Mixed issues

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According to the Washington Post, many small companies tied to the housing market are seeing a slowdown in business, one that’s forecast to continue well into 2020. Questions: How much did the sales of existing homes fall during September? How has the median sales price for a home changed since a year ago? How long… Read more »

White House Blues

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According to the Washington Post, there is discussion among senior White House officials to advance a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to limit the economic slowdown forecast by economists. Questions: When and how much was the last payroll tax cut and why was it made? Payroll tax cuts add dramatically to the deficit… Read more »

Exploitation of Migrants in France

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According to the New York Times, Parisian food-delivery couriers are exploiting desperate migrants as gig workers. Questions: What is the London-based platform similar to Uber eats? How large is the food-delivery industry in terms of Euros? Why is this exploitation and what percentage of earnings do courier brokers usually take of earnings from chat apps?… Read more »

Losing Foothold

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According to the New York Times, in recent years, the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967. Questions: 1. Explain some of the reasons why this is happening. 2. What is… 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 »

Walmart Adds to the Woes of Small Town America

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WalMart recently made the decision to close over a hundred stores at once in rural towns across America. In many cases, competitors were forced out of business by the WalMart stores, so now these rural towns are left without grocery stores or shopping options that are many miles away. Questions: 1. According to the article,… Read more »

Chinese Exodus of Capital

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With the Chinese economy tanking, more and more wealthy families are trying to move large sums of money out of the country. As Mr. Bradsher notes in this article, “some methods are perfectly legal, like investing in real estate elsewhere, buying businesses overseas and paying off debts owed in dollars. Others, like Smurfing, are more… Read more »

Pop Goes the Bubble!

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According to the New York Times, the drop in oil prices are dimminishing one of the few big bright spots that banks have enjoyed since the financial crisis. The reason is that banks have been experiencing a lending boom to companies in the nation’s energy industry. Questions: 1. Which banking group has the greatest investment… Read more »

Royal Fraud?

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Spain’s Princess Cristina was questioned in court over whether she and her husband illegally used company funds for personal expenses, including lavish parties at their modernist Barcelona mansion. Her her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, former Olympic handball medalist turned businessman, is accused of defrauding regional governments of millions of euros of public money. Questions: 1. Summarize… Read more »

Fun with Words: Does Rightsizing Make You Feel Better Than Being Fired?

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As the language of layoffs continues to evolve, David Gillen and Will Storey question whether or not you can really sugar-coat being fired. Questions: 1. According to Geoffrey Nunberg from U.C. Berkley, where does the term “you’re fired” really come from? 2. What are the three categories that Nunberg says are associated with the language… Read more »