The Trump Penalty (jdargis)
Could Trump-touting financial experts—like, ahem, possible Trump appointee Larry Kudlow—be right that the president-elect’s proposed tax cuts will ensure that “everyone’s a winner”?
The project of trying to force people from opposing sides to empathize with one another was quixotic, almost risible in its earnestness. Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale, recently published a book titled Against Empathy in which he argues that the current cultural impulse to regard empathy as a panacea for society’s problems is misguided. Bloom makes the case that empathic decisions, such as donating to the organization that makes you “feel” the most for its cause, can be both ill-conceived and inefficient. Empathy privileges the one over the many and personal experience over data. “It’s because of empathy that the whole world cares more about a baby stuck in a well than about global warming,” he told me.
A New Dow High? (GE Christenson)
Global debt growth is outrageous and clearly out of control, central banks overtly encourage consumer price inflation, bond monetization and QE have become normal, the Dow sits at all-time highs and gold has fallen 40% from its highs. The reasonable expectation is the price of gold will rally substantially, and probably the DOW will correct in 2017.
The authors successfully reached the majority of first year program participants and asked them a series of question and to describe their experience in the Gloucester ANGEL Initiative. The results also highlight the human compassion component that has been the hallmark of the program since its inception. The ANGEL Initiative requires that all persons coming into the police station to seek help be treated with respect and dignity.
“The astounding fact is that people came to the police station for help, and they got it,” Rosenbloom said. “In our follow-up calls, participants told us that the police station was the first place they had ever sought help without being judged and stigmatized.”
The Battle For Bonds (Tiffany D.)
In that world, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, so-called TIPS bonds, will do well because the principal value of the bond increases with the rate of inflation, as tracked by the Consumer Price Index. (Yes, there are substantial flaws with that index, but that’s a different dispatch.) Thus, where a traditional Treasury returns the original principal you invested, a TIPS bond returns more.
TIPS also pay a fixed interest rate semiannually, but that rate is applied to the increasing principal. So, as inflation rises, so, too, do the semiannual payments.
Has The OPEC Rally Gone Too Far? (Josh O.)
The OPEC deal is set to take effect in a few days, but the promised cuts are not inevitable. First, the cuts are an average over a six-month period, and won’t be delivered immediately in January. Second, some cheating is to be expected, as OPEC has a long track record of non-compliance. Third, non-OPEC cuts, particularly from Russia, are also not a given. It will take time to see if participating countries actually deliver reductions, but the oil markets should be more skeptical than they have been to date.
Up To Here: When Tumbleweeds Attack (Merle2)
At first, I was focusing on tumbleweed attacks as a way to talk about drought and climate change. Over time, an added dimension crept into the work: I realized that this plant has won a measure of acceptance as it puts down roots in the communities it calls home. That’s where all the weird cultural stuff comes in.
As for the nuisance level, it varies significantly by year and location. I end up in many communities with folklore about that one time when the tumbleweeds stormed through.
Water levels in the lake have always fluctuated radically between the summer rains and winter dryness, but there is now concern that the levels are off balance. Culprits include the Three Gorges Dam, which stores water upstream on the Yangtze for winter electricity generation, lowering a nearby river channel and sucking water from the lake. Dredging to collect sand for construction projects has also lowered the lake’s bed and caused more runoff. This year, drought turned much of the lake into grassy plains.
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