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What We Read Today 21 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • Remote Work Doesn’t Scale … or Does It?

  • Warren Buffett says the Dow might climb over 1,000,000 in 100 years

  • Nano One Materials' CEO: We Are 'Future-Proof' To Changes In Lithium And Non-Lithium Battery Technology

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

  • NASA Releases Dramatic Up-Close Pictures of Jupiter

  • The Consequences of the U.S. Baby Bust

  • All of Puerto Rico Without Power Amid Hurricane Maria

  • Who is Next After Puerto Rico? - 21Sep2017

  • Hillary Clinton Will Never Understand What Happened

  • NAPFA: Full DOL Fiduciary Rule Will Be Tough To Derail

  • Trump Strikes a False Note at the United Nations

  • Hack Of U.S. Securities Regulator Rattles Investors, Stirs Doubts

  • Republicans Peddle Nonsense to Sell Health-Care Plan

  • Japan's "Deflationary Mindset" Grows As Household Cash Hordes Reach Record High

  • Time for US to push back on China’s economic bullying of allies

  • Earthquake in Mexico Unearths Years of Corruption

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • The Consequences of the U.S. Baby Bust (Bloomberg)  As people in other wealthy countries fretted in the 1990s and 2000s over what falling birthrates would mean for economic growth and retirement-program finances, the U.S. seemed to have far less to worry about. Fertility here remained at or near the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman over her lifetime, and the country's long-honed ability to attract immigrants and quickly integrate them into the workforce provided a further economic boost.

Times have changed. Immigration has been a contentious topic lately, and illegal immigration has gone into reverse since 2007. Still, legal immigrants are still arriving and contributing to population growth.

Babies are another matter. Over the past decade, the U.S. has joined the ranks of wealthy countries not producing enough of them to keep the population from falling, in the absence of immigration.


  • All of Puerto Rico Without Power Amid Hurricane Maria (The Daily Beast)  All of Puerto Rico lost power on Wednesday, just hours after Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island as a Category 4 storm, ABC News reported. The Puerto Rico Office of Emergency Management Agency said that anyone with electricity is relying on a backup generator. Ricardo Ramos, the director of the island's only electrical company, told reporters last month that storm damage to the U.S. territory's electrical system could leave it without power for three to four months. The National Hurricane Center warned that the situation is “extremely dangerous and life-threatening.”  Keep up to date with Sig Silber:  Who is Next After Puerto Rico? - 21Sep2017.

  • Hillary Clinton Will Never Understand What Happened (Splinter)  The book refered to below is Hillary Clinton's new book, "What Happened".

Clinton’s campaign tanked, in part, because of all the reasons you already know—white supremacy, misogyny, the timing of James Comey’s letter, Kremlin-directed online trolling to help Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unexpected popularity, the persistent coverage of her damn emails—but also because of her particular Clinton-ness, a quality so nebulous and amorphous that political writers have spent decades trying in earnest to capture it, and one which remains just out of Clinton’s grasp for the entirety of the book.

  • NAPFA: Full DOL Fiduciary Rule Will Be Tough To Derail (Financial Advisor)  The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors will continue to advocate for full implementation of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, even as the department delays part of the rule, says Geoffrey Brown, NAPFA’s CEO.  Although the Trump administration has been less than enthusiastic about the fiduciary rule, which requires broker-dealers and advisors who handle retirement plans to put the best interests of their clients first, Scott Beaudin, the new chair of the NAPFA’s board of directors, says the parts of the rule that have already been implemented would be difficult to undo.

  • Trump Strikes a False Note at the United Nations (Bloomberg)  For President Donald Trump, apparently, encouraging greater international cooperation is not as important as getting off a good insult.  His overheated rhetoric will make it harder to pursue reforms, recruit allies and counter threats.

  • Hack Of U.S. Securities Regulator Rattles Investors, Stirs Doubts (Financial Advisor)  Wall Street's top regulator faced questions on Thursday about its defenses against cyber criminals after admitting hackers breached its electronic database of corporate announcements and may have used it for insider trading.  The incursion at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) struck at the heart of the U.S. financial system. The SEC's EDGAR filing system is the central repository for market-moving information on corporate America with millions of filings ranging from quarterly earnings to statements on acquisitions.

