A Deep Freeze for GE Pensions

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According to the WSJ, General Electric Co. said it was freezing its pension plan for about 20,000 U.S. workers and offering pension buyouts to 100,000 former employees, as the conglomerate joins the ranks of U.S. companies phasing out a guaranteed retirement. Questions: Who is the CEO? The video said the CEO has been aggressive. What has he… Read more »

Another Walmart PR disaster

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Walmart’s disabled greeters are being replaced by “customer hosts,” with growing responsibilities. Questions: 1. Why has this been such a PR disaster for the company? 2. How many days were the greeters given to find new jobs? 3. What is the new job of “customer hosts” meant to do? 4. What are your thoughts about… Read more »

The U.S. Trend to Ban Cashless Retailers

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According to Axios, while big chains like Amazon Go, Sweetgreen, and Shake Shack are fast eliminating cash sales, U.S. cities and states are fighting against this trend. Questions: 1. Why are states like New Jersey and cities like Philadelphia banning cashless retailers? 2. What percentage of U.S. sales are made with cash? 3. What is… Read more »

Oh the times….they are a changin’

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According to the New York Times, these are the less-than-elegant last days of what, in the days when department stores were destinations, was one of New York City’s most elegant: Lord & Taylor, a fortress on Fifth Avenue. Questions: 1. What was the guilt about? 2. Was the article really about the store? 3. What… Read more »

Costs versus Care

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According to Boing-Boing.net, sleep apnea, which is a fast-growing health complaint among Americans, has triggered a set of deceptive and unethical measures by US health insurers to shift the cost of CPAP machines through price gouging to the people who must use them to remain healthy. Questions: 1. Calculate the percentage of the transaction that… Read more »

More Greed and Graft

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According to the Washington Post, what started as an antitrust lawsuit brought by states over just two drugs in 2016 has exploded into an investigation of alleged price-fixing involving at least 16 companies and 300 drugs. Questions: 1. What was the “shorthand” between executives used for? Give an example. 2. According to the article, who… Read more »

A Sad Day for Dividend Income Stocks

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Last week signaled a sad turn for the “widows and orphans” stocks — classic income providers that were once bread-and-butter favorites of investors. Questions: 1. Why was it a sad time for “widows and orphans” stocks? 2. What did Anheuser-Busch do that also signaled bad times? 3. Why does dividend income matter? 4. How many… Read more »

Food Fight

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To keep Amazon at bay and remain the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart is ramping up its groceries and buying trendy digital brands. The retail giant is also redesigning its stores and building up online assets. Questions: 1. What are signs that the plan is working? 2. What is the proximity of most Americans to a… Read more »

Tough Times for the IRS

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Audits and criminal referrals are down sharply by the IRS since Congress cut the tax agency’s budget and management changed priorities. Questions: 1. How many cases did the IRS’s criminal division bring last year? 2. How many cases did the IRS’s criminal division bring in 2010? 3. According to the IRS’s estimates, how much in… Read more »

Time to get ready for the Holidays! You can’t start too early!

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While it’s only September, holiday hiring is ramping up! With historically low unemployment rates plus projections of record-breaking holiday sales, retailers, from major chains to small businesses, are being forced to offer higher pay, catchier perks, and other discounts to attract temporary holiday workers. Questions: 1. What are some of the perks that retailers are… Read more »