Economy

Economic Daily Outlook

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2012

 

ECONOMICS:

EDITORIAL: The Careless House Budget

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/opinion/the-careless-house-budget.html

As he rolled out his 2013 budget on Tuesday, Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, correctly said that he and his fellow Republicans were offering the country a choice of two very clear futures. The one he outlined in his plan could hardly be more bleak.

It is one where the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now, while programs for the poor — including Medicaid and food stamps — are slashed and thrown to the whims of individual states. Where older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs. Where lack of health insurance is rampant, preschool is unaffordable, and environmental and financial regulation are severely weakened.

EDITORIAL: The Reform Republicans

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304636404577293810586077858.html

The introduction of Paul Ryan’s House fiscal 2013 budget yesterday is an important political moment even if it has no chance of becoming law this year. It shows that the reform wing of the Republican Party is alive and well, one year after Democrats and the press corps had called Mr. Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget political suicide.

Perhaps you remember the TV spot in which Democrats had an actor resembling Mr. Ryan dump grandma in a wheel chair off a cliff. Democrats chortled that the Budget Chairman’s Medicare reform would help them retake the House in 2012, and President Obama chipped in by trashing Mr. Ryan as he sat in the front row as a White House-invited guest to a speech at George Washington University.

 

REGULATION:

Banks Seek Delay on ‘Volcker Rule’

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577293924199972912.html

For Wall Street banks worried about the controversial “Volcker rule,” help may be on the way.

Senators from both parties are working to give regulators more time to write the rule, potentially easing banks’ concerns that their activities will run afoul of the law as a July deadline passes.

The Volcker rule, which restricts banks’ ability to trade with their own money, is set to take effect July 21, whether or not regulators have a final rule in place, according to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month that regulators likely wouldn’t have a rule in time.

 

HEALTHCARE:

Obama will avoid healthcare defense during court review

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/politics-elections/217197-president-will-avoid-high-profile-defense-during-court-review

President Obama will not mark the two-year anniversary of his signing of the healthcare law — which takes place days before the Supreme Court offers a decision on the constitutionality of his signature legislative achievement.

Senior administration officials said on Tuesday that Obama will not be offering a vigorous public defense of the law, holding events or even making public remarks in the lead-up to the Supreme Court case.

OPINION: 7 Principles of real health care reform (Gov. Bob McDonnell)

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74236.html

Two years ago this week — after backroom deals and over the objection of many governors — the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law.

Now, though the Obama administration has issued 10,000 pages of regulations since Democrats in Congress passed the more than 2,000-page behemoth, the law still does little to protect patients and is unlikely to make care more affordable.

In fact, it’s doing the opposite.

OPINION: ObamaCare’s Costs Are Soaring (Sen. Ron Johnson)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304724404577289363234579868.html

One year after the passage of ObamaCare, this paper published an op-ed I wrote (“ObamaCare and Carey’s Heart”) about how America’s health-care system saved my daughter’s life, and describing how implementing this law will limit innovation, lead to rationing, and lower the quality of care. Now, two years out, I would like to focus on the budgetary disaster.

As a candidate, Barack Obama repeatedly claimed that his health-care plan would lower annual family health-insurance premiums by $2,500 before the end of his first term as president. But the Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that the average family premium has increased $2,200 since the start of this administration.

 

ENERGY:

Questions Arise on Gasoline Data

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577293741560900970.html

If the Department of Energy is to be believed, weekly gasoline demand has fallen 7% on average from a year ago, to its lowest level since 2001.

But few market observers believe it.

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama heads west on energy road trip

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/217097-overnight-energy

President Obama will begin his two-day, four-state energy roadshow Wednesday, with stops aimed at showing he backs domestic oil-and-gas drilling and renewable sources like solar power.

The plan for driving that point home: visiting an oil-and-gas drilling site in New Mexico and a solar power plant in Nevada.

 

EDUCATION:

U.S. Education Woes Threaten National Security, Report Says

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/20/26security.h31.html

The United States must improve its education system or risk imperiling national security and the economy, according to a new report from a blue-ribbon panel convened by the Council for Foreign Relations.

“U.S. Education Reform and National Policy,” the product of the 30-member task force chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joel I. Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, cites statistics demonstrating the failures of the school system and recommends more school-choice efforts, an annual nationwide audit of educational achievement, and national standards in subjects such as civics and foreign languages.

 

FOREIGN POLICY:

Gen. John Allen: Afghanistan war on track to wind down

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74254.html

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan on Tuesday staved off attempts by members of Congress to knock him off his message.

Testifying on Capitol Hill in the wake of several tumultuous events in Afghanistan involving U.S. troops, Marine Gen. John Allen insisted that the war is on schedule and properly resourced – and that recent incidents would not alter the mission.

 

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