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.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | The Congressional Budget Office's Rose-Colored, Short-Sighted View of Obamacare Spending
Last summer, my colleague Devon Herrick accused the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of looking at Medicare’s solvency through rose-colored glasses. Well, CMS has passed those shiny spectacles to another government agency.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Type the Title You Want People to See
Janet Yellen ’s job is about to get harder after a relatively easy first year as Federal Reserve chairwoman.
Telegraph | Sadly for all our futures, cheap money is here to stay. Just get used to it
When will interest rates rise again? Will they indeed ever rise again? According to the one-time American baseball player Yogi Berra, it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future. The idea that nominal rates will remain pegged at close to zero for all eternity is, of course, nonsense; nobody sensible would ever make such a forecast.
Bloomberg View | The What and the Why in Fed's Next Moves
As the Federal Open Market Committee concludes its first two-daypolicy meeting of 2015 today, Federal Reserve officials have been weighing a complicated tug of war between domestic and international economic considerations. They are also aware of the uncertainties associated with Europe’s increasingly fluid political and geopolitical situation. As such, look for them to stand pat, pushing any major policy signaling to their next meeting, in mid-March.

Wall Street Journal | What to Watch at This Week’s Fed Meeting
The Federal Reserve’s policy meeting Tuesday and Wednesday is likely to yield at most marginal changes to the central bank’s economic assessment and policy signals, with officials await more economic data before deciding when to raise interest rates.