Science has determined that people need to know 7.5 things per day, on average, about the world of business. You can't argue with science. Lucky for you, the Huffington Post has an email newsletter, delivered first thing every weekday morning, boiling down the day's biggest business news into the 7.5 things you absolutely need to know. And we're giving it away free, because we love you, and also science. Here you go:
Thing One: Timmah Takes The Wheel: Because he has done such a great job at the Treasury Department, Tim Geithner's last task before he heads out of Washington, to write his memoirs or "work" at Citigroup or whatever, will be to save America from the fiscal cliff.
President Obama has tapped Geithner to lead negotiations with Congress over the $600 billion or so in tax increases and spending cuts looming next year, the Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta reports. Geithner and Congress got off to a fairly rocky start back in 2009, Paletta notes, but now they're both totally comfortable with each other because Geithner has only testified on Capitol Hill a bajillion times, so he is perfect for leading the negotiations, apparently. Also, Paletta notes that Geithner's mentor was Robert Rubin, the deficit-obsessed Wall Street shill, so what could possibly go wrong? Aside from the dismantling of the social safety net to spare the wealthy? Other than that, no worries.
And thank goodness the steady hand of Tim Geithner is arriving on the scene, because fiscal-cliff talks have gone nowhere, because everybody in Washington closed up shop and went home for Thanksgiving, Reuters writes. Why does Thanksgiving hate America? There is still a wide partisan gulf over the issue of taxes, the Washington Post writes. Republicans seemingly refuse to entertain the idea of raising tax rates on the wealthy, preferring instead the Mitt Romney/Underpants Gnome plan of cutting tax rates and closing imaginary loopholes, because we have already forgotten about the election we had about that very issue earlier this month. Will Tim Geithner remember?
Obama is not just relying on Geithner. He is also trying to drum up support from his voters, the New York Times writes. And he's got Warren Buffett taking to the op-ed pages of the New York Times to state the glaringly obvious: Higher tax rates on the wealthy are not going to wreck the economy. Obama is also getting an assist from investors, who Bloomberg notes continue to buy up Treasury bonds, keeping interest rates low and offering a counter to what Paul Krugman points out is the Phantom Menace of the deficit hawks: Bond investors are probably not going to start panicking and driving up interest rates any time soon. Unfortunately, given the lurking influence of Robert Rubin in the brain of Obama's chief deficit negotiator, this message might be lost.
Thing Two: UBS Gets Bill For Rogue Trader: Britain's top bank regulator, the Financial Services Authority, has hit Swiss bank UBS with a $47.6 million fine over its failure to get a grip on a "rogue" trader that lost more than $2 billion last year. Remember, a rogue trader is one who loses money. A rogue trader who makes money is called a "managing director." Anyway, these and other bank shenanigans are causing global bank regulators to give some serious consideration to maybe reining in bank behavior, the Financial Times writes. What's the hurry? Switzerland's bank regulator is already giving serious thought to making UBS hold more capital, Reuters writes.
Thing Three: Hopefully The First And Last Thing I Will Write About Black Friday: So, Black Friday has now turned into Cyber Monday, which comes just ahead of Suicide Tuesday in our cavalcade of stupidest American days. How did it go? Oh, OK, you know, relatively few tramplings. Sales were pretty OK, the Wall Street Journal writes, but not as strong as last year's. Early sales may have undercut Black Friday sales, the New York Times writes. Online sales hit $1 billion for the first time, Reuters writes, as hopefully we are slowly all coming to realize that cramming into stores on Black Friday is a monstrous, stupid tradition that we can all avoid. It's easy if you try.
Thing Four: Europe Very, Very Close To Figuring Out Greece: If it's Monday, it must be time for euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund to haggle over how and when they are going to give Greece its next round of bailout money, Reuters writes. Unlike the past 592 negotiations over Greece, there is maybe some room for long-term optimism this time, because Germany's finance minister hinted that Germany just maybe could forgive some of Greece's debt to it. Of course, he reneged on that right away, but it was a hopeful sign, Reuters writes.
Thing Five: How Does It Feel, Canada: Throughout the financial crisis and Great Recession, Canada was always doing just fine because it hadn't gorged on cheap debt and because it was raking in the cash from sweet, sweet commodities. But now that the rest of the world is struggling toward recovery, Canada is suddenly not feeling so hot. Commodity prices have stopped soaring, and Canadians, ignoring the example of the rest of the world, created their own little leveraged housing boom that is not working out so well, the Wall Street Journal writes. Before you break out the schadenfreude, Americans, remember that Canada is the biggest U.S. trading partner.
Thing Six: Betting On A China Rebound: Another wobbly giant economy, China, seems to be getting back on its feet, and investors are naturally losing their minds to bet their life savings on it, Reuters points out. Investor enthusiasm about China is at a three-year high, and money is pouring into China investment funds -- but China is not nearly out of the woods yet, Reuters warns.
Thing Seven: SAC Of Troubles: Mathew Martoma, a former fund manager at the giant hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, makes an appearance in court today to face charges that he used insider information to net $276 million in trades on drug-company stocks. He has denied wrongdoing, as has his former boss, secretive SAC chief Steven Cohen, who has not been charged with anything and will be played by Richard Dreyfuss in the movie version. But this latest cast of the federal government's wide insider-trading dragnet has come perilously close to the SAC chief.
Thing Seven And One Half: Bluth Family Values: I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving with your family, and I hope your family was as entertaining as the Bluth family, whose values are exemplified by these 15 GIFs rounded up by Uproxx.
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Calendar Du Jour:
Heard On The Tweets:
5th grader notes irony of going out and buying lots of stuff on the day after we give thanks for what we have.
— Bob Ivry (@bobivry) November 23, 2012
Notre Dame vs SEC Winner is college football's Iran-Iraq War. Desperate desire to see both sides lose. Grim.
— alexmassie (@alexmassie) November 25, 2012
I have a feeling there aren't a lot of people around Chris Brown giving him honest feedback.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) November 26, 2012
Airline passengers should have to chant the name of their destination city for the entire flight.
— John Mulaney (@mulaney) November 24, 2012
Yankee Candle Xmas scents: Gingerbread 'n Tears, Santa Forgot to Flush, Tree Fire, Cinnamon Schnapps Relapse, and Manger Stank.
— Jocelyn Plums (@FilthyRichmond) November 26, 2012
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