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What We Read Today 09 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.

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Topics today include:

  • How Multiple Job Holders Numbers have Changed in the U.S. over 20 Years

  • Why Not to Borrow from a 401(k)

  • Human Chimeras Exist

  • Accounting for Landfill Operations with Dollars is Costly

  • Bees:  It's More than Pesticides that are Killing Them

  • Why U.S. 10-Year Treasury Will Drop to 1%

  • Don't Count on a Bottom for Oil Prices to be In Place

  • Republicans Want to Overhaul Telecom Law

  • Donald Trump Has Debate Conditions

  • 25 U.S. Cities with the Best Quality of Life

  • UK Economy Shrank Post-Brexit

  • The Party of Nelson Mandela is in Trouble

  • China Chilling Toward South Korea because of Missile Defense Shield

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Technically Speaking: Is This The Bottom For Oil Prices? (Lance Roberts, Real Investment Advice)  RL is a weekly contributor to GEI.  He says that with the deviation between energy stock prices and the underlying commodity once again deviated from their historical relationship, the pain is likely not over yet. With oil prices still overbought currently, and registering a short-term sell signal, the recent bounce is likely best used to sell into.


  • Republicans see fresh chance to overhaul telecom law (The Hill)  Republicans believe they are finally close to overhauling a landmark law that has been a cornerstone of tech and telecom regulation for decades.  The effort to update the Communications Act, which gives the Federal Communications Commission its authority, has been years in the making and has powerful support.  The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and veteran lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are vowing to make changing the law a centerpiece of their 2017 agenda.  Proponents of updating the law, first written in 1934 and last revised in 1996, say it's showing its age and is ill-suited to dealing with a world dominated by high-speed internet and mobile devices instead of phone service and traditional radio broadcasts.

  • Donald Trump Says ‘I Want to Debate Very Badly.’ But He Has Conditions (Time)   Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will commit to three debates this fall with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, but may try to re-negotiate the terms that have been agreed upon by a bipartisan commission. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan organization that has sponsored and produced general-election debates since the late 1980s, has scheduled three debates this fall: Sept. 26 in Hempstead, N.Y.; Oct. 9 in St. Louis; and Oct. 19 in Las Vegas. There is one vice-presidential debate on the docket, in Farmville, Va., on Oct. 4.  The dates and venues selected by the commission’s nonpartisan board were announced last September, and the format of each 90-minute debate has already been set. But the Republican nominee noted that he had haggled with television networks over the terms of debates held during the GOP primary and might do so again.   Trump told TIME in a phone interview:

“I will absolutely do three debates.  I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions.”

  • Clinton to dismiss Trump's economic plan as a 'friends and family discount' (The Guardian)  Hillary Clinton will seize on criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to repeal the so-called death tax, which she will say only benefits families with multimillion-dollar estates like his own.  At an event in Miami on Tuesday, Clinton will dismiss Trump’s proposal as further proof of the charge that he is only interested in policies that benefit himself, labeling it the “friends and family discount”, according to a Clinton campaign official.  Trump, who has put himself forward as the champion of the American workers, on Monday laid out his economic agenda, which included a roster of proposals that align with Republican orthodoxy, including slashing tax rates, reducing the corporate tax rate and eliminating the estate tax.

  • The 25 cities with the best quality of life in the US (Business Insider, MSN News)  Nearly half (12) of the cities are in either Texas or California; only 6 are east of the Mississippi (one each in Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland and two in Virginia).


  • U.K. Economy Shrank in Month After Brexit, Niesr Estimates (Bloomberg)  The U.K. economy shrank in the month after Britain voted to leave the European Union, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.  Growth probably slowed to 0.3% in the three months through July from 0.6% in the second quarter, the London-based think tank said in a statement Tuesday. That suggests gross domestic product contracted 0.2% in July alone.

  • U.K. Industry Barely Grew in June as Trade Drags on Growth (Bloomberg)  U.K. industrial production barely grew in June as the economy lost momentum before the Brexit referendum.  Output rose 0.1%  following a 0.6% drop in May, the Office for National Statistics said in London on Tuesday. Manufacturing declined for a second month. Separate figures suggested the trade deficit continued to weigh on economic growth in the second quarter.


