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posted on 21 December 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks And Oil Down, Dollar And Gold Flat, Global Monetary Tightening In 2019, Tax Law Details, EU Inflation, Brexit Wall Of Reality, Loan Growth In China, Canada Exports To China, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 21 December 2017

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, published Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.


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The bill eliminates a tax penalty for Americans who don’t carry health insurance, a pillar of the Affordable Care Act, while leaving the law’s other elements intact. Insurers have warned that eliminating the requirement will cause them to raise premiums. Healthy people will have less incentive to sign up for coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker pool of customers overall, the companies and many economists and health policy experts say.

  • Trump Falsely Claims GOP Tax Bill ‘Repealed Obamacare’ (Daiy Beast) The president has claimed that the repeal of the individual mandate is the end of Obamacare. See preceding article. Contrary to his claim, however, the Affordable Care Act is still largely intact - from its Medicaid expansion to the insurance exchanges it set up to regulations on insurance companies, including those mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Tax Bill Drops Bomb on Alimony Payments (ThinkAdvisor) The GOP tax reform bill changes the tax treatment of alimony (or spousal support) payments in one important way. Under the new rules, alimony is no longer deductible for the payor, and money received as alimony is no longer taxable income for the payee (having already been taxed as the payor’s income). The result is for many divorces, for a constant level of payment in the future, less will go to the former spouse and more will go to the IRS:

Essentially, the current (2017 and prior) rules allow divorced couples to shift taxable income from the payor to the payee. As a rule, alimony is a series of payments from the ex-spouse with higher income to the ex-spouse with lower income, and being able to shift the income to payee’s (presumably lower) tax bracket allows ex-spouses to lower the overall tax liability arising from the income being paid as alimony.



As expected, the EU27 leaders finally gifted May the honour not of signing a new trade deal, but of sitting down to a trade negotiating table. Even this one fact illuminates Britain's dramatic loss of influence: its power and prosperity are now firmly in the hands of the EU, in a way unimaginable before we voted to leave. We are now the supplicants, and depend on the kindness of traduced friends.

The events of the past fortnight have emphasised that Brexit is not a policy. It is a Tory fantasy and national nightmare. So yes, like the EU leaders, we can applaud Theresa May for having got through the European Council summit, a Commons appearance, and two Cabinet meetings. But sometime next year she will have her final reckoning with the unrelenting wall of legal and political reality. It will defeat her.


  • A territorial dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea carries more risk of an international conflict than the South China Sea, according to Ryan Hass from Brooking's
  • One big factor that increases the threat of conflict is repeated close encounters between Chinese and Japanese vessels, he said
  • Loan Growth in China (The Daily Shot) It appears that China’s households are shifting toward short-term financing (encouraged by their banks). The author says that this will not end well.


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