Economic Daily Outlook




Markets Fear End of Stimulus

Fears that the central banks of Europe and the U.S. may soon end efforts to support financial markets as well as fresh concerns about the health of Europe’s weakest countries drove down stock markets around the world Wednesday.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated he would be hesitant to undertake more monetary easing, citing concerns about inflation. That surprised investors who had been relying on the ECB to help support the region’s economy and financial markets.

The Barack Obama, Mitt Romney budget battle

President Barack Obama this week ripped the House Republican budget as a “Trojan horse” and gleefully attacked Mitt Romney by name for embracing it.

Romney responded by slamming Obama’s three-year run of trillion-dollar-plus deficits and criticizing the president for adding “nearly as much public debt as all the prior presidents combined.”

The sharp jabs significantly escalate one of the biggest looming fights of the 2012 campaign: how to curb annual deficits and puncture the ballooning $15 trillion U.S. debt.



Wall Street Examines Fine Print in a Bill for Start-Ups

Wall Street is examining whether it will benefit from a little-known section of a broad new law that President Obama is expected to sign on Thursday.

Provisions tucked into the so-called JOBS Act, or the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, will roll back some major securities regulations and parts of a landmark legal settlement struck almost a decade ago. That 2003 settlement built a Chinese wall between Wall Street research analysts and investment bankers, an effort to prevent analysts from improperly promoting stocks to help their firms drum up business from corporate clients.



Fight Over Court’s Role in Health Case Escalates

A federal appeals-court judge’s order requiring the Justice Department to affirm whether it thinks courts can overturn federal legislation stoked the partisan disagreement over the Obama administration’s health-care law.

Tuesday’s order by Judge Jerry Smith, a Reagan appointee on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, came in response to comments a day earlier by President Barack Obama. Asked about the coming Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of his Affordable Care Act, Mr. Obama said on Monday that it would be “unprecedented” for “unelected” judges to overturn the law.



On the stump, Dems split with Obama over Keystone XL pipeline

President Obama has steered clear of taking a firm stance on the Keystone pipeline, but many Democrats running for Senate don’t have the same luxury.

Eight of the 18 non-incumbent Democrats running for Senate surveyed by The Hill either steadfastly support the pipeline or oppose it outright, breaking with Obama’s decision to reserve judgment on the project until federal regulators conduct a full review.

EDITORIAL: Killing Coal

For three years the Environmental Protection Agency has imposed a de facto ban on new coal-fired power while doing everything it can to harm existing coal plants. But for once there’s something good to say about the latest EPA carbon rule: At least the agency was less devious when it formalized the coal ban last week.

The EPA proposed what are known as “new source performance standards” for carbon under the Clean Air Act, which are part of the agency’s “endangerment finding” to limit greenhouse gas emissions. To control CO2, utilities will need to install new technology, such as capture-and-sequestration systems that are among the world’s most complex and expensive industrial equipment.



Student Loan Debt Isn’t Just a Young Person’s Problem

One big component of the well-documented anxiety young people experience today is student loan debt, but if a recent report from the Federal Reserve is to believed, they’re also a major burden on older Americans.

Last month, the Fed’s New York branch released a study of the often-talked-about but little-understood student loan market in the U.S. “Relevant data are limited and, for the most part, anecdotal,” it write Meta Brown, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Maricar Mabutas, and Wilber van der Klaauw in the report attempting to remedy that knowledge gap.



Hikes in cost of veterans’ health care draw fire

The Obama administration’s budget proposal to cut defense spending, in part, by increasing the cost of health care for retired service members has riled veterans groups and members of Congress.

“It’s wrong to ask them to sacrifice more when Washington has not had the political courage to look at the big picture on the budget or the courage to address the big drivers of our debt,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who sits on both the Senate Armed Services and Budget committees.