Weekend Reads

For the profit and pleasure of subscribers, here is a few longer reads on economic, political and social issues from around the Internet.

The Donald Trump story just gets more mind boggling by the day. It's almost impossible to turn away and stop watching what is a car crash of a Government in fast motion. His latest healthcare revamp looks to be dead on arrival. But that may have been the aim, as this Washington Post report reveals. The apparent cynicism is breathtaking.

Trump's healthcare reforms are in disarray, and so are his tax reform plans, as Damian Paletta points out here.

This week's IMF report on the New Zealand economy is a useful summary of where we're at and how we could reform ourselves. The IMF supported the Reserve Bank's push to include the Debt to Income Multiple in its tool kit and made this good point: "Easing housing supply constraints will be important to safeguard the long-term attractiveness of New Zealand for skilled labor and business."

Historian Yuval Noah Harari writes here at ideas.ted.com that just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class

Tony Alexander's defence of baby boomers caused quite a stir this week. Peter Nunns takes a more thoughtful response that focuses on the data on savings rates, interest rates and inflation rates.

"Alexander’s assertions about the savings behaviour of young people are false, his suggestions about ways to save even more money to buy a home are largely useless, and his references to the high mortgage interest rates faced by Boomer home-buyers are misleading," Nunns concludes. His post is worth it for the data and charts.

Speaking of groups that are divided and not talking to each other, this piece by Bill Bishop in The Washington Post is an essential read on the way trust in institutions across the developed world has declined so much over the last 50 years. It's not just about people losing faith in Government and the media, he says. He points to the way people are increasingly cordoning themselves off from each other in gated communities, in both the real world and the online world.

"In these increasingly homogenous communities, nobody need bother about compromise and the trust it requires. From anti-abortion measures to laws governing factory farming, the policy action is taking place where majorities can do what they want without dealing with “those people” who live the next state over or a few miles down the road," he writes.

Have a great weekend. We'll have more of these useful links in Newsroom Pro's '8 things at 8 am' emails.

cheers

Bernard