Why Inflation Stays Low Even Though Unemployment Is Down

January 3, 2018

To long-time baseball fans, the Phillips Curve sounds like a tribute to A.W. Phillips, a New Zealand-born economist who in 1958 noticed that wage growth is strong when the jobless rate is low. (Yes, kind of obvious to the layman.) American economist Paul Samuelson later made a bolder restatement of the Phillips Curve, saying that overall inflation—not just wage growth—is higher when labor markets are tight. Except the Phillips Curve hasn’t…

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China Central Bank Official Says Bankruptcy May Benefit the Country

December 26, 2017

A Chinese central bank official said China should allow local governments to go bankrupt to help rein in regional authorities’ excessive borrowing. A case like the bankruptcy of Detroit would convince investors that the central government is really determined to dispel beliefs of an implicit guarantee for regional authorities, Xu Zhong, head of research bureau at the People’s Bank of China, wrote in an article in the China Business News Monday….

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Outrage Over Proposal to Let Employers Pool or Pocket Workers Tips

December 17, 2017

I scanned the latest 1,000 comments about the Labor Dept.’s proposed rule on tip-sharing, and the imbalance was startling. Nine hundred ninety-six of them did not like the idea. Here are some unedited excerpts, with names and hometowns of commenters where available. There were more than 5,300 comments in all as of Dec. 13. Forgive me for not looking at all of them. — Ronald Putman, Spring Hill, Fla. — Donna…

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The U.S. Economy Is Finally Living Up to Lowered Expectations

December 9, 2017

People are cheering that the U.S. economy is finally back to operating at its full potential, eight years after the global financial crisis ended. “U.S. Economy Reaches Its Potential Output for First Time in Decade,” the headlined its Congressional Budget Office, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis This chart makes the point. The red line represents gross domestic product. It just managed to cross the blue line, which is the Congressional Budget Office’s…

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Trumps Latest Pick for the Fed Is No Fan of Paper Money

December 8, 2017

Economist Marvin Goodfriend doesn’t like the green paper rectangles in your wallet, which are formally known as “Federal Reserve notes.” His opinion matters, because President Trump has nominated him to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed by the Senate to a 14-year term, Goodfriend may take the opportunity to pursue his academic interest in abolishing—or at least demoting—paper money. Goodfriend’s dislike for cash could become an issue in…

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AT&T, U.S. Prepare to Battle in Court Over Time Warner Merger

November 25, 2017

A defiant Randall Stephenson told antitrust enforcers that Time Warner Inc. The lawsuit “stretches the very idea of antitrust law beyond the breaking point,” Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive officer, said at a briefing Monday. He left the door open for negotiations to find a way for the deal to pass federal muster — but reiterated that he wouldn’t sell CNN to appease Washington, whether the deal was influenced by President Donald…

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Government Move to Block AT&T Merger Bodes Ill for BigTech

November 22, 2017

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Monday to block AT&T's planned $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, in a move that could signal tougher scrutiny for tech companies. The lawsuit breaks with the recent DOJ tradition of approving mergers between companies that don't directly compete, such as AT&T and Time Warner. The government followed that traditional thinking in allowing Comcast to acquire NBCUniversal in 2011. AT&T is the nation’s largest…

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‘Teen Vogue’ is shutting down? Not so fast.

November 4, 2017

Image: Getty Images for Teen Vogue Pro-Trump trolls are rejoicing online over the fall of Teen Vogue, which emerged during the 2016 election as a platform for sharp, incisive writing about politics.  They were sent into a tizzy on Thursday morning by an article from Women’s Wear Daily that reported Teen Vogue will be ending its print publication. Along with that news, WWD reported that the magazine’s parent company, Condé…

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Demanding a Bachelors Degree for a Middle-Skill Job Is Just Plain Dumb

October 29, 2017

Ever wonder why employers demand advanced credentials for jobs that don’t seem to require them? So did Joseph Fuller, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School. He co-led a study that found it’s “a substantive and widespread phenomenon that is making the U.S. labor market more inefficient.” To take one egregious example, two-thirds of job postings for production supervisors require a four-year college degree—even though only 1 in 6 people already…

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Billionaire Mathematician James Simons Flopped the First Time He Invested

October 29, 2017

James Simons is an investing legend. He founded a wildly successful hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies LLC, that employs Ph.D. mathematicians to detect subtle predictive patterns in market data. He’s accumulated a net worth of almost $16 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. In a talk on Oct. 26, Simons revealed that he hasn’t always been so smart about investing. He said he opened his first account, with Merrill Lynch…

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Science Advances One Funeral at a Time. The Latest Nobel Proves It

