When the U.S. housing bubble burst the aftershocks were at the heart of the financial crisis and Great Recession, so you might think that policymakers would avoid at all costs the kinds of policies that fed the housing bubble. Enter the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which yesterday put into effect a 0.50 percent (50 basis points) reduction in the premiums borrowers must pay for taxpayer-backed FHA mortgage insurance.
On January 15, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released its Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity, a quiet but important moment in the debate over the future of federal policy. CAP is the leading stalking horse for the White House and other progressive political candidates policy platforms.
For the second straight year, President Obama’s State of the Union address included a call for Congress to grant him Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The revolt on the left has been nearly instantaneous.
After a brief interlude to hear the president’s assertions that all is good in America — except that not everything is free, yet— and safe abroad, Congress has gotten back to business.
President Obama has come to be recognized as someone who would rather win an argument than get a deal. This trait was on full display in last night’s State of the Union address (SOTU), a campaign-style event long on rhetoric.
While Americans were busy enjoying their Saturday evening this past weekend, the White House spin machine was busy “leaking” the president’s tax proposals in tonight’s State of the Union address. The highlights are raising $320 billion through higher taxes on more of capital gains, higher taxation of dividends, and a surtax on the largest financial institutions.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent pace for the year from the 3rd quarter of 2013 to the 3rd quarter of 2014, which itself featured a sharp rise at a 5.0 percent pace. It was natural to expect that growth would slow somewhat in the final quarter as the 3rd quarter data were buoyed by a sharp (if somewhat inexplicable) 16 percent rise in federal defense spending and a seemingly unsustainable growth in exports.
Veteran Eakinomics readers are well aware of the notion of “network neutrality” for the internet, its history, the key issues, and the notion of trying to implement this utopian policy vision via “Title II Reclassification” — the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) attempt to defy the laws of networks, economics, and time and turn broadband into 1950s-style local phone service.
During trading yesterday, spot prices for Brent crude and WTI crude (benchmarks for global and domestic crude oil, respectively) temporarily converged around $45.99 a barrel. This is a big deal.
The recovery remains a disappointment. The U.S. labor market has delivered jobs for those who stuck it out, permanently discouraged the rest, and income growth for neither. Progressives evidently have realized they cannot deliver widespread economic well-being and have shifted — at least rhetorically — to a new strategy that was rolled out yesterday by Representative Chris Van Hollen.