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What We Read Today 05 February 2017

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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Topics today include:

  • Trump Loses Bid to Restart Travel Ban While Court Hears Appeals

  • The End of Trump's Market Honeymoon

  • Democrats May have a Difficult Time Making Gains in Congress in 2018

  • Repealing Obamacare would Cost Almost 30 Million People Their Health Insurance

  • How Many Jobs Would be Lost in Each State with Obamacare Repeal?

  • About Half of Americans Say Trump is Moving Too Fast

  • Marine Le Pen Says Only She can Save France

  • U.S. Bombs ISIS Near Euphrates Dam in Syria

  • Pentagon failed to disclose up to thousands of air strikes: report since 2001

  • Trade with China has Cost 3.4 Million U.S. Jobs:  EPI

  • Which States are Best and Worst for Seniors; Wellbeing?

  • Why the Private Sector wants an Infrastructure Bank

  • Why did a Colonist Climb Mt. Washington Just 22 Years after Plymouth Rock Colony was Founded?

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

U.S.

Trump might take a more radical and heterodox approach. During the campaign, he bashed the Fed for being too dovish, and creating a “false economy.” And yet he may now be tempted to appoint new members to the Fed Board who are even more dovish, and less independent, than Yellen, in order to boost credit to the private sector.

If that fails, Trump could unilaterally intervene to weaken the dollar, or impose capital controls to limit dollar-strengthening capital inflows. Markets are already becoming wary; full-blown panic is likely if protectionism and reckless, politicized monetary policy precipitate trade, currency, and capital-control wars.

To be sure, expectations of stimulus, lower taxes, and deregulation could still boost the economy and the market’s performance in the short term. But, as the vacillation in financial markets since Trump’s inauguration indicates, the president’s inconsistent, erratic, and destructive policies will take their toll on domestic and global economic growth in the long run.

  • Trump Loses Bid to Restart Travel Ban While Court Hears Appeals (Bloomberg)   A U.S. appeals court declined to immediately reinstate President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions, leaving visa holders and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations free to travel to the U.S. as arguments over the president’s authority wind toward a possible Supreme Court showdown.  The action in San Francisco followed moves by the departments of Homeland Security and State on Saturday to revert to rules in place before the president acted, even as Trump’s administration expressed outrage over a Friday ruling in Seattle blocking the order. The appeals court ordered the states of Minnesota and Washington, which won their challenge at the lower court, to respond to the Trump administration’s arguments before midnight Sunday, with the Justice Department getting until Monday to submit final arguments for enforcing the ban while the court battle continues.

  • For Trump foes, Democratic gains may remain elusive in 2018 (Associated Press, MSN News)  Passionate protests against Donald Trump's presidency have swelled the ranks of Democratic activists, but their new enthusiasm faces a hard reality: Republicans remain well-positioned to retain their grip on power in the 2018 elections.  While Republicans hold only a slim majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats occupy most of the seats up for election in two years. That means they must play defense against Republicans, especially in 10 states that Trump won.  In the U.S. House, Republicans will be aided by favorable district boundaries that were drawn to maintain GOP political dominance. In some cases, the congressional districts were gerrymandered to pack high numbers of Democratic voters into just a few districts as a way to create a greater number of Republican-leaning seats.

  • How would repealing the Affordable Care Act affect health care and jobs in your state? (Economic Policy Institute)  Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance. And 1.2 million jobs would be lost—not just in health care but across the board.  Sources: Spending cut and coverage loss numbers are from Linda Blumberg, Matthew Buettgens, and John Holahan, Implications of Partial Repeal of the ACA through Reconciliation (Urban Institute, 2016). The job loss analysis is from Josh Bivens, Repealing the Affordable Health Care Act would cost jobs in every state (Economic Policy Institute, 2017).  The map below is interactive in the article to show numerical data by state.

job.loss.aca.repeal

  • About Half of Americans Say Trump Moving Too Fast (Gallup.com)  About half of Americans say President Donald Trump is moving too fast in addressing the major problems facing the country today, with most of the rest saying his speed of action is about right. When Gallup asked the same question in early 2009 about then-newly elected President Barack Obama, the public's sentiment was significantly different (see first graphic below).  Executive orders on immigration have received a lower approval rating than President Trump's overall rating (see second graphic below).

trump.obama.approval.rating

approval.immigration.exec.orders

France

  • France's Le Pen launches election bid with vow to fight globalization (Reuters)  France's far-right party leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday told thousands of flag-waving supporters chanting "This is our country!" that she alone could protect them against Islamic fundamentalism and globalization if elected president in May.  Buoyed by the election of President Donald Trump in the United States and by Britons' vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front (FN) hopes for similar populist momentum in France.  LePen will need to overcome a trailing position in public opinion polls to win, just as did Donald Trump in the U.S.

