It’s all about taxes, friends. Taxes, and holding on to as much cash as possible, however possible, and whatever the consequences. Daniel Gross on the continuing insanity of the GOP-CEO lovefest.
Are the Republicans finally losing big business?Not yet.On Wednesday, a group of Wall Street chief executive officers came to Washington to meet at the White House. At the end of the meeting, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein obliquely took Republicans to task. “Individual members of our group represent every point on the political spectrum,” Blankfein said. “But the one thing they have in common is: You can litigate these policy issues, you can relitigate these policy issues in a public forum, but they shouldn’t use the threat of causing the U.
Over insider trading case.
If the SEC was looking for a public showdown, it picked the right target. The SEC is currently in court opposite Mark Cuban, the billionaire tech entrepreneur and brash owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban is charged with insider trading over a 2004 stock transaction in an Internet company. He faces a fine of around $2 million, which for a man worth $2.5 billion is a pittance. But Cuban refuses to settle and admit to wrongdoing, and the SEC has recently been lashed in the press for settling cases too swiftly and without defendants’ admitting wrongdoing. Already making headlines for attempting to charm the jury and accusing an SEC employee of targeting him for a film he made critical of President Bush, Cuban will definitely make this a winner for the tabloids.
Instead of spending money in the gift store on a replica, fans of the iconic building can now own a portion.
This gives a whole new meaning to owning a piece of history.The Empire State Building, the most photographed location in the world, has gone public.Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., which owns the Empire State Building as well over a dozen other buildings, raised $929.5 million by selling 71.5 million shares at $13 on the New York Stock Exchange, making it one of the largest IPOs for a real estate investment trust (REIT). These shares represent roughly 35 percent of the company.
Here's another recovering sector of the economy to add to the list of those affected by the shutdown—auto manufacturers.
By Paul EisensteinFederal workers furloughed as a result of Washington's budget impasse could catch a bit of a break, at least if they own a Hyundai, the Korean maker offering to defer all auto loan and lease payments for owners who are, for now, out of work.The shutdown of all but essential government offices will impact more than 800,000 federal workers. It's unclear just how many of those might now have to defer plans to buy a new car, but auto industry officials are warning the federal shutdown could have a significant impact on what had been a strong recovery of the U.
Say presence blocks change.
Three of Microsoft’s 20 top investors are pushing for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the board, 38 years after he co-founded the company. The as-for-now anonymous shareholders—who hold over 5 percent of the $277 billion company’s stock—worry that Gates’s position could limit the ability to take Microsoft in a new direction. Gates currently owns about 4.5 percent of Microsoft’s stock, but sells around 80 million shares a year and will be all sold out by 2018. In the last half-decade, he has increased his philanthropic role with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, vaccinating children, lifting people out of poverty, etc. Not a bad way to retire.
Will concentrate on his own line.
After 16 years, Marc Jacobs closed what will likely be his last show for Louis Vuitton with this note in the program: “For Robert Duffy and Bernard Arnault: All My Love, Always.” It’s an even deeper message: Jacobs is reportedly leaving Louis Vuitton to focus on his own label. Although there hasn’t been a public announcement, Jacobs reportedly confirmed on Wednesday the rumor backstage at the spring 2014 show in Paris. The show, Jacobs’s “goodbye” show, featured an “ode to Paris and all the people I have been involved with and work with,” Jacobs said.
After three decades at ABC.
Say goodbye to George Stephanopolous, and hello to Bret Baier. George Will, called the “most powerful journalist in America” by The Wall Street Journal, is heading to Fox News after three decades at ABC, Fox News confirmed on Tuesday. Will has been a panelist on This Week since the show premiered in the early 1980s, but the show’s taping in New York the majority of the time had become too much of a strain for Will, who lives in Washington. He also writes a syndicated column that appears in 475 newspapers, and once served as a contributing editor to Newsweek magazine. He has also written several books.
Collected user data through Gmail and Street View.
It turns out this charming story of seeing a dead relative on Google Street View might not be so charming after all. Google has been accused of wiretapping, in two separate cases that have been merged into one massive lawsuit. One lawsuit focuses on targeted ads in Gmail, which the plaintiffs say is a breach of privacy and wiretapping laws—and, as a class action lawsuit, Google could be responsible for fines to half a billion worldwide users. The case could also present long-term consequences for Yahoo and Microsoft. San Francisco Judge Lucy Koh (the same one who, in a separate case, asked an Apple lawyer if he was “smoking crack”) on Thursday denied nearly every one of Google’s motions to dismiss.
Travel is a big business, and it just tanked. Daniel Gross on how the shutdown could wreak havoc on a key part of the U.S. economy. (In other news, this selfie stick is a thing.)
On the mall in Washington yesterday morning, World War II vets stormed the shuttered World War II monument. In New York, the Statue of Liberty was closed. The South Dakota state government is trying to keep Mount Rushmore open. Campers in glorious Yosemite have been given 48 hours to get out.The anecdotes from government-run parks and tourist states are symbolic, and make for good images of the real-world impact of a government shutdown. (There are certain upsides, of course.
When the U.S. will run out of borrowed money.
Since the government is so good at deadlines, the Treasury just set another one: Oct. 17. That's the date the nation's debt limit is set to exceed $16.7 trillion, according to Secretary Jacob Lew. On Tuesday, Lew sent a warning to Congress that in little more than two weeks, the Treasury will run out of borrowed money, which, by law, cannot be exceeded. He requested an increase of the limit, and noted the department has already taken the final measures to extend borrowing.
With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.
The celebrity chef told a court that she had dabbled with drugs but that her bullying ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, spread rumors about a daily drug habit to “destroy” her.