In Texas, being in construction means you probably are undocumented and you probably are being paid little or nothing at all (seriously).While construction used to be a career path for the handy wanting a middle class life, nowadays construction companies cannot stay in business unless they use cheap and illegal workers.This critical mass of eager, mostly Hispanic workers means it's possible for a family from New York or California to move to Texas and buy a brand new, five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home for $160,000.
Eli Lehrer with a guest post on the reasons we should end farm subsidies
The 2014 White House budget includes some real cuts in farm subsidies, including to the absolutely absurd Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program. As Justin Green points out, this is a good thing. But it’s also long overdue.Direct payments came into being in 1996, originally as an effort to wean farmers off of direct government subsides altogether. The Class of ’94 Republicans that engineered the shift promised the program would end in 2002.
We can't even.
Fake businessmen, meet fake currency. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins made famous by Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, are back in the news for having amassed a fortune in the online currency Bitcoin. In the past year, the brothers, most famous for unsuccessfully suing Mark Zuckerberg for his Facebook fortunes, have built one of the largest stockpiles of the e-currency, amounting to roughly $11 million. As a result of Bitcoin’s success (and despite a recent spate of negative press), other investors like venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz are now investing in their own digital currencies.
It's fun to blame Ron Johnson, but it's doubtful that anyone else could have saved the ailing retailer.
This week, JC Penney's board fired the firm's CEO: Ron Johnson, the former retail genius who bought you the Apple Store. The post-mortems have been pretty brutal. Johnson seemed to think that what worked for Apple would work for JC Penney: he canceled sales and tried to lure buyers instead with specialized in-store boutiques and similar buzzy fare. This was pretty much entirely disastrous. "Always low prices" works for Wal-Mart because it is, far and away, the low cost supplier of pretty much everything it sells, and for Apple because it sells a product that can't be bought at a discount anywhere.
Markets it to teens.
Who knew financial literacy was one of Justin Bieber’s many talents? Despite regulators’ widespread criticism of the prepaid-debit-card industry, Bieber and SpendSmart Payments Co. have launched a card for teenagers that they say will teach Beliebers how to manage their money with parental oversight. Bieber is being paid $3.75 million for promoting the card through a series of videos on his various social platforms.
Due to unspecified technical problem.
Spoiler alert: as long as viewers can see the blood, they can probably get the plot of Django Unchained. China allegedly pulled Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-nominated film Thursday, the day of its premiere in the country, due to an unspecified technical problem. It was an unexpected move, considering that the film's most violent scenes had already been cut by China’s rigorous censors. “We had high hopes about the film yesterday,” said Tian Zaixing, the general manager of a movie theater in Kunming. Photographer Xue Yutao said he was one minute into the movie at a Beijing theater when employees walked in and shut it off.
There’s been no grand bargain. And you’ll never get deficit hawks to admit it. But in four years Obama has presided over a remarkable deficit reduction, says Daniel Gross.
This is the Golden Age of deficit reduction. Really.You wouldn’t know it if you listen to the professional deficit hawks, who have plowed hundreds of millions of dollars and countless op-eds into a fruitless effort to drive a grand bargain on taxes and spending. But it is. Policy is nobody’s idea of optimal. But nonetheless the gridlock of the past few years has produced spending restraint and higher tax rates. President Obama has proposed more of both in the budget he released on Wednesday.
Obama’s new fiscal proposal isn’t all about chained CPI. From algae-powered ships to a rendezvous with an asteroid, see five of the most exciting science and tech projects in the plan.
President Obama’s new budget proposal is a mostly modest document, mostly emphasizing modest trims and reducing inefficiencies. But if you dig deep enough, there are a handful of exciting science and technology projects in there, including NASA’s plan to capture an asteroid and haul it to the moon. The Daily Beast rounds up five of the most interesting projects.Lasso an Asteroid!NASA gets $78 million to start working on a plan to capture a small asteroid and move it into the moon’s orbit, where scientists can study it and eventually (Obama’s goal is 2025) visit in person.
President Obama’s new budget contains sensible proposals for public investment and tax reform. But it still falls victim to the needless politics of austerity.
Meat Loaf famously said that “two out of three ain’t bad.” By this standard, President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, released Wednesday, ain’t bad. It certainly makes more sense than most of what passes for serious fiscal discussion in Washington. But it doesn’t do all that is necessary to boost U.S. growth—now or in the future.The best economic-growth plan would be built around three elements: an ambitious public-investment agenda; serious measures to broaden the tax base and pare entitlement benefits for well-to-do retirees—not for now, but over the long term; and reforms to resolve festering issues from the 2008 financial meltdown.
Currency is liquid. Bitcoins aren't.
My friend Tim Lee says that critics of Bitcoin need to do a better job of explaining why bitcoins--the virtual currency that has been soaring to impressive heights--are in a bubble. Tim writes:When people dismiss Bitcoins because they can’t think of how they’d use it, they’re missing the fact that Bitcoin is a platform, not a product in its own right. When ordinary users started buying computers, it wasn’t because they thought it would be cool to own a computer.
International Business Times
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International Business Times
After a University of Massachusetts student found significant errors in a study beloved by budget cutters world over by Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, Stephen Colbert does what he does best -- leaves them in the dust.
Paying a living wage comes at a cost, but it can help the bottom line, says Charney, who... More
Years of abuses at Ranbaxy raise worries about the FDA's oversight of the generics market