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What We Read Today 09 March 2016

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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Today's topics include:

  • 16 Years of Home Construction numbers for 8 North American Metros

  • The Latest on Voter ID Laws

  • How the Establishment Lost Touch with the Electorate in Both Parties

  • London Faces Water Shortages, Overflowing Sewage

  • Lots of Articles about Brexit

  • What about Italexit?

  • U.S. Destroys ISIS Chemical Weapons

  • What about a 2016 Recession?

  • What a Surprise:  Corruption Corrupts

  • What a Bankster Squirm when asked an Embarrassing Question

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

U.S.

As for how it happened, the exit polls give us a few answers. Clinton’s problem with young voters held pace as Sanders won four out of five voters age 30 and under. But it expanded—in Michigan, he walloped her by 24 points among those between 30 and 39. Thirty-nine isn’t so young. So her problem now isn’t just with “young voters.” It’s with virtually all voters who weren’t adults when Bill Clinton was first elected. 

EU

  • What successful mergers teach us about Europe's failings (City A.M.)   As the EU’s founding father Jean Monnet said: support for the EU requires an act of faith – but sceptics prefer to put their trust in reason and evidence.  There are bookshelves of evidence about the pros and cons of integrating Europe, none of it conclusive one way or another. However, a great deal has been written in the parallel field of corporate mergers and acquisitions. Drawing lessons from M&As can help us form a judgment about the EU’s prospects as, conceptually, both the EU and M&As are about integrating systems, cultures, process, governance, synergies, and objectives.  Historically, successful mergers have attributes we see time and time again.  This article discusses those attributes. 

UK

  • EU referendum: Buckingham Palace complains to IPSO and says Queen Elizabeth II is "politically neutral" after claims from The Sun that she is firmly in favour of a Brexit (City A.M.)  Buckingham Palace has denied claims that Queen Elizabeth II harbors pro-Brexit views, stating she is "politically neutral", after claims by a newspaper.  The Palace has complained to Independent Press Standards Organization over the allegations by The Sun.  The Queen had been claimed as a Brexit supporter, after an alleged conversation with the then-deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg over the path the European Union was following.  Her Majesty and Clegg had words during a lunch at Windsor Castle, according to The Sun, which quoted a source as saying: "People were left in no doubt about her views on Europe."  But Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen remains politically neutral, as she has for 63 years. We would never comment on spurious, anonymously sourced claims. The referendum will be a matter for the British people."  And Clegg took to Twitter to distance himself from the claims, and said he could not remember such a conversation taking place.

  • Where does the Bank of England stand on Brexit? (Financial Times)  For the past few months the Bank of England has done everything it can to avoid taking a position on the merits — or otherwise — of Britain leaving the EU.  But this approach seems to have run out of road.  See next article.

  • Growing London Faces Water Shortages and Overflowing Sewage (Bloomberg)   London’s growing population means the British capital is facing possible water shortages and a risk of flooding from overflowing sewage unless action is taken to ensure more sustainable development, the London Assembly’s Environment Committee warned.  With the city’s population increasing by 100,000 a year, London’s population could reach as much as 13.4 million by 2050, the panel said in a report published Wednesday. The assembly is the elected body that oversees the work of the mayor.

  • Mark Carney Says Brexit Is Biggest Domestic Risk to U.K. Financial Stability (The Wall Street Journal)  In testimony yesterday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney's comments drew angry fire from ‘euroskeptic’ lawmakers.  A possible departure represents “the biggest domestic risk to financial stability”, Mr. Carney said, with potential consequences for Britain’s balance of payments with the rest of the world, its housing market, foreign investment and its banks.  He said that uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the coming referendum on Britain’s future in Europe is being felt in financial markets already and that a vote in favor of leaving could cause a short-term hit to the wider economy.

  • Five "myths" of Brexit dispelled by Rathbones report (City A.M.)  A new report by Rathbone Investment Management has found there will be consequences to either leaving the EU, or remaining a member.  The report, titled If you leave me now, assesses the impact of the referendum on markets, finding the consequences of the result are far more complex than current rhetoric suggests.

Italy

"Italy is no Greece - it's worse."

Iraq

  • U.S. Attacks ISIS Chemical Weapons Program (The Daily Beast)  Two facilities near Mosul were destroyed in airstrikes thanks to intelligence provided by an Iraqi operative held in U.S. custody for the past month.


Graphs Showing the History of Housing Starts in Major North American Cities (Construction Market Data)  The 16-year histories (2000 to 2015) of single- and multi-family residential building permits issued in 7 of America’s and 1 of Canada’s major cities.

building.permits.no.america.1.2000.2015

building.permits.no.america.2.2000.2015

building.permits.no.america.3.2000.2015

building.permits.no.america.4.2000.2015

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • Should We Be Expecting A Recession In 2016? (Seeking Alpha)  The conclusion of this piece is that a recession does not appear imminent based of a number of economic indicators.  But the summary (which contains some sarcasm) is not expressing the article's conclusion:

  • While not as powerful as a crystal ball, economic indicators are valuable tools to help us make investment decisions.

  • US indicators are a bit of a mixed bag for the first couple of months of 2016.

  • US GDP growth in 4Q 2015 was revised upwards to a blistering 1% and US stocks are in an earnings recession.

  • Is the US heading for a recession in 2016?

  • Populist Triumph:  Big Wins for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (The New Yorker)  Both Bernie Sanders (campaign remains alive) and Donald Trump (campaign is building its lead) are capitalizing on the failure of the major parties' "establishment" to understand that much of the public is fed up with what they have been doing.  See next article.

  • The economics of America’s bitter politics (The Business Spectator)  Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has attempted to get to the heart of the politics of anger and disillusionment dominating both sides of the 2016 White House campaign with his declaration that America’s is a “failed economy”.  During a pointed speech in London last week, the former adviser to president Bill Clinton argued that the US economic recovery since the financial crisis has skipped over huge swathes of the country’s lower and middle classes, giving rise to populist candidates like Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who has successfully twisted economic anxiety into support for draconian crackdowns on immigration and foreign imports.  On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution”-- a call to redistribute wealth from up high among ordinary Americans and break up the big banks — has garnered such a groundswell of support that income inequality has been thrust to the center of the liberal debate, with rival Hillary Clinton repeatedly forced to defend her allegedly cosy relationship with Wall Street and the so-called “1 per cent”.  Stiglitz says ordinary citizens are finally waking up to the fact that they’re not doing as well as their parents or even their grandparents.

  • Behavioural economics: Corruption corrupts (Nature)  A cross-cultural experiment involving thousands of people worldwide shows that the prevalence of rule violations in a society, such as tax evasion and fraudulent politics, is detrimental to individuals' intrinsic honesty.  Subscription required to read full paper.

  • This Is What Happens When A Journalist Forces A Banker To Actually Answer A Question (Live Leak)  Hat tip to Roger Erickson.  An epic example of bankster evasion.  The question is why the Irish people should be paying billions of euros with respect to a now-defunct bank.  Listen to how there is no answer.

It's hard not to appreciate how thoroughly Irish journalist Vincent Browne shuts down these banker's multiple attempts to weasel their way out of answering his questions. Don't miss a short speech that does journalists everywhere proud at 1:40, and find out what left our hapless banker friends at a loss for words at 3:18. 

 


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