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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 01:48:33 PM EST
CPRBlog: The Economist Recycles Old Right-Wing Ideas to Gut Public Protections

The Economist's February 18 edition offers a cover package of five articles on "Over-regulated America" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Our British friends want you to know there's a problem here in the States that needs fixing:

A study for the Small Business Administration, a government body, found that regulations in general add $10,585 in costs per employee. It's a wonder the jobless rate isn't even higher than it is.

You can almost feel The Economist's pain: the jobless rate should be a lot higher than it is, if the premise about the costs of regulations is correct. Surely if the regulatory burden were actually 12 percent of GDP - that's what the SBA numbers say, if you draw them out - things would be far worse than they are. Ideologically unable to consider the obvious alternative - that regulations don't add $10,585 in costs per employee, The Economist, just, well, "wonders" aloud.

Here's what The Economist would have found if they'd dug just a little bit:  Fully 70 percent of the SBA estimate was actually based on a regression analysis using opinion polling data on perceived regulatory climate across countries (in a strange twist, a separate article in the same issue actually questions the study, briefly). Whole reports have been written on why that number is bogus.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 01:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but haters gotta hate. It's what they do

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:01:56 AM EST
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Margins Widen at U.S. Companies as Wage Growth Lags Behind Prices: Economy - Bloomberg

Companies are improving margins and generating profits as wage growth for the American worker lags behind the prices of goods and services.

The year-over-year change in the so-called core consumer price index, which excludes volatile food and fuel, has outpaced hourly earnings for the last four months. In January, average hourly earnings climbed 1.5 percent from a year earlier, while core inflation was up 2.3 percent.

"A lot of the outperformance of profits has been due to the fact that margins are expanding," said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. "Firms have been able to keep prices intact even though labor costs have been declining."

While benefiting the bottom line for businesses, the decline in inflation-adjusted wages bodes ill for the sustainability of economic growth as consumers may eventually be forced to cut back, Feroli said. Businesses have also been slow to redeploy their profits into new hiring.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 02:25:41 PM EST
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the difference between individual capitalist mythology (screw the workers) and society capitalist reality (workers spend money to keep the economy going) grows ever wider

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:03:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nordic Currencies Stung in Crisis - Bloomberg

Sweden and Norway are losing their appeal as havens from Europe's debt crisis at a time when the krona and krone are more overvalued than at almost any point in the past 40 years.

Sweden's central bank cut interest rates for a second- straight meeting on Feb. 16 after exports, accounting for about half of the nation's output, fell 6 percent in December. Norway's foreign trade slid 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter. The Swedish krona is about 25 percent too expensive, and the Norwegian krone more than 40 percent based on an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development measure of the relative costs of goods and services.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 02:27:52 PM EST
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The Norwegian crown hasn't changed value significantly against the dollar in the more than 7 years I've been living in Norway.
Above is an article from proclaiming that Greece and the weaker economies of Europe leaving the Euro and using their own floating currencies would have no effect on competitiveness or on Germany's exports, and here we have another projection of crisis in an apparently thriving economy based on the anticipated lack of competitiveness because of an overvaluation that seems to be reasonably content where it is.
The message in both articles seems to boil down to workers making too damn much money in both Norway and Greece... or perhaps that workers make too damn much money everywhere.
by Andhakari on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 04:01:59 AM EST
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Insight: ECB preparing to close liquidity floodgates | Reuters

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank wants its second offer of cheap ultra-long funds next week to be its last, putting the onus back on governments to secure the euro zone's longer-term future.

Powerful members of the central bank's 23-man governing council are privately hoping demand at the February 29 auction will fall well short of the 1 trillion euros some expect, backing their view that it should be the last.

Central bank sources say they are worried that banks will become too reliant on ECB funds, removing the incentive to restart lending between themselves.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 03:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Central bank sources say they are worried that banks will become too reliant on ECB funds, removing the incentive to restart lending between themselves.

But it would not do to apply some transparency and mark all assets to market, oh no! Failure to deal with the reason they won't borrow from each other is too much to ask. When the truth is too painful the CBs just babble nonsense and most don't notice.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 04:34:26 PM EST
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The problem seems to be that ECB is not the banking regulator, just the monetary authority.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:16:29 AM EST
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Yeah, but what is the Fed's excuse?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 08:58:06 AM EST
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Progress in the US on the housing problem:  (H/T Jesse)

So recovery is on the way? Prepare for increased babble from the Fed, etc.

I have first hand experience of the California housing bubble which burst in 89-90. Fortunately I had not bought a house in '88 or 89. So glad I sold in Nov. '05. We might be at the bottom now - or not.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 04:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And note that there has been about a third of the USA that was not significantly affected by declining real estate prices, so the impact where prices did decline was proportionately greater.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 12:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keen to be heard  Business Review Weekly  (Australia)

Steve Keen, associate professor of economics at the University of Western Sydney, is becoming something of a superstar. He has been acknowledged as one of a handful of economists to have predicted the global financial crisis and now is a regular speaker at high-profile conventions around the world.

He is a consultant for the United Nations' Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific and in April he is speaking alongside George Soros and Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman at the Institute for New Economic Thinking where he has been asked to give a speech on "taming financial market instability".

The same organisation has given Keen almost $250,000 to develop software capable of predicting an economic crisis before it happens.

Last November he was interviewed on the BBC's Hardtalk program, which attracts a worldwide audience of almost 300 million, in which he "went public" about his idea for a "debt jubilee", where private debts are written off "en masse" to avoid "two decades" of economic stagnation.



As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:16:17 AM EST
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