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What We Read Today 29 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:

  • You Don't Really Own Your Securities; Can Blockchains Fix That?

  • Tesla’s Model 3 Arrives With a Surprise 310-Mile Range

  • Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

  • Small-business loans need their own HMDA

  • Senate GOP steps up defense of Sessions

  • Trump Makes Tweeted Threat to End Obamacare Insurance Subsidies

  • Guarding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club cost taxpayers $6.6 million: report

  • Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements

  • The irony — Healthcare could mean Democrats take the House

  • Italy: Reforms Needed For Stronger Growth and Stability

  • A US-UK trade deal must include food – to benefit 5.3m hungry Britons

  • Italy : 2017 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Italy

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Senate GOP steps up defense of Sessions (The Hill)  Senate Republicans are getting more aggressive in fighting back at President Trump’s attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says there will be “hell to pay” if Sessions is fired, while Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, warned he won’t hold hearings to confirm a successor to Sessions.  

Senate Republicans also quickly slammed the door on the possibility that Trump could use recess appointment powers to get around Grassley.

I don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, who said Republicans will hold pro-forma sessions every few days to block Trump from making recess appointments.

  • Trump Makes Tweeted Threat to End Obamacare Insurance Subsidies (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump threatened to end key Affordable Care Act subsidies to health insurance companies that help make insurance accessible to poorer Americans, a move that may critically destabilize health exchanges if it went ahead.  The administration has previously floated the idea to halt subsidies that help insurers offset health-care costs for low-income Americans, called a cost-sharing reduction, or CSR. In a tweet on Saturday, Trump hinted at ending that program.  The president said:

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” 

  • Guarding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club cost taxpayers $6.6 million: report (The Hill)  President Trump's Florida club cost taxpayers more than $6.6 million to protect since January, according to a new report published Friday.  Mar-a-Lago, one of Trump's resort golf courses which sits on waterfront property on Florida's coastline, requires protection by both air and sea while the president is visiting.   Spending for one of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago is close to $1 million dollars, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Trump has reportedly already spent more than $21 million on travel so far in his presidency, which would outpace Obama's entire 8-year travel budget by the end of 2017.

  • Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements (The Hill)  House Democrats are poised to advance a flood of proposals designed to address the problems dogging President Obama's signature healthcare law –– a move that puts pressure on Republican and Democratic leaders alike.

The strategy marks a pivot for the Democrats, as party leaders have throughout the year discouraged members from offering improvements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fearing they would highlight problems with the law and divert attention from the Republicans’ months-long struggle to repeal and replace it.

What voters perceive Republicans in Congress as having done for them is the standard by which they are going to be judged in 2018. Based on everything we¹ve seen so far — they're in real trouble.





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

  • You Don't Really Own Your Securities; Can Blockchains Fix That? (American Banker)  Hat tip to John O'Donnell, Online Trading Academy.  If blockchain technology accomplishes nothing else in the capital markets, it is at least drawing attention to an unsettling fact: In the United States, publicly traded stock does not exist in private hands.   It is not owned by the ostensible owners, who, by virtue of having purchased shares in this or that company, are led to believe they actually own the shares. Technically, all they own are IOUs. The true ownership lies elsewhere.  While private-company stock is still directly owned by shareholders, nearly all publicly traded equities and a majority of bonds are owned by a little-known partnership, Cede & Co., which is the nominee of the Depository Trust Co., a depository that holds securities for some 600 broker-dealers and banks. For each security, Cede & Co. owns a master certificate known as the "global security," which never leaves its vault. Transactions are recorded as debits and credits to DTC members' securities accounts, but the registered owner of the securities — Cede & Co. — remains the same. Marco Santori, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman who leads the firm's blockchain technology team, said:

[What shareholders have rather than direct ownership, then,] "is a [contractual] right against their broker.  The broker then has a right against the depository institution where they have membership. Then the depository institution is beholden to the issuer. It's [at least] a three-step process before you get any rights to your stock."

  • Tesla’s Model 3 Arrives With a Surprise 310-Mile Range (Bloomberg)  That’s the electric range of a $44,000 version of Tesla’s Model 3, unveiled in its final form Friday night. It’s a jaw-dropping new benchmark for cheap range in an electric car, and it’s just one of several surprises Tesla had in store as it handed over the keys to its first 30 customers.  Tesla has taken in more than 500,000 deposits at $1,000 a piece, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told reporters ahead of the event. That’s created a daunting backlog that could take more than a year to fulfill.  The two battery options are shown below:


  • Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation (Pew Research Center)  Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released April 2016 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

Small-business loans need their own HMDA (American Banker)  (Econintersect:  HMDA = Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.)  Businesses owned by people of color are one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country right now. The number of minority business enterprises (MBEs) increased by 38% from 2007 to 2012, while the number of nonminority firms experienced a 5% decrease over the same period. MBEs also serve as engines of employment and economic development in their communities — they create jobs at a faster rate than white-owned firms and are more likely to hire locally.  

Despite the accelerated growth of MBEs, we know from what little data is currently available that minority-owned businesses — Latino- and black-owned firms specifically — are starved of the financing and capital they need to reach their full potential. 

MBEs have greater difficulty accessing loans from financial institutions compared with white-owned firms, pay higher interest when they borrow, receive smaller loans and have their loan applications rejected more often.


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