Syria

  • U.S. coalition jets bomb Islamic State-held town near Euphrates Dam (Reuters)  U.S-led coalition planes bombed an Islamic State-controlled town near the Euphrates Dam in northern Syria a day after the launch of a new phase of a campaign to capture the militants' de facto capital of Raqqa, activists and the militants said on Sunday.  Activists confirmed reports released by the militants' news agency Amaq which said four raids in the last twenty-four hours hit the town of Tabqa west of Raqqa, located near Syria's largest dam, at the southern end of Lake Assad on the Euphrates.  A video released by Amaq showed extensive damage to a commercial center in the town but did mention any casualties.

Afghanistan

  • Pentagon failed to disclose up to thousands of air strikes: report (Reuters)  The Pentagon has failed to disclose up to thousands of air strikes the U.S. military carried out over several years in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan against militants in those countries, the Military Times reported on Sunday.  Last year, the United States carried out at least 456 air strikes in Afghanistan that were not documented in a U.S. Air Force database, the website reported. The air strikes were conducted by U.S. Army helicopters and drones.  The incomplete data could go back to October 2001, according to the Military Times, which describes itself as an independent news organization.  The Pentagon and Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China

  • Growth in U.S.–China trade deficit between 2001 and 2015 cost 3.4 million jobs (Economic Policy Institute)  The model used adds the number of jobs associated with exports to China and subtracts the number of jobs that would have been required to manufacture the imports in the U.S.  Econintersect:  It is not clear how correctly the model accounted for the effects of automation over these years.

us.jobs.lost.to.china

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

  • For Older Adults, Hawaii Leads U.S. States in Well-Being (Gallup.com)  Hawaii ranks as the top state for wellbeing of seniors; West Virginia ranks as the worst.  These state-level data are based on more than 115,000 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states, conducted from Jan. 2, 2015, through March 31, 2016. The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest possible well-being and 100 represents the highest possible well-being.  The table below shows the top and bottom ten states in ranking order.  The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index scores for the nation and for each state consist of metrics affecting overall well-being and each of the five essential elements of well-being:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life

  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security

  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community

  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

best.worst.states.seniors.gallup

  • In 1642, an Early Coastal Colonist Climbed a Mile and a Quarter Above Sea Level.  Why? (The Adirondack Explorer)  Early North American colonists were not attracted to the mountains, especially the high summits.  Yet in 1642, just 22 years after the founding of the Plymouth Colony, a man named Darby Field, traveled with some Indian guides up the Saco River some 80 miles into what was raw wilderness.  He then hiked overland to the base of Mt. Washington and ascended to the 6,289 ft. summit, which has a dominating topographic prominence of 6,180 feet.  None of the Indians would accompany him on the climb because they feared the high peaks.  Therefore it is believed Field may have been the first human to ever set foot on the summit.  But the story of why he made the climb has now been proposed based on new research:  Lake Champlain lies some 100 miles to the west of Mt. Washington, but Field, and his employers, a fur trading company, thought the prominent peak would rise from the eastern shore of the large lake, based on early maps (see below) drawn by Samual de Champlain when he explored the lake in 1632.  And de Champlain also reported that there were high mountains close by to the east of the lake, which of course were Vermont's Green Mountains, 2,000 to 3,000 feet lower in elevation than Mt. Washington.  Read this entire fascinating article if you like early American colonial history.  The second image below is Mt. Washington in winter viewed from the west (Bretton Woods side).  Darby Fields approached from the east (opposite side).  Camera elevation estimated by Econintersect to be 2,500 to 3,000 feet,

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.


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