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What We Read Today 17 October 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 (and sometimes longer ones) 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.

  • UnitedHealth still optimistic about PPACA exchanges (Allison Bell, Life Health Pro) One of the nation's largest insurers expects to see strong growth at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system in 2015. UnitedHealthGroup (NYSE:UHC) will sell qualified health plans in nearly two dozen states in 2015 after selling in only four this year. Another thing noted by UHC is the persistence of small group health plans. They see little erosion in that traditional insurance market.

  • Articles about conflicts and disease around the world


In battling Ebola, fighting panic is as critical as containing virus (Al Jazeera)

Health Officials on Congressional Hot Seat Over Ebola (The New York Times)

Just How Contagious Is Ebola? (LinkedIn)

CDC sees low Ebola risk in passengers pulled from Dubai flight (Reuters)

U.N.'s New Ebola Trust Fund Running Out of Money (The New York Times)

Quarantines among legal tools available if Ebola outbreak widens (Personal Liberty)


Kurdish official appeals for weapons for Kobani (Associated Press, MSN News)

US: Hundreds of ISIL fighters dead in Kobane: Pentagon says air strikes killed several hundred ISIL fighters, but says Syrian town could still fall to rebel group. (Al Jazeera)


Training day for Peshmerga fighters. (Reuters, MSN) Video


Nuclear Fusion Won't Save Ukraine (Bloomberg)


Putin Threatens EU Gas Squeeze Raising Stakes for Ukraine (Bloomberg)

Putin's Reaction To Sanctions Is Destroying The Economy And China Won't Help (Forbes)

Putin Leaves Private Businesses in the Cold (Bloomberg)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Protests Swell After Video Shows Police Beating (Bloomberg)


Mexico universities call strike in solidarity with missing students (Al Jazeera)

There are 12 articles discussed today 'behind the wall'.

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  • Why Inequality Matters (Bill Gates, LinkedIn) The richest man in the world agrees that wealth and income inequality in the extreme creates economic, social and geopolitical problems but he diverges from Thomas Piketty's proposal for aggressively and progressively taxing capital. He thinks that the current taxation of labor relative to capital is out of whack and should be adjusted, but he proposes to increase the progressive taxation of consumption as the better focus, rather than taxing capital aggressively.
  • Risk Aversion and Dollar Strength (Rick Harper, The Wisdom Tree Blog) Over the past ten years the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) and the Barclays Capital Trade-Weighted Dollar Index have spiked in close correlation. The VIX rose from 15.11 08 October t0 25.27 15 October, a one week rise of 10.17. That would put the 7-day span right in the middle of the table below. The S&P 500 lost 3.8% over the same week (comparable to other entries in the table) but the U.S. dollar Index lost 0.48% (totally not close to all the other entries which are gains). So, for right now, we can say that this time is different.


  • Recession in Europe
  • China slump sufficient to crash commodities
  • Geopolitical risk which includes Hong Kong, Ukraine, Russia and spread of Ebola
  • Fed aggressively hikes interest rates
  • U.S. relapses into deflation
  • The control of the Senate by Republicans is now in doubt
  • The expectation of continued misbehavior by the Fed
  • The profit picture is getting blurry
  • World economies are a mess
  • World security situation is worsening

Well, in baseball batting .600 is considered impossible, so the above "hits" would put Steve Forbes immediately in the Hall of Fame.


  • Argentina: You won’t believe what law the government just passed (Simon Black, Sovereign Man) Hat tip to Ian R. Campbell, GEI Discussion Group, LinkedIn. Argentina has just enacted a new 'supply law' which has the non-specific wording that prohibits companies from "setting prices too high, generating too much profit, or producing too little". This appears to be a tool to enable nationalization of any company arbitrarily for any reason at any time, after December 2015, that is, when the new law becomes effective.
  • China Credit Growth Climbs as Targeted Easing Kicks In (Xiaoqing Pi, Bloomberg) China eased credit slightly in the third quarter according to data released by the PBoC (People's Bank of China). The Chinese are trying to walk a tight rope between declining growth on one side and excessive credit generation on the other.
  • Implied vol dislocation (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look) The volatility in small cap stocks (RIX) is almost always higher than for large caps (VIX) but the last few days RIX has been higher. Kurtz attributes this at least partly to the unusual volatility of energy stocks, which fall predominantly into the large cap category.


  • Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Why the selloff is good for millennials (CNBC)

How to Blend Active and Passive Investing Strategies for Better Outcomes (ThinkAdvisor)

World economy so damaged it may need permanent QE (The Telegraph)

Absolute proof the federal government spends too much (Monetary Sovereignty)

Here’s Why Good Employees Quit (LinkedIn)

Study: Most Colleges Don't Require History, Economics - Yet Mandate Diversity Lessons (The College Fix)

Primary care can extinguish fee-for-service, study says (Medical Economics)

Understanding economic inequality and growth at the top of the income ladder (Washington Center for Equitable Growth)

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