After signing the Wall Street reform bill they co-wrote into law on July 21, 2010, President Barack Obama congratulates Sens. Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank. Win McNamee/Getty Images On July 15, 2010, the U.S. Senate voted 60-39 to approve the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The bill -- representing the most sweeping financial restrictions since the Great Depression -- gives Congress the right to break up corrupt banks and other financial institutions, eliminates proprietary trading, and ends the practice of bailing out banks in trouble. In other words, it increases oversight of the financial industry in an effort to prevent the kinds of practices that many believe have led to -- or worsened -- the financial crisis. But what about the average Joe (or Jane) with 2.5 kids, a car and a mortgage? After all, regular people have also felt the effects of everything from corrupt lending practices to policies that work in businesses' favor while … [Read more...] about What’s the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection?
Retail industry benchmarks financial ratios
Some engines are super-efficient, thanks to their engineers playing with a little thing called compression ratio. See pictures of car engines. Duangkamon Khattiya/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images Have you noticed the wave of cars with great gas mileage hitting the market? The Mazda3 with the SkyActiv engine can get 42 miles per gallon (17.9 kilometers per liter). The Chevrolet Cruze Eco can get 40 miles per gallon (17 kilometers per liter), and the Hyundai Elantra can too. And get this: Even though these cars get some of the best gas mileage in the industry, they're not using gasoline-electric hybrid technology, alternative fuels or other green tricks. They're powered by the old-fashion internal combustion engine. So what makes their fuel economy so good? Their engines are super-efficient, thanks to their engineers playing with a little thing called compression ratio. Your basic car engine works by turning chemical energy from a controlled explosion of the mixture of air, … [Read more...] about What’s the connection between compression ratio and fuel economy?
The sale of recreational marijuana has been legal in California for just shy of a year now, and the dreams of what many imagined would become a wildly successful venture for growers, sellers, and everyone involved have seemingly gone up in smoke. The Los Angeles Times reports that retailers and growers are feeling the burn from a complex system of regulations, high taxes, and the large number of cities within the state that have decided to outright ban cannabis shops. Add to that the residents of many cities who consider marijuana businesses to be nuisances, those who voice their concerns in city council meetings and courtrooms—as well as the unregulated black market that refuses to go away—and you have a problematic concentration of weeds that stunt the growth of any entrepreneurial seed that may be planted. Dale Gieringer, director of the pro-legalization group California NORML, told the Times: “The cannabis industry is being choked by California’s penchant … [Read more...] about Recreational Marijuana in California Did Not Turn Out to be the Cash Crop the State and the Cannabis Industry Expected
Coal miners shake hands with U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 16, 2017, before he repealed a rule enacted by President Barack Obama to protect waterways from coal mining waste. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images In March 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to dismantle a regulatory plan that would have closed hundreds of aging coal-powered electrical plants to curb greenhouse gas emissions. "You know what this says?" Trump said to coal miners whom he'd invited to the event, according to a New York Times account. "You're going back to work." Trump is hardly the first American politician to champion coal mining employment. In the ongoing national conversation about the United States economy and the best way to build prosperity, saving coal jobs comes up again and again. That may be because mining so aptly symbolizes the gritty might of the industrial-era smokestack economy, as well as the American ideal of earning a … [Read more...] about U.S. Politicians Prioritize Coal Mining Jobs Above Other Industries, Despite Data
A lot of people give gift cards as presents during the winter holidays. Starbucks, for example, sold almost 2.5 million gift cards in the U.S. and Canada on Christmas Eve in 2014. Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images The Wall Street Journal revealed on June 1 that Starbucks holds as much money for its customers as a bank — and not even a small bank. Starbucks gift cards and mobile debit accounts stored $1.2 billion in customer funds during the first quarter of 2016. According to Shane Ferro on the Huffington Post, "that amount of deposits would make it a respectable midsize institution." Industry numbers put it somewhere between The Bancorp ($2.68 billion) and Mercantile Bank ($680 million). Starbucks has pretty much mastered the prepaid realm. On Christmas Eve 2014, Starbucks sold almost 2.5 million gift cards in the U.S. and Canada alone. The company says one in seven Americans received a Starbucks card for the holidays that year. It's "Starbucks' secret sauce," writes … [Read more...] about The Secret Life of the Gift Card Industry