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What We Read Today 04 May 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:

  • Bitcoin Can't Make Up Its Mind

  • Oil's OPEC-Driven Gain Wiped Out as Shale Boom Offsets Cuts

  • House passes ObamaCare repeal

  • Senate GOP to Snub House Obamacare Repeal Bill and Write Its Own 

  • President Trump’s second Army nominee losing altitude

  • The War in the White House

  • Judge reopens Georgia voter registration ahead of runoff

  • Trump’s Tax Math Has a Big Problem

  • Home Capital Contagion Risk for Canada Is Indirect But Real, Edward Jones Says

  • Canada's Credit Crunch Prospects

  • And More 

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Oil's OPEC-Driven Gain Wiped Out as Shale Boom Offsets Cuts (Bloomberg)  OPEC doesn't control oil markets any more.  The oil rally following OPEC’s deal has disappeared.  Futures on both sides of the Atlantic dropped to their lowest since late November on growing signs that the group’s production cuts are failing to clear a surplus of crude. Oil stocks felt the pinch, with the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Index slumping as much as 4.9% Thursday to the lowest since August.  John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by telephone:

"Evidence is mounting that the OPEC agreement, and the market’s reaction, were much ado about nothing" 


  • House passes ObamaCare repeal (The Hill)  House Republicans on Thursday passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, taking a major step toward a long-held goal and setting in motion an overhaul of the nation’s health system.  The narrow 217-213 vote is a victory for GOP leaders, who faced a tumultuous path to getting the bill to the floor. The measure had to be pulled in March because of a lack of votes, but a series of deals since then brought on board the conservative Freedom Caucus and then wavering moderates.   House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a statement:

"Today we made history by taking the first important step toward rescuing hardworking families from the failures and skyrocketing costs of Obamacare."

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the Senate health committee, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership, both described the plan, even as the House was celebrating passing its repeal after weeks of back and forth. The decision will likely delay even further the prospect of any repeal bill reaching President Donald Trump’s desk.

Hospital stocks dipped on the House vote, but quickly bounced back on the news the Senate would start over with its own version, with the BI North America Hospitals Index up 0.9 percent at 2:39 p.m. Hospitals fear the winding-down of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will leave them with more customers who can’t afford to pay.

  • President Trump’s second Army nominee losing altitude (The Hill)   Mark Green’s nomination for Army secretary is going downhill fast, with comments from his past fomenting opposition to him.  Green has drawn fire for his remarks on LGBT people, Islam, Hispanics, the Second Amendment and creationism. More than a half-dozen advocacy groups have decried his nomination, and even transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner has criticized him.  The ground got shaky for Green when Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday said that he has concerns with the nomination — and that he’s heard similar sentiments from Republicans and Democrats alike.  Asked Tuesday night if he’s concerned about Green’s prospects, McCain told reporters, “Of course.”  He added:

“But as I’ve said several times, the guy, if he wants a hearing and the president wants him to have a hearing, we should have a hearing.” 

  • The War in the White House (Rolling Stone)  Muck raker extraordinaire Matt Taibbi has another political commentary, stating that "months of palace intrigue have pitted the D.C. establishment against Steve Bannon – and made Trump more dangerous than ever".

  • Judge reopens Georgia voter registration ahead of runoff (The Hill)  A federal judge has temporarily reopened voter registration Thursday, ahead of a congressional runoff election in Georgia's 6th district.  According to a report by, the decision was made by U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten as a part of a larger lawsuit that examined whether Georgia violated federal law by reducing the amount of time state residents had to register to vote.  Voter registration was closed on March 20, despite the runoff contest being scheduled for the end of June.  

The lawsuit was filed by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represents multiple civil rights and voting rights organizations.  It argued that the registration cutoff was premature, the AJC reported, and that the state residents should have been allowed to register for two more months.  Focus has been heavy on the race in recent months, with the top-two jungle primary vote-getters -- Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel -- set to face off on June 20.

  • Trump’s Tax Math Has a Big Problem (Bloomberg)  There’s a reason Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin keeps insisting that his boss’s tax-cut plan will fully pay for itself through faster economic growth. Budgetary politics make it hard for him to say anything else. Senate rules require 60 votes for any tax cut that would raise deficits beyond a window of 10 years from the date of passage. Conceding upfront that President Donald Trump’s plan would generate more red ink in the medium to long term would be accepting defeat before the legislative fight has even begun.  Econintersect:  The assumed condition that all tax cuts must be paid for (ie, "the present value of government spending has to be matched by the present value of all receipts") is just that, an assumption.  Most politicians of both parties make the assumption - but we will assert that the assumption is fallacious and to use the assumption condemns the nation to repeated credit crisis crashes.  For those who like the math, the image below is the equation which formalizes the assumption:




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

  • Bitcoin Can't Make Up Its Mind (Twitter)  This type of volatility is why bitcoin is not widely used for transactions - if one accepts a bitcoin for a good or service the value in other currencies could change unexpectedly right after it is accepted.

Click for large image.

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