Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

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United Airlines, the Chicago-based giant at the center of a public relations storm for its forcible removal of a passenger from a weekend flight, has spent more than $41 million during the past decade to lobby the federal government, often battling consumer-friendly causes. Questions: 1. What were some of these consumer-friendly causes that United lobbied… Read more »

Something new?

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Amazon.com Inc. has invited the world’s biggest brands to Seattle to persuade them that it’s time to start shipping products directly to online shoppers, thus bypassing chains like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco. Questions: 1. What would be the costs to these brand companies? What would be the benefits? 2. What would be the benefits to… Read more »

Really?

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Commonly called “pay-to-stay” or “private jail,” at least 26 jails in Los Angeles and Orange counties are opening their doors to defendants who can afford the option. This is evolving into a two-tiered justice system that allows people convicted of serious crimes to buy their way into safer and more comfortable jail stays. Questions: 1…. Read more »

Cheap Drinks?

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McDonalds is trying to mix it up. No all-day breakfast but cheap drinks. Will it work? Questions: 1. What are the profit margins on drinks? 2. Who is McDonalds’ CEO? How long has he been there? 3. When does the drink promotion begin? 4. What is happening in the fast-food restaurant industry overall in terms… Read more »

What will be the distributional consequences of this tax overhaul?

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According to Neil Irwin, our current tax system is infinitely complicated and it gives companies incentives to borrow too much money and move operations to countries with lower tax rates. With the House, Senate and presidency all soon to be in Republican hands and with all agreeing that a major tax bill is a top… Read more »

International students save the day at U.S. state universities

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Amid funding shortages, American colleges are turning to international students, who offer a lifeline to cash-strapped U.S. state schools. Questions: 1. How many international students were enrolled in U.S. Universities last year? 2. What percent increase have universities seen in the enrollment of international students since the 2005/2006 school year? 3. Discuss what is happening… Read more »

Venezuela’s Continuing Currency Crisis is Pushing the Country to the Brink of Collapse

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As oil prices drop and hyperinflation encroaches, there have been wide-reaching consequences for the entire population of this country. Questions: 1. What are some of the limitations that citizens must live with? 2. In December, the Venezuelan president announced the withdrawal of the country’s largest banknote from circulation? Why did the government make this move?… Read more »

All I got was a Plaque!

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In April 1967, hamburger lovers in Uniontown, Pa., south of Pittsburgh, met a newer, bigger burger. Introduced by a local McDonald’s, it was called the Big Mac, and for 45 cents it delivered, as a 1970s jingle would have it, “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.” Questions: 1…. Read more »

A new “capital” buffer

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According to Reuters, the Federal Reserve will seek significantly more capital from the largest U.S. banks and give some relief to smaller banks as it considers reforms to its annual ‘stress test. Questions: 1. What is a stress test? 2. How will the proposed reforms mean different things depending on the size of the bank?… Read more »

Solidarity Forever!

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Reversing a landmark ruling from the George W. Bush era, the National Labor Relations Board ruled today that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities have the right to form labor unions. Questions: 1. Where did the original case take place? 2. What universities are excluded from the ruling and… Read more »