Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 6/24 - Benefits And Prices For Insuring Uninsured, Solar Incentives Announced In Japan, Boiler Rooms

Sunday, June 24, 2012, 10:59 AM


Oregon Study Shows Benefits, and Price, for Newly Insured (jdargis)

With that lottery, Oregon became a laboratory for studying the effects of extending health insurance to people who previously did not have it. Health economists say the state has become the single best place to study a question at the center of debate in Washington as the Supreme Court prepares to rule, likely next week, on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law: What are the costs and benefits of coverage?

Greek Coalition Outlines Plan to Renegotiate Loan Deal (jdargis)

The initiative is aimed at easing public opposition to two years of austerity, which led to big vote tallies in last Sunday’s elections for parties opposed to the $170 billion bailout and obliged the more established parties to forge a tenuous coalition. But some of the goals set out in the document are unlikely to please Greece’s creditors, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, whose officials have repeatedly said in recent weeks that there was only marginal room for maneuvering, with an extension of the deadline for meeting fiscal deficit targets the only likely concession.

Boiler Rooms (jdargis)

Rich countries may not lack standard insurance, Shiller says, but other markets for risk remain underdeveloped. For example, ordinary families have no easy way to protect themselves from the risk posed by sharp moves in house prices. If convenient markets in house-price futures existed, a young couple expecting to need a bigger home with the arrival of children could hedge the risk that house prices in their area might climb into the stratosphere. An older couple expecting to downsize as kids head off to college could hedge the risk that their nest egg might lose value. If the first family could buy a house-price future from the second, both would have their risk reduced. Such is the magic of financial markets.


A Canopy of Man-Made Solar-Powered Supertrees Flourishes in Singapore (jdargis)

The massive structures are also vertical gardens, dressed in a living bouquet of climbing flowers, ferns, and bromeliads from around the world. Come evening, these trees will regale the park with light and sound shows. Visitors can look on from a new "Skyway" bridge connecting two 25-meter trees.

What Is "Focus Fusion"? (Arthur Robey)

The plasma focus device consists of two cylindrical copper or berillyum electrodes nested inside each other. The outer electrode is generally no more than 6-7 inches in diameter and a foot long. The electrodes are enclosed in a vacuum chamber with a low pressure gas (the fuel for the reaction) filling the space between them. The plasma focus device is shown in the figure below.

Japan Announces Huge New Incentives for Solar Power (jdargis)

Japanese consumers who decide to install solar panels will be paid roughly 53 cents per kilowatt-hour of solar power that they produce. (To put that number into context, it's about twice as high as the subsidy rate in Germany, which has long been the world leader in solar power). Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that the subsidy will encourage consumers to invest up to $9.6 billion in solar power, leading to new solar output equivalent to not one, not two, but three nuclear plants. In other words, the subsidy will make solar power more profitable for both consumers and solar companies, likely making Japan the world’s second-largest market for solar power.


Cost of Minnesota Flood Estimated at $100 Million (jdargis)

In St. Louis County alone, 670 miles of paved highway and 760 miles of gravel roads have been affected by the floods, Ms. Graning said; much of the water from the flood drained into nearby Lake Superior, but some has entered rivers and streams headed south, so additional flooding is occurring, she said.

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Wendy S. Delmater
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How could JPM lose $2B? They're a hedge fund.

This Is What Happens When A Mega Bank Is Caught Red-Handed - JP Morgan at it again. Note: here is the definition of VaR from Investopedia: 'Value at Risk - VaR' - A technique used to estimate the probability of portfolio losses based on the statistical analysis of historical price trends and volatilities.

If I understand the above-linked article correctly, JPM was understating it's risk, big time, and could only report a two billion loss if they admitted they had more money "at risk" than they had been admitting

So "...the 93% increase in JPMorgan VaR from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012 is solely due to the sudden "realization" that the world's biggest bank by derivative holdings (at just about $73 trillion) is in reality nothing but a glorified hedge fund."