  • Turkey, Russia rapprochement not seen affecting Turkey's NATO role - Germany (Reuters)  Germany does not believe that a thaw in relations between Turkey and Russia will affect Turkey's role in the NATO alliance, the German Foreign Ministry said on Monday.  The spokeswoman welcomed moves by the two countries to end tensions after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November, and said better communication was important given their respective roles in ending the civil war in Syria.

South Africa

As with many democracies, South Africa’s municipal and district elections are widely seen as a referendum on the performance of the central government. And on August 3, 2016, South African voters clearly showed that the African National Congress, which has lead the country since the end of apartheid in 1994, has lost the people’s faith. In a race so tight that final results weren’t released for four days, the storied party of Nelson Mandela was shown to have received only 54% of the vote, down from 62% in 2014’s national elections.The ANC not only lost the capital, Pretoria, and its one-time stronghold in Nelson Mandela Bay. It couldn’t even hold on to the financial capital of Johannesburg, getting only 44% of the vote in South Africa’s largest city. The stunning upset reveals a population fed up with scandal, dismayed by continued economic decline and eager to shed the constraints of racial politics.


  • China Backlash Over U.S. Missile Shield Puts North Asia on Edge (Bloomberg)   South Korean President Park Geun Hye has discovered first hand the feeling of getting the cold shoulder from China.  Under the fluent Mandarin speaker’s watch, South Korea had seen improved ties with China, drawn together in part by concern about Japan’s wartime past and the military ambitions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Park was the only leader of a U.S. ally to attend a military parade in China last year for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  Now, relations that were hailed by both countries as the best in history have soured, and Park may get a frosty reception in China next month for the Group of 20 summit. The reason: Her agreement to deploy a U.S. missile shield on Korean soil.

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

  • Multiple Jobholders: Two Decades of Trends as of July (Advisor Perspectives  At present, multiple jobholders account for almost five percent of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the current relative sizes of which are illustrated in a pie chart. The distinction between "primary" and "secondary" jobs is a subjective one determined by the survey participants.  Note: Not included in the statistics are the approximately 0.25% of the employed who work part time on what they consider their primary job and full time on their secondary job(s).


  • 8 Reasons To Never Borrow From Your 401(k) (Investopedia)  Dipping into your 401(k) plan is generally a bad idea.  About 21% of 401(k) plan participants who are eligible to take loans against their retirement savings exercise this option, according to 2013 data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. This number has remained stable since 2009.  The average outstanding loan balance was 12% of assets. For plan participants in their 20s, the number is much higher, coming in at 26% of their savings, a percentage that drops as participants age, falling to 19% for those in their 30s, 13% for those in their 40s and 10% for those in their 50s. The figure is just 8% for those in their 60s.  Two of the reasons:  (1) In most plans you are not saving until the loan is repaid and (2) you are losing money compared to most other ways you could borrow.  See also Top 10 list: Why you should never borrow from your 401(k) (CNBC)

  • 3 Human Chimeras That Already Exist (Scientific American)  A chimera is essentially a single organism that's made up of cells from two or more "individuals"—that is, it contains two sets of DNA, with the code to make two separate organisms.  A person can also be a chimera if they undergo a bone marrow transplant.  Also a person can absorb the cells of an early terminated fraternal twin.  A third way can happen in a pregnant woman when some fetus cells migrate through the placenta into her body.

  • Emergy (with an “m”) and Environmental Accounting for Maine’s Landfill (Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism)  LS has contributed to GEI.  This is a discussion why using money only to justify the operation of a landfill is short-sighted and, in the long run, expensive.

  • Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought (Quartz)  While the use of pesticides have been linked to the fragility of bee populations and warnings well publicized, fungicides may be an even bigger hazard and there are no warnings to date.

  • Why Morgan Stanley Still Expects The 10Y Treasury To Drop To 1%, In 4 Charts (Zero Hedge)  While most sellside strategists take the recent rebound in US Treasury yields as the latest confirmation that the global rates rally is on its last legs (even as corporate bond issuance is approaching never before seen records, as the global chase for yields comes to the US), one bank refuses to change its long-term forecast on the 10Y, and still sees the benchmark US security reaching 1.00% in the not too distant future.  Here are two of the four MS charts:

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