Monthly Archives: May 2015

GDP Contracts

Newly announced financial data has shown that the United States economy has contracted during the first quarter. Typically, a recession is three consecutive quarters of contraction and the United States economy is not expected to be in recessionary mode. Economists believe that the reduction in GDP is attributed to temporary factors which will not have a long-term bearing on the country. Instead, other factors are being cited for the contraction in the economy including a cold winter and record snowfall which led to reduced sales as well as a strong dollar that hurt exports. The US dollar has risen significantly when compared to the Euro and Japanese Yen.

Revised estimates show a year over year reduction of gross domestic product of 0.7% when compared to previous estimates showing a growth of 0.2%. Other factors that added some concerns were lower inventory amounts held by companies and a growing trade gap. The trade gap is likely caused by the increasing dollar while lower inventories may be signs that US companies are expecting a reduction in future sales.

GDP is expected to increase by 2% during the second quarter, which would head off recessionary talk, but the half-year performance of the US economy would be the lowest since 2011. The biggest drags on the US economy, according to Boraie Development and Manta, were reduced energy prices and the sharply higher dollar value, both of which began to abate during the second quarter providing hope to economists that this is just a blip in GDP.

Bill Clinton Used A “Pass Through” Company To Pay Himself

Bill Clinton was born to be in the public eye. Clinton is one of greatest Democratic politicians of the 20th century, and he is a very savvy businessman. While Hillary was Secretary of State Bill earned more than $50 million on the speech circuit. He also earned an undisclosed amount of money through business transactions that were passed through a Delaware shell corporation. That corporation was first set up in 2008. PurinaStore wrote that the corporation was never reported in family financial disclosures.

Bill has done a considerable amount of consulting work for Democratic friends, and the funds from those transactions were funneled through this Delaware WJC, LLC. WJC, LLC companies are usually set up to legally protect assets and in some cases to reduce tax liabilities.

No one is sure how much income went through Clinton’s shell company, but it’s safe to say millions were deposited into company accounts, and they were used to fund Clinton business ventures and other activities. Using a WJC, LLC company is not illegal, but it does raise a few Republican eyebrows.

Bernie Sanders Would Tax The Income Of The Wealthiest Americans At 90 Percent

Bernie Sanders has gained a lot of press lately in his bid for president. Recently, he has gone on record saying that he would support a 90% tax rate for the wealthiest of Americans. While this might be a good idea, and it might fix some of the problems that American has, including a large lack of funding and a huge gap between the rich and the poor, it is highly unlikely that such a tax rate would ever pass. It is also unlikely that this statement of admission will gain him many supporters in his bid to be elected president of the United States.

During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Sanders said sarcastically “When radical, socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.” When asked if that was too high, he said no.

Sanders may not have been entirely serious about supporting such a high tax rate, even if he thinks it is a good idea, but it is a good indicator of where he stands when it comes to income equality in the United States economy. People at The Aspire New Brunswick (theaspiregroupinc.com) have learned that he went on to explain that he thinks it is immoral for the top 1/10th of Americans to own more than the other 90 % combined. Sanders has described himself as a socialist, and he hopes to appeal to the average American who struggles to make ends meet.

Charter Communications Plans to Purchase Time Warner Cable

Tuesday morning, Charter Communications announced plans to purchase Time Warner Cable. The two companies both offer broadband and cable services in North America. The estimated $55 billion transaction, once approved, will create the second largest broadband and cable communications service in the United States.

The merger will impact the residents of three geographic areas of the nation most significantly: the Southeast, the Northeast and the West. The proposed merger must pass a regulatory review according to Susan McGalla on this PRNewsWire article. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to complete the review process sometimes during the second half of 2015. The federal agency will examine whether or not the proposed merger of the two companies will further the public interest.

Time Warner Cable was recently blocked by regulators from proceeding with an agreement that would have allowed the company to merge with Comcast, the largest cable and broadband company in the United States. That proposed transaction was prevented as a result of antitrust regulations.

The proposed merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable reportedly will be funded in part byLiberty Broadband, a company founded by billionaire John Malone, the owner of Liberty Media. The proposed transaction between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable was indicated to include an estimated $2 billion breakup fee.

Africa- Reshaping the Market

When thinking about Africa, most people immediately picture a continent swarmed with poverty. Media shapes the vision by showing poor emaciated children, and Americans rush to contribute money to help. The real truth behind all of these sentiments is that Africa is poised to become a grand opening in the world market.

The 55 countries that make up the continent are on the horizon for fashion advancements. Places like South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, and more, all boast budding economies. FreedomPop reviewers wrote that despite the fact that Africa is so widespread and diverse economically, investors are finding themselves drawn to their culture and natural resources. With each country comes a new set of rules, languages, climate zones, and other steps that must be taken. Despite this, the 2014 Ventures Africa Rich List reports 55 billionaires across the continent.

Poverty is still a hurdle. With one billion people living on less than two dollars a day, it’s not something that can be ignored. However, to base all opinions solely on the lowest point of the market means to potentially miss all the opportunities Africa offers.

