Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 2/7 - America's Student Loan Problem, Why Is There A UK Vegetable Shortage?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 12:45 PM


America’s Problem with Student Loans Is Much Bigger Than Anybody Realized (Aaron M.)

Increases in tuition seen over the past two decades have become a point of controversy and angst for those who don’t fully understand the contributing factors. Between 1995 and 2015, the average cost of a public, four-year university skyrocketed by well over 200%. Although federal student aid programs are often championed as a necessity, they have been instrumental in making higher education unaffordable. The opportunity to pay for college by working a part-time job evaporated as soon as huge sums of money were handed out to anyone with a pulse. Since students no longer pay their tuition upfront, colleges are able to raise prices in perpetuity, knowing the government will step in and make credit easier and easier to obtain. As an added bonus, outstanding student loans account for 45% of the government’s financial assets.

Malloy proposes “colossal cost transfer” onto towns for Connecticut teacher pensions (DennisC)

If the governor’s teacher pension proposal goes through it could leave many Connecticut cities and towns in a tough financial situation. According to the governor’s figures, towns and cities would have to contribute 10 percent of teacher payroll into the plan.

Many of Connecticut’s largest cities do not have the resources to make those contributions. Hartford, in particular, would be on the hook for an additional $22 million.

Ex-CIA officials say Trump’s travel ban has “no national security purpose” (jdargis)

The Order is of unprecedented scope. We know of no case where a President has invoked his statutory authority to suspend admission for such a broad class of people. Even after 9/11, the U.S. Government did not invoke the provisions of law cited by the Administration to broadly bar entrants based on nationality, national origin, or religious affiliation. In past cases, suspensions were limited to particular individuals or subclasses of nationals who posed a specific, articulable threat based on their known actions and affiliations. In adopting this Order, the Administration alleges no specific derogatory factual information about any particular recipient of a visa or green card or any vetting step omitted by current procedures.

America’s New Opposition (jdargis)

For most of the 2016 election cycle, however, the left was told, implicitly or explicitly, that while they might be charming or admirable, they should leave real politics to the adults of the Democratic National Committee and the liberal commentariat. There was one candidate, we were assured, and one web of institutions and experts who understood how to get things done: They were battle-tested and ready to win, then to hit the ground governing. The rest of us had pretty sentiments; it was sweet that we thought the word democracy could refer to something larger in ambition and imagination than the current version of the Democratic Party; but politics means putting away childish things.

Are We Likely To See A Clash Over Resources In The South China Sea? (Tom K.)

From another perspective, however, these interests could be seen as competing – Russia has much better relations with China at the moment. What’s more interesting – with Tillerson being “accused” of having no political experience at all, i.e., having no idea what he’s doing – is that the Secretary of State’s position on the South China Sea is actually more hawkish than the position of Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Mattis said last week that “At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all.”

Why Is There A Vegetable Shortage? (jdargis)

During the winter months, Spain's south-eastern Murcia region supplies 80% of Europe's fresh produce. But after suffering its heaviest rainfall in 30 years, only 30% of Murcia's growing fields are useable.

Pollution-fighting Vertical Forest buildings coming to China (Adam)

The towers will stand at 354 and 656 feet tall, respectively (that's 107 and 199 metres), reports Italian publication Living. The shorter tower will house a Hyatt hotel, while the taller one will be home to a museum, offices and an architecture school.

It won't stop here though, as Boeri has plans to build similar structures in Chongqing, Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou and Shanghai, according to Living.

Herbal Antibiotics: An Eye-Opener (Aaron M.)

The most successful athletes cross-train because they know playing other sports somehow helps their game. Similarly, doctors would do well to cross-train with herbal medicine, as it would further enrich their understanding of medicine in a way that can only improve their own practice. Simply because antibiotics can be miracle-working cures does not mean that herbs can’t be equally as miracle-working if they are properly understood and implemented. It’s my belief that as this story unfolds, those doctors who become experts in both pharmaceutical and herbal medicine will be the best equipped to most effectively treat the bacterial infections of the future.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/6/17

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