February 25, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, Texas’ power grid failed after a historic snowstorm and cold snap overwhelmed the state. As millions struggled without electricity or heat, those who had power potentially faced exorbitant electric bills because of changes Texas made to its utility system more than 20 years ago. Back then, much of the state switched from using regulated utilities to a deregulated market where customers could choose from a variety of power providers. As a result, nearly 60 percent Continue reading

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February 19, 2021

The recent frenzy surrounding GameStop stock caught even the most careful market observers by surprise as shares in the struggling retailer skyrocketed to unbelievable levels only to fall again soon after. This video looks at how regulators at the SEC are looking into the matter and the possible consequences that could fall on companies like Reddit and Robinhood. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the SEC investigating the recent stock market volatility surrounding GameStop and other companies?
  2. Do you think federal regulators Continue reading
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October 20, 2020

Since its founding in 1998, Google has grown into one of the largest companies in history. Last year it earned more than $34 billion from search revenue, an enormous amount that analysts predict will grow to $42.5 billion by 2022. Google’s parent company Alphabet is valued at more than $1 trillion and holds $120 billion in cash reserves. The company’s name has even become synonymous with search as millions of people around the world “google” all sorts of information every Continue reading

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October 8, 2020

According to the Brookings Institution, more than 400,000 small businesses have closed during the pandemic while hundreds of thousands more remain at high risk of ceasing operations. But while many small companies have struggled, large corporations in the tech and telecommunications industries have never been better. In fact, experts fear that big companies like Amazon and AT&T could consolidate on an enormous scale over the next six months as they buy bankrupt businesses at fire sale prices.

Although corporations have Continue reading

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October 2, 2020

In the last few months, companies like the space tourism agency Virgin Galactic and the data-mining firm Palantir have debuted on the stock exchange without launching IPOs. This video looks at the pros and cons of the SPAC process that allows businesses to go public through so-called “blank check” companies.

Questions:

  1. What are the advantages of taking a company public through a SPAC rather than a traditional IPO?
  2. What are the potential drawbacks of SPACs compared to IPOs?
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October 1, 2020

Back in March, airlines received $25 billion in relief so that workers could stay on the payroll as the coronavirus pandemic caused a massive disruption in world travel. But with that money now spent, major carriers had been hoping for another round of economic stimulus from the federal government as demand for travel remains low. Legislators have been unable to come to an agreement so far, however, leading American Airlines and United Airlines to announce that more than 32,000 employees Continue reading

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September 2, 2020

The video sharing app TikTok has become a big hit with millions of Americans over the last few years. According to the federal government, however, the Chinese-owned company presents national security risks that could lead to a ban on the app in the U.S. This video looks at the controversy surrounding TikTok’s American operations as well as the larger dangers of a fractured global Internet. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the federal government considering a ban on TikTok? 
  2. Do you Continue reading
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July 30, 2020

According to data from Yelp, more than 55 percent of the 132,500 businesses listed on the site that closed during the pandemic will remain shuttered permanently. Although government relief bought some companies time, businesses that are now closed will likely remain that way for the long term. Restaurants account for the greatest share of permanent and temporary closures, followed closely by retailers and then beauty salons and spas. 

“Businesses are needing to decide, ‘Do I renew my lease on Continue reading

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July 21, 2020

Yesterday, tens of thousands of workers across the U.S. walked off their jobs in support of the “Strike for Black Lives.” According to organizers, the strike was held to bring greater attention to issues like income inequality and systemic racism in both the private and public sectors. The nationwide event included members from labor unions and political groups such as the Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, American Federation of Teachers, and dozens of other organizations. 

The Continue reading

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July 16, 2020

Nearly four months into the pandemic, millions of Americans are struggling to remain employed. Last week more than 1.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time, an increase of almost 109,000 from the previous week. The total number of unemployment claims stood at 17.3 million for the week ending in July 4th, with many people also collecting expanded benefits that could soon expire. 

“What we’re seeing is continued, historic elevated rates of job loss in the Continue reading

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