Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
- Macau overtakes Switzerland in wealth tables (Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times) Chinese tourist traffic, especially gamblers, has produced an explosion in income for the former Portuguese colony of Macau by 557% over the past 15 years. In 2013 the Chinese territory reached a per capita GDP of $91,376 to move it into fourth place globally, ahead of now number five Switzerland with $80,528. Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar have higher GDP. These rankings are by the World Bank; other sources have different rankings. The World Bank ranks the U.S. ninth with per capita GDP of $51,749 (2012).
- The Hobby Lobby Case and our Diminishing First Amendment (Charles P.Pierce, Esquire) This is a discussion of observations during the hearings by the SCOTUS in March. Pierce foresaw a potential eventuality from this case that all laws could become judged through a religious prism of specific beliefs. (Econintersect net of what he wrote.) So will we see the United Christian Caliphate of America (UCCA) with only laws that fit a given religious prescription allowed to exist? For a discussion of the religious dilemma this case has established see John Lounsbury's discussion at GEI Opinion. See also next article by Charles P. Pierce written after the ruling was announced.
- The Supreme Court Has a Favorite Religion, and That's a Big Problem (Charles P.Pierce, Esquire) Pierce says the Hobby Lobby ruling is another step toward establishing a de facto official state religion for the U.S. This ruling has strengthened precedent that future cases involving religious belief will require the court to sort such beliefs into two buckets: those that will be afforded protection under the law and those that will not. (See yesterday's GEI Opinion article.) The SCOTUS will become a board of Christian Ayatollahs, passing judgement on the ethical, philosophical and religious merits of all secular activity brought before it. We are one step closer to the UCCA, the successor to the old USA.
- 10 grad school degrees worth the debt (Stacy Rapacon, Kiplinger, MSN Money) With many college grads (and especially dropouts) struggling to pay off college debt, there are some graduate degrees that will , on average, pay off median debt levels between $51k and $67k in less than than 10 years of payments at 10% of median salary (several in less than 6 years). The top 10 for quick payoff for advanced degrees do not include some that you might expect: doctors, dentists, lawyers,many fields of engineering and science are missing. The most prevalent degrees are in fields involving business, economics and finance (6) with computer related advanced degrees a distant second (2).
- 10 Worst States to Live In (Scott Cohn and Betsy Cline, CNBC, MSN Real Estate) When it comes to quality of life, the "shining city on a hill" of Ronald Reagan has developed a slum at its center. The country has congestive heartland failure. And the life of America is rotting at the core. The 10 worst states are west of the East Coast and east of the Great Plains (except for one state which is technically in the Great Plains).
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