Thursday, January 15, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S. stock futures recover from losses after Swiss shocker
U.S. stock futures recovered from the sharp reversal in the wake of Swiss National Bank’s decision to ditch its currency ceiling and turned higher shortly before the regular market open on Thursday.
Market Watch | U.S. producer prices drop 0.3% in December on cheaper gas
U.S. producer prices posted the biggest decline in December in more than three years, mainly because of the plunge in gasoline prices. The producer price index fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3% last month, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Market Watch | Empire State manufacturing gauge swings back to positive ground
The Empire State manufacturing index bounced back into positive territory in January, rising to 10 from negative 1.2 in December.
Market Watch | Jobless claims jump 19,000 to 316,000, highest since September
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits in the first full week of January shot up to the highest level in four months and topped the 300,000 mark for the first time since Thanksgiving.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                    | Is American Business On Road To Extinction?
An economy that does not produce new companies is an economy with a grim future. That's why the virtual collapse in startups in this country is a problem that requires an immediate solution.
Market Watch | First clues for U.S. economy in 2015 on tap
Wall Street will get its first clues on how the economy is doing in the new year through a pair of reports on Thursday that monitor the health of U.S. manufacturers.
New York Post | The Keystone Pipeline’s many miracles
Not since the multiplication of the loaves and fishes near the Sea of Galilee has there been creativity as miraculous as that of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Kaiser Family Foundation | Analysis of 2015 Premium Changes in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces
The map and 50-state table are updates to our September analysis, which examined premium changes for the lowest-cost bronze plan and the two lowest-cost silver plans in 16 major cities. The second-lowest cost silver plan in each state is of particular interest as it acts as a benchmark that helps determine how much assistance eligible individuals can receive in the form of federal tax credits. Although premium changes vary substantially across and within states, premium changes for 2015 in general are modest when looking at the low-cost insurers in the marketplaces, where enrollment is concentrated.
Wall Street Journal | Shunning ObamaCare
Among the Affordable Care Act’s many economic and political disruptions, the law has unintentionally encouraged employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. ObamaCare mandates that employers offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty up to $3,000 an employee. But employers have no such obligation for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, making part-time employment less costly.
Wall Street Journal | Saying Goodbye to Third-Party Medical Payments
The Affordable Care Act is raising costs, restricting patient choice and doctor freedom, and putting bureaucrats in the treatment room. It isn’t good—but it’s here to stay, largely intact, at least until a Republican president can work with a Republican-controlled Congress.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | The Fed Cash Machine
The Obama Administration has been a stalwart supporter of the Federal Reserve’s bond purchases, and one underreported reason appeared in a Fed press release on Friday: The central bank has become a huge money-maker for the Treasury.

Wall Street Journal | Falling 10-Year Yield Raises Doubts About Fed 2% Goal
Federal Reserve officials have said they would raise short-term interest rates in the months ahead even if inflation remains below their 2% objective, as long as they are “reasonably confident” it is heading toward that goal. You can count Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren as not at all confident at this point in time.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Uniting Behind a Pro-Growth Agenda
Pundits claim the Republican leadership in Congress cannot possibly satisfy the unrealistic expectations of the party’s supposedly unruly base. But while there may be disagreements at times over some issues and priorities, pro-growth conservatives will support and work with all members of Congress to promote economic growth that leads to a healthy and prosperous America.


Market Watch | Jobless claims haven’t been this high since September
The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in the first week of January shot up to the highest level in four months.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | More job openings, but many of them are low-paying
The job openings and labor turnover survey has been attracting increasing attention from economists lately – both because Fed Chair Janet Yellen has called it one of her favorite indicators of the U.S. labor market’s health, and because recently it’s been signaling some real signs of strength in the long-feeble American job-creation scene.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Mercatus Center | "Timely, Targeted, and Temporary?" An Analysis of Government Expansions over the Past Century
John Maynard Keynes suggested that government should undertake a temporary surge in deficit-financed spending when the economy is in recession. According to proponents of Keynesian theory, stimulus policies need to be “timely, targeted, and temporary” in order to be successful. History has shown, however, that fiscal stimulus policies have a dismal record with respect to these “three Ts.”