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What We Read Today 14 January 2015

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.

Obama calls for end to 19 state laws that harm community broadband (Jon Brodkin, ars technica)  President Obama has endorsed FCC (Federal Communications Commission) efforts to review with the objective of invalidating laws in 19 states that grant exclusive internet service provider rights to individual companies, protecting them from competition.  See White House report Community-Based Broadband Solutions:  The Benefits of Competition and Choice for Community Development and Highspeed Internet Access (The Executive Office of the President, January 2015).


obama-internet-access-video


Report: Sioux tribal government mismanaged $25M in federal loans (Tristan Ahtone, Al Jazeera)  Human Rights Watch alleges ‘patterns of debilitating financial mismanagement’ from 2007 to 2013.  About $25 million in federal loans to the Lower Brule Sioux tribal government appears to have been diverted from services like education and economic development and remains unaccounted for.  The Lower Brule Sioux Reservation is small — 404 square miles — and is home to 1,664 people. In 2000 the median household income was $21,146. The tribe’s leadership has been in power since 1980, according to Human Rights Watch, which says

budgets and financial audits were unavailable to the public despite the tribe’s constitutional requirement that both be published, and “withholding information appears to be systematic practice affecting all who might seek information, including tribal members, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, human rights organizations and even some members of the Tribal Council.”

Warren: I'm Not Running For President. 'Want Me To Put An Exclamation Point At The End?' (Paige Lavender, The Huffington Post)  While most Republicans that have presidential ambitions are still presumably in the race, one Democrat has firmly denied plans to run in 2016.  But Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) observed the sage adage "never say never" and refused to rule out future possibilities.  But if she waits until 2024 she would be 75 years old on election day, older than Ronald Reagan was (69) when first elected, the oldest of any president.  Only one other president was 65 or older when inaugurated (William Henry Harrison, who died after 30 days in office, 04 April 1841).  However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, VT), now 73 and considering running, would set a precedent should he decide to go for it in 2016.  See next article.


List of Presidents of the United States by age (Wikipedia)

Age of presidental ascention.jpg
"Age of presidental ascention" by Npatchett - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

WEDNESDAY

France

EU

Nigeria

Cameroon

Egypt

Turkey

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Russia

China

Mexico

Guerrero-Mexico-citizens-take-control-video

The $25,000+ mortgage mistake nearly half of borrowers make (Catey Hill, MarketWatch)  Failure to shop for a mortgage costs almost half of American homebuyers big bucks.  Data is from a report by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  See next article.

Number of lenders Americans seriously consider before applying for a mortgage
mortgage-shopping
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


Consumers’ mortgage shopping experience (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, January 2015)  This is a first look at results from the National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers.  Two interesting pieces of data:  (1) Foreclosures and delinquencies are still more than double what they were before the the housing bubble collapsed; and (2) housing sales are nearly recovered to year 2000 levels for existing homes (latest data about 5% lower now than then) but new home sales are almost 50% lower.  With regard to the second data point, the U.S. population has increased by nearly 15% between 2000 and 2014 (see next article).  So, on a per capita basis, existing home sales are still well below (by 15-20%) 2000 levels and new home sales are well over 50% lower.

Adjusting for the population growth since 2006 the foreclosure and delinquency changes from 2006 to 2014 are reduced when calcukated on a per capita basis, but still remain close to 50% higher today.   

foreclosures-delinquencies-2004-2014

home-sales-2000-2014


U.S. Population (Live) (worldmeters.info)  At the time this was written, the U.S. population meter was reading 323,954,529.  This rounds to 324.0 million which will be a good number for about 16 days at which point (29 January 2015) the number on the meter will round to 324.1 which will be good until approximately 01 March 2015.  The growth history of the U.S. population is shown below, with the post World War II "Baby Boom" peaking in the late 1950s and a "Mini Baby Boom" peaking in the late 1990s.

us-population-1950-2015


Primary Mortgage Markets (Mortgage News Daily) This page has daily updated (approximately 4 pm) mortgage rate data.  The following data was updated 13 January 2015.  Mortgage rates are at 20-month lows but still roughly 10%-15% higher for fixed rate mortgages than the lows in the fourth quarter 0f 2012.  Specifically, 3.68% for a 30-year fixed mortgage 13 January is 10% higher than the low of 3.35% October 2012 while the 15-year fixed is 14% higher.  But the rates for the 30-year fixed mortgage was 22% higher than today (4.49%) in August 2013.  For more daily updated mortgage rate information go to Bankrate.com.

Click for latest data at Mortgage News Daily.
mortgage-rate-data-2015-jan-13


10 Reasons 2015 Will Rock for Real Estate (Daily Real Estate News, Realtor Mag) The official publications of the National Association of Realtors provides ten reasons why the housing market will be stronger in 2015 and one of them sound like a reason it might not be stronger.  And another one directly contradicts the foreclosure data reviewed above.  Everything looks like a nail to a hammer?

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

US oil production to rise  (The New York Times)  U.S. Dept. of Energy projects oil production will rise in 2015 and again in 2016 in spite of lower prices.

Ivy League Grads Can’t Pass the New GED (The Daily Beast)

Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon (Space.com)  Anothere step toward planned 2017 unmanned "mining" landing on the moon.

Voodoo Economics: Paul Krugman Rejected By His Peers (Forbes)

Why co-ops are the future of the American economy (Al Jazeera)


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