Median per capita income after taxes by countryAffirmative Action Dealt A Blow, College Attendance By Race Is Converging

“The US Supreme Court has upheld a Michigan law that allows the state to ban the use of affirmative action, or racial preferences (alt), in judging admissions to public universities…the judgment will allow up to eight US states to go ahead with plans to ban affirmative action but it does not affect the remaining states that use policies embodying racial preferences.”  One law professor says the decision places “responsibility for affirmative action squarely in the hands of the states.”  Meanwhile, “fewer high school graduates are enrolling in college following the recession.” That being said, “there has been a convergence among races going to college in recent years.”  Disparities do show up, however, when you look at the graduation rate by race for college freshman, as well as college enrollment rates by income level.  Coming back to the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, it’s interesting to point out that “the Supreme Court has moved to the right on the issue, with modest support from liberal scholars who have become wary of an over reliance on race-based correctives to discrimination.”  My guess is that has a lot to do with the history of race-based “correctives” in higher education, which may (or may not) surprise you.  Also, “fewer U.S. high school students are taking up fields of study with proven earnings potential (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) than was the case a decade ago.”

American Shame Sounds Like This: “Runner-Up”

“While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower-and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades…Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then.  Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several — including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden — is much smaller than it was a decade ago.”  Speaking of Canada, while the United States hems and haws over the Keystone pipeline, Canada is likely considering an oil rich economic future without the United States: “six other pipelines are being planned in Canada that collectively — and in some cases individually — have much higher stakes for international energy markets and the environment…if all six were built, they would carry roughly 3.2 million barrels per day, four times the volume of Keystone XL…fully 97 percent of Canada’s oil exports go to the United States, where crude prices have been depressed by the U.S. shale-oil boom…’Canada has a strategic necessity to diversify away from the U.S….There’s no other developed nation whose most valued product is linked to just one customer.’”

China: Driver, Not A Drag, For U.S. Earnings In First Quarter

“Economic growth may be slowing in China, and fears of a credit crunch there may be rife, but the world’s second-largest economy was a driving force for U.S. company profits in the last quarter…lower growth rates in China partly result from a push by Chinese authorities to rebalance the economy so that it is less reliant on export growth and more focused on domestic consumption.  That is good for Western companies trying to sell into China…Diversified manufacturer United Technologies’ sales rose 14 percent in China for its business providing climate control, security and other systems for commercial buildings.  Sales of its Otis elevators division rose 16 percent in China, where orders soared about 25 percent.”

USA: Fidelity Reaps Rewards As Banks Lose Bond Muscle: Credit Markets

“The business of bonds is changing after stricter capital requirements and risk-curbing rules prompt the world’s biggest dealers to shrink their balance sheets and staff.  Banks are working more closely with the largest asset managers than they did before the 2008 financial crisis after cutting their company-debt holdings by 76 percent since the peak in 2007.”  Furthermore, PIMCO, Vanguard and Fidelity “manage 39 percent of all mutual fund-owned taxable bonds today, up from 18 percent in 1997, according to Morningstar…The dominance of the biggest managers has caught the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The SEC is examining whether the biggest players get preferential prices and access because of their influence.”  Meanwhile, “a French cable operator is preparing what could be the largest junk-bond sale in history (alt) — a sign of investors’ ravenous appetite for risk in an era of low rates and a mark of the profound shift in bond financing on a continent that had long borrowed heavily from its banks.”

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