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 dayin 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.
To become a GEI Member simply subscribe to our FREE daily newsletter.
The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members. Membership is FREE - click here
Topics today include:
No Oil Deal
Four Last Minutes Ways to Save on Taxes
Economists Ignore One of Capitalism's Biggest Problems
Do Politicians Lie More than Other People?
Emerging Markets are Roaring Back to Life
Hedge Funds are Betting on More Gains for Gold
Is Obamacare Succeeding? It Depends on Who is Telling the Story.
Is Obamacare Succeeding? It Depends on What Sate You are In.
Japan Struggles with Earthquakes' Aftermath
Ecuador Has Wide Areas of Devastation and 235 Dead Counted So Far.
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
Saudi-Iran tensions scupper deal to freeze oil output (Reuters) A deal to freeze oil output by OPEC and non-OPEC producers fell apart on Sunday after Saudi Arabia demanded that Iran join in despite calls on Riyadh to save the agreement and help prop up crude prices. The development will revive oil industry fears that major producers are embarking again on a battle for market share, especially after Riyadh threatened to raise output steeply if no freeze deal were reached. Iran is also pledging to ramp up production following the lifting of Western sanctions in January, making a compromise with Riyadh almost impossible as the two fight proxy wars in Yemen and Syria.
Emerging-Market Assets Roar Back to Life (Bloomberg) The best rally in emerging-market stocks and bonds in seven years is sending bears back into hibernation. Short interest in the largest exchange-traded fund tracking developing-nation dollar-denominated bonds has fallen to 2.2% of shares outstanding, near the lowest level since 2012, from 13% in mid-February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Markit Ltd. Bearish bets on BlackRock Inc.’s $26 billion emerging-market stock ETF have tumbled to around a 1 1/2-year low of 2.9%, from 15% in January.
Funds Are Betting the Gravity-Defying Gold Rally Isn't Over Yet (Bloomberg) When it comes to gold, hedge funds are betting that what goes up will continue to go up. Even after bullion’s best start to a year since at least 1975, investors are positioning themselves for more gains. Money managers increased their wagers on a price rally to the highest since 2012, taking their optimism to a level last seen before a three-year bear market started.
Ryan sticks neck out on Puerto Rico debt relief bill (THe Hill) Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has faced several hurdles since taking the gavel as Speaker, but he’s stuck his neck out the furthest for Puerto Rico. Weeks into his new job, Ryan promised that the House would take up legislation to help the U.S. territory. Ryan has little to show for his effort so far, but is making a concerted effort to get legislation through Congress in the face of criticism from his party and a loud advertising campaign from opponents calling it a bailout. The effort poses risks for Ryan, who has enjoyed an extended honeymoon in a Speakership that has had none of the problems so far of his predecessor’s.
Why Obamacare Is Failing at "Universal Coverage" (Foundation for Economic Education) Overall, ACA-exchange enrollment has been lower than expected; in 2016, the gap between actual and forecasted enrollment is likely to widen further. For instance, in 2014, the ACA exchanges’ first year, enrollment (6.7 million) exceeded the CBO’s February 2014 forecast (6 million). But in 2015, total enrollment (9.3 million) lagged behind the CBO’s March 2015 forecast (11 million). And if current trends hold, total enrollment in 2016 (about 10 million) will be dramatically less than the CBO’s March 2015 forecast (21 million). The ACA has stimulated dramatic changes to America’s individual health-insurance market. It has placed more restrictions on insurance pricing (i.e., charging individuals different premiums depending on their health and age), and it has mandated benefit increases for insurance plans. Such changes have caused premiums on the ACA exchanges to soar by 49%, on average; younger, healthier adults have seen their insurance costs rise the most. To encourage enrollment on the ACA exchanges despite surging premiums, the ACA deploys carrots (premium and cost-sharing subsidies) and a stick (taxing individuals who remain uninsured). In 2015, for example, the average monthly premium subsidy for ACA-exchange enrollees was $263 per month, which reduced monthly premiums by 72% percent, on average — from $364 to $101.
