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    Daily Digest 9/16 – Calpers to Exit Hedge Funds, Fixing Climate May Add No Costs

    by DailyDigest

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 3:01 PM


Calpers to Exit Hedge Funds, Divest $4 Billion Stake (adam)

The largest U.S. pension is getting out of hedge funds even as other large public plans such as New Jersey’s add to the private portfolios. Calpers has been working to reduce risk after the global financial crisis wiped out more than a third of its wealth, forcing it to increase contributions from taxpayers to cover losses. Calpers first invested in hedge funds in 2002 to help meet target returns to cover the growing cost of government retiree benefits.

Babson’s Warning (thc0655)

The reaction from business insiders was immediate. Rather than respond by saying, “Thanks for the warning—we’ll proceed cautiously,” Wall Street vilified him. The Chicago Tribune published numerous rebuffs from a host of economists and Wall Street leaders. Even Mr. Babson’s patriotism was taken into question for making so rash a projection. Noted economist Professor Irving Fisher stated emphatically, “There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” He and many others repeatedly soothed investors, advising them that a resumption in the boom was imminent. Financier Bernard Baruch famously cabled Winston Churchill, “Financial storm definitely passed.” Even President Herbert Hoover assured Americans that the market was sound.

Whoever Saves A Life (jdargis)

The morning’s quiet extended into the afternoon. Khaled couldn’t believe how calm it was. Almost eerily so. It had been two days since the last big slaughter, when a bomb hit a vegetable market and killed several dozen people. Perhaps, the men speculated, the regime had been as stunned as everyone else by the fall of Mosul, in western Iraq, to the Al Qaeda splinter group known as ISIS. The summer heat was waxing in Aleppo, and Khaled decided not push them to train or clean. So as the day unspooled, Ahmed played with Lulu, the mangy calico who hung around the station, while Surkhai and Ali took part in the listless card game in the bunk room.

Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young? (jdargis)

City dwelling is generally considered a good thing for the overall economy. Proximity and serendipity offer employers a better chance to hire the perfect person for a job as opposed to someone whose skills just sort of match, according to the work of Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. Chance encounters in dense cities, Moretti has argued, lead to innovation, which subsequently leads to income. And as the baby boomers retire, the pressure is on the young and highly educated to spur urban economies. As a result, many American cities are remaking themselves to lure human capital, offering various perks, like cheap housing and tax breaks, in the hope that smart young people can attract others like them.

U.S. to End Coverage Under Health Care Law for Tens of Thousands (jdargis)

Jenny Rejeske, a health policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center, which represents immigrants, said: “It is unduly harsh to terminate coverage while there are still technical problems with the federal system for verifying citizenship and immigration status. And there has not been adequate notice to people who speak languages other than English and Spanish.”

U.S. to Commit Up to 3,000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa (jdargis)

The American government will also provide 400,000 Ebola home health and treatment kits to Liberia, as well as tens of thousands of kits intended to test whether people have the disease. The Pentagon will provide some logistical equipment for health workers going to West Africa and what administration officials described as “command and control” organizational assistance on how to coordinate the overall relief work. The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to be part of the Defense Department effort.

U.S. Targets Islamic State’s Lucrative Oil Smuggling Operations (James S.)

With U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of an open-ended plan for airstrikes on the Islamic State (IS), the U.S. and its allies will need to degrade the power and influence of the Sunni jihadist group, and that means reducing its incoming flow of oil money.

And the Obama administration seems aware of that, according to a New York Times article that reports that the President and U.S. diplomats are pressuring Turkey to cut off the stream of oil smuggled across its border.

Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says (jdargis)

“This is a massive amount of investment firepower that could be geared toward building better cities, and better infrastructure for energy and agriculture,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, who led the research for the report.

While the commission found that the requisite steps may make economic sense, that does not mean they will be politically easy, the report says. For instance, the group will recommend that countries eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels, which cost about $600 billion a year but are vigorously defended by vested interests.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 9/15/14

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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