Monday, January 26, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | GDP, Fed meeting highlight busy week for economy
Now it’s time to find out if the U.S. economy is still a single locomotive — or an inseparable part of a larger global train that’s slowing down.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Government Policies Caused the Financial Crisis and Made the Recession Worse
In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama argued we need government polices to build “the most competitive economy anywhere.”  He’s wrong.  We need the government to leave the private sector alone so that it can build the most competitive economy anywhere.
Wall Street Journal | Euro’s Big Drop Puts U.S. Economy, Federal Reserve to the Test
The European Central Bank’s launch of an aggressive program this week to buy more than €1 trillion in bonds poses important tests for the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve.
Real Clear Markets | The U.S. Economy's Achilles Heel? The Rest of the World
President Obama has declared the economic crisis over - and for the United States, maybe it seems that way. But for most other countries, not so much. Their recoveries are faltering. The obvious question is whether the global weakness will infect the U.S. expansion. This is a crucial footnote to Obama's optimism.
Market Watch | The real reason China isn’t the world’s biggest economy
Chinese leaders have been quick to put on a brave face after the ignominy of missing their economic-growth targets for first time since 1998. But while Premier Li Keqiang was telling global leaders in Davos not to worry about the economy, back at home the head of the country’s statistics bureau was rejecting claims China was already the world’s biggest economy.

Wall Street Journal | Most U.S. Businesses Will See a Boost From Cheap Oil, Economists Say
Most U.S. businesses will benefit from lower oil prices this year, but the cheaper energy bill also threatens to derail a recent driver of economic growth, according to a new survey of business economists.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion Is Nothing to Brag About
At the end of last year, the Obama administration boasted that almost 10 million people had enrolled in Medicaid since Obamacare went into effect. “This is great news,” an administration official exclaimed.
Forbes | Under Obamacare, Will America Keep Winning The War On Cancer?
There are a number of explanations for this success. The most important appears to be the reduction in smoking in the population. Lung cancer is still very deadly. However, because fewer people are diagnosed, the death rate from lung cancer has dropped dramatically since the early 1990s for men and turned around for women starting about 2005.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Telegraph | What happens after shock and awe of QE subsides?
The result of the Greek general election has the potential to threaten the euro. And the result of last Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank, namely the unleashing of a massive programme of government bond-buying, has the potential to save the euro. But will it succeed?
Market Watch | Doubts grow about mid-year rate hike, but Fed won’t express any
While there are growing doubts among economists that the Federal Reserve will make their first hike in short-term interest rates in June, don’t look for the U.S. central bank to give any hints that it may hold stay a little while longer than expected.

Wall Street Journal | Fed Board Quiet In Run Up To Meeting
The run up to this week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting has been notable for the nearly total silence of the five Washington-based board governors. Since their December meeting, they have not uttered a single public word about the economy or monetary policy. The only governor to speak publicly at all, Jerome Powell, spoke about market issues.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Estate Taxes Are Indeed Immoral
Michael Tomasky wrote a severely misguidedcolumn for The Daily Beast this week in which he not only argued in favor of wealth and estate taxes, but even declared such taxes moral. He advanced four arguments to support this position: that heirs don’t deserve great wealth, that society helped make such achievements possible and therefore deserves a share of the wealthy’s riches, that wealth taxes do not reduce incentives to entrepreneurship, and that the estate tax only applies to a tiny number of people. Let me rebut each of these arguments in turn.
Forbes | How President Obama Can Get His Big Bank Tax Without Congress
I know that it’s traditional around here to decry any method of extracting more money from the economy for the wastrels in Washington to squander but I have to admit that I take the basic idea that President Obama has proposed, a tax on the liabilities of the biggest banks, to be a good idea.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                    | Free Spending In Washington In A Time of Frugality
Federal Spending: Given half-trillion-dollar deficits, this is supposed to be an era of belt-tightening for governmental agencies. But you wouldn't know it from the fat-and-happy spending by some of them.