Economics and Investing:

The Shipping News Says the World Economy Is Toast – G.G.

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IMF and World Bank move to forestall oil-led defaults – G.G.

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Fed Included Phrase About International Developments (Business Insider) No right answer. No easy way out. Excerpt: “…it looks like the Fed is once again eyeing what’s happening abroad as it is materially affecting businesses that make up the US economy.”

Updated Wasteful Spending Ratings Unveiled for 2016 Presidential Candidates (Citizens Against Government Waste) Excerpt: “With the beginning of the presidential caucuses and primaries just one week away, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today released the lifetime ratings of the remaining 2016 Presidential candidates who served in Congress, based on their most recent elected office.”

Another $58M for Failed “Green” Car Program (Judicial Watch) The financial exposure for this program (as it is with many others) is much greater than the headline reveals… A few billion here. A few billion there. Before you know it, the money really starts to add up. Excerpt: “In all, the administration has set aside an astounding $25 billion for the cause and a chunk of it has already been lost on initiatives that have failed miserably. Among them is fly-by-night electric car company called Fisker Automotive that shut down after getting an eye-popping $193 million from the government.”

Obama Economist Downplays Benefits of Tax Reform (Washington Examiner) Excerpt: “…broad tax reform might not generate enough economic growth to make it politically viable. In other words, although everyone involved may be better off with tax reform that paid for lower tax rates by eliminating tax breaks, the specific winners might not receive enough benefits to convince them to take the political plunge to back tax reform legislation.”

International News

Venezuela: Headed for a Crash (The Economist) Excerpt: “Mr Maduro’s economic emergency decree would give him sweeping powers over the economy for 60 days. That could be dangerous. In shaking up his cabinet Mr Maduro gave the job of economic tsar to Luis Salas, a sociologist who comes from the far-left fringes of chavismo. He regards inflation as a capitalist conspiracy against consumers and denies that the Central Bank helps cause it by printing money to finance the budget deficit.”

Struggling Brazil Drags Down South America (Observer News and Politics) Excerpt: “But Brazil’s boom times are gone. The World Bank forecasts that Brazil faces its second year of recession. Following a GDP contraction of 3.7 percent in 2015, the economy will likely decline another 2.5 percent this year. According to the IMF estimates, Brazil ended 2015 as the world’s ninth largest economy.”

Italy Details EU Deal to Tackle Bad Bank Loans (Morningstar) Another bad idea. Excerpt: “Under the agreement, the Italian government will provide guarantees based on credit default swap prices on Italian bonds that are considered as risky as the bad loans themselves. The government will help banks to bundle bad loans into bonds, thus securitizing them, by selling guarantees to banks that will make some tranches of bad loans less risky.”

China Sharpens Efforts to Halt Money Outflow (Wall Street Journal) Excerpt: “China is ramping up efforts to halt a flood of money leaving the country in response to an economic slowdown….” Note: The Wall Street Journal requires a sign-in and/or subscription for access to some content.

Personal Economics and Household Finance

8 Simple Steps to Going on a Money Diet (Clark Howard) Here’s how it works… Excerpt: “Much like a nutritional diet where you change what you’re eating and take in less calories in order to lose weight, the idea is to switch up your spending habits and significantly reduce the outflow of money going to superfluous items, so that more of your money stays where it belongs – in your pocket.”

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