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What We Read Today 04 March 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.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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Supreme Court closely divided on Obamacare's future (Richard Wolf and Brad Heath, USA Today)

The Supreme Court appeared closely divided Wednesday during heated arguments over President Obama's health care law, but questions from Justice Anthony Kennedy gave proponents hope the statute will be upheld.

At least four justices appeared skeptical about a challenge to the law that could eliminate tax credits used by millions of Americans to pay insurance premiums. That could leave 34 states with unmanageable insurance markets featuring rising premiums and millions more residents uninsured.

The principal argument advanced by the law's opponents — that four words in the 906-page statute permit the use of tax credits only in states that set up their own health insurance exchanges — appeared to please the court's most conservative members.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world






The U.S. is funding Russian political groups under the guise of promoting civil society, just as in the “color revolutions” in the former Soviet Union and the Arab world, council chief Nikolai Patrushev said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. At the same time, the U.S. is using the sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine as a “pretext” to inflict economic pain and stoke discontent, he said.

How Can Putin's Approval Rating Be So High at 86%?

BSE Sensex ( The Mumbai Sensex index is up nearly 3.5X from 2009 lows and 71% since July 2013.  The Sensex has far outperformed the Dow which is up 2.8X and 25% for the same two reference periods.


The (Mis)Economics of Oil (Tom Hendrickson,  How does a 1.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) oversupply (approximately 1.7% of daily consumption) in world oil markets result in a 50% decline in the price of oil?  The following graph does make it look like the recent price decline is an "overshoot".  Markets are driven by people and people can overreact.  Two examples:  If supply and demand were driving oil markets, what drove the Price spikes in the middle of 2011 and the beginning of 2012/

The 15 Most Miserable Economies in the World (Bloomberg Business)  The "leading" members of the 2015 Misery Index (MI) are probably not a surprise to most.  After all, the MI formula is quite simple, based on two very visible parameters:  BI = unemployment rate + change in the consumer price index.  The extended Euro area (extended to include Turkey, Ukraine and Russia) leads the parade in numbers with 10 of the 15 countries most miserable.  South America has 4 countries and Asia/Pacific has the 15th on the list.


Income Inequality and the End of the Gold Standard (Mike Finger, SchiffGold)  Should this go into the file of useless correlations?  A much better case for finding a cause and effect relationship would be to see how income distributions varied as the top income tax brackets changed.  The high top tax brackets introduced at the start of World War II and not completely knocked down until the early 1980s might be a better argument to consider than the repeal of the gold standard in 1981.


The Market Moves Higher into Overvaluation Territory (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives  Doug Short is a regular contributor to GEI.  Doug reports monthly on four market valuation metrics:

  • The Crestmont Research P/E Ratio (more)
  • The cyclical P/E ratio using the trailing 10-year earnings as the divisor (more)
  • The Q Ratio, which is the total price of the market divided by its replacement cost (more)
  • The relationship of the S&P Composite price to a regression trendline (more)

Fair value of the Dow (based on these four valuation metrics) is somewhere between 9,200 and 11,200.  The Dow closed at 18,203 on 03 March 3025.


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Making the world a better place, one economist at a time (The Conversation)  A review of the book The Economics of Just About Everything by Andrew Leigh.

Larry Summers Isn't Right Here About Middle Class Economics (Forbes)

Live Tour: The Federal Reserve’s 2009 Transcripts (The Wall Street Journal)

Federal Reserve Who’s Who, 2009 (The Wall Street Journal)

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