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The Hill (includes video): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday offered an amendment to force a vote on President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was having none of it.
Heritage Foundation: It seems that every day now brings another business owner in the news talking about cutting workers’ hours or making other cost-cutting moves in anticipation of Obamacare’s impact in 2013.
AP: Maria Menendez, a 25-year-old caught in Spain’s job-destroying economic crisis, would love to work in Germany as a veterinarian. Germany, facing an acute shortage of skilled workers, would love to have her. A perfect match, it seems, but something’s holding her back: She doesn’t speak German.
National Journal: In 2011, the overall birth rate was 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest since at least 1920, Pew reported, citing numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics. The birth rate reached 122.7 in 1957, the peak of the Baby Boom.
Weekly Standard: Don’t the American people have a right to see these taxes and where they will fall? Shouldn’t the President of the United States, the only person who represents everybody in the country, lay out his plan, or must that remain a secret too? Will it just be revealed to us on the eve of Christmas or eve of the new calendar year? We will be asked to vote for it, to ratify it like lemmings, I suppose.”
Randy O’Bannon at Life News: When abortions drop, for whatever reason, that’s a big deal. Precious unborn lives have been saved and their mothers saved from making a terrible mistake.
CNBC: Boehner said House Republicans are asking Obama “to make good on a balanced approach” that would including spending cuts and address government social benefit programs.
Reuters: World shares and the euro fell on Wednesday as investors worried that the deep fiscal challenge facing U.S. President Barack a day after his re-election could lead to a new recession.
FoxBusiness.com: Equities, commodities and other risky assets tumbled on Wednesday after U.S. elections left Washington, D.C. as sharply divided as before as the fiscal cliff looms large.
Pat Buchanan at Townhall: Yet whoever wins today, it is hard to be sanguine about the future. The demographic and economic realities do not permit it.
NCPA Policy Digest: Crony capitalism describes an economic system in which the profitability of firms in a market economy is dependent on political connections. Despite the coverage in popular press, little academic research has been devoted to researching the causes and effects of crony capitalism, says Randall G. Holcombe, professor of economics at Florida State University.
NCPA Digest: The recent economic crisis has left many state and local governments with underfunded pension benefits for government employees. However, elected officials are unwilling to make the necessary cuts or tax hikes because both options are extremely unpopular, say Robert Novy-Marx, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business, and Joshua Rauh, a professor of finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
CATO Institute (pdf link available to the full report): Four governors were awarded an “A” in this report card—Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Paul LePage of Maine, and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. Five governors were awarded an “F”—Pat Quinn of Illinois, Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and Chris Gregoire of Washington.
AP: The government borrowed about 31 cents of every dollar it spent in 2012. The string of $1 trillion-plus deficits has driven the national debt above $16 trillion. The magnitude of that figure has intensified debate in Congress over spending and taxes but little movement toward compromise.
CNN: “I grew up in a socialist country and I have seen what that does to people. There is no hope, no freedom, no pride in achievement,” he says with a soft Hungarian accent in the ad. “The nation became poorer and poorer, and that’s what I see happening here.”
LA Times: Gov. Jerry Brown took “emergency steps” Sunday to try to bring down record gas prices in the state. He directed the California Air Resources Board to increase the fuel supply by allowing the immediate sale and import of cheaper and more available winter-blend gasoline.
USA Today: In the nation’s densest motoring Mecca, some southern California gas stations are starting to run out of gas. And $5-a-gallon gas could be on the way.
AP: U.S. births fell for the fourth year in a row, the government reported Wednesday, with experts calling it more proof that the weak economy has continued to dampen enthusiasm for having children.
Sean Fieler at the WSJ (via Google): The more than five-fold increase in the median income of the American household since 1971, to $50,000 from $9,000, certainly provides the clear appearance of progress. But after the dollar’s 82% loss of purchasing power over the same period is factored in, the median household income rose just 12%. This much more modest increase is largely the result of the growing prevalence of two-income households . . . The median real income for working men over the same 40-year period rose just 8%. And that improvement only accrued to the ever-shrinking percentage of men fortunate enough to still have full-time jobs—just 67%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, within a percentage point of the lowest level on record since the figure was first recorded in 1948.
Washington Examiner: Fifty-five percent of small business owners and manufacturers would not have started their businesses in today’s economy, according to a new poll that also reports 69 percent say President Obama’s regulatory policies have hurt their businesses.
Ron Paul: Because the interest rate is the price of money, manipulation of interest rates has the same effect in the market for loanable funds as price controls have in markets for goods and services.
NY Times: Such survival tactics are becoming increasingly commonplace here, with an unemployment rate over 50 percent among young people and more and more households having adults without jobs.
