November 11, 2013

 

It’s a sad fact that nearly 49 million Americans live without health insurance while millions more scrape by with lackluster coverage. With the Affordable Care Act getting off to a rough start and months to go before its full implementation, the nation’s underinsured must often make due with the limited resources at their disposal. In fact, according to Consumer Reports one of the cheapest and most common ways for people to get the care they need is to barter Continue reading

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November 1, 2013

In the fall of 2013 the U.S. came perilously close to defaulting on its debt. Already reeling from a two-week government shutdown, lawmakers were able to come together at the eleventh hour to raise the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. If it had failed to do so, then for the first time in history the U.S. would have been unable to pay the interest on Treasury bonds. This would have sent global markets into disarray while almost certainly setting Continue reading

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October 1, 2013

The Dow Jones Industrial average is often considered a bellwether for the economy. This stock index of 30 large publicly traded American companies offers a snapshot of the nation’s fiscal wellbeing for analysts and day traders alike. Regardless of its popularity, however, the Dow is hardly perfect. Deciding which companies comprise the index is a delicate process that sometimes omits major players. For instance, a couple years ago we shared a story in the newsletter about Apple’s absence from the Continue reading

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September 14, 2013

 

For emerging economies, investment from foreign powers has long been a contentious topic. In fact, as recently as last year protestors lined the streets of India’s major cities against a series of reforms designed to open the country’s retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI). The laws would allow companies like Wal-Mart and Tesco to buy up to 51% stakes in local businesses. The proposed reforms inflamed the fears of many Indians who felt that the economy would become Continue reading

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September 5, 2013

 

A peculiar statistic has been puzzling economists ever since the economy began its recovery. Retail sales have climbed steadily over the last four years despite the fact that gains in reported income have stalled. So if people still aren’t getting paid more, where is this disposable cash flow coming from? According to some, one need not look further than the underground economy.

Then again, the sum total of unreported U.S. income isn’t a thing you can easily track on Continue reading

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In today’s modern economy, statistics are supreme. GDP, unemployment and interest rates all play dominant roles in the allocation of the government’s budget. No spending bill can hope to pass into law without a battery of statistics and figures charting how such legislation will benefit the country. But just how accurately do those numbers reflect the world we live in?

Take GDP, for instance. The famous figure has only been reliably collected in the U.S. since the 1930s and didn’t Continue reading

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penniesThere are many today who feel that the time has come to retire the penny even though it has been a mainstay of American currency for centuries. The venerable Abraham Lincoln-emblazoned coin has without a doubt seen better times. In 1913 it possessed 25 times more purchasing power than it does currently. The penny also used to be profitable to produce. In 1990 it cost 0.6¢ to make one of the copper-coated coins, resulting in a yield of 0.4¢ Continue reading

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April 3, 2013

 

In the eyes of many Occupy Wall Street sympathizers, the people who run America’s biggest companies are untouchably wealthy power brokers. However, this viewpoint fails to take into account the startling effect that the recession had on job security across the spectrum. One need not look further than the fate of former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason. After a string of failures, the board elected to part ways with the company’s founder. In his farewell statement to staff, Mason cheekily Continue reading

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March 20, 2013

yarnAs long as there are offices, there will be conflicts between management and staff. Still, no business can hope to succeed without a successful working relationship between these two occasionally combative entities. Managers will always need motivated employees to work hard and achieve the company’s goals, and employees will always need managers to set those goals and pay them for their efforts to meet them. Indeed, this seeming imbalance of power is why some staffers inevitably come to resent their Continue reading

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March 5, 2013

With economic recovery proceeding at a sluggish pace, many companies are operating on razor thin margins that can be easily disrupted. For instance, business got so slow at the plastics company Saint-Gobain last fall that executives cut worker hours by 40 percent. Although this type of story has become all too common since 2008, a federal government-funded work share program ensured the company’s staff didn’t lose their entire income. Thanks to the additional funds, Saint-Gobain’s employees recouped 70 percent of Continue reading

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