What We’re Reading, 4/20/12
Happy Friday, Tumblr! Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. On our collective radar this morning: economic forecasts, China’s demographic woes, and Earth’s trade deficit with outer space.
"Fears Rise that Economy May Falter in the Spring," by Annie Lowrey (New York Times). European bond yields are climbing, unemployment claims have risen and oil prices remain high. Does that mean the economy won’t recover as hoped?
"Nine U.S. Banks Said to Be Examined on Overdraft Fees," by Carter Dougherty and Margaret Collins (Bloomberg). Two years ago, the government passed reforms to give consumers more control over their checking accounts and the costly overdraft fees that come with them. Now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and six other banks to see if the protections went far enough.
"No Deal," by Timothy Noah (The New Republic). Virtually everyone thinks the federal tax code should be reformed — Democrats, Republicans, pundits, Tumblr curators. Everyone except Timothy Noah, that is. He writes that “the best tax reform would be … nothing.” Hm.
"China’s Achilles Heal" (The Economist). If America’s demographics scare you, China’s are on another scale entirely: A huge number of Chinese are aging into retirement, and thanks to the country’s one-child policy, no one is replacing them. That means China’s population could peak in 2026 (… but not before Shanghai grows to 27 million people).
"Two-Paycheck Couples, Working Because They Must," by E.J. Dionne Jr. (Washington Post). Dionne’s take on the so-called “mommy war” between Ann Romney and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen: It’s not about feminism or conservatism. It’s about money.
"What Does the Battle Over California’s High Speed Rail Project Mean for America?" By Carl Franzen (Talking Points Memo). California has an ambitious, $68-billion plan to become the country’s first high-speed hub. But the controversy surrounding the project means that major changes to American transportation and infrastructure could still be many years away.
And in other news: Earth (sort of) has a $374-billion trade deficit with outer space, you can pay your bills with gold and silver in Utah, and the New Yorker has dreamt up some very entertaining (if rather far-fetched) new bank security questions. A sample: “What is your favorite Will Smith golf movie? Who is your all-time favorite city comptroller?”
What are you reading?