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What We Read Today 24 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".).


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Topics today include:

  • Major matters in the job market for college graduates

  • The Incredible History of How "Civil Rights Plus Full Employment Equals Freedom"

  • The Full Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve

  • Taxation for Revenue Is Obsolete

  • The Moody’s stressed/distressed corporate credit universe has been gradually shrinking

  • Kushner says he did not collude with Russia, had no improper contacts

  • Obamacare's Big Win: It Helps Some People Be a Little Less Poor

  • Qatar plays pivotal role in US national security efforts

  • Donald Trump and the Coming Fall of American Empire 

  • In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power

  • Trump Calls on GOP to Repeal Obamacare Amid Doubt on Vote

  • Senate GOP: McCain may return for ObamaCare vote Tuesday

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Kushner says he did not collude with Russia, had no improper contacts (The Hill)  President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said Monday in remarks at the White House that all of his actions in the 2016 campaign were proper and that he did not collude with Russia during the presidential campaign.  Kushner, a Trump adviser who rarely speaks publicly, returned to the White House to make the remarks after an interview behind closed doors with Senate staffers investigating Russian meddling in the presidential race.  Kushner told reporters in a brief statement outside the White House.

“The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events in a very unique campaign.  Let me very clear: I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.”

  • Obamacare's Big Win: It Helps Some People Be a Little Less Poor (Bloomberg)  Conservative columnist Megan McArdle argues that Obamacare did little to inprove health of Amerivcans; instead it's primary achieivement has been a modest decrease in poverty that would otherwise have existed.

  • Trump Calls on GOP to Repeal Obamacare Amid Doubt on Vote (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump called on Senate Republicans to start the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, warning that anyone who votes not to take up the bill Tuesday is saying they are "fine with the Obamacare nightmare".  Trump said at the White House on Monday:

"For Senate Republicans this is their chance to keep their promise.  There has been enough talk and no action. Now is the time for action."

  • Senate GOP: McCain may return for ObamaCare vote Tuesday (The Hill)   Republicans expressed cautious optimism Monday that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was diagnosed with brain cancer last week, will return to the Senate in time for a key ObamaCare repeal vote on Tuesday.  The final decision rests with McCain’s doctors.

  • The Full Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve: Its Origins and Importance (Dean Baker, Sarah Rawlins and  David Stein)  DB has contributed to GEI.  Among the interesting issues discussed in this paper, the incompetence of the Congressional Budget Office regarding projections for overall macroeconomic fatcors is exemplified by the graphic below:



  • Qatar plays pivotal role in US national security efforts (The Hill)  Before 9/11, ensuring the free flow of resources from the Persian Gulf was the primary reason for our military engagement in the area. Since 9/11, countering ISIS and similar terrorist groups and deterring Iran have been the primary reasons for U.S. forces in the Gulf region. Through it all, Qatar has been a strategic security partner and a vital ally to America.  

Today’s rift among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) poses a challenge for the United States and our relationships with the individual members. The continuing goodwill and support of our friends in the Gulf remains critical to our military operations in the region. Among these friends, our relationship with Qatar is particularly important.


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

  • Major matters in the job market for college graduates (American Enterprise Institute)  A recently updated dataset from the New York Fed highlights a troubling fact about college graduates: around one-third of them do not work in jobs that require a college degree. Being “underemployed” in this way, however, is not synonymous with holding a “bad” job; 43% of underemployed graduates earn more than $45,000 per year.  But there is a great deal of variation by major.

… the way that an elite typically stays in power in almost any society is not simply by controlling the means of production (i.e. wealth), but by shaping the discourse (or the cognitive map that a society uses to describe the world around it). And what matters most in relation to that map is not just what is discussed in public, but what is not discussed because those topics are considered boring, irrelevant, taboo or just unthinkable. Or as [French anthropologist Pierre] Bourdieu wrote: “The most successful ideological effects are those which have no need of words, but ask no more than a complicitous silence.”

  • Taxation for Revenue Is Obsolete (Beardsley Ruml, YouTube)  Hat tip to Roger Erickson.  See also next item below.  Beardsley Ruml (1894-1960)  was an American statistician, economist, philanthropist, planner, businessman and man of affairs, recogniozed as a tax authority and corporate executive.  He served as a director of the Fedreal Reserve Bank of New York 1937-1947 and was chairman from 1941-1946.  In the summer of 1942 Ruml proposed that the U.S. Treasury start collecting income taxes through a withholding, pay-as-you-go, system. He proposed an abatement on the previous year's taxes, making up the revenue by immediately collecting on the current year's taxes. In 1943 Congress adopted the withholding system.  From Wikipedia:

In 1945, Ruml made a famous speech to the ABA, asserting that since the end of the gold standard, "Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete". The real purposes of taxes were: to "stabilize the purchasing power of the dollar", to "express public policy in the distribution of wealth and of income", "in subsidizing or in penalizing various industries and economic groups" and to "isolate and assess directly the costs of certain national benefits, such as highways and social security". This is seen as a forerunner of functional finance or chartalism.


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