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What We Read Today 10 February 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.

"I came from outside of Appalachia, so sometimes I see Appalachia in ways that are different than others," the West Virginia Democrat said, adding that the myth is "the idea that somehow God has it in his plan to make sure that industry is going to make life safe for them."

Four of the articles "Behind the Wall" are about interesting new facts concerning Obamacare, including a short debunking of one economic claim in an Econintersect discussion of one of the articles. In addition there are six other articles.

  • Japan Should Sell Senkaku Islands (John West, Asian Century Institute) John West contributes to Global Economic Intersection. The possible value of oil and gas reserevs is not discussed in the article.
  • A Most Dangerous Era (John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline) John Mauldin and Casey Mulligan have both contributed to Global Economic Intersection. Quotes from Casey Mulligan (from an interview article in The Wall Street Journal) and provides the following graph for marginal tax shift resulting from Obamacare for median incomes. Before you make your own interpretation here is a statement attributed to Mulligan by the WSJ:
Mr. Mulligan is uncomfortable speculating about whether the benefits of this shift outweigh the costs.


Econintersect suggests this may be nonsense. Consider a single person making $17,235. Federal income tax plus FICA will total $1,892 for 2013. If that person had health insurance in 2013 under the ACA example above, the premiums would add an expense of $689. Total of taxes plus health insurance would be $2,581.

What would have happened if this same individual had made $22,980 in 2013? Federal income tax plus FICA would total $3,034 and ACA health insurance would be $1,070 for a total of taxes plus health insurance of $4,104.

The cost of earning an additional $5,745 is $1,523 ($4,104 minus $$2,581). It is a ridiculous idea that many people will turn down the $4,060 after-tax net gain in income. If they do not pursue the additional income it will be for other reasons than they only get to keep 74% of it!

This is a study that should be carried out for more income ranges.

  • Itís housing thatís killing productivity (Unconventional Economist, Macro Business) Australia's declining productivity growth is attributed to the country's housing boom which is soaking up more and more resources in housing and rising land prices that add nothing productive to the economy. This is reflected in the rise of the finance and insurance sectors from 4% of GDP 40 years ago to 10% today. This is almost three times growth of all the rest of the economy.


More than 2 million people without insurance - 5 percent of the national total - live in Los Angeles County, the biggest pool of potential sign-ups, while more than a million uninsured live in Harris County, Tex., home of Houston. Nearly 30 percent of all Harris County residents are without insurance. Hundreds of thousands without insurance live in Cook County, Ill., Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Dallas County, Tex., the third, fourth and fifth-largest pools of uninsured.

Click on map for larger image at The Washington Post.

Chinese households' concentration of wealth in real estate is magnifying the danger to the world's second-largest economy of any property bust, as the nation grapples with the consequences of its record credit surge.


  • The paradox of choice (Barry Schwartz, PBS NewsHour) Is too much choice not market optimizing but rather increasing inefficiency? The following PBS segment was recorded before Christmas:

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