Shane's Feed
Dec 18, 2013
via Counterparties

The last Fedbye

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The Fed’s December meeting statement is out, and the big news is that the taper is here. More specifically, the FOMC announced it will reduce its asset purchases to $75 billion per month from $85 billion. This was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s last scheduled press conference before the Senate votes on the confirmation of his chosen successor, Janet Yellen, who is set to take over February 1. Having served as Fed chief since 2006, Bernanke’s term is effectively over, and it’s now time to consider his legacy.

Dec 16, 2013
via Data Dive

Syrian government forces bomb Aleppo

Reuters has the latest details on the bombing raid in Aleppo, Syria conducted by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces over the weekend:

Seventy-six people, including 28 children, were killed on Sunday when Syrian army helicopters dropped “barrel bombs” on the northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

Dec 13, 2013
via Counterparties

The Fed Dream Team

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Stanley Fischer is likely to be tapped as the vice chair of the Fed once Janet Yellen takes the helm on February 1, according to Jon Hilsenrath. From 2005 until last June, Fischer served as the head of the Bank of Israel. “His broader résumé—MIT, IMF, Citigroup, Bank of Israel—places him very much at the center of the economic policy-making establishment of the past two decades, including the years leading up and after to the 2008 financial crisis”, says Hilsenrath.

Dec 12, 2013
via Data Dive

Where Obamacare enrollment stands in each state

As enrollment starts to increase, the government has started using manual work-arounds for the various software errors that plague HealthCare.gov. About 365,000 people have signed up for private insurance in the last two months, and 5 million visited the site in the first week of December, according to Reuters.

Here’s what enrollment looks like compared to the state-run exchanges:

Here’s more on what’s still missing from the site:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described the manual procedure as a temporary measure for software applications that have not yet been built, tested and incorporated into the massive system behind the HealthCare.gov website.

Dec 10, 2013
via Counterparties

Mandela’s economic legacy

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Nelson Mandela’s economic legacy is intertwined with, and nearly as important as, his political one. Charles Kenny has the numbers: economic growth in South Africa rose to just under 3% between 1995 and 2003 (Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999), up from roughly 1.5% in the 1980s. Average incomes in the country increased by 93%, secondary school enrollment increased to 70% from 50%, and “the proportion of the country that cooked using electricity from the mains climbed from 45 percent in 1993 to 73 percent by 2011”. Yet, inequality grew in the first decade after Mandela was elected in 1994.

Dec 10, 2013
via Data Dive

UPDATED: GM’s new CEO is another small crack in the glass ceiling

Today, GM announced its new CEO will be Mary Barra, the company’s current head of global product development. This is big news: Barra is the first woman to head a global auto company. This move, as the below Reuters chart shows, is just one small step in the march toward management equality. Women are still far from reaching parity in upper reaches of big American corporations.

Here’s more about Barra from Reuters:

With 33 years of experience at GM, Barra has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering and senior staff positions, and is currently in charge of reducing the number of platforms on which GM builds its vehicles. A source close to Akerson’s thinking who asked not to be identified said the CEO valued Barra highly for “bringing order to chaos” in the product development process.

Dec 3, 2013
via Counterparties

The Saltwater-Freshwater divide

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There’s been a shakeup at the Minnesota Fed, and no one quite knows why. The news that president Narayana Kocherlakota dismissed two of the institution’s research economists — Patrick Kehoe and Ellen McGrattan — has sparked a debate in the macro community.

Nov 27, 2013
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Poor choices

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Recently, John Cassidy posted six charts presented by various researchers from the launch of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a new think tank that will fund research into inequality. “Taken together, the pictures convey a good deal of what we know about inequality”, he writes. However, he also says that there’s plenty we still don’t know, particularly about the relationship is between inequality and growth.

Nov 27, 2013
via Data Dive

Charting America’s Afghanistan withdrawal and troop fatalities

The US is considering a complete troop withdrawal in Afghanistan in 2014 if the country’s president, Hamid Karzai, refuses to sign a security deal. Without the deal, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said that the US will have no choice but to pull out all troops by next year, Reuters reports. While the US has been drawing down its presence in Afghanistan since 2011, it still has almost 50,000 troops in the country:

Reuters suggests that Karzai’s reluctance to sign the security agreement may have to do with the upcoming spring presidential elections:

Nov 27, 2013
via Equals

Corporate governance: Bring on the quotas!

This week, Germany’s ruling coalition announced that it’s set to institute a quota for the number of women involved in corporate governance at German companies. Lawmakers are set “to introduce legislation requiring German companies to allot 30 percent of their non-executive board seats to women from 2016,” Reuters reports. The European Union as a whole is moving closer to instituting a similar 40% quota.

This way of getting women into the upper rungs of the corporate ladder is relatively new, and somewhat controversial.