Economic Daily Outlook




Report Says Candidates’ Plans Boost Federal Debt

While Republican presidential candidates are campaigning against President Barack Obama’s deficit-laden budgets, a new report concludes that three of the four contenders’ fiscal proposals would likely increase the federal debt.

Only Texas Rep. Ron Paul has offered detailed plans that might trim the government’s burgeoning debt, according to an analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Both winners and losers are cool to Obama’s corporate tax reform

Even business sectors that would gain an advantage from President Obama’s corporate tax overhaul have given a cool reaction to his proposal.

The poor reviews from groups that might be described as winners under the plan underscores the challenge the administration faces.

Technology companies say the administration’s plan is flawed because it is too cautious in revamping a code that will leave some companies better off.



House Republicans, and some Dems, press White House to kill climate rules

More than 200 House Republicans and about a dozen conservative Democrats called on the White House Thursday to kill pending climate regulations, arguing they will impose huge costs on consumers.

“Affordable, reliable electricity is critical to keeping growing jobs in the United States and such a standard will likely drive up energy prices and threaten domestic jobs,” the 223 lawmakers, including 14 Democrats, wrote in a letter to White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Jeffrey Zients.

Bank Lobby Widened Volcker Rule, Inciting Foreign Outrage

U.S. banks pushed regulators to widen proposed restrictions on trading and hedge-fund ownership by foreign firms, then encouraged governments around the world to complain about the rule’s reach.

The two-pronged lobbying strategy resulted in foreign officials joining U.S. lenders to push back against the Volcker rule, named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker and incorporated in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.


 Hospitals Face More Tests to Access U.S. Medical Records Grants

Hospitals would have to show they’ve amassed the vital statistics of more than 80 percent of their patients in digital form, among other targets, to continue collecting as much as $14.6 billion in federal grants for installing electronic records technology sold by General Electric Co. and smaller suppliers.

Awards of as much as $11.5 million are available to hospitals that demonstrate “meaningful use” of the equipment, under preliminary rules issued yesterday by the Obama administration. Doctors can apply for grants of $44,000 or $64,000, depending on whether they treat patients in Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, or Medicaid, the program for the poor.

A Shift From Nursing Homes to Managed Care at Home

Faced with soaring health care costs and shrinking Medicare and Medicaid financing, nursing home operators are closing some facilities and embracing an emerging model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes and still receive the medical and social services available in institutions.

The rapid expansion of this new type of care comes at a time when health care experts argue that for many aged patients, the nursing home model is no longer financially viable or medically justified.


Drivers at the Mercy of Crude Prices

America is pumping more oil out of the ground than it has in years thanks to a surge in onshore drilling. U.S. refineries are producing more gasoline and diesel than ever. And Americans’ gasoline consumption is at an 11-year-low.

So with all that supply and not much demand, why have gasoline prices risen high enough this year to resurface as a national political issue? The short answer, experts say, is that the global economy and geopolitics, not the U.S. industry or economy, are driving gasoline prices



 OPINION: The Hidden Majority of For-Profit College (Judith Scott-Clayton)

Whether you support or oppose the growing role of the for-profit sector in postsecondary education, you probably don’t know the half of it. Literally.

A new study by the economists Stephanie Riegg Cellini of George Washington University and Claudia Goldin of Harvard concludes that the estimated number of for-profit institutions in the United States would more than double – to more than 7,500 from 2,944 – if official statistics included institutions that do not receive federal student aid.

Number of U.S. adults with college degrees hits historic high

Representing a historic high, three in 10 adult Americans held bachelor’s degrees in 2011, census officials reported Thursday.

College attainment has crept upward, slowly but steadily. In 1947, just 5 percent of Americans 25 and older held degrees from four-year colleges. As recently as 1998, fewer than one-quarter of the adult population held college degrees.


Questions in Europe as Outlook Falls

The European Union on Thursday sharply downgraded its growth outlook for the region’s economies, raising new questions about the virtues of austerity and setting the stage for a renegotiation of budget-deficit targets for some member states.

As the result of slowing global growth and a flare-up of the euro zone’s debt crisis, the EU forecast gross domestic product for the 17 users of the common currency will contract 0.3% this year, compared with a previous forecast of 0.5% growth. Italy, Greece and Spain, all countries that are pushing through draconian austerity measures, suffered the biggest downgrades.

Israeli strike on Iran would pose risk for US economy, Obama reelection bid

A military strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities has emerged as one of the biggest threats to the U.S. economic recovery and could roil the November elections.

The Obama administration and economic experts have warned a pre-emptive attack by Israel could send the economy into a slump, which would change the trajectory of campaigns for the White House and Congress.

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