NCPA Policy Digest: In the face of slow growth, the Federal Reserve has pursued another round of quantitative easing to help alleviate economic concerns. However, the Fed’s policy is simply a regressive redistribution program that has been boosting wealth for those already engaged in the financial sector or those who already own homes, but passing little along to the rest of the economy, according to Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation.
The Hill: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke underlined his concerns about the fiscal cliff in a closed-door meeting with senators Wednesday. The head of the nation’s central bank met privately with members of the Senate Finance Committee, as he continued to make his case to lawmakers that they must adjust policy before the end of the year to avert a fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts that economists argue could thrust the nation back into a recession.
Balkinization: Of the dozen-plus misrepresentation lawsuits filed against law schools by their former students, in recent months three have been dismissed (several have survived motions to dismiss and are in discovery). The core basis for the dismissal is the same in all three: prospective students cannot reasonably rely upon employment data posted by law schools . . . These three law schools, and others facing similar suits, undoubtedly count these decisions as victories. But I cannot shake the sense that they mark a deep wound to the standing of law schools.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: The 2012 State Liability Systems Ranking Study was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform to explore how fair and reasonable the states’ tort liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. businesses.
Human Events: Now the spigot is open — wide open. QE III is here. And the Fed is about to become a campaign issue, whether it likes it or not. Chairman Ben Bernanke announced Thursday that the Fed would spend $40 billion a month on mortgage-backed securities with no set date to end those purchases.
Reuters: The Federal Reserve launched another aggressive stimulus program on Thursday, saying it will buy $40 billion of mortgage-related debt per month until the outlook for jobs improves substantially as long as inflation remains contained.
USA Today: Most college and university endowments have recovered from losses sustained in the recession. Here’s a look at U.S. and Canadian schools that reported endowments for 2011 and, when reported, their maximum pre-recession values. Endowments include investment gains and fundraising. Numbers have not been adjusted for inflation.
USCourts.gov: The Judicial Conference of the United States today agreed to close six non-resident federal court facilities—the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures implemented by the federal Judiciary’s national policy-making body.
AP: Recessions around the world have pushed a growing number of young people out of education and out of the workforce, according to a report Tuesday that warned of growing danger for “the traditional pathway from school to work or family life.”
NCPA Policy Digest: From 1990 to 2010 the share of expenditures on housing — including principal, mortgage interest, taxes, maintenance and insurance — for these age groups increased about 25 percent.
NCPA Policy Digest: Unions were once an important avenue for protecting workers by providing a powerful tool to negotiate with employers. However in today’s economy it is increasingly less relevant for workers to be represented by unions; it may even hurt the employee more, says James Sherk, a senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation.
NY Times: The European Central Bank on Thursday announced a sweeping program for buying the bonds of troubled euro zone countries, giving the bank potentially unprecedented power.
Bloomberg: Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million people in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign.
Washington Times: Such continuously high unemployment is a central aspect of the declining standard of living for middle class Americans in the Obama era. During the recession that Obama (mostly) inherited, the real median income of American households fell 3.2 percent. During the “recovery” over which Obama has presided, the real median income of American households has fallen an additional 6.7 percent.
AP: Unemployment in France is 10 percent, but nearly 23 percent for those under the age of 25 . . . In Spain, youth unemployment is over 52 percent; it’s 34 percent in Italy.
Heritage Foundation: A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in July revealed that small businesses’ top three concerns were taxes, regulations, and poor sales. A quick look at these top three small business struggles shows they have every reason to be demoralized . . .
NCPA Policy Digest: The persistent inability of the Fed to stimulate aggregate demand makes it difficult to escape the reality that the U.S. economy is stuck in a liquidity trap.
NCPA Policy Digest: For instance, if a pipeline in Phoenix were to burst and prevent supplies to the city, Phoenix could not look to Tucson for supplies because there are different EPA standards for the blend of fuels they each use.
Star Parker at the World Net Daily: Akin has served six terms in Congress with a consistent, unblemished conservative record. The fact that leaders of his own party joined hands with liberals, thereby legitimizing them, and body slammed Akin microseconds after his unfortunate and easily disabused remark, shows there’s more going on. What’s going on is these influential Republicans don’t want any kind of discussion about abortion. This campaign, in their view, is supposed to just be about the lousy economy.
Financial Times: Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.
The Hill: The Pew Research Center found that median income for the middle class dropped by 5 percent, in the first decade since World War II where family incomes declined across the board. In a decade that saw both recession and a financial crisis, median wealth for the middle class dropped even more sharply, by some 28 percent.
