November 10, 2017

Even before the release of the Paradise Papers this week, Apple has faced plenty of criticism over the years for exploiting foreign loopholes to avoid paying taxes. The most prominent example of this occurred in 2013 during a Congressional inquiry of CEO Tim Cook. A Senate committee brought in the executive for questioning after they discovered Apple had hidden billions in taxable income through a series of “ghost companies” in Ireland. Cook admitted nothing, however, telling legislators, “We don’t depend Continue reading

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November 9, 2017

This week a group of investigative journalists released an enormous cache of leaked documents called the Paradise Papers. Like last year’s Panama Papers incident, these records detail the offshore financial activities of some of the world’s richest people and companies. But while 2016’s leak focused mainly on the tax avoidance strategies of foreign entities, the Paradise Papers are full of names that will be familiar to Americans. The video below provides a quick overview of this complex story. Tomorrow, we’ll Continue reading

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October 31, 2017

In the past year we’ve featured a few stories about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and how it aims to keep consumers safe from predatory business practices. From collecting consumer complaints to limiting the power of payday lenders, the CFPB was formed to put regular people on somewhat equal footing with big companies. Still, not everyone sees the relatively new government agency this way. Opponents claim the CFPB has too much power to regulate businesses, thus harming both companies Continue reading

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October 27, 2017

Since its founding in 2012, the women’s apparel seller LuLaRoe has grown into a powerful brand despite never stocking its clothes in stores. Instead, the company directly sells items to a team of independent consultants who find customers on their own. These representatives can eventually receive bonuses if they find new consultants to recruit, thus expanding the number of LuLaRoe sellers as well as customers. If you ask executives at the company, this direct selling strategy fits the mold Continue reading

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October 10, 2017

aliman-senaiEach year some 12 million Americans take out a payday loan in order to get cash fast. But just because these borrowers can receive a quick injection of capital doesn’t mean they can pay it back with comparable speed. Many people who take out a payday loan end up drowning in a flood of loan fees and high interest rates. Last year alone the industry collected more than $7 billion in fees from customers. Borrowers can become so overwhelmed by Continue reading

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September 7, 2017

iidar-sagdejevLast year we took a close look at how Wells Fargo fostered a culture of fraud that encouraged employees to open unauthorized credit and debit card accounts for customers. Investigators at the time estimated the bank had created more than 1.5 million fraudulent accounts, leading Wells Fargo to fire thousands of employees. Further inquiries from Congress also caused the company to replace managers and roll back executive pay as part of an overhaul of its retail division. The scandal Continue reading

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September 1, 2017

Along with being one of the most groundbreaking trade pacts in history, the North American Free Trade Agreement is also considerably controversial. NAFTA has especially faced criticism recently, leading representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to meet and discuss the future of the deal. This video looks at how NAFTA currently impacts supply chains in North America and how changes to the agreement could affect commerce.

Questions:

  1. What do American opponents of NAFTA want to change about the deal? Continue reading
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August 24, 2017

roger-h-gounLast year beverage companies sold $16 billion worth of bottled water, a 10 percent increase from 2016. The drink is even more popular than soda, but it certainly isn’t a hit with everyone. Along with being a frequent target for environmentalists, critics have also accused companies of lying about the origin of the water in their bottles. In fact, that’s the basis of a class action lawsuit recently filed against Nestle’s Poland Spring brand.

According to the complaint, “Not Continue reading

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August 15, 2017

crocsWhether you love them or hate them, the foam clogs made by the Colorado-based Crocs are certainly distinctive. They can’t be called “unique,” however, at least according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A recent ruling from the government agency rejected the patent that Crocs has held on its signature shoes since 2006. Apparently another party had registered a similar design a year before, thus invalidating the original trademark.  

The Patent Office’s decision may finally bring an end Continue reading

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August 4, 2017

Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, banks have been required to keep a certain amount of cash on hand relative to their assets. Legislators put the rule in place so that institutions would have enough money in their vaults to bail themselves out in the event of another credit crisis. This video explains the concept of bank capital and why these regulations have caused some frustration in the finance industry.

Questions:

  1. Why are banks required to keep Continue reading
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