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What We Read Today 12 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.

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IG Audit: 6.5 Million People With Active Social Security Numbers Are 112 or Older (Susan Jones, cns news)  The Inspector General has found that millions of people the Social Security Administration knows to be dead are not so listed in the department's records.  Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI):

“It is incredible that the Social Security Administration in 2015 does not have the technical sophistication to ensure that people they know to be deceased are actually noted as dead.

“Tens of thousands of these numbers are currently being used to report wages to the Social Security Administration and to the IRS. People are fraudulently, but successfully, applying for jobs and benefits with these numbers. Making sure Social Security cleans up its death master file to prevent future errors and fraud is a good government reform we can all agree on.”


Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

U.S.

Greece

  • Greece Complains About Schaeuble in Deepening Conflict (Bloomberg Business)  Germany and Greece confirmed Thursday that the Greek ambassador in Berlin made an official protest late Tuesday to the German Foreign Ministry over comments made by Schaeuble.  The German finance minister has criticized Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' press relations, calling the Greek "foolishly naive".

schaeuble.varoufakis.love
Feel the love.

Israel

Syria

Iraq

Iran

Russia

  • Putin Disappears Like a Dictator (Bloomberg Business)  The Russian president hasn't been seen in public for a full week and reports about his schedule on the presidential website seem suspect.

Cambodia

Mexico



 

Liquidity evaporates in China as 'fiscal cliff' nears (The Telegraph)  Here is a picture of the Chinese housing slowdown:

china.housing.starts


 

US Dollar Index (Chart of the Day)  A nice picture.  Here is the brief text accompanying:

Sluggish economic news out of China put downward pressure on the US stock market -- the Dow was down 1.85% on the day. While several major economies are struggling (e.g. Europe and China), the US economy has been performing relatively well. After all, the Fed is considering raising rates as early as June. This relative divergence in economic strength has sent the US dollar surging higher. For some perspective, today's chart illustrates the trend of the US dollar index over the past 20 years. Notice how the US dollar has risen sharply since June 2014 -- a gain that is comparable in both duration and magnitude to what occurred during the height of the financial crisis (2008). The concern going forward is that a significantly stronger dollar will make it much more difficult for US corporations to compete and ultimately have a negative impact on earnings.

dollar.index.20years


Euro Plunge Is Picking Up Pace (The Wall Street Journal)

euro.decline.2015.mar.11


The Race to the Bottom (Walter Kurtz, The Daily Shot) This table doesn't show it but the decline in interest rates is accelerating in March.  Yes, Virginia, there is a bottom - we just can't see it yet.  For many the bottom will be below 0% interest.  And the decline continued even as Draghi issued a report saying that sovereign debt sholuld no longer be classified a "risk free":  Draghi-backed report urges review of sovereign debt treatment (Reuters

negative.yields.global.2015.mar.11


Euro Fuels Dollar Surge (Acemaxx Analytics, Twitter)

euro.decline


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

This 27-Year-Old Made Millions Riding the Death Spirals of Penny Stocks (Bloomberg Business)  Josh Sason profited by lending failing companies money.  The "Wolf of Main Street"?

No one knows the size of the government’s contracted workforce (The Washington Post)  The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) has no idea.

How the U.S. Dollar Made a Spectacular Turnaround That Took Everyone by Surprise (Bloomberg Business)

Here Are The Obama Administration's Net Neutrality Rules (The Huffington Post)

Fran Lebowitz: Capitalism Triumphed Over Both Communism and Democracy (truth-out.org)

Oppenheimer’s Memani Says He Was Wrong on Dollar Rally Easing (Bloomberg Business)


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