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No Soft Landing for a 'Hard Brexit'

In a historic vote, the House of Commons in the United Kingdom decided decisively against a plan for exiting the European Union. Members of Parliament voted 432 to 202 to reject Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, marking one of the largest margins of defeat in recent British history, with even many of her own Conservative party members voting against her plan. The following day, May faced, and survived, a challenge to her leadership in a no-confidence vote. For more than two years,...


One Man’s $100 Billion Vision for the Future

Tech companies are rapidly shaping our lives — often in ways we do not even realize. Artificial intelligence and automation are transforming sectors from manufacturing to transportation to real estate. One of the people creating that future is Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank. In 2016, through the company, Son launched the $100 billion Vision Fund. According to a report from Bloomberg, that was greater than the entire US venture capital industry in...


Wall Street’s Automated Turmoil

After reaching records highs last year, the stock market went south in the final months of 2018. In the end, it was the worst year for markets since the 2008 crisis and the worst December since 1931. And the tumult is carrying over into the first week of trading in 2019. What exactly is causing the turmoil? The government shutdown, rising interest rates, and unresolved trade tensions are all contributing to the ups and downs, but one reason for the triple point drops might have to do with...


Malaysian '1MDB' Scandal And Goldman Sachs

On the other side of the globe, a corruption scandal has been rocking Malaysia for years involving a multi-billion government fund from which billions of dollars have gone missing. The fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, was supposed to fund government-backed infrastructure projects, but investigators say it was instead used for the personal benefits of individuals, including the country's previous prime minister, Najib Razak. The money was allegedly used to buy a number...


Monopolies, Tech, and 'The Curse of Bigness'

It's a been a tough couple of years for technology companies. Facebook, Google, Twitter and others have faced criticism on many fronts, from accusations of bias to privacy concerns. Leaders of these companies have been called before Congress to testify about their businesses, most recently this week, when Google's CEO Sundar Pichai answered questions from members of the House Judiciary Committee. Underlying those concerns is the realization that tech companies have become so big, powerful...


Money and Art (But Whose Money?)

Last week's clash between U.S. law enforcement and Central American migrants along the border with Mexico took place thousands of miles from New York. But the controversy surrounding the conflict found its way to New York City through an unlikely place: the Whitney Museum. Two days after the event, the arts news site Hyperallergic reported that Warren B. Kanders, one of the museum’s top board members, owns Safariland, the company that made the tear gas used on the border. In response to...


Trump Talks Trade With China at G20

This weekend, President Trump will be in Argentina for a G20 summit which will include a dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meeting comes after months of escalating tariffs on Chinese goods imported to the U.S. But that simmering trade fight may come to a truce — or at least, a pause — as the president is reportedly feeling concerned about the long-term state of the U.S. economy. Though the American economy is generally strong, the stock market has had a rough few weeks and the...


Is New York's Deal With Amazon Worth the Money?

It's the talk of the towns. After a 14-month search, Amazon says it will have two new East Coast headquarters: one in Arlington, Virginia and the other in New York City. In each city, the company says it expects to create 25,000 jobs. But the expansion comes with a hefty price tag. In New York, the company has options to receive up to $3 billion in tax credits, abatements and capital grants from the city and state in return for building a new complex in Long Island City, Queens. These...


What a Blue House Does to Trump’s Economy

This Tuesday's election didn't quite end with the big, blue wave Democrats might have hoped for. But the flip from red to blue in the House of Representatives will change the political landscape and could affect fiscal policies. From financial regulations to trade to consumer protections to infrastructure spending — they’re all issues Democrats have been wanting to tackle following changes put in place by the Trump administration over the past two years. For example, California...


Wall Street's October Surprise

Within a hectic news cycle ahead of the midterm elections, a big story has emerged from Wall Street: October has turned out to be one of the worst months for the U.S. markets since the financial crisis ten years ago. Stocks plummeted and most of the gains of 2018 have been erased in a few short weeks. That all happened in the immediate run-up to Election Day. Knowing that people tend to vote their pocketbooks, how will a turbulent time on Wall Street play out in the voting booth? And should...


