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What We Read Today 14 September 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:

  • Morgan Stanley's Cobalt Report Mirrors My Analysis Of Tesla's Supply Chain Risks

  • Corporate R&D Spending Decline

  • Coal Seeks New Life as Carbon Fiber for Submarines

  • Leading Causes of Death Around the World

  • GOP lawmaker: Charlottesville 'a setup' by left-wingers manipulating Civil War reenactors

  • Trump stuns Washington with immigration moves

  • Trump and Democrats Near Another Deal, This Time on ‘Dreamers’

  • Brady, Mnuchin Promise Tax Details This Month -- Not Now

  • Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also'

  • GOP senator: 'There is no realistic comparison' between antifa and white supremacists

  • CBO: ObamaCare uncertainty will lead to 15 percent hike in premiums

  • Union Power Is Putting Pressure on Silicon Valley’s Tech Giants

  • Speculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe

  • Is There a Shortage of American Workers?

  •  July 2017 JOLTS Job Openings Unchanged?

  • Italy's Currency is Overvalued

  • Bitcoin Crashes After Chinese Exchange Says It Will Halt Trading

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • GOP lawmaker: Charlottesville 'a setup' by left-wingers manipulating Civil War reenactors (The HillEconintersect:  Here is the mother of all conspiracy theories.  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is spinning the violence that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., last month into a full-blown conspiracy theory, claiming that people with left-wing views manipulated Civil War reenactors to pose as white nationalists to pressure President Trump.  The mastermind behind such a plan, he claims, is a former “Hillary and Bernie supporter” who wrangled the Civil War re-enactors to come together and stage a protest against the removal of a Confederate Statue of Robert E. Lee.   Rohrabacher said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday:

“It was a setup for these dumb Civil War reenactors“It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation, put our president on the spot.”  

  • Trump stuns Washington with immigration moves (The Hill)  President Trump stunned his conservative supporters on Thursday by asserting his willingness to strike a deal with Democrats to protect young immigrants living illegally in the U.S.  But the president and his team also sowed confusion by offering contradictory statements about potential stumbling blocks to the deal.  Speaking to reporters in Washington and Florida, Trump backed a broad outline of a plan Democratic leaders said they agreed to during a Wednesday dinner at the White House. The tradeoff would include new border security measures.  See also Trump and Democrats Near Another Deal, This Time on ‘Dreamers’ (Bloomberg)

  • Brady, Mnuchin Promise Tax Details This Month -- Not Now (Bloomberg)  U.S. companies can expect to learn more about the tax rate they’d pay and the deductions they’d be allowed to claim on interest payments later this month as part of a new framework for overhauling the U.S. tax code, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday.  But neither Mnuchin nor House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady -- who both appeared at a tax event sponsored by Politico Pro -- specified the corporate tax rate or offered much new detail.  Brady said proposed limits on the “net interest deductibility” available to U.S. corporations would likely allow existing loans to be grandfathered in, and officials are working on ways to provide exemptions to small businesses and agriculture.

  • Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also' (The Hill)  President Trump on Thursday revisited his response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., from last month, saying there are “some pretty bad dudes on the other side also.”  Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force Once after a brief trip to Florida, Trump spoke of his Wednesday meeting with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Trump said many had come to back his response to Charlottesville, where he blamed the violence on both sides.  However, see GOP senator: 'There is no realistic comparison' between antifa and white supremacists

  • CBO: ObamaCare uncertainty will lead to 15 percent hike in premiums (The Hill)  Premiums for ObamaCare's benchmark silver plans will increase by an average of 15% in 2018, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a new report released Thursday.  CBO blamed the premium hikes on "short-term market uncertainty."   Insurers have pleaded for more certainty on key ObamaCare payments called cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which reimburse them for giving discounts to low-income patients. The Trump administration has made the payments on a month-to-month basis, but insurers want them funded on a long-term basis.  Econintersect:  We like to quote a hypothetical politician:  "The government can't do anything right - elect me and I'll prove it."

  • Union Power Is Putting Pressure on Silicon Valley’s Tech Giants (Bloomberg)  Organized labor doesn’t rack up a lot of wins these days, and Silicon Valley isn’t most people’s idea of a union hotbed. Nonetheless, in the past three years unions have organized 5,000 people who work on Valley campuses. Among others, they’ve unionized shuttle drivers at AppleTeslaTwitterLinkedInEBaySalesforce.comYahoo!Cisco, and Facebook; security guards at AdobeIBM, Cisco, and Facebook; and cafeteria workers at Cisco, Intel, and, earlier this summer, Facebook.

  • Speculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe (The Hill)  Paul Ryan’s job as Speaker of the House is secure, but people are beginning to chatter about whether this could be his final term leading House Republicans.  And Ryan, 47, has faced a number of obstacles in year one of the Trump administration, most recently suffering the embarrassment of being publicly undercut when President Trump brokered a debt and spending deal with Democrats just hours after Ryan had dismissed the minority’s offer.

A report of a coup plot last week by Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and other conservatives never materialized, however, and in multiple interviews, Meadows repeatedly insisted to The Hill that there was no serious attempt to remove Ryan.


Click for large image.


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

  • On June 28th Morgan Stanley published a 25-page report on the huge impact battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, will have on the market for cobalt, a scarce minor metal.

  • Morgan Stanley’s analysis models a gradual ramp from 1.1 million BEVs with 38 kWh battery packs in 2017 to 9.4 million BEVs with 47 kWh battery packs in 2025.

  • The model predicts modest supply and demand imbalances (±3%) from 2017 through 2022 followed by persistent supply deficits from 2023 on.

  • If you eliminate an unreasonable recycling fudge factor, however, the yearly supply deficits start at 5.4% of global refined cobalt production in 2017 and soars to 14.6% by 2025.

  • I believe that future cobalt prices will remain highly volatile and that without assured cobalt supplies Tesla may be hard pressed to make or buy enough batteries for its cars.

  • Corporate R&D Spending Decline (The Daily Shot)  Corporate R&D spending continues to decline. Some blame the executive compensation structure for this worrisome trend.  Econintersect:  Financialization of the economy has increased "extraction" and decreased "investment".  This is a significant factor in increasingincome inequality.

  • Coal Seeks New Life as Carbon Fiber for Submarines (Bloomberg)  While no one expects the research to revive all the coal-mining jobs that disappeared in recent years, experts say new sources of demand are emerging for the carbon-rich rock, from battery electrodes to car parts.  Meanwhile coal's presence in the energy generation business is fading.

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