By Sara Murray
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
–Breaking Up: The Census Bureau’s report on the nation’s marital events in 2009 finds that Southerners were most likely to get divorced and Northeasterners were the least likely. “’Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also higher in the South,’ said Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the Census Bureau. â€˜In contrast, in the Northeast, first marriages tend to be delayed and the marriage rates are lower, meaning there are also fewer divorces.’” Among the other interesting findings: “Children living with a parent who divorced in 2009 were more likely to live in a household headed by their mother (75 percent) than in a household headed by their father (25 percent). Additionally, children living with a parent who divorced in 2009 were more likely to be in a household below the poverty level (28 percent) compared with other children (19 percent), and they were more likely to live in a rented home (53 percent) compared with other children (36 percent).”
–Dumping Doha: The Obama Administration should call for an end to the Doha Development Round, Claude Barfield argues. “For those who care about the future of the multilateral trading system and the institution of the WTO, nothing could be worse than a continuation of the debilitating stalemate, combined with increasingly feckless calls by world leaders at every summit gathering for negotiators to settle their differences and wrap up the round. The lack of â€˜political will’ starts right at the top of the political ladderâ€¦The WTO’s able and indefatigable Director General, Pascal Lamy, has acknowledge that after a decade of intense deliberations, Doha Round negotiations are in â€˜paralysis.’ Rather than picking over the bones of Doha, the December Ministerial should be devoted to clearing the decks and then beginning the complicated process of planning for a future agenda – if and when the elusive â€˜political will’ ever reappears among the political leaders of WTO members.”
–Treasurys: James Bianco uses an extensive set of graphics to explain who’s buying Treasurys. “We have shown that the deficit has exploded higher to the point that issuance is outrunning foreign purchases. Clearly a large portion of this issuance has been bought by the Federal Reserve in the form of QE1 and QE2. Households sold a record $155 of Treasuries during Q1 2011, a trend that bears watching. With QE2 now a relic of the past, the Federal Reserve would have to initiate a new round of QE to continue soaking up Treasury issuance. Perhaps the decline in interest from both foreigners and â€˜households’ was one factor in prompting the Federal Reserve to guarantee low rates for a period of two years. For the time being, the drop in rates seems to indicate that leveraged traders are taking full advantage of this opportunity. Only time will tell if this is reflected by increased demand from â€˜households.’”