
American employers added 585,000 jobs in November and December of 2014, according to encouraging jobs reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth occurred across the board: 139,000 new jobs in professional and business services; 63,400 in retail; 46,000 in manufacturing; and 71,000 in food service. Even construction, which suffered worst during the recession, added 68,000 jobs, driven by new housing activity.

Wall Street Journal | Plosser Says “More Normal” Economy Calls For Fed Reaction
The U.S. economy has improved considerably and Federal Reserve officials should raise interest rates sooner rather than later in order to get ahead of future inflation,Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said Wednesday.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Roll Call | Tax Reform in 2015: Will it Be Purposeful or a Parody?
As the newly installed Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., convenes his first House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Tuesday about policies to boost our economy, undoubtedly, tax reform will be a top priority.


Market Watch | After six years of stagnation, bigger paychecks appear on way
Bigger raises for American workers has been the missing link during an economic recovery now in its sixth year, but mounting evidence suggests paychecks might start getting fatter soon.


Wall Street Journal | U.S. Racks Up Smallest Deficit Since 2007
The U.S. last year racked up its smallest budget deficit since 2007, marking an economic shift of fortunes as President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans prepare to face off over legislative priorities this year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                    | Solar Subsidies Scam Taxpayers And Homeowners
Solar panels are being installed on the roofs of homes and businesses all across America at a record pace. The fad is the latest way for families to "go green" - the energy equivalent of blue recycling bins.
CBO | Final Sequestration Report for Fiscal Year 2015
CBO is required by law to issue a report within 10 days of the end of a session of Congress that provides estimates of the limits (often called “caps”) on discretionary budget authority in effect for each fiscal year through 2021. CBO is also required to report whether, according to its estimates, enacted leg-islation for the current fiscal year has exceeded those caps; if the caps were exceeded, a sequestration (that is, a cellation of budgetary resources) would be required.
CBO | CBO’s 2014 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information
Social Security is the federal government's largest single program. Of the 59 million people who currently receive Social Security benefits, about 71 percent are retired workers or their spouses and children, and another 10 percent are survivors of deceased workers; all of those beneficiaries receive payments through Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). The other 19 percent of beneficiaries are disabled workers or their spouses and children; they receive Disability Insurance (DI) benefits.