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What We Read Today 18 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.

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Topics today include:‚Äč

  • Economists Are Responsible for Electing Donald Trump

  • Bluefin tuna in P.E.I. are so hungry they no longer fear humans

  • Fund flows: Who's the big winner YTD?

  • The Dow just set a record for setting records

  • Why Inequality Predicts Homicide Rates Better Than Any Other Variable

  • This is how much space the Great Lakes would take up if they were in Europe

  • 'Multiple' fatalities as Amtrak train derails, dangles over interstate

  • How Big Medicine Can Ruin Medicare for All

  • Sorry, NRA: The U.S. was actually founded on gun control

  • Stark Partisan Divisions Over Russia Probe, Including Its Importance to the Nation

  • Trump Hits All-Time Record Low for Approval Rating in the First Year

  • GOP senator says must-pass funding bill to include ObamaCare fix

  • Senate GOP Appears to Clinch Tax Bill Vote With Collins Support

  • Home-builder confidence is now higher than during the housing bubble

  • October 2017 Pending Home Sales Seasonally Adjusted Index Rose Strongly

  • October 2017 Headline Existing Home Growth Improves

  • October 2017 Headline New Home Sales Improve

  • Housing Market Index (HMI)

  • Two billion dollars in stolen wages were recovered for workers in 2015 and 2016—and that’s just a drop in the bucket

  • What would the U.S. Look Like if States Were Defind to Have Equal Populations?

  • Bullish sentiment Builds for the Euro

  • German wages, the Phillips curve and migration in the euro area

  • Chinese Electric-Car Startup NIO Undercuts Tesla With Debut Model

  • China's Stock Market Pullback Continues

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • 'Multiple' fatalities as Amtrak train derails, dangles over interstate (USA Today)  An Amtrak train on its inaugural run derailed south of Seattle on Monday, causing multiple deaths and injuries as rail cars plunged off a bridge over a traffic-clogged interstate, authorities said.  Several vehicles on I-5 were struck by derailed train cars tumbling down from the tracks above, Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said.  At the time of this report there were 6 fatalities on the train, none on the interstate.

"A single-payer system will degenerate into corporate welfare unless we take on health care monopolies."

  • Sorry, NRA: The U.S. was actually founded on gun control (Salon)  The second amendment was intended to apply only to state militias.  The original draft makes that clear, but was shortened because it was too cumbersome in language and too complex to enforce. Thus, the Amendment as it now stands.  Here is Madison’s first draft of the Second Amendment:

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Click for large image.


Click for larger image.



  • German wages, the Phillips curve and migration in the euro area (Breugel)  The Philips Curve (showing negative correlation between unemployment and inflation) is considerably distorted in the U.S. but less so in Germany.  The author here discusses why the correlation should again become stronger in Germany as we move forward from here.


  • Chinese Electric-Car Startup NIO Undercuts Tesla With Debut Model (Bloomberg)  Chinese electric-car maker NIO has launched sales of its first vehicle three years after the company was founded, undercutting the price of a rival model from Tesla Inc.  Chinese customers can buy the ES8 sports utility vehicle, with a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) on a single charge, for 448,000 yuan ($67,783), the company said late Saturday in Beijing. That compares with 836,000 yuan for Tesla’s Model X, and 596,300 yuan for BMW’s gasoline-powered X5.

  • China's Stock Market Pullback Continues (The Daily Shot)  The Shanghai stock market continues to give up its gains from the rally that started in May.

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

  • Economists Are Responsible for Electing Donald Trump (Evonomics)  The author maintains that mainstream economists deserve at least some of the blame for the election of Donald Trump.  He attributes the unrest that led to the upset election to increasing income inequality which he connects with neoliberal promotion of globalization.  He offers a graph showing strong correlation and attempts to present supporting arguments regarding the direction of causation.

Click for large image.

  • Bluefin tuna in P.E.I. are so hungry they no longer fear humans (National Observer)  North Lake, a small 'unincorporated area' in eastern P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island), is a migratory stop for Western Atlantic bluefin, which travel north from the Gulf of Mexico where they spawn. When the commercial fishery for P.E.I.'s bluefins took off in the 1960s and 70s — almost exclusively to feed Japan's insatiable sushi market — their numbers dropped dangerously low.  While the population has recovered iy is still far below what it was 60 years ago.  But overfishing of their food sources, such as herring, has created a problem for the huge fish.  Pictured below:  A diver gets up close and personal with a magnificent bluefin tuna off the waters of Prince Edward Island. Photo by Brian Skerry. 

"Normally, they're vary wary fish and would be frightened to go near fishermen, like they have traditionally in the past.  But these guys are coming right up to the boat looking to be hand-fed like pets, because it's basically the only survival route that they have at this moment.

  • Fund flows: Who's the big winner YTD? (Financial Planning)  Of the 20 largest net fund flows year-to-date 12 were index funds. In money terms, though, passive won a more decisive victory: Index funds took in 80% of the $256 billion total that advisors and investors forked over to these 20 funds so far this year.  The top 5 funds:

  1. Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx Inv (VTSMX)

  2. Vanguard 500 Index Investor (VFINX)

  3. Vanguard Total Intl Stock Index Inv (VGTSX)

  4. Vanguard Developed Markets Index Admiral (VTMGX)

  5. Vanguard Total Bond market Index Inv (VBMFX)

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