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What We Read Today 18 May 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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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world



  • Four passengers sue Amtrak over deadly Philadelphia derailment (Reuters)  Four passengers on the Amtrak commuter train that derailed in Philadelphia last week filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against the U.S. rail service, as operations resumed on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor.  Filing the suit were two Spanish citizens, Felicidad Redondo Iban and Maria Jesus Redondo Iban, as well as Daniel Armyn of New York and Amy Miller of New Jersey.
  • Analyst: The Economy Might Just Need 55,000 New Jobs Per Month to Keep Reducing Labor Force Slack (Bloomberg)  The pace of job creation could slow dramatically, and the unemployment rate could still stay low, according to Macquarie analyst David Doyle.  His assumption is continued low level of labor force participation.  See graph below.
  • Once a sure bet, taxi medallions becoming unsellable (USA Today)  The rise of Uber and other ridesharing services are decimating the value of taxi medallions, leading cabbies and fleet owners throughout the USA to worry that their industry will be decimated if local and state government doesn't intervene.  The cabbies' argument centers on the taxi industry costs of regulation and consumer protection that do not apply to the ride-share companies.
  • Duke professor responds to criticism about his comments on African Americans (Raleigh News&Observer)  Jerry Hough is 80 years old and says he is a "disciple" of Martin Luther King and voted for President Barack Obama.  He is currently writing a book on the 1960s social revolutions and says:   I am very disappointed in the lack of progress” for African Americans.
  • Waco police: Some victims may have been shot by officers (USA Today)  A shooting melee between two biker gangs which resulted in 9 deaths may have had some deaths resulting from police response, according to a police department spokesman.  The dead had both gunshot and knife wounds.  A total of 170 have been arrested.
  • Republican Christie urges end to budget caps, higher military spending (Reuters)  The New Jersey governor and potential Republican presidential candidate has broken ranks with the balance-the-budget members of his party and, in effect, endorsed deficit spending as needed.



  • Greek Endgame Nears for Tsipras as Collateral Evaporates (Bloomberg)  Greek banks are running short on the collateral they need to stay alive, a crisis that could help force Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s hand after weeks of brinkmanship with creditors.  In a worst-case scenario, that lifeline will be maxed out within three weeks, pushing banks toward insolvency, some economists say.


  • Iran uses maritime confrontations to project power in Gulf  (Reuters)  Iran is using its sea power in the Gulf to show it will not be cowed by Washington's newly assertive Arab allies, prompting critics to accuse Tehran of destabilizing the region.  Iranian ships fired shots at a Singapore-flagged tanker which it said damaged an Iranian oil platform, causing the vessel to flee, and seized a container ship in the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil route, over a debt row.


Marshall Islands

Analyst: The Economy Might Just Need 55,000 New Jobs Per Month to Keep Reducing Labor Force Slack (Bloomberg)  The following graphic from the article listed in headlines above shows how various levels of labor force aprticipation will impact the number of new jobs needed to maintain low unemployment.


An American Insurgency (Dave Gonigam, 5 Min. Forecast)  The numbers published by the Social Security Administration are wrong because they did not use the correct populationh base:  The assumption was a fixed percentage whereas the percewntage of the population age 62 has been increasing every year since the front wave of the baby boom turned 62.  The correct data, from the Boston College Center for Retirement Research, is shown below.  The most recent year shown, 2013, is 6-8% lower than "official" incorrect data form Social Security.

China Housing Market Rebound? (Walter Kurtz, The Daily Shot)  With all the mainstream media news about declining housing prices, here is some new data worth considering:


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Nuclear fusion, the clean power that will take decades to master (The Conversation)  The holy grail of nuclear power involves controling nuclear fusion, the process that occurs in stars.  If fusion power were harnessed directly on Earth, it could produce inexhaustible clean power, using seawater as the main fuel, with no greenhouse gas emissions, no proliferation risk, and no risk of catastrophic accidents. Radioactive waste is very low level and indirect.
  • The End of Economics (Huffington Post)  An entertaining if not very deep discussion of the economics profession.

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