Bloomberg: . . . Americans have had fewer babies each year since the 2008 financial meltdown, with births falling to a 12-year low in 2011, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The low birth rate and reduced immigration resulted in the smallest gain in population since World War II, which may hurt spending on everything from Huggies diapers to pregnancy kits, child care and education.
UK: Relaxation of Sunday trading will upset churchgoers, family campaigners and a good number of Tory MPs
Conservative Home Tory Diary: When the Government first flirted with the idea of relaxing Sunday trading laws my colleague Paul Goodman was very unimpressed. Is this the most anti-Christian government in British history?, he asked. But it’s not just churchgoers who don’t like the idea. By 52% to 36% most Britons oppose further deregulation of Sunday opening.
Christian Institute: The Government is to consider making extended Olympic Sunday trading hours permanent, but critics are concerned about the impact on families.
NCPA Policy Digest: New reports suggest America is not only hurting economically under President Obama, but also on a dangerous road to fiscal decline and growing dependence on government, says Investor’s Business Daily. Here are just a few recent reports about the alarming growth in dependency . . .
Yahoo Finance: a Chinese business magazine said a state bank has provided $1 billion in loans to help companies with listings abroad move them to domestic exchanges . . . The withdrawals follow accusations of improper accounting by some companies and a deadlock between Beijing and Washington over whether U.S. regulators can oversee their China-based auditors. Some Chinese companies say they are pulling out of U.S. markets because a low share price fails to reflect the strength of their business. Withdrawing also eliminates the cost of complying with American financial reporting rules.
CNSNews: report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that lifting the ban on federal oil drilling in certain areas could increase U.S. petroleum reserves by 30 percent, including an estimated 8 billion barrels of oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Washington Times: . . . You have warned that civilizations fail and the reason they fail is plain. “When civilizational virtues are eroded from within, people lose the capacity to defend the good things those habits enabled previous generations to achieve,” you explain, and cite ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and 1930s Germany as examples. Millions are afraid the United States is heading down the same doomed path. Is that indeed a danger, and what do Americans need to do to pull a U-turn back in the right direction? Sirico: While I do not wish to overstate the crisis we as a nation and a culture are facing, it is, I believe, quite apparent things are seriously off-kilter. Nor is this an observation from one side of the political spectrum — it is a general sense people have.
Weekly Standard: A new chart set to be released later today by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee details a startling statistic: “Over 100 Million People in U.S. Now Receiving Some Form Of Federal Welfare.”
NY Times: President François Hollande is vowing to impose a 75 percent tax on the portion of anyone’s income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year.
AP: The University of Virginia, a top-ranked law school, hired 17 percent of its 377 graduates in 2011. The school has a 95 percent rate of fulltime employment in positions requiring bar admission. Subtract those graduates whose salaries are being paid by their alma mater, and it drops to 78 percent. “It’s a Ponzi scheme, in almost a literal sense,” said Paul Campos, who teaches at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. “You’re taking money from current students and paying it to unemployed graduates.”
Christian Post: Jimmy LaSalvia is the executive director and co-founder of GOProud, a Republican group of straight and gay conservatives who advocate for conservative principles but support same-sex marriage. He feels the main reason party officials are not touting the same-sex marriage issue is that most Americans are more concerned about the economy.
Findlaw: The days of tax-free shopping on the Internet may be coming to an end. Congress seems poised to pass an Internet tax law, the Marketplace Fairness Act, that allows states to force online companies to tax their customers.
AP: After a final day of partisan battles over drought relief and cybersecurity, members of Congress streamed out of the Capitol looking forward to five weeks of vacation and a fall fraught with decisions on the political and economic future of the country.
CNBC: The government’s most widely publicized unemployment rate measures only those who are out of a job and currently looking for work . . . or that count, the government releases a separate number called the “U-6,” which provides a more complete tally of how many people really are out of work. The numbers in some cases are startling.
Jim DeMint at Our nation was born from the idea of “no taxation without representation”—that citizens should not be taxed by governments in which they have no political voice. Yet now lawmakers in Washington want to overturn that bedrock principle in order to extract more revenues from American consumers. The Marketplace Fairness Act recently introduced in the Senate would require online retailers to collect and pay sales taxes to states where they have no physical presence or democratic recourse.
CNSNews: President Obama is trying to prevent thousands of layoff notices from going out a few days before the November election, Sen. Jame Inhofe (R-Okla.) said on Tuesday.
Wall Street Journal: Some schools are having so much trouble filling their seats that they are negotiating scholarships, accepting some applications long after formal deadlines, and offering up other perks to entice the best prospective students.