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What We Read Today 27 September 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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The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here

Topics today include:

  • 401(k) Inventor Says He Created a Monster

  • 401(k) Plans Make More Money for Financial Firms than for Investors

  • Elon Musk's Planned trip to Mars

  • More than 90% of Humans Breathe Unhealthy Air

  • Saudi's Admit No Deal Likely Tomorrow and Oil Tanks

  • Why Yellen May Quit if Trump Wins

  • Trump Made Five Fatal Errors and It Probably Won't Matter

  • Birtherism Lives On After Trump "Resolved" It

  • Reasons the Workless are Not Working in the UK

  • Deutsche Bank and Commerz Bank are "Slip Slidin' Away"

  • Why China is an Oil Wild Card

  • Trump Has Not Moved Mexican Peso Out of 11-Year Trend Channel

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Rising air pollution levels a ‘public health emergency’, says WHO (Financial Times)  More than 90% of the global population lives in a place where the air does not meet World Health Organization safety guidelines, according to a study from the UN agency that warns of a “public health emergency” created by rising pollution levels.  The most detailed research on outdoor pollution in individual countries undertaken by the organization shows an estimated 3 million deaths a year can be linked to dirty air from coal-fired power plants, old cars, factories and other sources.  Millions more are affected by smoke inside their homes from cooking stoves or fires fueled with wood or dung, meaning a total of 6.5 million deaths were associated with air pollution in 2012, the agency said.

  • Crude Chaos Strikes: Saudis Admit "No Deal" But "Hopeful" For November (Zero Hedge)  The Saudi oil minister admits he doesn't see a "deal" in the OPEC meeting in Algiers tomorrow and oil is down more than 4%.


  • Poll: 89% Of Debate Viewers Tuning In Solely To See Whether Roof Collapses (The Onion)  Explaining that the American people showed relatively little interest in learning more about the nominees’ economic, counterterrorism, or immigration policies, a new Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 89 percent of viewers were tuning into Monday night’s presidential debate solely to see whether the roof collapses on the two candidates.  Econintersect:  We think that this lampoon may actually be figuratively quite accurate.

  • Why Yellen may quit if Trump wins (Market Watch)  Even with two years remaining in her term, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen may quit if Donald Trump is elected president, an economist argued on Tuesday.  Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients that Trump doubled down on criticism of the Fed during his debate with Hillary Clinton.  Trump said the U.S. economy is in a “big, fat, ugly bubble” and specifically called out Yellen.

  • Donald Trump Commits 5 Potentially Fatal Errors During Monday’s Debate (Liberals Unite)  The author says that Trump created 5 serious unforced errors in the debate, any one of which could lose him the election.  Econintersect: But it is unlikely he lost any voters already committed to him so preference polls should not shift much.

  • It Lives. Birtherism Is Diminished but Far From Dead. (The New York Times)  The latest polling data shows that 62% of American registered voters say President Obama was born in the United States, but that’s a substantial increase from the 48 percent who said this in a Morning Consult poll conducted in January. (The number who said they didn’t know his place of birth was essentially unchanged: 18% in January, 17% now.)  The remaining 21% say he was not born in the U.S.  For Republicans only, 33% are "birthers".  But even for Democrats, the number is 10%.  See details:  National Tracking Poll 160910 (Morning Consultant)



Click for large image.


  • Deutsche Bank debt is taking a beating (Market Watch)  Fears that a potential U. S.fine over the bank’s dealings in mortgage-related securities could, in a worst-case scenario, be the final blow that puts the lender out of business have sparked a selloff in tradable credit securities issued by Deutsche Bank, with the riskiest bonds seeing the sharpest moves.  The riskiest bonds, called CoCos, can be exchanged for equity if capital reserve ratios at the issuing bank fall below a predetermined level, so a buyer runs the risk of losing a large chunk of his or her principal investment when the bonds are swapped out for newly issued shares.  A U. S-dollar denominated “CoCo” bond with a perpetual duration recently traded at $74, down from $79 at Friday’s close. This bond was originally sold for $100. Unlike most other bond markets, CoCo valuations are typically quoted in price, not yield.  At its current price, the yield on the benchmark dollar-denominated CoCo bond is trading at a premium of 14.2% above the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury.  Econontersect:  So, do you want a 15.8% yield?  If so you have to accept the risk that the bond could be converted to something much below the $74 you would pay, perhaps even $74 lower.

  • Deutsche Bank: how did a beast of the banking world get into this mess? (The Guardian)  Shareholders are in turn wondering whether the bank should have acted sooner to preserve its financial health and whether the German government will step in to prevent a collapse.  Here is everything you need to know about the bind Germany’s biggest bank finds itself in, and why it matters.

  • Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerz Bank Keep Slip Slidin' Away (Confounded Interest)  NYSE:DB up 0.4% today, down 4.7% in a week and down 68% in 18 months; and NASDAQ:CBKG down 2.2% today, 7.4% in a week and 56% in 16 months.


  • Why China is the oil ‘wild card’ that could overrule any OPEC moves (Market Watch)  OPEC may have limited leverage to boost oil prices by capping production in the near term.  While all eyes are on the informal OPEC meeting in Algiers this week, any efforts by the cartel to boost oil prices could easily be quashed by an unexpected player in the energy market: China.  Taking advantage of the slump in oil prices, the country has in recent years aggressively accelerated its buildup of strategic petroleum reserves, giving it a strong tool to cap a rally in oil prices, energy experts said.


Click for large image.

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

  • The inventor of the 401(k) says he created a ‘monster’ (Market Watch)  In 1980 Ted Benna proposed the development of tax deferred savings plans based on Section 401(k) of the U.S. tax code and worked to establish the first plans.  Now he is not so sure he did a good thing.  He feels the plans have grown so overcomplicated and so fraught with hidden fees and opportunities for bad decisions that they have been better at enriching the financial industry than the actual savers.

  • Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species (YouTube)  Elon Musk is presenting his plans for travel to Mars.  He says that transit cost per ton for travel to Mars will be brought down by 5,000,000% (thats 1/50,000).  Right now the presentation is streaming.  We will post the archived session later if this does not so convert by the time you see it.

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