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What We Read Today 02 August 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".).


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:

  • Climate Change Update Through 2015

  • Employer of last Resort:  Job Guarantee

  • Paid Sick Leave and Paid Vacation vs. Pay Level

  • Manufacturing On-shoring and Importing Inflation

  • Low Skilled Workers Could Rescue the U.S. Economy

  • Candidate Differences of Healthcare

  • Candidate Differences on Climate and Energy

  • Trump's Bad Demographic Strategy

  • EU is Destroying Representative Government

  • France GDP Flat-lined

  • The Real Reason the U.S. Government is Dysfunctional

  • How to Grow Your Own Dope

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Environmental records shattered as climate change 'plays out before us' (The Guardian)  The world is careening towards an environment never experienced before by humans, with the temperature of the air and oceans breaking records, sea levels reaching historic highs and carbon dioxide surpassing a key milestone, a major international report has found.  See 2015 State of the Climate: Highlights (NOAA).  Econintersect:  Will the acceleration in warming that accompanied the recent El Nino taper away?  If it does will that bring forth a new round of skeptics that will claim global warming is slowing down?



  • Slideshow 10 healthcare differences between Clinton, Trump (Employee Benefit News) As the presidential candidates begin stumping around the country, many will hear their views on the current state of healthcare in the United States. Corporate Synergies, an employee benefits brokerage and consultancy, has rounded up the views of Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on many different aspects that can affect how employers provide healthcare benefits in the next White House administration.  Start slide show.  (Econintersect:  Trump is noticeably to the left of Clinton in their healthcare platforms, in our opinion, but both are dealing in generalities.)

  • Election Crash Course 2016: Candidate Quotes on Climate and Energy (Counter Punch)  While the preceding article portrays the Trump platform to the left of Clinton when it comes to healthcare, the opposite appears to be the case on climate change (if there is a 'left' and 'right' on that topic).  The Johnson (Libertarian) and Stein (Green) positions are also covered.

  • Trump: Wind power ‘kills all your birds’ (The Hill)  Donald Trump bashed renewable energy sources Monday night, saying solar power doesn’t work well and wind turbines kill birds.  The GOP presidential nominee has stated his preference for coal and natural gas, and has previously said that solar power is unreliable and wind turbines are unsightly and harmful to wildlife.  Trump said of alternative energy at a rally in Pennsylvania:

“It’s so expensive.  And honestly, it’s not working so good. I know a lot about solar. I love solar. But the payback is what, 18 years? Oh great, let me do it. Eighteen years.  The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”

  • Trump Seems More the Result of a Shift Among White Men Than the Cause of It (The New York Times, MSN News)   Many people believe that Donald Trump is about to remake the Republican Party.  His unconventional appeal among alienated working-class and middle-class Americans who are drawn to populism, nativism and protectionism — most of whom are white — has led to speculation that he is not just reshaping the party but possibly even expanding it.  The party is changing, but data from this election and the previous two suggest that some of the changes have little to do with Mr. Trump expanding the party. indeed the party most likely started changing with Mitt Romney’s campaign. Mr. Trump may instead be helping Hillary Clinton expand the Democratic Party, reshaping his own party by shrinking it.  See also next article.

  • Historical racial and ethnic demographics of the United States (Wikipedia)  The focus of the Trump appeal on white males described in the preceding article appears very questionable for 2016 and strategically flawed for the future.  With the current white population a little over 60%, that means that Trump is trying to expand his base to a larger percentage of the slightly more than 30% of the population - among which Republicans already had a sizable majority in recent years.  If he loses Republican support among the remaining 40% of the population (which has been significantly Democratic recently) and fails to gain significantly among white women, he will have exercised a bad tactic for 2016 and a bad strategy for the future when the more than 30% white male population continues to shrink (less than 30% in 2020 and less than 28% in 2030).

  • How Low-Skilled Workers Could Rescue the U.S. Economy (The Wall Street Journal)  According to  Harvard economist Dale Jorgenson, productivity improvement only accounts for about 20% of economic growth over the last 70 years.  The biggest contribution to growth has been increase in capital (50% of economic growth) and increase in labor (30% of growth).  That is why he thinks "the U.S. economy is stronger than recognized".  That's why an increase in low-pay workers over the next 10 years will create more growth, according to Jorgenson.  See Education, Participation, and the Revival of the U.S. Economic Growth (NBER).  One of the results displayed in the NBER paper is the role of education in income growth, which shows a possible upturn for the lowest education levels since the Great Financial Crisis.


  • EU Destroying Representative Government and Europe Too? (Hilary Barnes, Euro Politico Twitting)  HB has contributed to GEI.  The system of representative government in the Europe is being destroyed by the European project, causing electorates to lose confidence in the political class and to turn to populist movements for help. If this process is not remedied, expect the European project to crash, and soon. The solution is for the national governments to supplant the European Commission as the genie of the European project, putting governments in direct control of negotiations on the key issues concerning the future of Europe. This in turn requires a diminution of German hegemony, according to French sociologist Pierre Manent in in a very interesting full-page interview in Le Figaro on August 1, with the headline:  "Governments no longer represent us ; they supervise us."  


  • France's GDP Unchanged In 2nd Quarter (Hilary Barnes, Euro Politico Twitting)  HB has contributed to GEI.  The nation's gross domestic product, in real or volume terms, failed to increase from the first to the second quarter, although it strode along briskly to increase by 0.7% from the fourth to the first quarter, according to INSEE, the official office of statistics.  Paradoxically, the only factor that prevented the GDP estimate from actually going negative was an increase in the net foreign balance by 0.3%, the difference between exports and imports, but both exports and imports declined. The positive net figure arose because imports fell by more than exports. 

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

  • Employer of Last Resort: a Completely American Solution to Unemployment (Counter Punch)  An Employer of Last Resort, also known as a job guarantee (JG), is exactly what it sounds like. It is a promise by the government through either private partners or government institutions to provide a job to any worker who is able and willing to work but cannot find suitable (or any) employment in the private sector.  This article is a good promotion piece for GEI contributor Stephanie Kelton:

In December of 2014, well before his decision to run for President, Bernie Sanders appointed Stephanie Kelton to be the Chief Economist for the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee. Dr. Kelton is a Research scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, the founder and Editor in Chief of one of the world’s most prescient economics blogs New Economic Perspectives and an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas City Missouri. She is also one of the leading proponents of a federally funded ELR.

As one of the world’s most prominent experts in the field of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) she is fully aware of the policy options available to a sovereign country which issues its own free floating currency. That is a country like the United States which issues money in its own unit of account- the Dollar- and does not tie the value of the currency to any commodities like gold or to foreign currencies through a peg (like the Chinese do with the Renminbi).

Dr. Kelton was also among a select few to predict the Eurozone financial crisis and to explain why the currency zone has been impotent in its ability to adequately deal with the ongoing economic crisis. She predicted that Quantitative Easing would not cause general price inflation and would be inadequate to get the U.S. economy back to full employment, the meaninglessness of the downgrade of U.S. treasuries by S&P, and that deficits caused by the 2008 financial crisis would not cause a rise in the interest rates of U.S. Federal debt.

  • Want Sick Leave? You Probably Need to Be Paid More (The Wall Street Journal)  This not really news:  Highest-income earners and government employees are more likely to have the benefit of paid sick leave than low-wage and part-time workers.  Paid vacation also has a similar pay relationship.  Among all full-time workers in the private sector, 75% were eligible for sick leave, versus 30% for part-time workers.  State and local government workers more typically received the benefits: 98% of full-time employees and 43% of part-time workers received paid sick leave.  The following graphic is interactive at The WSJ with hovering to show data.




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