Alternative to the Almighty Dollar?

For decades, the American dollar has been the international currency of choice for investors, for markets and even for other governments: Saudi oil, gold from China —it's all traded in dollars. But some recent developments indicate that the long-running supremacy of the dollar isn’t guaranteed. According to a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek, China is challenging the dollar with a crude oil futures contract denominated in yuan, Russia cut its holdings in U.S. currency and, most...


Tangled Relations: Saudi Arabia, Trump and U.S. Businesses

The disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi after visiting an embassy of Saudi Arabia in Turkey has brought renewed attention to what’s been true for years: the United States — and its president — has an important, and extremely complicated, relationship with Saudi Arabia. In recent years, U.S. businesses have developed even deep connections to the Middle Eastern country. Now, in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s disappearance, CEOs of some of the largest financial firms...


Cities Want Amazon. But Is HQ2 a Good Deal?

By the end of this year, Amazon says it will choose the city where it will build the company's second North American headquarters. Since it announced the project, cities across the country have jumped at the chance to host the mega-office. Now, Amazon has whittled the list of contenders down to 20, including New York City and Newark, N.J. The campus, wherever it lands, will be a big prize. Amazon says it will bring 50,000 employees earning high median incomes in addition to $5 billion in...


The Cost of the Office? Trump's Billion-Dollar Loss

Nearly 20 years ago, Donald Trump famously told Fortune magazine that he could run for president and make money doing it. "It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it," he said in the 2000 interview. But now that he's president, the story is looking a bit different. A report from Forbes magazine this week concluded that the presidency has not enriched Trump overall: Measuring Trump's net worth before he announced his run for the...


Modernizing the Music Business for the Streaming Era

Amid an atmosphere of intense political partisanship, a rare and remarkable thing happened in Washington this week: Both parties came together to solve a problem — in this instance, in the music world. With music streaming on the rise, lawmakers hammered out legislation that will update copyright laws and create a new licensing system for streaming services in an effort to bring the music business into the 21st Century. The legislation, known as the Music Modernization Act, (renamed the...


The Case for ‘Medicare for All’

This election season, many leading Democrats have come out in favor of "Medicare for All," the single-payer health care plan from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The bill, which two years ago hardly had any support, is now popular with about a third of the Senate Democratic caucus, including many rumored 2020 presidential candidates. It also got a big boost from the most famous Democrat of all: former president Barack Obama, who said recently "Democrats aren’t just running on good, old...


The Financial Crisis and the Boom in U.S. Oil Production

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15, 2008. It was an event that set off a downward spiral in the American markets and ultimately led to a global recession. Leading up to the anniversary, there’s been a lot of reflecting about what happened and what, if anything, has changed. There's also been a lot of analysis about how the recession had many unexpected responses, like the rise of the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street and the...


Congress Considers Reining in Big Tech

Silicon Valley is back in Washington, D.C. Executives from the two of nation's leading tech companies — CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg — went to Congress this week to face questions from lawmakers about their efforts to prevent foreign influence in our elections and to respond to charges of bias against conservatives. It’s not the first time Congress has grilled tech executives in an attempt to untangle the effect of social media on democracy; Facebook founder Mark...


'Taking Tesla Private' Creates Public Mess

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has had a rough year. His effort to get a relatively affordable electric car, the Model 3, to a mass market has been rocky. Profitability has been an ongoing issue. And his own sometimes bizarre behavior has gotten the attention of both gossip blogs and investors betting against the success of the company. Amid a tumultuous time for Tesla, Musk sent out a tweet that sent investors scrambling: He had a plan to take the company private, and funding to back it up. An...


Can a Bull Market Beat a Blue Wave?

For a long time now, the economy has been doing quite well, thank you very much. Job growth is up, unemployment is near a 50-year low and the stock market has been on a bullish climb for more than 10 years — nearly the longest stretch in its history by some accounts. All that good economic news has the Trump administration pleased. The president’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow boasted that the White House’s policies — including protectionist tariffs, tax cuts and loosening of regulations —...