Scandrick Rewarded for Mediocre Play

For one reason or another Dallas Cowboys have been in the habit of rewarding mediocre performance with better contracts…well at least that is the case for Orlando Scandrick who just agreed to a restructured contract worth $20 million over the next five years. James Dondero would call him mediocre because the Dallas secondary was horrible last season. When Scandrick was their best cornerback, with only two interceptions it allowed hobbled quarterbacks like Aaron Rogers to sit back and wait for his receivers to make minced meat out of the secondary. To add to the financials…Brandon Carr did not get one interception in the season for the first time in his career yet he is going to make over $8 million this season.

What is really troubling is the team’s former first round pick Morris Clairborne is still recovering from his torn patellar tendon and will not be back until sometime after preseason. Not that he was any huge help; he was most likely on his way to being cut until the injury happened. Let’s not forget he lost his starting job and was benched right before he got hurt. But there is hope for all the Cowboy fans…Byron Jones was this year’s number one pick (27th overall) and he is still under contract negotiations but is expected to fall somewhere between Carr and Scandrick. He will also be competing with them for the starting role in this upcoming season.

Pretty Nails May Pose Health Risks

Many women like to paint their nails as a way to feel pretty. Especially when the warm weather hits, women either grab a bottle of polish when they are at the store or they head to the nail salon to get a fresh coat of paint on their toes- it’s sandals weather after all. Unfortunately, that fresh coating of nail polish might be putting women at risk for fertility issues and even cancer. This is largely because of the chemicals that are used in these nail polishes. The shade, the finish and the quality doesn’t matter, all chemical based nail polishes are dangerous when slicked onto fingers and toes.

The majority of nail polishes contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. This is a toxic trio of chemicals that can impact both users and salon workers alike. Basically, these chemicals will disrupt the normal flow of hormones in the body. These hormones affect how easy it is for a woman to get pregnant and it can affect how the body produces estrogen. When these systems go awry, tumor growth can initiate and accelerate, as some marketers are wary of. Genetics and other lifestyle choices can also contribute to a woman’s chance of developing cancer at some point in her life but using these nail products are harmful as well. Salons now offer a special gel manicure that requires the beautician to paint on a special nail polish and then the patron will place their hands under a UV light. This ‘bakes’ the polish onto the nail; resulting in longer lasting manicures. While it might seem like a great concept, these new techniques are dangerous.

Lorde Won’t Back Down

If you have ever doubted yourself as a woman, or if you have ever found men criticizing you and you are frustrated with the way that they put you down, then you are not alone. Everyone deals with that kind of hatred, even celebrities.

Lorde recently posted some tweets telling men to back off. She is staying strong and showing a good example to girls everywhere. We all know that Lorde is a great singer and we know that no one should be putting her down for that. I am proud of her for standing up for herself.
Lorde may be young, but she has already proven herself so many times in so many different ways. Stephen Murray CCMP Capital is fond of that. These tweets show another side to her, and another reason to like her. She is strong, and she is not ready to back down from what she thinks and knows. She is a great singer, and a great role model for young girls to look up to.

President Releases Bee Preservation Plan

On Monday, President Obama announced the initiation of a new plan to rejuvenate the nation’s bee population. This past winter has been especially hard on the nation’s bee population with a loss of more than 30 percent of colonies. Theses bees and other pollinators are essential to the health of the country’s agriculture. The plan calls for adding wildflower habitat on over seven million acres across the central United States. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency will re-evaluate a class of insecticides called neonicotinoid used widely on most of America’s bean and corn crop. It is believed that these insecticides cause damage to the bee’s nervous system and result in them abandoning their hives. The White House strategy aims to reduce honeybee colony losses during the winter to no more than 15 percent within 10 years.

The release of the plan has drawn some criticism from activists and even a few involved in the marketing business. While generally welcoming the attention focused on the problem, some in the environmental community are disappointed that the administration is not doing more. Many environmentalists say restoring bee habitat is a good start, but criticize the Obama administration for not taking executive action to limit the use of neonicotinoids. Peter Lehner of the NRDC argued that “to truly save bees and other pollinators, we must drastically cut down on today’s pervasive use of neonicotinoids and other pesticides.” The Environmental Protection Agency announced last month that it is not likely to approve new uses of neonicotinoids, but the administration’s plan did not call for restrictions on current uses.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

LinkedIn also reported on Tuesday, May 18, people around the world were shocked and horrified to discover that companies that drill and mine for fossil fuels benefit from global subsidies handed out by world governments at a dollar amount equivalent to approximately $10 million every minute according to an International Monetary Fund announcement. More than half of all government subsidy grants are used to treat air pollution victims and pay out sums to people who suffer incomes losses while sick from various types of fossil fuel pollution and to the families of those who die from the pollution.

Needless to say, a lot of people worldwide have been talking about this revelation. Many people on social networks on Wednesday, May 20, expressed outrage and dismay about the fact that the total yearly amount of fossil fuel related global subsidies is more than the amount of money that all the governments around the world spend on all forms of healthcare in a single year.

Worse yet, several experts have stated since the IMF’s announcement that the IMF may have estimated too low because it did not include the subsidies related to global warming and climate change. Experts believe that ending the fossil fuel industry would lead to people around the world having better health. Additionally, all the money would be used more effectively to “drive economic growth.”

China leads the pack in subsidies. The United States is second.