October 17, 2017

The German physicist Max Planck said that science advances one funeral at a time. Or more friendly rival; they even play tennis together. “In the long run,” Azoulay said, “the best ideas probably win. But in the short run, lots of funky things can happen. Thaler’s career is an embodiment of the beginning and the end of that process.” Peter Coy Bloomberg Businessweek Columnist @petercoy Peter Coy is the economics editor…

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Dr. Doom, at Age 89, Has Ideas About How to Pick the Next Federal Reserve Chief

October 16, 2017

There aren’t many people still working on Wall Street who can blithely say “Bill” when speaking of long-ago Federal Reserve Chairman William McChesney Martin. Henry Kaufman, now 89, is one of them. The Wall Street economist once known as Dr. Doom for his bearish pronouncements on interest rates cited Martin in an Oct. 5 talk that was full of pointed observations about Fed chiefs past, present, and future. Kaufman, who…

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How to Make Sure Global Companies Pay Their Taxes

October 1, 2017

We all know by now that big multinational corporations, from Apple Inc., to Pfizer Inc., to IKEA of Sweden AB, minimize their tax bills by exploiting differences in tax rates and rules between different countries. Outrage is running high, especially in Europe, where there’s strong pressure on politicians to extract more taxes from big companies, especially the U.S. tech giants.  There’s a clean and fair solution in plain sight. It’s not…

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Ban Kneeling Pro Athletes, Trump Repeats After Curry Slam

September 27, 2017

President Donald Trump, a one-time football team owner, is ratcheting up his rhetoric against professional sports and some of their stars — and at least one league and some athletes are giving it back to him. Hours after profanely criticizing NFL players who protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to disinvite National Basketball Association star Stephen Curry from a White House appearance…

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Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oreal Billionaire Heiress, Dies at 94

September 27, 2017

Liliane Bettencourt L’Oreal SA founder Eugene Schueller, owned about one-third of the company’s shares. During her lifetime, the Paris-based company grew from a small hair-dye supplier into the largest maker of beauty products with more than 30 brands including Lancome and Garnier sold in about 140 countries. In 2016 the company reported revenue of 25.8 billion euros ($27 billion). Bettencourt’s net worth was $42.5 billion, according to the Nestle SA’s 23…

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Its Your First Day On Wall Street

September 25, 2017

This feature requires JavaScript to function. Buy money. Do stocks. Learn about how stocks happen. Nice call. Should we hit the trading floor, then, or would you like to diversify your portfolio first? Or perhaps you’d like to learn a little about how stocks work? Diversify portfolio. Bet big! Shout! Go home. Yes! You’re doing it! You’re winning all of the money! Go do cocaine. Go home. Hahaha! This is…

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China’s biggest tech CEO makes a grand entrance at a stadiumas Michael Jackson

You probably wouldn’t see Tim Cook doing this anytime soon. Jack Ma, Alibaba CEO and Asia’s richest man, turned up at his company’s 18th anniversary birthday bash dressed as Michael Jackson. SEE ALSO: The guy who started DJI becomes Asia’s youngest tech billionaire He first rode onstage in a black motorcycle, before getting off and striking a number of poses, in a black and gold outfit similar to Jackson’s iconic…

September 19, 2017
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Hurricane Harvey may have totaled 1 million cars

Image: Getty Images The flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey may have destroyed 1 million cars—and in doing so, totally changed the U.S. used auto market. As the city works to assess the damage of historic rainfall and unprecedented flooding, analysts are starting to issue estimates on how many cars will be unrecoverable. It’s bad.  Analysts from Evercore ISI said more than 1 in 7 cars in the Houston area could…

September 7, 2017
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China has banned ICOs

Image: Shutterstock The ICO — Initial Coin Offering — has recently become a very popular way to fund a startup, as it adheres to few rules requiring little to no regulative oversight. Companies such as Tezos and Bancor raised hundreds of millions of dollars within days by letting investors purchase their newly created cryptocurrencies (also known as tokens) with Ethereum or Bitcoin.  But now, this wild, wild west of fundraising…

September 6, 2017
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Amazon is going to lower prices at Whole Food starting on Monday

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Whole Foods is about to get a lot cheaper for Amazon Prime customers—as well as everybody else. The online shopping giant said Thursday that it will offer supermarket discounts to members of the program starting when the $13.7 billion deal is expected to close next Monday. SEE ALSO: Donald Trump’s threats won’t stop Amazon’s mega-acquisition of Whole Foods The company also said Whole Foods’ famously steep…

August 26, 2017
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He Was Selling Pens on the Street to SurviveThen a Man Snapped a Photo of His Daughter…

Just one picture changed everything. Abdul Halim al-Attar is a Syrian refugee who was selling pens in the streets of Beirut in order to make a living for hischildren But once a photo of Abdul selling his pens while holding his daughter hit the Internet, it went big-time viral. The picture featured his daughter Reem sleeping on his shoulder as he triedto market his pens to passerbys in the scorching…

August 15, 2017
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