Accessing documents before they are released publicly would offer hackers a lucrative opportunity to trade on that information.

The SEC said late on Wednesday that a hack occurred in 2016 but it had only discovered last month that the cyber criminals may have used the information to make illicit trades.

  • Republicans Peddle Nonsense to Sell Health-Care Plan (Bloomberg)  According to this author, congressional Republicans are rushing to overhaul the U.S. health-care system by passing a bill that is based on dishonest claims, avoids the usual professional analysis, and makes a mockery of serious legislative process.

The Senate is scheduled to vote next week on a proposal by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act passed by a Democratic Congress in 2009. Earlier Republican efforts failed, but this time, using more than a little sleight of hand, party leaders and the White House think they may pull it off.


  • Japan's "Deflationary Mindset" Grows As Household Cash Hordes Reach Record High (Zero Hedge)  After being force-fed more stimulus than John Belushi, and endless rounds of buying any and every asset that dares to expose any cracks in the potemkin village of fiat folly, Japan remains stuck firmly in what Abe feared so many years ago - a "deflationary mindset."  As Bloomberg reports, cash and deposits held by Japanese households rose for 42nd straight quarter at the end of June as the nation’s consumers continued to favor saving over spending.


  • Time for US to push back on China’s economic bullying of allies (Asia Times)  When North Korea rattles its saber too loudly, like a good ally the United States sends F35 fighters and B1 bombers over the peninsula to reassure South Korea. But when adversaries use economic bullying of American allies, those allies are on their own.

China has used this tactic against South Korea since Seoul agreed to install a THAAD missile defense system a year ago. The Lotte group that provided the land for the missile batteries has since shuttered stores in China after being hit with so-called ‘fire safety’ violations. Lotte recently announced it may sell all its stores in China.

Chinese tour groups have mysteriously stopped coming to South Korea, and Hyundai motors has had ‘trouble’ with its local Chinese partner with sales dropping precipitously. Many other South Korean companies have been hit, along with the South Korean economy.


  • Earthquake in Mexico Unearths Years of Corruption (The Real News Network)  Damage in Mexico is much worse than it should have been because much of the destruction had to do with government negligence and corruption because buildings, in order to pocket the difference, had been built substandard, and they called for, say, metal structures of a certain size and they put in metal structures that were much smaller and pocketed the difference.

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


  • Nano One Materials' CEO: We Are 'Future-Proof' To Changes In Lithium And Non-Lithium Battery Technology (Juan Carlos Zupeta, Seeking Alpha)  JCZ has contributed to GEI.  This article discusses the relation between Nano One’s novel lithium cathode materials and brine producers as well as new lithium extraction methods and emerging lithium and non-lithium battery technologies.  It also explains why lithium iron phosphate together with cobalt-free battery technologies may dominate the growing energy storage segment of the lithium market.  This is interesting in light of another recent article we featured:  Morgan Stanley's Cobalt Report Mirrors My Analysis Of Tesla's Supply Chain Risks.

  • Southern California Home Prices Continue To Rise (Professional Builder)  High demand and low home production rates are pushing up Southern California home prices well past affordable levels.  The Los Angeles Times reports that prices jumped 7.5% in August from the year before, reaching a median price of $500,000 across the six-country region. Home prices in Los Angeles County rose 9.4% on an annual basis last month to a record median price of $580,000.  The findings come from a report by CoreLogic, which notes that this was the strongest August for Southern California home sales since 2006. Sales increased 13.3% from July.

Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, said to the L.A. Times that Los Angeles County is short 100,000 housing units right now. The county needs to add as many as 35,000 homes a year to keep up with demand, but only 25,000 units are being built annually.

Home prices in the region can’t keep rising 7% a year and will probably moderate to between 3% and 5% annually for the foreseeable future, Green said. … “Unless there’s some existential event like a nuclear missile hurled in our direction,” he said, “I don’t know why prices are going to fall any time soon.”

  • NASA Releases Dramatic Up-Close Pictures of Jupiter (NBC News)  New photos by NASA's Juno spacecraft capture the solar system's largest planet in all its complex glory.  The four photos — which Juno took over an 8-minute span on Sept. 1, during its most recent close flyby of Jupiter— show the gas giant's many cloud bands and countless swirling storms (but not the famous Great Red Spot). 

Click for enlargement.

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