Thursday, January 29, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | Jobless claims fall to 265,000 lowest level since 2000
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits plunged 43,000 to 265,000 in the week that ended Jan. 24, hitting the lowest tally in 14 years, according to Labor Department data released Thursday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Obama's Higher Education Policies Are Designed To Increase Dependence On Government
As part of his State of the Union speech, President Obama proposed a partnership of federal and state government funding to make two years of community college free for everyone. Yet, oddly, at the same time he proposed removing some of the tax advantages of 529 accounts which millions of Americans use to save for college expenses.
Market Watch | What the oldest stock market index is telling us
If cheaper oil were a net positive for the economy, one of the first places you’d expect to see it show up is the transportation sector. Yet it hasn’t: Over this same five-week period, the Dow Transports have fallen nearly 2%.
Market Watch | Some ugly truths about the bank bailouts
More than 4 million Americans lost their homes in the wake of the financial crisis, but the vast majority of lenders survived through government assistance rushed to Wall Street in the fall of 2008.
Market Watch | Lies, damned lies and Greece’s debt default
Can we stop it, please, with the Greek debt panic?
Real Clear Markets | Unemployment Sank When We Stopped Paying For It
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official arbiter of US business cycles, the "great recession" ended in June 2009. But in the half decade since then, the US economy has experienced the feeblest recovery on record with real GDP growing at a rate of just 2.4%.

Wall Street Journal | 5 Things to Watch In Friday's U.S. GDP Report
The government offers its broadest snapshot of the 2014 economy Friday with the first estimate of how much the economy grew in the final quarter.

Health Care

Wall Street Journal | Up to Six Million Households Facing Penalty for Skipping Health Insurance
The U.S. government estimates as many as six million households may have to pay a penalty for not having had health-insurance coverage last year as required under the Affordable Care Act, officials said Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Obamacare's New Reality: The Informed Patient
Who’s to blame for America’s outsized health care costs?  Take your pick.
Kaiser Health News | With Half of California’s Kids On Medicaid, Advocates Worry About Service
California’s Medi-Cal program has grown to cover nearly half of the state’s children, causing policymakers and child advocates to question the ability of the taxpayer-funded program to adequately serve so many poor kids.


Market Watch | Fed statement implies a midyear hike is still a possibility
The Federal Reserve gave no sign Wednesday that it was wavering over whether to hike interest rates later this year, despite rockiness in global markets and some recent disappointing economic data.
Market Watch | Fed doesn’t say whether it tweaked inflation target
The Federal Reserve has a key decision to make that could have significant implications for its interest-rate policy this year.
Market Watch | Text of the FOMC statement on interest rates
The following is the text of the Federal Open Market Committee statement released Wednesday

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Europe needs more than QE to bolster economic growth
Although the European Central Bank has launched a larger-than-expected program of quantitative easing (QE), even its advocates fear that it may not be enough to boost real incomes, reduce unemployment and lower governments’ debt-to-GDP ratios. They are right to be afraid.
Wall Street Journal | Fed Flags Midyear Rate Hike—Or Later
The Federal Reserve signaled it would keep short-term interest rates near zero at least until midyear, while also setting the stage for tough decisions in the coming weeks about whether it should wait even longer.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
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.

Wall Street Journal | Where There’s Already Faster U.S. Wage Growth
Much has been made of the stagnant wage growth so far in this expansion even as net hiring has accelerated. The Federal Reserve thinks it’s one sign that the labor market still has an excess of available workers despite the drop in the December unemployment rate to 5.6%.


Market Watch | Obama to call for reversal of ‘sequester’ cuts
President Barack Obama wants to sink the “sequester.”