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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek 2/13/2017

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
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50 Edities

in deze editie

6 min.
how much room to grow?

The pay-growth puzzle bears on the vitality of the U.S. and this presidency Wall Street economists insisted for months that the labor market couldn’t possibly get tighter without triggering wage inflation. “We are at full employment,” Deutsche Bank Securities headlined a note to clients in October. “Leading indicators of inflation flashing red,” it wrote days later. “On the cusp of full recovery,” Goldman Sachs wrote in December. “Wage inflation continues to gain traction,” JPMorgan Chase economists said in January. Then came February, and Wall Street’s much-anticipated wage pressure was nowhere to be seen. Even though employers added a more-than-expected 227,000 workers in January, average hourly earnings rose just 0.1 percent. Forecasters struggled to make sense of why Americans’ pay had barely risen at all. “What happened with wages?” asked economists at Bank…

2 min.
trump’s ‘big number’ on dodd-frank

At a meeting with small-business leaders on Jan. 30, President Donald Trump pledged to do “a big number” on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Congress passed in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis but which he blames for cutting off the bank lending needed for growth. “It’s almost impossible now to start a small business, and it’s virtually impossible to expand your existing business,” he said. Trump is wrong about small-business starts. Since early 2010, new-business creation has rebounded. But he’s right, albeit with a whiff of exaggeration, that it’s harder to finance and expand a small business than it needs to be. Total bank lending to small businesses has declined by about 6 percent since Dodd-Frank was put in place. Although weak consumer demand…

1 min.
guns for the mentally incompetent

Of all the measures to improve gun safety, background checks are among the most reasonable and popular. House Republicans lost no time on Feb. 2 in voting to weaken them. A bill approved on a mostly party-line vote in the House would rescind a rule on gun background checks that was initiated by the Obama administration in 2012 and finalized in December. President Trump is expected to sign the bill after its likely passage by the Senate. The rule requires the Social Security Administration to submit records to the gun background check system for an estimated 75,000 beneficiaries annually who, because of mental illness, can’t work at all and require a representative to manage their Social Security benefits. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits gun possession by the “mentally defective.” Advocates for…

3 min.
movers

Ups • Shares of Hasbro hit a high after the company reported an 11 percent increase in sales for the holiday quarter. Monopoly and other board games were a bright spot. • One of 2016’s biggest private art deals recently came to light—Oprah Winfrey sold Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II for $150 million, 71 percent above her 2006 purchase price. • Boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. won a coveted job advising Aramco on its coming IPO in Saudi Arabia. At an estimated $100 billion, the deal may be the largest equity sale in history. • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would approve the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline without finishing an environmental assessment ordered by the Obama administration. • Kroger, the largest grocer in the U.S., acquired Murray’s…

6 min.
erdogan’s empire state of mind

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s statue in the main square of Rize, a small town nestled among tea plantations on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, has been gone since December. Rize is the birthplace of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his critics believe the question of what he really wants is finally clear after 15 years of rule: to erase the secular state that Ataturk built from the remains of the Ottoman Empire and to recast the republic in his own, more Islamist image. Using the same top-down methods as Turkey’s founder, Erdogan is remaking the republic as overtly religious, its political ambitions squarely on the former lands of the Ottoman Empire, says Soner Cagaptay, author of The New Sultan, a soon-to-be-published biography of the Turkish president. “Erdogan is the anti-Ataturk Ataturk,” he says. Never…

5 min.
meet venezuela’s new iron-fisted no. 2

19.7 Approval rating of Nicolás Maduro in December, down from 55.2 percent when he was elected in April 2013 Facing economic collapse in his country and anemic public support, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has drafted one of the nation’s most controversial and feared politicians as his vice president. A young star in the socialist party that’s ruled Venezuela for almost two decades, Tareck El Aissami, 42, was governor of Aragua state until Jan. 4, when Maduro tapped him as his chief deputy. The son of Syrian and Lebanese immigrants, El Aissami is under investigation by U.S. authorities for his alleged role in helping Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, gain footholds in Latin America, as well as for drug trafficking and money laundering. He’s viewed by both supporters and critics as cunning and…