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What We Read Today 18 January 2014

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 accepted.

  • Facts and Figures on Incarceration in America (John Light, Moyers & Company) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. The U.S. has 5% of the world population and 25% of the world prison population. If the $50 billion spent by states each year on prisons were spent on education (for 2.5 million prisoners, about 4 million more public school children could be educated. Or the amount invested in each of the 49 million public school students could be increased by almost 8%.

  • Fed Sent $77.7 Billion in Profits to Treasury Last Year (Victoria McGraine, The Wall Street Journal) Before you cheer, this is the same as a tax increase. The government is receiving $77.7 billion that otherwise would have remained in the real economy had the Fed not expanded their balance sheet via QE.



Eventually the jig will be up, and many will be trampled in a rush to the exits. Some won't make it out. Be warned, be early, and move at least some liquid assets to friendlier climes.
  • The Dow 30: A Look Into the Last Five Recessions (Shauna O'Brien, Only 8 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow 30) have survived to this day. From the 1980-1982 recessions there are 20 survivors. How many will ultimately survive the Great Recession? After 28 years? After 80 years?

  • What's behind China's debt spiral? (Peter Cai, Business Spectator) The local government problem is related to tax revenue distribution which is imbalanced in favior of the national government.
  • Nobody Likes Bonds!: Ritholtz Chart (Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg) Presented are two charts by J.C. Parets, Eagle Bay Capital LLC. Peak bearishness for bond indicators. Is it time to be a contrarian? Here is one of the charts:


  • Why economics gets a bad rap (Noah Smith, The Week) Macroeconomists spoil things for all the rest who do valuable microeconomic work, according to Noah Smith.


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