The 2016 presidential race is already expected to be the most money-soaked in history, reports Reuters' Emily Flitter. With billionaires backing several of the contenders, campaign finance watchdog groups fear heavy spending by these ultra-rich Americans will warp the election. Big spenders, though, don't always get their candidates into office. As this Reuters graphic shows, large sums of money don't always translate into victory at the polls. Indeed, studies of the 2012 and 2014 elections by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based non-profit that tracks political spending, show that most groups backed by billionaires had less success swaying election outcomes than groups controlled by trade organizations or professional political strategists.
If you want to see the greater fool theory in action, look no further than at what’s happening in the stock market. Since the year 2000 the average small-cap stock in the Russell 2000 Index is up 151% while the average blue chip in the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained only 57%.
Wal-Mart is getting into the sunlight business.
Bowing to shareholder pressure, the retail giant will begin disclosing state-level details about its lobbying spending, Reuters’ Nathan Layne reported this week. The move is intended to provide further transparency into the millions of dollars that the company uses to gain influence on public policy.
As this Reuters graphic shows, planned layoffs in the energy sector have grown precipitously this calendar year, reflecting badly bruised oil prices. According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, employers announced workforce reductions totaling 61,582 in April–53 percent higher than the same month a year ago. So far this year, employers have announced 201,796 planned job cuts, which marks a 25 percent increase from the 161,639 layoffs tracked in the first four months of 2014. This is the largest four-month total since 2010.