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What We Read Today 06 November 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


  • Ireland, Mexico, Canada Defect from the War on Drugs (Foundation for Economic Education)  A majority of Ohioans are in favor of legalization of marijuana yet the state this week rejected a ballot initiative to do just that.  A key factor in that outcome was specific implementation proposed via an amendment to the state constitution which would have created a monopoly with a "state-sanctioned drug cartel of ten licensed dealers".   In spite of the Ohio outcome, though, the tide is moving toward legalization on a global scale.  One example of the benefits of abandoning the prohibition era for drugs is offered by Portugal.  That country adopted 'decriminalization' of personal possession of all drugs in 2001.  This is a step short of "legalization" because it's still a crime to make, sell, or "profit from" drugs; But nonetheless the results "have been extremely extraordinary: deaths, addiction, and HIV infections from drugs have all dropped precipitously".  Recently three noteworthy advances toward ending the "War on Drugs" came from Canada (elected a Prime Minister who has pledged to legalize pot), Ireland (decriminalization of marijuana, heroine and cocaine) and Mexico (Supreme Court ruled the ban on marijuana was unconstitutional).


  • Automobile Fuel Economy Standards in a Lower-Oil-Price World (Council on Foreign Relations)  This report reviews the rationalization of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards in a low-cost oil environment.  The finding is the cost benefit is driven far more by the cost of carbon than by the mileage costs of fuel - driving fuel economy ever higher is still economically productive, even with very low petroleum prices.

  • Obama rejects Keystone pipeline, says US must lead on climate change (Al Jazeera)  President says pipeline would not make meaningful contribution to economy, would not lower gas prices for consumers and therefore would not “serve the national interest of the United States".  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was “disappointed” by the decision, but said the relationship with the U.S. was “much bigger than any one project”.  The announcement was denounced by Republicans who supported the project, with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calling the decision “sickening.”

  • How Poor Renters Pay for the Rich Apartments (Bloomberg)  Inequality is squeezing the poor in still another way:  From 1993 to 2013, the cost of the cheapest 20 percent of U.S. rental units has increased more than 10 percent a year, according to the New York Fed analysis of data from the Census Bureau's American Housing Survey. Meanwhile, the rents of apartments and houses in the priciest 20 percent were flat over time.  Read full report at GEI:  3rd In A 6 Part Macroeconomics Series: Differences In Rent Inflation By Cost Of Housing.

  • No High School Diploma? The Job Market’s Looking Up (The Wall Street Journal)  Things are looking up for the group of Americans who fared worst during the economic crisis, suggesting a shortage of skilled workers might be sending employers deeper into the labor pool.  The unemployment rate for those at least 25 years old without a high school diploma fell to 7.4% in October—a sharp drop from 7.9% in September and a year earlier, and down from almost 16% in 2010.





  • What Turkey’s Election Surprise Says About the Troubled Country (Council on Foreign Relations)  Just five months after failing to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came roaring back on Sunday with 49.4% of the popular vote and a renewed mandate to govern without any coalition partners.  What is hidden beneath this majority party facade is a country seething with dissidence which is enhanced by the government determination that "Kurdish nationalism and the consonant political gains that Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds have made was a greater threat to their sovereignty than the Islamic State’s nihilism".  





As part of this analysis we looked at whether achieving sustainability will require a shift in our values, such as rejecting consumerism. We also looked at the contributions of choices made by individuals (such as consuming less water or energy) and of choices made collectively by society (such as policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).

We found that collective policy choices are crucial, and that Australia could make great progress to sustainability without any changes in social values.

High quality child care is out of reach for working families ( Elise Gould and Tanyell Cooke, Economic Policy Institute)  Child care is a major part of family budgets, costing more than state university tuition in 24 states (for four-year olds) or 33 states (for infants).  In many areas the annual income necessary to "secure a modest yet adequate standard of living for a two-parent, two-child  is above family" is greater than the median household income.  In otherwords, the median middle income family canniot afford to have children.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea


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