Why quitters are good for the economy

September 23, 2014

This week Anchorage television reporter Charlo Greene quit her job—on-air, complete with a curse—in order to work full-time in support of Alaska’s ballot initiative to legalize marijuana.

What cost fantasy football?

September 22, 2014

Now even Congress is joining in the outrage over the National Football League’s waffling response to the domestic violence cases involving its players. But do the fans really care?

Separatists around the world

September 19, 2014

Scottish voters rejected independence yesterday by a surprisingly decisive margin of 55-45. But while the United Kingdom remains united, secession movements elsewhere are still going strong. The number of UN member states has increased almost fourfold, from 51 to 193, since the organization’s founding in 1945, though growth in the number of countries overall has been much slower in the post-Soviet era. A peaceful, fairly decided election in Scotland may give breakaway regions a new precedent to point to.

Interest rates aren’t going up anytime soon

September 18, 2014

Rate hikes are still a ways out: that was the message from Janet Yellen and the Fed yesterday after the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement came out. However, Yellen also hinted that once interest rates do start to rise, they could go up faster than many currently expect. Rates are currently lower — and have stayed low for longer — than in any recovery in recent memory. Here’s what interest rates have looked like in every recovery since 1982:

Clawing out of poverty

September 17, 2014

Finally, the U.S. poverty rate is moving in the right direction.

For the first time since 2006, the poverty rate declined last year — to 14.5 percent from 15 percent in 2012 — according to a new report out by the Census Bureau. “Last year’s decrease appeared driven by fewer people relying on part-time work, as the survey found an additional 2.8 million Americans were working full-time during the year,” writes Jason Lange.

Above and beyond the minimum wage

September 16, 2014

The campaign to raise the U.S. minimum wage is gaining traction this election cycle. There are six statewide initiatives — four of them in Republican-controlled states — to raise the state wage floor above the federally mandated $7.25 per hour. “Activists on both sides of the issue say the proposals stand a good chance of passing,” writes Andy Sullivan.

Bankruptcy isn’t what it used to be

September 15, 2014

Radio Shack is considering bankruptcy. The electronics retailer has struggled in the digital age, and announced today that its CFO, John Feray, resigned last week. He will be replaced by Holly Etlin, a managing director at AlixPartners, which has been advising Radio Shack financially since 2013. Even with outside help, the company’s share price has tumbled since 2010:

from Equals:

How letting women fail can help them succeed

August 29, 2014

In life, and especially at work, women often are afraid to break the rules. They are also afraid to fail in ways that can differ from men. Often, this holds them back in their careers. It isn't an irrational position. Instead, it’s more likely a reaction to social pressures that tell them they will be more harshly judged than their male peers on their perceived missteps.

The expense of sprawl

August 26, 2014

It’s expensive to live in a big city. But what if it’s more expensive to live in a small city? The Citizen’s Budget Commission, a non-profit financial watchdog organization in New York, took a look at housing costs in US metro areas recently, then added in transportation costs. By these two metrics, New York City (and most dense metro areas with good public transportation) is one of the cheaper urban options.

Bank of America’s big fine

August 22, 2014

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Bank of America settles crisis-era mortgage cases with the U.S. government once a week or so. But the one this week, at $16.65 billion, is the big one. That is, it’s the biggest settlement to date, eclipsing not only previous settlements by the bank (which now come to a total of about $65 billion), but also all of the similar settlements reached by other banks. JP Morgan paid $13 billion and Citigroup $7 billion recently for similar reasons. The bank will pay “$9.65 billion in cash to resolve more than a dozen federal and state investigations, and provide $7 billion in help to struggling homeowners and communities,” according to Reuters.