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What We Read Today 24 April 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • Discussion Section on Retirement in America

  • Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Old Economy

  • More People in U.S. Now Want Larger Government, Not Smaller

  • U.S. Spring Housing: 'Strongest seller's market ever'

  • Tesla’s big Model 3 bet rides on risky assembly line strategy

  • Tesla Doubles Its Superchargers With Massive Solar Stations

  • Why Brexit will bring a boom in lobbying

  • Eight Maps That Explain France’s Macron-Le Pen Election

  • Xi Urges Restraint on North Korea in Phone Call With Trump

  • China clamps down on excess steel as Japan decries Trump 'protectionism'

  • China Stocks Sink Most in Four Months Amid Leverage Crackdown

  • Here's how much the average family in their 50s has saved for retirement

  • 1 in 3 Americans Has Saved $0 for Retirement

  • The Retirement Crisis: Why 68% Of Americans Aren't Saving In An Employer-Sponsored Plan

  • Why Work In Retirement? The Four Types Of Working Retirees

  • Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group

  • Older Workers are Distorting the Labor Market

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Old Economy (Bloomberg)  Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE:BABA) Chairman Jack Ma said society should prepare for decades of pain as the internet disrupts the economy.  The world must change education systems and establish how to work with robots to help soften the blow caused by automation and the internet economy, Ma said in a speech to an entrepreneurship conference in Zhengzhou, China.  Ma said of job disruptions caused by the internet:

“In the next 30 years, the world will see much more pain than happiness.  “Social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life.”


  • With Budget Debate Looming, Growing Share of Public Prefers Bigger Government (Pew Research Center)  As Congress faces an April 28 deadline to fund government operations, the public is now split in their general preferences on the size and scope of government: 48% say they would rather have a bigger government providing more services, while 45% prefer a smaller government providing fewer services.  This marks the first time in eight years that as many Americans have expressed a preference for a bigger as a smaller government. Support for bigger government has increased 7 percentage points since last September, when more said they preferred a smaller government offering fewer services (50%) than a bigger government providing more services (41%). The last time the public was divided on this question was in October 2008, just prior to the election of Barack Obama.  Econintersect:  Our reading of the graphic finds the current 48% support the highest in the last 40 years. 

Tesla, however, is skipping that preliminary step and ordering permanent, more expensive equipment as it races to launch its Model 3 sedan by a self-imposed volume production deadline of September, Musk told investors last month.

Musk’s decision underscores his high-risk tolerance and willingness to forego long-held industry norms that has helped Tesla upend the traditional auto industry. While Tesla is not the first automaker to try to accelerate production on the factory floor, no other rival is putting this much faith in the production strategy succeeding.

  • Tesla Doubles Its Superchargers With Massive Solar Stations (Bloomberg)  The company is preparing to launch its $35,000 Model 3 electric car later this year, with plans to make 500,000 EVs in 2018 (up from 76,000 a year ago). This audacious timeline has left many current owners worrying about wait times throughout the company’s U.S. Supercharging network. Well, Tesla has a plan. 

This year, the number of Superchargers available for public use will double—from 5,000 to 10,000, according to a blog post Tesla published Monday. That’s 39 percent more Superchargers than CEO Elon Musk promised for 2017 when he unveiled the Model 3.  The company will also increase the number of so-called Destination Chargers located at hotels and restaurants from 9,000 to 15,000.

Below is a map of current U.S. Superchargers (red) and locations Tesla is planning to add (grey). 

Click for larger image.


  • Why Brexit will bring a boom in lobbying (The Conversation)  With the Brexit countdown underway, the UK has a huge amount to negotiate with the EU. While numerous issues ranging from immigration to trade have been widely discussed, one important matter that has been overlooked is the impact of Brexit on corporate lobbying.  In the wake of Brexit, lobbyists will swarm London, just as over 30,000 of them have swarmed Brussels over the years. As a member of the European Union, the UK deferred significant chunks of its law making to EU institutions, from the environment and agriculture to health, trade and banking. Now that the UK is “taking back control” of its laws, London will be the place to be to try and influence the laws and regulation that will affect businesses.  The EU lobbying industry, whose size exceeds €39 billion, will be significantly disrupted by Brexit.


