Tuesday, February 3, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | Factory orders fall 3.4% in December in 5th straight decline
New orders for factory-made goods in the U.S. sank 3.4% in December to mark the fifth straight decline, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Market Watch | Manufacturing showing signs of sputtering
Two measures of manufacturing sentiment in January matched their worst performance in a year, a sign that sputtering overseas growth as well as the rapid deterioration in commodity prices is hurting U.S. businesses.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | A World of Economic Trouble
These should be happy times for the U.S. stock market. GDP is booming, employment is up and interest rates are low. And yet, throughout the first month of 2015, the stock market has at times behaved as though it were 2008. What happened?
Wall Street Journal | Benefits of Infrastructure Spending Not So Clear-Cut, Economists Say
Policy makers seeking new ways to fuel economic growth are hitting on a familiar cure: infrastructure.
Forbes | Obama's Repatriated Profits Tax Won't Raise US GDP By 1.5%
We’ve seen that President Obama is advocating that the currently offshore profits of US companies should be taxed whether they are repatriated or not.

Wall Street Journal | A Whiff of Secular Stagnation in Budget Forecasts
One of the more disturbing possibilities for the economy’s lengthy period of malaise following the recession was popularized by Harvard University’s Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary and former top adviser to President Barack Obama, who said the economy could be slipping into a state of secular stagnation.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | What Uber Can Teach Us About Health Care?
One of the most interesting things about Uber is the way its prices change at different times of day and at certain times during the year.


Wall Street Journal | Inflation Well Short of Fed’s 2% Target
The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge notched its lowest year-over-year increase since just after the recession, complicating the calculus for the central bank on when to lift short-term interest rates from near zero.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Why central bankers around the world have lost control
Predictably, the European Central Bank has joined the world’s other major monetary authorities in the greatest experiment in the history of central banking.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | President Obama's Budget Would Put A 67% Marginal Tax Rate On The Economy
President Obama sent his budget proposal to Congress yesterday and he is asking Congress for an increase of $74 billion in discretionary spending above the sequester level that is the current legal baseline for spending. That would be a seven percent increase above current levels. While seven percent sounds like a very large increase, the $74 billion might not sound all that large. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg.
Wall Street Journal | Taxes Unlimited
President Obama ’s budget is remarkable in many ways (see above), but no more than in its obsession with higher taxes. The guy won’t give up. He’s the Terminator of tax collection, and not in a good way.
Forbes | Tax Aspects Of The President's FY2016 Budget
Earlier today, the President wrapped up one hell of a Quicken session and published the FY2016 budget he will soon present to a largely disapproving Congress. Included within the budget were a host of proposed tax changes: some that we’ve seen before, others that we are seeing for the first time, but that the President forewarned were coming during his State of the Union address last week.


Market Watch | How job training is being reinvented for the 21st Century
A highly trained workforce is a public good, crucial not only to the prosperity of workers themselves, but also to the strength of the entire economy. And, as with most public goods, the United States has been underinvesting in it for decades, leaving many American workers without the skills they need to get well-paying jobs.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Forbes | Extended Unemployment Benefits Really Did Raise The Unemployment Rate; They Still Are
One of the little shouting matches going on over the effects of the various policies tried during the Great Recession is the one about the effects of extended unemployment benefits.
Forbes | How Hair Braiding Explains What's Gone Wrong With America's Economy
Isis Brantley has been arrested, jailed and a plaintiff in a federal civil rights case. But she’s not a whistleblower or a political dissident.


Forbes | Obama's Budget Doubles Down On Climate Fixes. Republicans Vow To Undo Them.
In addition to some $7.4 billion in research and development funding for clean energy and climate science, President Obama’sfiscal year 2016 budget — a nearly $4 trillion affair — includes $239 million aimed at the Environmental Protection Agency’s contentious Clean Power Plan, which among other things seeks to reduce emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels, including coal. Adding to that, Obama is seeking another $4 billion to create a set of incentives for states to go above and beyond that federal program in a broad effort to begin dramatically reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | What Democrats and the CBO Don’t Get
The recent rule change by House Republicans to incorporate the macroeconomic impact of major legislation into official budget estimates—“dynamic scoring”—has triggered heated criticisms. But three decades of hard accounting data, in addition to supporting the rule change, should prompt Washington to reconsider the way it thinks about what drives federal revenues.
Forbes | Obama's 2016 Federal Budget And Middle Class Economics
Spending had topped $4 trillion back during the height of the downturn, when America was in full-stimulus mode, pouring money into “shovel-ready” projects and infrastructure.