Written by John Lounsbury
Early Bird Headlines 20 September 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Income Stagnation in 2014 Shows the Economy Is Not Working for Most Families (Economic Policy Institute) The Census data show that from 2013 – 2014, median household income for non-elderly households (those with a head of household younger than 65 years old) decreased 1.3 percent from $61,252 to $60,462. This decrease unfortunately exacerbates the trend of losses incurred during the Great Recession and the losses that prevailed in the prior business cycle from 2000 – 2007. Median household income for non-elderly households in 2014 ($60,462) was 9.2 percent, or $6,113, below its level in 2007. The disappointing trends of the Great Recession and its aftermath come on the heels of the weak labor market from 2000 – 2007, during which the median income of non-elderly households fell significantly from $68,941 to $66,575, the first time in the post-war period that incomes failed to grow over a business cycle. Altogether, from 2000 – 2014, the median income for non-elderly households fell from $68,941 to $60,462, a decline of $8,479, or 12.3 percent.
- How Healthcare.gov Botched $600 Million Worth of Contracts (Bloomberg) The public employees responsible for overseeing $600 million in contracts to build healthcare.gov were inadequately trained, kept sloppy records, and failed to identify delays and problems that contributed to millions in cost overruns. That’s according to a new government audit, published today. It reveals widespread failures by the federal agency charged with managing the private contractors who built healthcare.gov. The audit is the first to document, in detail, how shoddy oversight by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal health programs including Obamacare, contributed to the website’s early struggles.
- In Virtually Every State, the Poverty Rate is Still Higher than Before the Recession (Economic Policy Institute) Between 2013 and 2014, the poverty rate in most states was largely unchanged, according to yesterday’s release of state poverty statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS). While the poverty rate fell slightly for the country as a whole, most of the changes at the state level were too small to signify a meaningful difference. As of 2014, only two states – North Dakota and Colorado – have poverty rates at or below their 2007 values, before the Great Recession. From 2013 to 2014, the national poverty rate, as measured by the ACS, fell from 15.8% to 15.5 %. Poverty rates declined in 34 states plus the District of Columbia, but only five of these changes were large enough to signify a measurable difference: Mississippi (-2.5%), Colorado (-1.0%), Washington, (-0.9%), Michigan (-0.8%), and North Carolina (-0.7%). Alaska was the only state where the poverty rate increased significantly, rising from 9.3% to 11.2%.
- Barbed wire creeps into ‘borderless’ Europe amid refugee crisis chaos (Al Jazeera) Anti-refugee sentiment rises on both sides of fence between Hungary and Serbia as refugees grow increasingly desperate. See also Resentment of refugees builds on Serbian border. And see the faces of the refugees desperate to reach safety before winter sets in in picture below.
- Unilateral Grant of Market Economy Status to China Would Put Millions of EU Jobs at Risk (Economic Policy Institute) The European Union is considering whether to formally recognize China as a “market economy,” a move that would fundamentally change the way EU countries handle dumped exports under the World Trade Organization (WTO). With some EU officials reportedly in favor of unilaterally granting market economy status (MES) to China – and with the United States and other countries set to debate the same question – it is useful to examine what the change would mean for the European economy and its workers. Even without the proposed change the Eu trade deficit with China has grown more than 4x since 2000. (See graph below.)
According to our analysis, an EU decision to unilaterally grant MES to China would put between 1.7 million and 3.5 million EU jobs at risk by curbing the ability to impose tariffs on dumped goods and thus allowing Chinese companies to undercut domestic production by flooding the EU with cheap goods.
- Weary Greek voters trickle to polls in knife-edge election (Reuters) Early turnout in Greece’s national election today has been light. Alexis Tsipras, the firebrand leftist who lost his bitter fight with Europe’s establishment to end harsh economic austerity against his country, seeks re-election a month after he resigned as prime minister. Final polls on Friday showed the race too close to call between his Syriza party and the conservative New Democracy party of Vangelis Meimarakis, who accuses his rival of crippling the economy.
- Saudi-led warplanes pound Yemen’s interior ministry in Sanaa (Reuters, Investing.com) Aircraft from a Saudi-led coalition attacked Yemen’s interior ministry in the capital, Sanaa, late on Friday and launched several other raids on sites in the heart of the city, residents and other sources there said. The air raids by the coalition have intensified in recent weeks as a Gulf Arab ground force and fighters loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi prepare a campaign to recapture Sanaa, seized by Houthi fighters in September 2014.
- New Australian prime minister promotes more women in Cabinet (Associated Press) Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday announced sweeping changes to his first Cabinet and promoted more women, including Australia’s first female defense minister, Marise Payne. The number of women ministers increased from two to five. The government’s unpopular chief economics minister, Treasurer Joe Hockey, has been replaced by Social Services Minister Scott Morrison. Econontersect: It might be said that Hockey has been pucked.
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