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What We Read Today 02 March 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.

  • Giving Credit Its Due (Wain Street) Wain Street contributes to Global Economic Intersection. Credit quality varies greatly across business sectors and from state to state. The following "heat map" characterizes that matrix. Reds are poorer credit quality and greens are higher credit quality.

Click on heat map matrix for larger image.

Today there are 12 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.

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  • Grilled Food May Be Frying Your Brain (, Fatty meats = high heat = advanced glycation end products. These are chemical compounds that decrease the activity of chemicals in the body that combat aging and especially Alzheimers disease.


  • The Pattern of Job Creation and Destruction by Firm Age and Size (John Robertson and Ellyn Terry, The Big Picture) Job creation and destruction decreases with age of firms and creation is greater than destruction by a margin proportional to firm size. This data conflicts with the conventional wisdom that small companies create most of the new jobs.


  • Studies Prove Without Doubt That Unvaccinated Children Are Far Healthier (Christina England, Compared to unvaccinated children, vaccinated children are more likely to suffer from asthma, eczema, ear infections, hyperactivity and many other chronic conditions. Vaccinated children have a ten-fold increase in the incidence of tonsillitis in the children who were vaccinated, and a total lack tonsillectomy operations among the children who were unvaccinated. These results are from a study of 495 children from 245 families in New Zealand. The data was collected by the Immunization Awareness Society in 1992.

Note: Before you consider this to be qualified research, consider the following: Wikipedia says that The Immunisation Awareness Society (IAS), is a controversial New Zealand anti-vaccination lobby group set up in 1988 by a group of parents. From Wikipedia:

The IAS was a registered charity until 3 September 2012, when the New Zealand Charities Registration Board determined that the Immunisation Awareness Society Incorporated was not qualified for registration as a charitable entity and that it was in the public interest that it be removed from the Charities Register. The board stated that "IAS disseminates information that is not factual and falls well short of acceptable standards in the area of health education".


Rising household debt would be a hopeful sign that consumers are once again living beyond their means, that they're finally spending money they don't have, that they're in fact transferring money from the future to the present in their heroic effort to stimulate Wall Street, corporate earnings, and the Fed's self-esteem, or something. So we jubilate when we see signs of this economic miracle happening once again. We've waited for it long enough.

In American culture, credit card delinquencies have always been highest, with a range of 8.5% to 10.2% between 2004 and 2008. During the crisis, they spiked to 13.7% before dropping again. In Q3, 2012, a new phenomenon occurred: for the first time ever, credit card delinquencies, at a still lofty 10.5%, were trumped by student loan delinquencies. The gap has widened since, with credit card delinquencies at 9.5% and student loan delinquencies at 11.5%.

The official student loan delinquency rate, as dizzying as it is, actually covers up a problem that is even worse: many borrowers don't have to make payments yet because they're still in school. If the delinquency rate were calculated based only on borrowers who have to make payments, it would be much higher.

It's our student-loan subprime fiasco. In the age group below 30, 38% of the borrowers had credit scores of under 621, and 29% had scores between 621 and 680. At that lower end of the credit spectrum, student loans grew the most during the year:


  • PBGC pension bailouts continue (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look) The government agency that guarantees private pensions has growing deficit (premiums collected minus pension benefits paid out). Note: It is not specified in the article, but Econintersect believes the numbers are cumulative, not balances for each year.


  • Hillary Clinton, Pre-2016, Gingerly Addresses ObamaCare Debacle, Supports “Evidence-Based” Changes (Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism) Lambert Strether has contributed to Global Economic Intersection. A single payer supporter takes Hilary to task. The author lives in Maine, but we have no knowledge if he is near Canada or not, and whether he has personal experience with Canadian health care. This managing editor has a close relative who does live close to Canada and has gone to Canada for elective surgeries for the cost saving.
  • Gold Fix Study Shows Signs of Decade of Bank Manipulation (Liam Vaughn, Bloomberg) The daily London gold fix is set every day at 3 PM in London by five of the biggest gold dealers. An investigation by Professor Rosa Abrantes-Metz, NYU Stern School of Business, and Albert Metz, a managing director at Moody's Investors Service, has revealed systematic trading patterns indicating that the London fix was actually "fixed" and a collusion was involved. See also GEI Precious Metals: Gold Manipulation Goes Mainstream.

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