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What We Read Today 22 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".).

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

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Topics today include:‚Äč

  • Credit Issuance Continues at Same Rate in U.S., Slows in EU

  • Dozens of Companies Are Using Facebook to Exclude Older Workers From Job Ads

  • 4 Warning Signs of a Bad Vendor

  • Active ETF Investments Surge

  • This Could Be the Best Reason Not to Claim Social Security Early

  • How to Get Rid of Mueller

  • Bitcoin Freefall

  • Bitcoin slump sees trades suspended on certain exchanges

  • Foreign Private Buyers Pick Up Pace of US Treasury Purchases

  • Trump Signs $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut in First Major Legislative Win

  • The True Lesson of the Tax Bill: This Country Is for Rich People

  • Support for Donald Trump's Impeachment is Higher Than His Re-Election Chances

  • FBI deputy confirmed to Congress that Comey told him about Trump loyalty pledge: report

  • Mississippi Is the State With Most Fatal Crashes During the Holidays

  • Is the rent “too damn high”? Or are incomes too low?

  • The government has published its long-awaited Brexit sectoral analyses and no one is impressed

  • Fox News Destroys the Clinton Uranium Corruption Theory

  • India Monetary Policy Panel Stays Vigilant on Cost Pressures

  • China’s Flagship TV Network Hasn’t Registered as a Foreign Agent

  • And More

Special Notice

What We Read Today will not be published over the Christmas - New Years holiday.  The next issue will be Wednesday, 03 January 2018.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Global

  • Bitcoin Freefall (Twitter)  As of 12:17 pm EST bitcoin was trading near $11,000, down more than 40% in less than a week.  See also next article.

Click for large image.
bitcoin.freefall

U.S.

  • Trump Signs $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut in First Major Legislative Win (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax-overhaul bill to little fanfare on Friday, delivering a major tax cut to U.S. corporations along with a package of temporary cuts for other businesses and most individuals.

  • The True Lesson of the Tax Bill: This Country Is for Rich People (Slate)  Remember  “r>g”? It was the notation Thomas Piketty made briefly famous in his book Capital in the 21st Century, the French economist’s shorthand for the dangers that accumulated wealth could pose to society. When the rate of return (“r”) on capital assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, or factory equipment jumps higher than the rate of economic growth (“g”), he argued, we should expect inequality to swell.

Piketty’s theories aren’t exactly gospel these days. But I’ve been thinking about them a lot as I watched the GOP’s tax bill gallop towards passage (and not only because Piketty himself has been raging about it). After all, the plan is designed specifically to reward wealth—to make sure that corporate shareholders and private business owners can pocket more of our national income each year, before passing it onto their children, with only the flimsiest economic rationale to justify this. It’s a real-time demonstration of how growing inequality paves the way for moneyed interests to exert ever more control over politics and the economy, leading to the kind of world dominated by capital and inherited wealth that Piketty has warned about.

Just 36 percent of respondents said they would probably or definitely vote for Trump against a generic Democratic candidate. Conversely, 52 percent said they would probably or definitely "vote for the other party."

  • FBI deputy confirmed to Congress that Comey told him about Trump loyalty pledge: report (The Hill)   FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee that former FBI Director James Comey told him about conversations he had with President Trump, including Trump’s request for loyalty, according to a new report.  CNN reports that McCabe told lawmakers during his testimony this week that Comey told him about conversations he had with Trump after they occurred.  McCabe told the committee that Comey also told him about Trump’s request for loyalty, according to CNN’s Manu Raju.

  • Mississippi Is the State With Most Fatal Crashes During the Holidays (The Drive)  As millions of Americans ready to hit the road to visit families and friends for the holidays, a sobering thought to bear in mind is an annual increase in highway fatalities at this time of the year.  And, while winter weather is cause for concern when it comes to driving, it turns out that states that don't tend to have to deal with snow and sleet have higher rates of fatal crashes.

A study of fatal accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during the holidays in 2016 shed light on just how dangerous holiday driving an be.

  • Is the rent “too damn high”? Or are incomes too low? (Brookings)  Whether a family is spending “too much” on housing is a somewhat subjective assessment. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines households that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing as “cost burdened,” while expenditures of more than 50 percent constitute “severe” cost burdens.

UK

After much to-ing and fro-ing, MPs on the Brexit committee have finally published long-awaited analyses of the sectors expected to be affected by Brexit - and no one is impressed.

The 39 analyses published today cover sectors from aerospace and agriculture to the gas market and professional and business services.

Russia

India

While five on the six-member committee voted to keep the key policy rate unchanged this month, one member said the Reserve Bank of India should ease. Governor Urjit Patel said the macroeconomic situation remained broadly unchanged while an upturn in crude prices was a source of concern, according to minutes of the Dec. 5-6 meeting published Wednesday.

China

The U.S. Justice Department recently ordered RT, the Russian state-backed English-language news organization, to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

But one of China’s biggest government-controlled news outlets has not registered its Washington operation as a foreign agent.

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

credit.issuance.2017

  1. They Deal Only in Cold, Hard Cash

  2. They Ask For Payment Upfront

  3. They Don't Provide Testimonials

  4. They Think You Don’t Need a Contract

  • Active ETF Investments Surge (etfgi.com)  Assets invested in Active ETFs and ETPs grew by 53.4% year-to-date, the greatest annual increase since 2009 when markets recovered following the 2008 financial crisis.

top.5.active.etfs.gain.2017.thru.nov

  • This Could Be the Best Reason Not to Claim Social Security Early (MoneyTalkNews)  Working longer can give you a fatter nest egg. But there's an even better argument for not retiring early: a longer life.  Researchers found a 2% increase in men’s deaths immediately after age 62 — which they describe as a “robust” increase. Further examination suggests this stems from the lifestyle transition from worker to retiree happening earlier in life.  For women, the change in the death rate was “smaller and imprecisely estimated,” according to the study.

  • How to Get Rid of Mueller (The New Yorker)

cartoon.new.yorker.2017.dec.20


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