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What We Read Today 21 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 included.

There are 13 more articles discussed 'behind the wall'. Please support Global Economic Intersection by signing up for premium content 'behind the wall' for only $25 per year.

  • ACA consumers avoiding cheapest health plans (Caroline Chen, Employee Benefit Advisor) By far the most popular plans in Obamacare are the mid-level silver policies, with 62% of enrollees. The bronze plans (cheapest) have 19% of the enrollment, while the most expensive plans (platinum) have been picked by only 7% and the expensive gold plans have 12%.

President Barack Obama's repeated postponement of deadlines in the rollout of his health care overhaul has sparked accusations from Republicans that he's straying into dangerous territory by rewriting the law.

He's not the first president to follow his own timetable instead of the one passed by Congress.

From pollution controls and maritime safety rules to financial regulations, delaying enforcement of new laws has become common for presidencies, including those of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, even in the face of statutory requirements and frequent outcries.

Deadlines set in laws are "aspirational dates," said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University.

"From a strict rule-of-law perspective, it's not good," Baker said. "There ought to be precision, finality." Still, he said, occasional delays in enforcement of complex legal changes "build a certain amount of flexibility into the system."

There is a certain amount of political hypocracy here. Republicans have long argued that the law should be changed or repealed but they now condemn changes in the implementation schedule. It would be reasonable to argue that the delays indicate deficiencies in the law that this supports their call for change. But there seem to be some who are arguing that the president is failing to enforce a law they say they want changed or repealed. Political logic is weird.



  • Chinese economy to slow to 7.62 pct: forecast ( This is way too much growth according to Global Economic Intersection contributor Michale Pettis who has said that China needs to lower growth to the 3% per year range in order to navigate a successful rebalancing without dislocations. He foresees GDP growth at 3% and wage growth at 5-6% as a pathway to a non-disruptive rebalancing.
He's [Zuckerberg] playing large-stack poker, and he's playing it in textbook manner. I, for one, wouldn't want to be competing against him.


  • No Blocking Web Traffic, FCC to Say in New Internet Rules (Todd Shields, Bloomberg) Last month a federal appeals court vacated rulings by the FCC that prohibited tiered pricing by ISPs (internet service providers) for internet access. Tiered pricing could be used by carriers to exact a "pay to play" charge from users in order to get the better levels of service. The result could be that some entrepreneurial efforts might experience cost of entry barriers and never get off the ground. But Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said Wednesday (19 February 2014) that the replacement rules will seek to forbid content blocking and ensure providers treat Web traffic equally.
  • America's 10-Year Experiment in Broadband Investment Has Failed (Brendan Greeley, Bloomberg) Combinations of government infrastructure investment and open markets for multi-company competition have allowed a number of countries to move past the U.S. in internet services. The two graphics below show the penetration of broadband in 2003 and 2013.




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