  • Eight Maps That Explain France’s Macron-Le Pen Election (Bloomberg)  In Sunday’s presidential first-round election, Macron won many departments—like counties—that went Socialist in 2012. Le Pen, by contrast, made most of her gains in the heartlands of the center-right. Both were aided by the poor performance of the candidates from those parties. Macron ultimately won 33 departments and territories that current President Francois Hollande had won in 2012, while Le Pen picked up 30 that had gone to UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. (France has 96 mainland departments plus several overseas departments and territories.)

Click for large image.

North Korea

  • Xi Urges Restraint on North Korea in Phone Call With Trump (Bloomberg)   Chinese President Xi Jinping called for restraint on North Korea in a phone call with Donald Trump, who also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the U.S. and Japan began joint naval drills in the region.

Xi -- in his second confirmed phone conversation with Trump since their summit this month -- urged all parties to avoid any actions that might exacerbate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, state broadcaster China Central Television said Monday. Abe told reporters following a separate call with Trump that he had praised the U.S. leader’s policy of keeping all options on the table for countering the North Korean threat.  

Abe said Japan had begun naval exercises with the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier leading a strike group into the region. South Korea is also considering whether to conduct drills with the U.S. naval flotilla, which embarked for the Korean Peninsula after initial confusion about an itinerary that first saw it bound for joint exercises with Australia.


  • China clamps down on excess steel as Japan decries Trump 'protectionism' (Reuters)  Twenty-nine Chinese steel firms have had their licenses revoked as Beijing kept up its campaign to tackle overcapacity in the sector and days after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would open a probe into cheap steel exports from China and elsewhere.  Analysts say the revocations were unlikely to be a direct response to Trump's plan, but rather a part of China's reform measures aimed at reducing surplus steel capacity that many estimate at around 300 million tonnes, about three times Japan's annual output.  The official China Daily said Washington's move to investigate steel imports could trigger a trade dispute between the United States and its trading partners. In Japan, the world's second-biggest steel producer after China, the head of its steelmakers' group expressed concern over Trump's protectionist policy.  Japan Iron and Steel Federation chairman Kosei Shindo told a news conference on Monday

"We are greatly concerned over Trump's protectionism, although we hear he has softened his tone on some issues with a grasp of reality."

  • China Stocks Sink Most in Four Months Amid Leverage Crackdown (Bloomberg)  A selloff in Chinese stocks deepened, with the benchmark gauge slumping the most in four months, amid concern authorities will step up measures to crack down on leveraged trading.  The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.4% at the close, the biggest one-day loss since Dec. 12. Industrial companies and material producers led losses. The ChiNext small-cap gauge slipped 1.6% to 1,809.91, its lowest closing level since September 2015.

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

  • The State of American Retirement (Economic Policy Institute)  There are two depressing messages here: (1) The average retirement savings fallk far short of the 8X annual pay called for in the preceding article; and (2) the median retirment savings is far less than the average, indicating most Americans have little or no retirement savings.

  • Why Work In Retirement? The Four Types Of Working Retirees (Huffington Post)  Looking at the retirement savings data we have in this section today, it is perhaps not surprising that many are now planning to work in retirement. See also final article, below.  For many it is a financial necessity and for some it is a lifestyle choice. There seems to be four core profiles of today’s working retirees:

Click for larger image.

  • Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group (Jill Mislinski, Advisor Perspectives,  The driving factors above have resulted in huge increases in the numbers working post age 65.  Over the past approximately 30 years, labor force participation rates for the over-65 cohort have risen by more than 70% (from 11.3% to to 19.4%).  For women it has almost doubled (up 95% from 8% to 15.6%).  For men the increase is a little greater than 40%.

Click for larger image.

  • Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group (Jill Mislinski, Advisor Perspectives,  The shift to greater labor force participation has been accompanied by a decline in both age groups 25-54 and especially in 16-24.  As older workers continue to earn income, many cases because of economic necessity, fewer jobs are available for younger workers.  This can be viewed as a downward spiral for retirement problems.  It seems these problems will only get worse as more people enter the labor force later in life and participate less through the prime earning years.

Click for larger image.

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