The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 20

Thursday Morning Links

MUST READS
S&P cuts China, Hong Kong outlook to negative – CNBC
Stocks soar to their highest level in 2016 – CNN/Money
The Market Doe Not Believe Janet Yellen – Fortune
Central banks and markets: Enabling the addiction – Economist
Yellen Outsources Monetary Policy to the Financial Markets – Bloomberg
Since the Recession, We’re Spending Again—But With Less Income – WSJ
Fracking Is Triggering Major Earthquakes in Western Canada – Vice News
Microsoft’s racist chatbot returns with drug-smoking Twitter meltdown – Guardian
Imagine If Conservatives in Academia Could Safely ‘Come Out’ – Bloomberg
Hillary to Bernie backers: Here’s a bowlful of mush, now hush – Chicago Tribune
From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer – Atlantic
How Cruz Can Ensure a Second-Ballot Win – Lifezette
Trump’s 24 hours of mayhem – Politico

MARKETS/INVESTING
Stocks: 4 things to know before the open – CNN/Money
Oil prices slide as U.S. crude stocks hit record – Reuters
Best March since 2009 puts S&P 500 back in black – USA Today
Bill Gross: Why bond markets need to be smarter than first graders – CNBC
MSCI Says China’s Trading Halts May Keep It Out of Stock Indexes – Bloomberg
Get ready for this market to take flight thanks to tech stocks – MarketWatch
Worst case scenario = 73% down from here – Burning Platform
Gold heads for biggest quarterly rise in nearly 30 years – Reuters
Gold Prices Could Hold $1,200 On Stronger Employment – Kitco

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
When Workers Get More of the Income Pie – Bloomberg
The risks of California’s minimum-wage increase – WaPo
Plan B for the Global Economy – Project Syndicate
Energy price slump keeps eurozone in deflation – BBC
Hong Kong Retail Sales Plunge the Most in 17 Years – Bloomberg
Real Estate: Is the bubble going to burst? – Contra Costa Times
Bad loans pile up at China’s biggest banks – CNN/Money
Bank of Japan runs groupthink risk as board dissenters depart – Reuters
The whole idea of Fed forward guidance is confusing – MarketWatch
Ask the Next President About the Fed – Bloomberg

 

Self Driving Cars and Stop Lights

It doesn’t appear as though flying cars are anywhere on the horizon, but self-driving cars seem to be in our not-too-distant future, perhaps finishing the job of killing the stop-light that round-abouts started here in the U.S. a while back.

Anyone with an engineering/software inclination should quickly understand how “slot-based intersections” (as detailed in this Vox story) could be designed and implemented, but it would require extraordinary safety measures, lots of testing, and, of course, no more human drivers.

Wednesday Morning Links

MUST READS
When doves fly – Macro Man
The Outlook, Uncertainty, and Monetary Policy – Yellen, Fed
Dovish Yellen takes major gamble on inflation – Telegraph
Yellen Takes Control of Fed Message to Stress Gradual Approach – Bloomberg
Central banks won’t admit they’ve run out of ammunition, but they have – MarketWatch
Money growth and inflation in post-2008 US and Wiemar Germany – voxeu
Ex-Fox analyst settles with SEC over penny-stock promotion – MarketWatch
Obama Wants to Spend More $1 Billion to Fight Opioid Addiction – Vice News
Obamacare patients sicker and pricier than expected – CNN/Money
How Many Bernie Backers Would Refuse to Vote for Hillary? – Atlantic
Simmering for Decades, Anger About Trade Boils Over in ’16 Election – NY Times
Trump drops pledge to back Republican nominee other than himself – Reuters
Is Trump Right About NATO? – Pat Buchanan

MARKETS/INVESTING
Stocks: 5 things to know before the open – CNN/Money
Yellen Says What Markets Want to Hear – Bloomberg
Cautious Yellen drives world stocks near 2016 peaks – Reuters
Yellen is worried about global growth – and Wall St. loves it – MarketWatch
Goldman: “A Less Confident Take On Rate Normalization” – Zero Hedge
The Fall of China’s Hedge-Fund King – NY Times
Gold slides back below $1,240 after post-Yellen rally – Reuters
Buy Gold & TIPS for Coming Volatility, Inflation: BlackRock – Wolf Street
Silver vs. Gold: 2 Must See Charts – SRSrocco Report

