Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • The fundamental rule of international relations is that as a country becomes powerful, others gang up to bring it down – viz the Habsburg Empire to Napoleonic France to Germany to the Soviet Union. The one great exception in modern history is the US, which allies with many of the next most powerful nations; Britain, France, Germany, Japan.
  • Fracking has dramatically lowered America’s carbon emissions to an 18-year low in 2012 because it replaces coal, the world’s dirtiest source of energy, both in emissions of CO2 and particle pollutants.
  • The IEA says the world’s energy consumption has gotten cleaner by only 1 percent over the past two decades. China now burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world put together, and opens new coal plants every week.
  • China has shale gas reserves that are 50 percent larger than the US.

The CBO projects the US federal deficit will be only 2.1 percent of GDP in 2015 versus 4 percent in 2013, 7 percent in 2012, and a high of 10 percent in 2009.

Glenn Hubbard at Columbia Business School said:

  • Looking at the 10-year numbers, the federal deficit gets better in the near-term, but continues to get worse because of Medicare and long-term entitlements which threaten to crowd out every other kind of spending.
  • Infrastructure spending takes years to stimulate the economy and is more about long-term capital planning.
  • The US is not in decline but it is hard to see our political process really coming to grips with the challenge.

Zanny Minton Beddoes at The Economist said:

  • The long-term problem is one of entitlement spending and Medicare particularly but stimulus spending was entirely appropriate in the aftermath of the huge financial bust. However we are cutting spending in the short-term and that is not optimal policy.
  • The policy is what matters rather than the actual outcome. The real problem is the medium and long-term, and not on sequester cuts and tax increases in the short-term.
  • Europe has failed to deal with the basic problems of the euro zone, to get credit going again in the periphery. Europe has not cleaned up its banking mess.
  • The CBO is one of the best things that’s happened to US fiscal policy ever because it forces people to come to terms with the consequences of what they’re doing.

William Dalrymple said China has played the trump card in Afghanistan by buying up the mineral rights – the largest copper reserve in the world, lithium, rare earths.

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers found that more money meant more satisfaction in poor and rich countries, and Americans hit the highest levels of satisfaction among the 25 most populous countries in the world.

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