Thursday, February 12, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | Business inventories edge up 0.1% in December
Business inventories edged up 0.1% in December, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Market Watch | Retail sales slump again, as Americans pocket savings at pump
Retail sales fell in January for the second month in a row as drivers spent a lot less on gasoline and didn’t appear to use that savings elsewhere.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                    | Why We Won’t See An Oil Price Rebound Yet
The February 10 IEA Oil Market Report states that some “market participants are seeing light at the end of the tunnel” based on oil company spending cuts. It goes on to mention that over-supply could become as bad as in 1998 when oil prices plunged to almost $11 per barrel.
Real Clear Markets | The (Market) Price of Bad Behavior
To many, the mention of business leaders and Wall Street executives conjures images of corporate greed by day and wild parties by night. Indiscretions do make splashy headlines and generate public outrage. But bad behavior by top businessmen and women in free market systems has larger repercussions than embarrassment and personal stress.
New Jersey Insitute of Technology | Too Big To Fail
According to the old joke, an 800-pound gorilla sleeps anywhere it wants to. When it comes to the expansion of Too Big To Fail institutions in this country, we now have more than one 800-pound gorilla in the room, and all of them have been gaining weight rapidly since 2007. - See more at:
Market Watch | U.S. launches new trade challenge against China
The U.S. opened a new front in a long string of trade disputes with China, challenging a broad program Beijing uses to subsidize export businesses.

Wall Street Journal | Retail Sales Mystery: Where Are Americans’ Gas Savings Going?
Americans saved at the pump last month as gasoline prices fell to levels last seen in 2009. But where did that money go?

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CNN Money | You'll pay a lot more to see the doctor with Obamacare
Obamacare enrollees have to shell out a lot more to see the doctor or get medications than their peers with job-based health insurance.


Wall Street Journal | A Fed Insider Calls for Reform
Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, believes “there’s too much power concentrated in the New York Fed.” And that goes as well for the Fed’s Washington headquarters. He’s calling for voting power at the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which sets interest rates, to be reallocated to recognize the rising population and economic power of the South and the West.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Pimco | The International Ramifications of ECB QE
Beginning in March 2015, the ECB will purchase €60 billion worth of bonds per month until September 2016, implying a total of €1.14 trillion in asset purchases across eurozone government and agency bonds, covered bonds and asset-backed securities (ABS).

Wall Street Journal | Grand Central: More Disturbing Findings Emerge on U.S. Productivity Path
San Francisco Fed researcher John Fernald is producing disturbing results in research on the path of U.S. productivity growth.


Market Watch | Individual tax receipts hint at higher wages
The federal government’s receipts of individual income taxes and payroll taxes are running ahead of where they were a year ago, the Treasury Department said Wednesday in its monthly budget statement.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Tax-Subsidy Programs Fuel Budget Deficits
Michigan’s corporate-tax incentives helped jump-start the state’s lagging economy, officials say, but now those same curative measures are hurting the state’s budget.


Market Watch | Jobless claims rise sharply, top 300,000 again
The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits topped the 300,000 mark in early February for the fourth time in the past six weeks, a sign that the pace of layoffs is starting to level off after an extended decline.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Post | The decline of American entrepreneurship — in five charts
By many accounts, the American economy is roaring back. Hiring is accelerating, wages are rising and the labor force is growing. Confidence among business leaders regarding the year ahead is on the rise, too.

Wall Street Journal | Great Recession Didn’t Cause U.S. Productivity Slowdown
The deep U.S. recession of 2007-2009 caused lasting damage to many areas of the U.S. economy. Worker productivity growth, however, is not one of them, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.


Market Watch | U.S. January budget deficit widens to $18 billion
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $18 billion in January, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. The monthly deficit compares to the $10 billion shortfall the government ran in January 2014, and brings the deficit for the fiscal year to date to $194 billion.