‘Obamacare’ enrollment points to continued success (MSNBC) When the first open-enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act began in October 2013, it failed miserably thanks largely to a website that simply didn’t work. After a month, an underwhelming total of 106,185 consumers signed up for insurance through an exchange. And Republicans thought this was hilarious. The GOP’s “Obamacare” critics, not at all shy about rooting for failure, openly mocked the system, pointing to sports venues with more than 106,185 seats. For the right, low enrollment totals stood as undeniable proof that the Affordable Care Act was “hurtling toward failure,” and conservatives could hardly contain their glee. A little more than two years later, the right’s laughter has disappeared – right along with the low enrollment totals.
About 12.7 million Americans signed up for 2016 health insurance coverage through the government insurance exchanges, surpassing its expectations, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said on Thursday.
That means Republicans running in this year’s elections may find it harder to deliver on their promise of repeal, while Democrats may yet be able to tap the newly insured as a voting constituency.
Obamacare’s Success Hinges on States (U.S. News & World Report) No, it is not just red states vs. blue states. While Obamacare has, on average done better in states run by Democrats there have been some poor performances with incompetent management by Democratic state administrations.
Japan earthquake: Thousands remain without vital services (BBC News) Japan is struggling to restore services in the south-western island of Kyushu after it was hit by two powerful earthquakes. Some 180,000 people are set to spend a third night in temporary shelters, including cars and tents. More than 62,000 homes remain without electricity and 300,000 homes have no water, Japanese media report. At least 11 people are still missing following the quakes which killed 41 people and wounded hundreds.
Earthquake kills 235 in Ecuador, devastates coast zone (Reuters) The death toll from Ecuador's biggest earthquake in decades soared to at least 235 on Sunday as rescuers using tractors and bare hands hunted desperately for survivors in shattered coastal towns. The 7.8 magnitude quake struck off the Pacific coast on Saturday and was felt around the Andean nation of 16 million people, causing panic as far away as the highland capital Quito and collapsing buildings and roads in a swath of western towns.
Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea
Economists Ignore One of Capitalism’s Biggest Problems (Steve Keen, Evonomics) Mainstream economics and therefore all political action advised by economists works with a bogus assumption: Banks function by lending the funds of savers (the bank's deposits) multiplied by the inverse of whatever fractional reserve is required by regulation. That is blatantly and stupidly wrong. Banks create money out of thin air based on their assessment of security ( probability of repayment) offered by the borrower. Only then do deposits associated with the loan (the newly created money) appear on the bank's books. Econintersect: Years ago (late 2008) at the height of the Great Financial Crisis I (John Lounsbury) wrote something at Seeking Alpha about the need for banks to stop trading derivatives and return to their traditional intermediary role. A number of commentators praised the idea but one was severely critical, claiming that I was revealing my ignorance of banking. That critical comment confused me because there was nothing in my economics textbooks that explained what he could possibly be talking about. I have since learned that there is much in the text books that is not correct and much facts of economic value not taught in many economics courses.
We all lie, scientists say, but politicians even more so (Associated Press) We watch with fascination as candidates for the world's most powerful job trade falsehoods and allegations of dishonesty. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump routinely calls rival Ted Cruz "Lyin' Ted". Cruz retorts: "Falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie and something Donald does daily." News organizations such as The Associated Press and PolitiFact dedicate enormous resources to separating candidates' truthful wheat from their dishonest chaff. But not only just politicians twll lies. For more than two decades, researchers of different stripes have examined humanity's less-than-truthful underbelly. This is what they have found: We all stretch the truth. We learned to deceive as toddlers. We rationalize our fabrications that benefit us. We tell little white lies daily that make others feel good.
Econintersect wants your comments,
data and opinion on the articles posted. As the internet is a
"war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its
defences against ease of commenting. We have joined with Livefyre
to manage our comment streams.
To comment, just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of
the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your
favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or
Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.
Econintersect Behind the Wall
Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.
Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com