Daily Digest 11/20 - Producing Prosperity, Holding Back Floodwaters With A Balloon
Shadow banking hits $67 trillion globally: task force (westcoastjan)
The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) - a new body of regulators including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - said last week it would not limit itself to money market funds.
Law enforcement officials in Chicago, for example, have said that their city has deteriorated into a domestic war zone with gang violence leaving scores of people dead on a regular basis. Murder, rape, robbery and assault have skyrocketed in bankrupt Stockton, California, suggesting that local governments are quickly losing control.
In New Jersey, the city of Camden may soon be granted the dubious distinction of being the poorest and most violent city in America.
Producing Prosperity (Arthur Robey)
It is perhaps no surprise then that the news seems to have been dominated by the ebb and flow of anxiety over things like: whether or not the ‘troika’ will recommend further funding for Greece; whether a national constitutional court will strike down a government's participation in initiatives that will assist other countries; or whether the populace in a country under pressure will reach the end of its tolerance for ‘austerity’ – and so on. There is ‘event risk’ almost weekly. This is the European drama.
But for all the broad brush rhetoric of political debate, the rate increases and limits on deductions now being discussed by the president and Congressional Republicans are calibrated to take the biggest bite out of the highest earners. They would lead to a smaller increase for those who earn less than $500,000 a year. The figures are all adjusted gross incomes, and since some deductions would be preserved, a household would probably have more than $250,000 in total income, perhaps $300,000, before it would fall into the wealthy definition used by the president.
He says that there are three main sources of growth for China. The first, investment, is already exhausted. The second, exports, are also no longer viable, as China's main export markets in Europe and the US are depressed, and China's trade surplus has become politically contentious in those countries.
The third option is for ordinary Chinese people to increase their spending on consumer products and services.
In the Rockaways, where nearly 14,000 customers still had no power as of Monday morning, volunteers set up a makeshift solar charging station between a car roof and a shopping cart. A multipanel, battery-tied system is helping fuel a relief center’s operations.
The arrival of US shale oil (and, it must be said, Canadian supplies of unconventional oil), have depressed US oil prices relative to the rest of the world, pushing the West Texas Intermediate benchmark to a discount of a fifth to Brent, the international benchmark. As a result, big chunks of the US are getting oil on the cheap, improving US competitiveness relative to the rest of the world.
It is impossible to say how many people have been sickened by what Hurricane Sandy left behind: mold from damp drywall; spills from oil tanks; sewage from floodwater and unflushable toilets; tons upon tons of debris and dust. But interviews with hurricane victims, recovery workers, health officials and medical experts over the last week reveal that some of the illnesses that they feared would occur, based on the toxic substances unleashed by the storm and the experience of other disasters, notably Hurricane Katrina, have begun to manifest themselves.
Holding Back Floodwaters With a Balloon (jdargis)
In all, seven of the city’s 14 under-river subway tunnels were flooded during the storm, as were several major highway tunnels. Dr. Fortune said that plugs might work for highway tunnels, too, but that the larger size of those tunnels created additional technical challenges that would have to be overcome.
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