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What We Read Today 28 September 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Obama, Putin clash over Syria crisis at the United Nations (The Washington Post)  President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin clashed publicly Monday over their divergent positions on some of the world great crises, with Obama suggesting that Putin's involvement in Syria and Ukraine was harmful to international order and risks greater global instability.  In speeches on the same day, Obama and Putin chastised each other for their handling of the Syrian crisis.  Leaders agree that they need a common alignment against the Islamic State but on little else.
  • Morgan Stanley Has Given Up on Energy Stocks (Bloomberg)  Toward the beginning of 2015, with crude oil prices in free fall, Morgan Stanley's equity strategy team made a bold call, upgrading the energy sector to overweight.  But there's been no reprieve for those stocks this year, with the S&P 500 energy sector index losing nearly one-quarter of its value year-to-date.  They now say they made a bad call and their new call is to avoid energy stocks.


  • 10 states that experienced the biggest drop in competition levels between 2010-2013 (Employee Benefit Advisor)  Health Insurance competition is desirable for holding premium coists down.  But merger and acquisition activities among insurance companies has significantly reduced competition in some states.  The ten worst (listed from 10th to 1st):  Ohio, Iowa, West Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Montana, Missouri, Idaho, New Jersey and Louisiana.
  • Here’s what’s in Donald Trump’s tax plan (The Washington Post)  The plan would increase taxes on the "very rich"; reduce taxes for most taxpayers; and eliminate federal income taxes for workers making less than $25,000 per year -- although they would be required to send a one-page document to the Internal Revenue Service that states, "I win."  Trump promised that all of this could happen without increasing the national debt because he expects the economy to improve. He said he would also cut "wasteful spending" from the federal budget, although he did not say how or what the total reduction would be. Some are skeptical that the plan is truly revenue neutral.  It's the sort of tax proposal one might expect from a more liberal candidate, and it's already being called a populist plan.  Bloomberg disagrees, saying Trump has borrowed proposals from Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and John McCain:  Trump's Tax Plan Borrows From Republicans Who've Gone Before Him (Bloomberg).  


  • Catalonia vote: Spain PM Rajoy 'ready for dialogue' (BBC News)  Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy says he is ready to listen to Catalonia's new regional government after the separatist victory in Sunday's polls - but will not discuss Spain's unity.  The separatist alliance's leader, Artur Mas, has said he will now push for the creation of an independent state.  His group will have a majority in the Catalan parliament if it can carry the support of a smaller separatist party.  Catalonia has 7.5m people and provides about one-fifth of Spain's GDP.  It contains the country's second largest city, Barcelona, home to more than 4.7 million people in its metropolitan area.

Saudi Arabia


  • Key Afghan city falls to Taliban in major government setback (Associated Press)  The Taliban captured the strategic northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Monday in a multi-pronged attack involving hundreds of fighters, the first time the insurgents have seized a major urban area since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

Nasdaq could be in big trouble if this channel breaks! (Chris Kimble, Kimble Charting Solutions)  CK has contributed to GEI.  The Nasdaq 100 index has remained inside of this rising channel for the past 5-years. The herd continues to buy the dip along support of this rising channel.  Last week the NDX 100 close a couple of percent lower on the week and it closed very near rising support.  A break of this rising support line would be a negative for the tech sector.

Click for large chart at Kimble Charting Solution.

How High Are Property Taxes in Your State? (Jared Walczak, Tax Foundation)  Not all property taxes are created equal.  The high taxes in New Hampshire and Texas are much less onerous than they are in New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut and Wisconsin.  The former two have no state income taxes or sales taxes, whereas the latter four have both.

Click for large map at Tax Foundation.

The Real Value of $100 in Each State (Alan Cole and Scott Drenkard, Tax Foundation)  The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has been measuring the cost for a common package of goods for two years now; it recently published its data for prices in 2013. Using this data, the purchasing power value of $100 in each state has been shown on a map.  The $100 value was determined by taking an national average.

Click for large map at Tax Foundation.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea





  • The Next Thing Might Be Helicopter Money (Finanz und Wirtschaft)  James Grant, Wall Street expert and editor of the investment journal Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, warns of ever more extreme central bank policies and is betting on the comeback of gold.  This is a thorough interview discussion with one of the world's leading hard money proponents.
  • The High Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease (Stephen Petranek, Daily Reckoning)  SP has contributed to GEI.  A new report from King’s College in England estimates that within three years, the costs of treating Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will rise 20% from current levels, to $1 trillion a year.  The 2015 World Alzheimer Report estimates that more than 45 million people now live with dementia and that by 2050 that number will triple to more than 130 million people. Authors of the report say that about 10 million people will be newly diagnosed with dementia this year alone — one person every 3.2 seconds.  The number is likely much higher as diseases are much underdiagnosed among the poor.
  • Water Found on Mars Could Be First Signs of Martian Life (The Daily Beast)  NASA found evidence of liquid water on the Red Planet, which means there is the potential for life beyond Earth.  A little bit of water comes and goes on Mars’ surface. The streaks of material the researchers observed grew slightly during each Martian summer, indicating they might be the result of water flowing or seeping out when the temperatures are high enough.  But if there is(are) some sort of water-based life form(s) on Mars finding them may not be easy.  Mars is drier than the driest desert on Earth: It has no lakes, oceans, or rivers, and its atmosphere has at best tiny traces of water vapor. However, Mars used to be much wetter. We can see signs of long-gone lakes and riverbeds, though it’s unlikely the planet was ever warm enough to be a lush, damp place like Earth is. The disappearance of Mars’ surface water is one of the mysteries we still have to solve.  


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