The article then goes into savaging Goldman Sachs on the same basic priciples. Fascinating.

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Next Level Interview featuring Chris Martenson

FinancialSense Next Level Interview with Chris Martenson


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Soros Pushes EU to Start Joint Debt Fund or Risk Summit Fiasco

Soros Pushes EU to Start Joint Debt Fund or Risk Summit Fiasco (FT)

Spain to ask for aid as EU fights debt crisis (FT)

BIS: Banks must recognize losses, boost capital

Merkel Backs Debt Sharing in Germany Amid Closer EU Union Push


"Schaeuble dismissed advice from U.S. President Barack Obama, who has called on Europe to do more to fight the crisis. “Mr. Obama should focus on reducing the American deficit,” Schaeuble said. “It’s higher than in the euro zone.You have to understand that people are always ready to give others advice quickly."

"In the first year after a breakup, the German economy would contract by 10% and the number of unemployed would soar above 5 million, the ministry predicts. Germany's current jobless figure is just under 3 million, the lowest in two decades.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs would move abroad, and thousands of companies would go bust. The country's deficit would shoot up as tax income fell and the government was forced to increase expenditure, from bailing out banks to spending more on social welfare.

"When measured against such scenarios, even an extremely costly rescue seems to be the lesser evil," a ministry official told the magazine."

"A collapse of Italy’s economy would mean a collapse of the euro, the Italian Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Catricala told Il Messaggero in an interview.

“Europe and our partners shouldn’t act to help us, but to help themselves,” Catricala was cited as saying in the daily newspaper. “Only a stronger and more united Europe has a future.”

The cost of borrowing on the markets for Italy has risen toward the level that prompted Greece, Ireland and Portugal to request outside financial aid amid mounting concern the euro- area sovereign-debt crisis is spreading to the region’s larger economies. "



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Blair: Germany must underwrite debts

"Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the eurozone can survive only if Germany agrees to underwrite the debts of the currency union's financially struggling members.

He told BBC television Sunday that safeguarding the euro "means treating the debts of one as the debts of all."

Blair says "the only thing that will save the single currency now is ... a sort of grand plan in which Germany is prepared to commit its economy fully to the single currency.""


...............After carefully examining the embedded link above multiple times for "Tony Blair" I have concluded that in fact that is not him. Sorry.


Eurozone rescue plan is sure to backfire without overwhelming force (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard...a must read)

Debt balloons for Chicago-area pension plans


"German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble made his country's position all too clear in a bluntly worded interview on Sunday, telling Greece to stop asking for more help and instead move quickly to enact reform measures already agreed.

"The most important task facing new prime minister Samaras is to enact the programme agreed upon quickly and without further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for Greece,"  Schaeuble, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Bild am Sonntag.

His comments came as the paper carried a poll of 4,000 people showing 78 percent of Germans and 65 percent of French people wanted Greece to leave the euro zone, with 51 percent in Spain and 49 percent in Italy also backing a Greek exit."

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Great Discussion Erik and Chris

Thanks for managing to cover the current situation from Europe, to Japan, to China and more, illuminating the growing weakness in the "extend and pretend" strategy being undertaken by the respective countries. I found Erik's comment stating that information about target 2 is finally spilling over into the popular press in Europe quite interesting, since mass awareness of the stealth theft that is taking place will likely force a major change in tactics (and maybe even a realization of losses) for the powers that be.  


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Arthur Robey
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I do enjoy listening to Dr Martenson. His talks are information rich and lucid. Being a bricks and mortar sort of a guy I find that his perspective on the abstactions of money and debt compliment and round out my understanding of the world.

On China I am guessing that they have a lot of US dollars (which I see as a promise to pay by the US people) which they consider risky. So they are palming them of to Australia in exchange for real things. I think that Australia will be the bagman, unless they pass the dollars along pretty swiftly.

But I am not very good at these abstractions.

Shame on Dr Martenson for opening the door on his brother.

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