Early Headlines: Varoufakis Feigned Madness?, Greece Enacts Austerity Squared, Few are Independent Contractors,China's Private Debt Growth and More
Early Bird Headlines 16 July 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- What New Horizons reveals about Pluto (CNN) Perhaps contradicting the decision to demote Pluto from the status of planet because of its small size, the remarkable pictures sent back this week by the New Horizons fly-by mission show a body with many planetary features such as large mountain ranges and other surface variations. But Pluto is not unique; it exists in a spatial region with thousands of similarly sized dwarf planets (and countless smaller objects) in what is known as the Kuiper Belt orbiting our sun.
- 'Most workers are employees,' says U.S. Department of Labor (Al Jazeera) New guidance clarifies the exceptional, limited nature of 'independent contractor' status.
- As Jade Helm 15 Military Exercise Begins, Texans Keep Watch ‘Just in Case’ (The New York Times) Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other Special Operations troops will be conducting drills on private property, military bases and at some public facilities this month in Texas in an operation code named Jade Helm 15. Some Texans are fearful that the military exercise is actually a ruse for a federal takeover of the state.
- Greek Parliament accepts austerity; protests erupt on Athens' streets (Al Jazeera) Greece's Parliament has approved an austerity bill demanded by European bailout creditors (see next article), paving the way for Greece to open negotiations for a third bailout in five years. The yes vote came despite a significant level of dissent from the governing leftist Syriza party, and sizable demonstrations on the streets of Athens. Several prominent members of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' ruling party voted against his recommendation, including Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. For an idea of Varoufakis' thoughts see GEI News: Yanis Varoufakis: Notes on the Euro Summit Agreement.
- Greece’s new deal: From austerity to ‘austerity squared’ (Al Jazeera) Economic bailout package means further cuts to Greek benefits and state assets, despite months of negotiations.
- Was the Greek finance minister pretending to be mad? (BBC News) Article asks if feigning insanity was a game-theory-based negotiating ploy.
- Would Grexit have been a better deal? (BBC News) This headline asks a question the article can't answer.
- Energy and economic diplomacy can trump the nuclear ‘threat’ of the Iran deal (The Conversation) The nuclear threat may never have been very real, at least not in the next several years and probably much longer. Absent sanctions, Iran should prosper and that should contribute significantly to increased stability in the region, according to this author.
- Leadership in China Confronts Tougher Tasks Than in Boom (Bloomberg) In recent years, though, it sometimes seems the country's admired economic technocrats have been replaced by a jazz improvisation group, composing policy on the fly. On Wednesday, China's latest growth rate came in at 7 percent, better than forecast, but there's no denying it has decelerated markedly from the double-digit average seen from 1980 to 2012. And it remains below the increase in debt. That is not a sustainable growth path. See next article.
- China's Debt-to-GDP Ratio Just Climbed to a Record High (Bloomberg) As economists who Econintersect has found credible have pointed out, for countries which produce their own sovereign currencies, the most dangerous debt is excessive debt in the private sector. And when private debt grows much more rapidly than does GDP, red flags should be waving. China has seen private debt grow more than 50% faster than has the country's exceptional GDP. For U.S. data as of 2012, see U.S. debt-to-GDP hits a 6-year low (Business Jad)
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