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
The U.S. Economy Has Stalled, Again – Fiscal Times
U.S. has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 – CNN/Money
Japan: Industrial production drops most since 2011 – Forex Live
Germany wants refugees to integrate or lose residency rights – Reuters
Brazil’s biggest party quits ruling coalition, Rousseff isolated – Reuters
Latest Plan to Rescue Puerto Rico Is Met With Disdain on Island – NY Times
Red Flag Rising for India’s Finances as Remittances Shrink – Bloomberg
Why high house prices are partly down to austerity – mainly macro
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices as of January 2016 – S&P Housing Views
Europe’s Bond Shortage Means Draghi Is About to Shock the Market – Bloomberg
Bank of England chief’s quest to end housing boom and bust – Telegraph

 

Illusory Superiority

Having last sat for an exam in school in the 1980s, I’ve long wondered about 4.3 GPAs, off-the-chart SAT scores (that made my once impressive math score seem pedestrian), and a host of other grade inflation issues. Apparently others have as well, notably former Duke University professor Stuart Rojstaczer and Furman University professor Chris Healy who collected and analyzed some data as recounted in this story at the Washington Post.

Here’s the really unsettling part:

The authors attribute today’s inflation to the consumerization of higher education. That is, students pay more in tuition, and expect more in return — better service, better facilities and better grades. Or at least a leg up in employment and graduate school admissions through stronger transcripts.

But rising tuition may not be the sole driver of students’ expectations for better grades, given that high school grades have also risen in recent decades. And rather than some top-down directive from administrators, grade inflation also seems related to a steady creep of pressure on professors to give higher grades in exchange for better teaching evaluations.

Tuesday Morning Links

MUST READS
Europe’s Emerging Bubbles – Project Syndicate
ECB policy experiment opens north-south divide – Reuters
Negative interest rates – are there any positives? – The Conversation
Atlanta Fed sees first quarter GDP growth of less than 1% – Reuters
Clickbait is devouring journalism but there are ways out – Quartz
FBI Unlocks San Bernardino iPhone and Drops Case Against Apple – Vice News
Glenn Reynolds: How PC culture is killing higher education – USA Today
Obama Implies Media Is Responsible For Rise Of Donald Trump – Daily Caller
The Media Did Not Create the Trump Phenomenon – Real Clear Politics
Clinton super PAC readies early Trump strike – Politico
Yes, Donald Could Beat Hillary – WSJ
How Sanders wins – The Hill

MARKETS/INVESTING
Stocks: 4 things to know before the open – CNN/Money
Investors Are in Denial About China – Bloomberg
This trend helps explain why the market is falling – CNBC
The US Stock Market’s Acid Test Begins… Now – Capital Spectator
Lower Brent prices and Saudi policy options: What’s shale oil got to do with it? – voxeu
Has The Biggest Of All Bubbles Popped: Central Bank Omnipotence? – Mark St. Cyr
BlackRock Joins Pimco Warning Investors to Seek Inflation Hedge – Bloomberg
Barclays warns of a “rush for the exits” on commodities – Telegraph
Gold eases ahead of Yellen speech on U.S. monetary policy – Reuters
Gold, the Misery Index and Insanity – Sprott Money

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Price Controls May Be On the Way – Mises
Decline of the U.S. Middle Class – Bloomberg
California governor announces landmark $15 minimum wage – Guardian
The US economy does a lot better when Democrats are in the White House – Quartz
Saudi Economy Shows More Signs of Strain as Spending Drops – Bloomberg
Modi: The haters are wrong about India’s economy – CNN/Money
Slowing in China: Not Just Economy but Political Resolve – WSJ
Soaring China Home Prices Spark New Curbs – Bloomberg
Housing Market’s Health Put to the Test – WSJ
Fed’s Williams Sees Gradual Hikes – Bloomberg

 
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