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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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Some of the articles cited and discussed today include the latest on space exploration, a potentially bigger problem for the Eurozone than Greece, the latest on bubbles, breakthroughs on Lyme disease and a gruesome discovery in Nepal.
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
The US Equity Bubble Depends On Corporate Buybacks; Here's The Proof (Zero Hedge) Hat tip to TalkMarkets. Without corporate buybacks there would have been a net equity outflow from U.S. stocks of more than $600 billion dollars 2012-2014, and the projection is that 2015 will see an additional $230 billion to bring the four-year total well above $800 billion. But over the four years there will have been $1.6 trillion in stock buybacks to make the net inflow to U.S. stocks around $800 billion. The opinion at Zero Hedge is that investors need not be concerned with the divergence between equity flows (negative) and the S&P 500 Index (positive) so far in 2015. The negative equity flow will be soon be reversed by a post-earning-season flood of buybacks.
The Political One Percent of the One Percent: Megadonors fuel rising cost of elections in 2014 (Peter Olsen-Phillips, Russ Choma,Sarah Bryner and Doug Webe, Sunlight Foundation) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Almost 1/3 of all political giving in 2014 was by 32,000 taxpayers (the top 1% of the top 1% - that's the top 0.01%). The Sunlight Foundations says that almost all was given exclusively to one party and both major parties were significant beneficiaries. See next article.
Are the 1% of the 1% pulling politics in a conservative direction? (Lee Drutman, Sunlight Foundation) Both parties benefit from the very partisan donations by the top 0.01% of Americans. The split is roughly 60:40 in favor of Republicans. Only 4% of the donors split their money between the two major parties, and the average of those splits also favored Republicans by 1.5 to 1.
Canadian Housing Market The Most Overvalued In World (ValueWalk) Hat tip to TalkMarkets. Hat tip to TalkMarkets. See the next article - the headline here is not quite true. Here is a graph comparing Canada to the U.S.
Global House Prices: Location, Location, Location (The Economist) The Economist has an interactive graphic that allows for the selection from among 26 countries and comparison start dates ay any point back to 1970. The graphic below shows comparisons of the indicated markets from a starting point at the beginning of this century. It is possible to find starting points where Canada has one of the largest appreciations but for many other comparison periods Canada has a less inflated market that several others.
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
Future looks brighter for Lyme disease care (Poughkeepsie Journal) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised their estimates for the number of Lyme disease cases, saying there are 10 times as many. New York state has a new law protecting doctors who prescribe longer courses of antibiotics to Lyme disease patients which has gained increasing scientific support: Studies in animals and humans show that Lyme can persist in the body after the short-course antibiotic treatment that is commonly prescribed. Research is underway to improve the testing for presence of the disease which has been very inaccurate. Doctors experienced with treating the disease, who have maintained that many with symtoms diagnosed as arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a number of seroius neurological diseases, are now gaining credibility among auhtorities with no experience with the disease. Econintersect: The CDC is still underestimating the potential number of cases because of the variable expressions of the disease some infected may never show sufficient symptoms to ever seek treatment. Most people living in Lyme endemic areas are likely to have been infected at one point or another during their lives. See Lyme Wars and Lyme Disease: Risk Areas Mapped for significant review summaries. Disclosure: GEI Managing Editor John Lounsbury has been successfully treated several times for crippling Lyme disease symptoms over the last 27 years following treatments that the CDC has maintained are not warranted.
Astronomers Seek Super-Size Hubble Successor to Search for Alien Life (Scientific American) Controversy swirls around a bold proposal for a bigger, better—and expensive—replacement.
M-Dwarfs Could Be the Best—or Worst—Extraterrestrial Homes (Scientific American) These are easy to find and very numerous but could lack the climate stabilty to support life.
Bill Gross: Bull market ending with a 'whimper' (CNBC) A glum Bill Gross sees both himself and the bull market facing the same long road to oblivion.
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