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What We Read Today 11 July 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:

  • China's Bad Loans

  • Slowdown in Homeownership Rate Decline

  • Mark Yusko: "We're On The Path To Another Great Depression"

  • The New Normal: Demand, Secular Stagnation and the Vanishing Middle-Class

  • For Isil this is not the end, it is probably not even the beginning of the end

  • Oil rises 2.5 percent after surprisingly large U.S. crude stock draw

  • Lawyers: Donald Trump Jr. Is Getting Terrible Legal Advice

  • Trump Jr. releases email chain on conversations with Russian sources

  •  Trump Jr. emails show he welcomed Russian help 

  • Credit Card Delinquency Warning Signal 

  • EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV

  • Senate GOP outlines revised health bill

  • Subprime Mortgage Market Remains Subdued 

  • Negative Equity U.S. Mortgages

  • New Paper Calls for Digital Cash Implementation in the Eurozone

  • Eurozone Growing Faster than U.S. 

  • Trump's planned state visit to UK delayed until next year: U.S. official

  • Revisiting ban on sale of cattle for slaughter from markets, Centre tells Supreme Court

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • For Isil this is not the end, it is probably not even the beginning of the end (The Telegraph)  The Islamic State has lost control of Mosul and will soon lose Raqqa in Syria.  But this is not the end.  It is probably not even the beginning of the end.  (Subscription required.)

  • Oil rises 2.5 percent after surprisingly large U.S. crude stock draw (Reuters)  Oil prices climbed more than 2.5% on Tuesday along with rising heating oil futures on reports showing cuts in U.S. oil production and declines in U.S. crude and European product stockpiles.  U.S. crude stocks plunged almost three times more than forecast in the latest week, while gasoline inventories decreased unexpectedly and distillate stocks built, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said Tuesday.


[The information] “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.  This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump.” 

Click for large image.

  • EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV (Reuters)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television – challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said.  The move comes as the administration of President Donald Trump seeks to roll back a slew of Obama-era regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, and begins a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement - a global pact to stem planetary warming through emissions cuts.  (Econintersect:  Who will moderate the debates?  President Trump?  Does EPA head Scott Pruit have a dream scenario where the president can again say:  "You're fired!" ?

  • Senate GOP outlines revised health bill (The Hill)   Republican leaders on Tuesday outlined a revised ObamaCare replacement bill that will be unveiled on Thursday ahead of a planned vote next week.  The revisions are aimed at winning over additional support, but it remains deeply in doubt whether the bill can get 50 votes.  Importantly, senators said the Medicaid sections of the bill would remain largely unchanged from the initial draft, a blow to moderates who had pushed for easing cuts to Medicaid.

  • Subprime Mortgage Market Remains Subdued (The Daily Shot)

  • Negative Equity U.S. Mortgages (The Daily Shot)  The number of mortgages with negative equity (when the house price is lower than the mortgage principal outstanding) has fallen below two million for the first time in over a decade.  But it is still 2-3 x higher than on 2004-2005.


  • New Paper Calls for Digital Cash Implementation in the Eurozone (Positive Money)   Dutch NGO Ons Geld (“Our Money”), published a thought-provoking paper outlining how a digital cash scheme – a virtual euro – could fundamentally improve the money system in the Eurozone.  The virtual euro would provide the public with an electronic version of notes and coins. In practice, this would involve offering people accounts at the central bank. Such ‘debt-free’ money would be just as convenient as bank-money, and safer than physical cash because it would be much more difficult to steal. This central bank electronic money would make the money system much safer and simpler, and put an end to governments’ ideas that big banks are “too big to fail”.

An important debate has emerged on how central banks would account for digital cash. Ons Geld’s contribution to this debate contrasts with most central bankers’ views. According to the paper, the virtual euro should be seen as an entirely new intangible liquid asset, as opposed to a liability for the central banks.


  • Trump's planned state visit to UK delayed until next year: U.S. official (Reuters)  U.S. President Donald Trump's state visit to the United Kingdom, initially planned for this year, will be delayed until next year, a senior U.S. administration official said on Tuesday.  British Prime Minister Theresa May had invited Trump to London when she visited the White House soon after Trump took office on Jan. 20.  But the two sides have not been able to find dates that worked for both governments.


  • Revisiting ban on sale of cattle for slaughter from markets, Centre tells Supreme Court (The Hindu)  The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Centre’s May 26 notification, banning cattle sale in livestock markets for slaughter and religious sacrifices.  The order came after the government acquiesced that public outcry and objections from the States about the law's impact on livelihoods made it realise that the rules need “tweaking”.


  • China's Bad Loans (The Daily Shot)  China’s bad loan problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

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

  • Slowdown in Homeownership Rate Decline (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University)  The national homeownership rate dipped again for the 12th consecutive year, notching down from 63.7% in 2015 to 63.4% in 2016. This was the smallest year-over-year decline since 2006 and may signal that the homeownership rate might be close to bottoming out.  The number of homeowner households rose by just 280,000 last year—the largest gain since 2006 but less than half the 600,000 increase in the number of renter households. 


Click for large image.

  • The New Normal: Demand, Secular Stagnation and the Vanishing Middle-Class (Institute for New Economic Thinking)  The U.S. economy is widely diagnosed with two ‘diseases’: a secular stagnation of potential U.S. growth, and rising income and job polarization. The two diseases have a common root in the demand shortfall, originating from the ‘unbalanced’ growth between technologically ‘dynamic’ and ‘stagnant’ sectors.  The finding is that the long running decline in growth in the economy is driven by insufficient demand and the decline is decades long, not a "new normal".  While the entire 67 years of data show a decline in real gdp, the 23 years starting in 1950, taken as isolated data, does not show any decline.

    (Econintersect:  It also appears to us (by inspection - no regression analysis applied) that the 20 years from the early 1980s to the early 2000s also does not show any decline as well.  Thus, it may be that the entire 67-year decline may be derived from less than half the 67 years: the 1970s, 2000s, and 2010s.)


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