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What We Read Today 13 December 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 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published Monday through Friday in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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

To become a GEI Member simply subscribe to our FREE daily newsletter.

Topics today include:‚Äč

  • Emerging Markets' Popularity Waning

  • Alabama Win Gives Democrats More Leverage on Budget, Immigration

  • Negotiators strike deal in principle on tax bill

  • Trump Promises ‘Giant Tax Cut’ and Money in Pockets by February

  • Traders See No End to the Dollar’s Pain in 2018

  • Battle for survival: Can 2 solar manufacturers save their US businesses?

  • States with the highest divorce rates

  • The Disunited States of America

  • 17 Oligarchs Who Are Shaping Eastern Europe

  • May Suffers Humiliating Loss on Brexit Law as Tories Rebel

  • Forced Privatization of The Greek Port of Piraeus, One Year Later

  • The Rich Are Getting Richer in Abe’s Japan

  • Schools are not adequately preparing young Australians to participate in our democracy

  • Why David Tice Says Stocks Could Fall 50%

  • Little Upside for High Junk Bonds

  • The DSGE Model Quarrel (Again)

  • Key to Trigger Market ‘Inflection' Is a 1% Real Fed Rate, JPMorgan Says

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world



  • Alabama Win Gives Democrats More Leverage on Budget, Immigration (Bloomberg)  Senate Democrats gained significant new leverage to stymie the Republican agenda and make demands on spending and immigration in Congress next year after Tuesday’s upset victory by their candidate, Doug Jones, in Alabama’s Senate race.  Jones, who became the first Democrat to win statewide in Alabama in a quarter century, isn’t likely to be sworn in before January. So if Republicans make their self-imposed deadline of passing major tax legislation by next week -- and they now have even greater incentive to do so -- the tax overhaul will be on President Donald Trump’s desk before Jones takes his seat in the Senate.

But his arrival in the Capitol will pare back the Republican Senate majority to just one vote in the 100-member chamber at a time when GOP leaders are struggling to overcome differences within their party while trying to pass a full funding plan for the government, raise the federal debt limit and jump-start a broad debate on immigration and border security.

  • Negotiators strike deal in principle on tax bill (The Hill)  Senate and House Republicans have struck an “agreement in principle” on a sweeping tax-cut bill that if passed would be the first major piece of legislation signed by President Trump.  Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told reporters about noon Wednesday of the deal between Senate and House negotiators on taxes.  See also Trump Promises ‘Giant Tax Cut’ and Money in Pockets by February (Bloomberg)

  • Traders See No End to the Dollar’s Pain in 2018 (Bloomberg)  For the almighty dollar, 2017 has been nothing short of abysmal. Next year might be even worse.  Despite a recent bounce back, analysts and investors say the greenback could lose more ground against the euro and yen as the prospect of strong economic growth and tighter monetary policy outside the U.S. more than offsets higher interest rates at home. The dollar is down more than 7% versus the world’s major currencies this year, the most in over a decade.

In January,  President Donald Trump will make a final decision on whether to impose trade duties on imported crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules and cells — the dominant material in solar projects in the United States. How Trump decides to proceed holds perdurable and sweeping consequences for the domestic solar industry. For the two U.S.-based  manufacturers, Trump’s decision will ultimately determine their survival.

The vast majority of the U.S. solar industry has fought against the case —and the two manufacturers —who petitioned for import relief.

Opponents say those measures [see below] are punitive, and could decimate solar jobs by as much as 88,000 future ones next year. The solar industry currently employs 260,000 — with only 38,000 in manufacturing.


  • States with the highest divorce rates (Stacker)  Below are two lists, the first are the five highest ranked states for divorce (highest first) and the second five lowest (lowest first).  Not included in ranking:  California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, and Minnesota.

Highest divorce rates

  1. Arkansas

  2. Nevada

  3. Oklahoma

  4. Wyoming

  5. Alaska

Lowest divorce rates

  1. Iowa

  2. Illinois

  3. Massachusetts

  4. Texas

  5. Maryland



  • May Suffers Humiliating Loss on Brexit Law as Tories Rebel (Bloomberg)   U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a serious defeat for her key Brexit law on Wednesday after pro-European lawmakers in her own party defied her orders in a vote in Parliament.  Lawmakers voted 309 to 305 to change the government’s bill so that it guarantees Parliament will get a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal at the end of negotiations in 2019.

It’s an embarrassing setback for May the day before she heads to a European summit that was set to be a celebration of the breakthrough deal she clinched last week. It also raises questions about whether she can muster in Parliament a majority that backs her vision of Brexit.


  • Forced Privatization of The Greek Port of Piraeus, One Year Later (The Real News Network)  Dimitri Lascaris in Greece, speaks with Giogros Gogos, general Secretary of the Dockworkers Union at the Port of Piraeus. The Troika forced the privatization of 67% of Port of Piraeus, this means that the most secure and lucrative asset in Greece, that could have generated money to pay the debt, is now the hands of Chinese shipping company Cosco.


  • The Rich Are Getting Richer in Abe’s Japan (Bloomberg)  Japan has an income-inequality problem, and it’s getting worse. While the country is enjoying its best stretch of growth since the mid 1990s, many are missing out.  The widening income gap—while nothing like U.S. imbalances—is making it tougher for the nation to deal with demographic challenges, as stagnant wages deter people from having children and an aging workforce hampers the government’s efforts to raise revenue to pay for the older society.  First graphic below shows Japan's population changes; the second graphic shpows personal income changes.



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

The rise of populism on both sides of the Atlantic is being investigated psychoanalytically, culturally, anthropologically, aesthetically, and of course in terms of identity politics. The only angle left unexplored is the one that holds the key to understanding what is going on: the unceasing class war waged against the poor since the late 1970s.

  • How Hayek’s Evolutionary Theory Disproves His Politics (Economics)  Friedrich Hayek was critical of Walrasian general equilibrium theory and proposed a radical alternative: Economic systems are a form of distributed intelligence that evolved by cultural group selection. They work without having been designed by anyone.  Group selection was a heresy and the study of human cultural evolution was in its infancy when he wrote. Nevertheless, both topics have advanced by leaps and bounds since then and do not support his view that economic systems work best in the absence of regulations. Instead, cultural group selection theory points to a middle road between laissez faire and centralized planning that is rich with possibilities.

  • Has Silver Found A Bottom? (Seeking AlphaClick on either chart below for large image.

  • Precious metals fell below key technical levels last week.

  • The COT report for gold and silver was very favorable in the week ending December 5th.

  • Silver looks more ready for a bottom than gold does.

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