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What We Read Today 15 July 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


  • Congressman screams at Yellen: 'You did nothing!' (CNBC)  Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., lashed out at Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday, accusing her and the Fed of willfully hiding documents that have been subpoenaed for an ongoing congressional leak probe. 


  • The EU Should Act Like an Empire (The Daily Beast)  Edward Lucas, a director of the think tank Baltic Sea Security Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis, says the problems in Ukraine and Greece show that Europe needs more integration, not less.
  • Roach Motel Economics (Paul Krugman, The New York Times)  So we have learned that the euro is a Roach Motel — once you go in, you can never get out. And once inside you are at the mercy of those who can pull your financing and crash your banking system unless you toe the line.


  • Greek parliament to vote on bailout package (Al Jazeera)  Greek lawmakers on Wednesday debated an austerity bill set for a midnight vote that would sentence the country to years of onerous budget cuts in exchange for a bailout package that would help avert financial collapse and a possible eurozone exit. This as public opposition swells and the IMF has issued a report saying the plan will not resolve Greece's problems.  See next two articles.
  • Greek Lawmakers Weigh Bailout as Tear Gas Fired in Athens (Bloomberg)  Greek police clashed with protesters in central Athens as lawmakers debated a new bailout of up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion) that will impose further austerity on a country already ravaged by recession.  Riot police fired tear gas to disperse crowds gathered in Syntagma Square, across the road from the Greek parliament
  • Greece:  An Update of IMF Staff's Preliminary Public Debt Sustainability Analysis (International Monetary Fund)  

Greece’s public debt has become highly unsustainable. This is due to the easing of policies during the last year, with the recent deterioration in the domestic macroeconomic and financial environment because of the closure of the banking system adding significantly to the adverse dynamics. The financing need through end-2018 is now estimated at Euro 85 billion and debt is expected to peak at close to 200 percent of GDP in the next two years, provided that there is an early agreement on a program. Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far.

  • Greece's National Pastime: Tax-Dodging (The Daily Beast)  If Greek parliament approves the EU bailout, many Greeks fear an already draconian tax regime will become even worse. Greece already has taxes that, if collected, would flood the government with money.  But with austerity the people and businesses simply do not have the money to pay the taxes. Econintersect:  There are some simple accounting facts at play here which are simply not part of the EU political equation.  


  • Iran: We Won (The Daily Beast)  Iran declared it won the decade-long struggle with the West to rein in its nuclear program after it signed an agreement with the U.S. and five world powers Tuesday.


U.S. Recession Probability Index (David Laipple, Linked In)  For those of you who have followed my Recession Probability Indexes, I have made a decision to discontinue the weekly indexes in deference to the monthly index. The lag on the monthly index is two weeks at the mid-month Federal Reserve's Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization release.  The index combines variable percent change by standard deviation of percent change over the period 1967-current month of these variables: the Federal Reserve's Total Capacity Utilization measure, the Department of Labor's Initial Claims (IC4WSA - Monthly),  a monthly average interest rate risk spread measure and an end of month equity index measure. The Probability Index is exponentially smoothed at .9 to produce positive values coincident with U.S. recession conditions.  Monthly U.S. Recession Probability Index at 5/29/2015: - 7.25%.

Click for larger image.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

“The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”

  • 'Something wonderful': Peaks on Pluto, canyons on Charon (Associated Press, MSN News) Mankind's first close-up look at Pluto did not disappoint Wednesday: The pictures showed ice mountains on Pluto about as high as the Rockies and canyons on its big moon Charon that appear deeper than those on Earth.  It appears that Pluto is geologically active even now and is being sculpted not by outside forces but by internal heat.


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