Republicans scramble for health bill votes after Trump ultimatum | Reuters


Democrats uniformly oppose the bill, and it appeared to lack the needed Republican support as well, despite last-minute changes intended to broaden its appeal.

At least 35 Republicans still plan to vote against the bill, according to CBS News. If all House members were to vote, Republicans can only afford to lose 21 votes.

Source: Republicans scramble for health bill votes after Trump ultimatum | Reuters

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Apple is tired of making Coca-Cola and now wants to sell champagne | The Guardian


“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest,” Andy Warhol wrote in his 1975 autobiography. “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the president drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.”

Apple’s mobile product lines, like the iPhone and iPad, have suggested that it wants to make the Coca-Cola of the technological world.

Not for Apple the vast segmented portfolios of the likes of Samsung.

Instead, it has generally had an incredibly simple offer: the best phone or tablet it can make, or, for the more price-conscious, the best phone or tablet it could make last year.

Source: Apple is tired of making Coca-Cola and now wants to sell champagne | Alex Hern | Technology | The Guardian

UK-based airlines told to move to Europe after Brexit or lose major routes | The Guardian


Executives at major carriers have been reminded during recent private meetings with officials that to continue to operate on routes across the continent – for instance, from Milan to Paris – they must have a significant base on EU territory and that a majority of their capital shares must be EU-owned.

The development, coming days before the triggering of article 50, potentially makes it more likely that the carriers will act to restructure, with economic consequences for the UK, including a loss of jobs.

Source: UK-based airlines told to move to Europe after Brexit or lose major routes | Politics | The Guardian

BMW’s Hazard Lights Are Blinking | Bloomberg Gadfly


Last year half of BMW’s car sales were financed by the company.

As a result, the value of leased cars on the balance sheet has climbed 8 percent to almost 38 billion euros: equivalent to about 20 per cent of BMW’s total assets and 70 percent of its market value.

Of course, those leasing assets show BMW is very good at shifting cars. But they’re a potential hazard. If BMW has miscalculated what vehicles will be worth when customers return them at the end of the lease, it would have to book an impairment.

Source: BMW’s Hazard Lights Are Blinking – Bloomberg Gadfly

Give Companies Easier Access to Public Markets | Bloomberg View


If we want growing companies to go public, we need our public markets to be a competitive source of growth capital.

One easy solution is to let public companies sell their shares in the same way they can now buy them back: through brokers directly into their established public markets.

Removing the outdated restrictions on selling shares publicly will lower the cost of capital and attract more growth companies to our markets.

Source: Give Companies Easier Access to Public Markets – Bloomberg View

Unicorn Swaps and Falling Complacency | Bloomberg View


First, I’d do it at a bank. I know, I know: Fintech startups are supposed to disrupt banks and steal their business.

But a tiny startup with a clever idea that meets with 65 investors has barely scratched the surface of potential interest in unicorn swaps.

What about the mid-sized mutual fund manager who wants long unicorn exposure but doesn’t get invited into late-stage rounds?

What about the in-house hedge fund of a giant tech incumbent that wants to double down on its plans to crush a unicorn competitor?

What about the thousands of rich private-wealth clients who fancy themselves tech geniuses?

The target list is long but the hit rate is low. You need a massive sales force, longstanding relationships, standardized marketing materials, existing ISDAs (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) and account agreements.

Disruptive financial innovation just works better at an incumbent bank.

Source: Unicorn Swaps and Falling Complacency – Bloomberg View

Republicans Want to Repeal Medicaid, Too | Bloomberg View


Obamacare, President Donald Trump is fond of saying, is a “complete and total disaster” and must be replaced.

Yet one of the most significant features of his party’s proposed replacement has little to do with Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act would drastically reshape Medicaid — ending the federal government’s long-running, open-ended commitment to help states pay for care for the poor. Instead, in 2020, Washington would make limited per capita contributions that would shrink as a share of costs with every passing year.

Source: Republicans Want to Repeal Medicaid, Too – Bloomberg View

This is what slavery looks like today, in the eyes of slavers | Aeon Essays


Around half of the world’s slaves are held in debt bondage in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Debt bondage is a very old form of slavery in which radically marginalized members of society, often from India’s ‘untouchable’ caste, must trade all their labor for single small infusions of cash.

Broader social and economic systems ensure that they do not understand the terms of such loans, and that the time required to repay them is interminable.

Lack of other work, lack of credit, and the need to pay for schooling and marriages effectively guarantee that there is no single contractual debt between the landlord and laborer but rather a string of interconnected informal loans.

Source: This is what slavery looks like today, in the eyes of slavers | Aeon Essays

Working class white Americans are now dying in middle age at faster rates than minority groups | Brookings Institution


“Deaths of despair” in midlife rose most dramatically for white non-Hispanic Americans with a high school degree or less—a pattern that diverges sharply from overall rates of “deaths of despair” in midlife in other rich countries.

The chart above compares “deaths of despair” in midlife for white non-Hispanics in the U.S. with overall “deaths of despair” (all races combined) in midlife in other rich countries over time.

Source: Working class white Americans are now dying in middle age at faster rates than minority groups | Brookings Institution

Does Power Really Corrupt?


Psychologists generally define power as control over others, by providing or withholding resources, without social interference. Tapping your true nature, though, begins with feeling powerful. Getting the corner office boosts creativity and reduces conformity.

Power’s effects on expression result largely from the fact that it frees us from dependence on others, allowing us to ignore their concerns and pursue our own objectives. Intoxication from power leads us to focus more clearly on whatever goal we have in mind. With clear focus on a goal, we then pursue it.

Those goals are often selfish, which would seem to support the historian Lord Acton’s dictum that

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Source: Does Power Really Corrupt?