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The world economy is visibly sinking, and the policymakers who are supposed to be its stewards are tying themselves in knots. Or so suggest the results of the G-20 summit held in Shanghai at the end of last month.
The International Monetary Fund, having just downgraded its forecast for global growth, warned the assembled G-20 attendees that yet another downgrade was pending. Despite this, all that emerged from the meeting was an anodyne statement about pursuing structural reforms and avoiding beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
Once again, monetary policy was left - to use the now-familiar phrase - as the only game in town. Central banks have kept interest rates low for the better part of eight years. They have experimented with quantitative easing. In their latest contortion, they have moved real interest rates into negative territory.
Goldman Throws Up On Global Easing Party, Warns US Economy Close To Overheating (Zero Hedge) Zero Hedge takes a shot at Goldman Sachs analyst Robin Brooks who predicted "the dollar rally is far from over" just hours before this week's FOMC announcement. The basis was his assertion that the Fed would issue a statement "more hawkish than market pricing". Well, the market reaction was dramatic drop in the dollar because the FOMC statement was "exceptionally dovish".
The electoral college could still stop Trump, even if he wins the popular vote (The Washington Post) Following the U.S. Constitution, state legislators can chose to appoint presidential electors themselves this November, rather than leaving the matter of apportioning electoral college votes by popular vote. Then, via their chosen electors, legislatures could elect any presidential candidate they prefer.
We take it for granted that the individual votes we cast will be the ones that select the slate of presidential electors in our state. But the Constitution makes no such guarantee. In fact, it says the states appoint electors "in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct."
Some of the Founders worried that rash decision-making by the collective body politic would be "radically vicious" or "liable to deceptions" if they directly elected the president, for the people would lack the "capacity to judge" candidates. While members of the House of Representatives would be accountable directly to the people, presidential elections would occur indirectly. Electors, not the people, would elect the president. And state legislatures could decide how. (Most states now have laws binding electors to vote for the candidate who wins their state's popular vote - but many states don't.)
Beyond the positive advantages of membership, we have protection from many aspects of the EU that we dislike: we are not in the Eurozone - because I kept us out of it over 20 years ago; we are not part of Schengen (and thus have control of our borders); and we have opted out of "ever closer union". We can veto any Treaty that enhances EU powers.
We are the only nation within the EU which has managed to secure these concessions. It would surely be perverse to turn our back on these advantages, and replace them with serious risks that alarm our international friends and repel the inward investments that boost our jobs and living standards.
Brazil's Agnelli, who turned Vale into top miner, dies in crash (Reuters) Roger Agnelli, the Brazilian banker who turned Vale SA (VALE5.SA) into the world's No. 1 iron ore producer, died on Saturday in a plane crash, a source close to aviation authorities told Reuters. He was 56. Agnelli, his wife and two children were among seven killed when his Comp Air 9 turboprop monoplane slammed into two homes around 3:20 p.m. local time (1820 GMT), minutes after taking off from an airport in northern São Paulo
Cuba casts aside rancor to welcome Obama on historic visit (Reuters) President Barack Obama arrives in Cuba today for a 48-hour visit, making history by venturing into what was once enemy territory and sparking enthusiasm among Cubans who have seen their Communist government vilify 10 previous U.S. leaders. The visit, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years, would have been unthinkable until Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in December 2014 to end an estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution overthrew a pro-American government in 1959.
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