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Mark Gongloff is off the newsletter this morning, so today's 7.5 Things are brought to you by Jillian Berman.
Thing One: Super-Rich Super Panic: Rich Americans likely have the most on the line as we near the fiscal cliff, the New York Times notes. Their tax rates would rise under the President's plan or if lawmakers don’t reach a deal.
Some are taking action in advance. The Walton family, which founded Walmart, may save as much $180 million in taxes thanks to the company’s decision to push up its dividend payout to December from January so investors can count the income for this year, according to The New York Times. If Obama and Congress fail to reach a deal this year the tax rate on dividend income could more than double.
But as The NYT notes in a separate article, under Obama’s plan, rich is defined rather broadly. It could mean the super-wealthy Waltons or an individual or small business owner making more than $200,000 per year.
Meanwhile, corporations also stand to lose: More than $150 billion over 10 years in tax breaks, according to the Financial Times. Some business leaders say they would graciously agree to help America by giving up their corporate tax breaks so as long as they come with more complete corporate tax reform next year.
Still, it’s likely what business leaders want the most is for lawmakers to reach a solution. Stock indexes rose to their best day in two months on Monday on optimism that lawmakers would agree to a deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. There’s at least one CEO out there claims he’s willing to give up tax breaks for a solution, NASDAQ head Robert Greifeld said politicians need to worry less about “winning” and admitted that “broadening the tax base” may be necessary to get the necessary deal done.
Thing Two: Walmart's Thanksgiving May Be Ruined: As Walmart’s founders are looking for ways to skirt higher taxes, some of their employees are protesting the company’s decision to make them work on Thanksgiving. More than 30,000 people have already signed an online petition protesting the company’s decision to open on Thanksgiving Day.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that labor officials are trying to decide as soon as possible whether to seek an injunction on behalf of Walmart to stop planned protests at 1,000 of its store locations on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Walmart claims the protests are an illegal disruption of business.
Thing Three: The Twinkie Is Saved: Twinkie enthusiasts calm down, you’ll still be able to relive the tasteless 1950s as often as you’d like. Hostess Brands, the makers of Twinkies, agreed to mediation, with the Bakers Union, the group the company claimed was forcing them to liquidate. But don’t stop hoarding Cup Cakes and Ding Dongs just yet, the company isn’t positive it will reach a solution, a Hostess spokesman told the Financial Times.
The two sides will meet with the bankruptcy judge that ordered the mediation Tuesday in an aim to reach a new contract and save 18,500 jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal. If they can’t reach a deal, Hostess will be able to move forward with its plans to liquidate.
Thing Four: Eurozone Crisis Still Not Over: The European crisis rages on and yes, leaders are still fighting about what exactly to do. European finance ministers are racing to find a fix after deciding last week to give Greece two extra years to cut its budget deficit -- creating a $19 billion hole in the country’s finances and angering the IMF, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, France, one of the region’s stronger economies isn’t faring too well. Moody’s cut the country’s credit rating and slammed President Francois Hollande’s attempts to fix the economy, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Thing Five: Ex-Trader Found Guilty Of Losing Lots Of Money: In the continuing saga of finding others to blame for banks’ risky behavior, ex-UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was convicted of one count of fraud for losing the bank $2.3 billion, according to Reuters. In defending himself Adoboli had said that his managers encouraged him to push the risk limits, adding that his huge loss came “in pursuit of the goals set by our leadership.”
Thing Six: Credit Suisse 2.0: Apparently when one of your rivals cuts 10,000 jobs it makes you consider a few things. Credit Suisse is splitting off its investment bank unit outside Switzerland from its global wealth bank, Swiss investment banking and wealth management units in an aim to meet the “new regulatory reality,” according to the Financial Times. The move comes just a few weeks after rival UBS slashed 10,000 jobs in its investment banking unit. The move will likely keep the bank less vulnerable to the whims of international markets and corporate finance.
The bank might also get another thing added to its plate soon. The New York Attorney General’s office is planning to file a lawsuit against Credit Suisse, alleging that the bank misled investors on the quality of its mortgage-backed securities in the lead up to the financial crisis, according to Reuters.
Thing Seven: People Still Don't Like PCs: The death of the PC claims another victim. Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced yesterday that he’s stepping down from his post early after not successfully shifting the chipmaker from a PC-based business to a mobile business, according to Bloomberg. The unexpected announcement may indicate the depth of the company’s woes, Intel is typically known for careful succession planning and Otellini could have stayed on for another three years, according to the Financial Times.
Thing Seven And A Half: Your Favorite Thanksgiving Moments Revealed: Just two more days for Thanksgiving and the best holiday of the year can’t come soon enough. Here are the 15 best moments of Thanksgiving (many in gif form) via Buzzfeed to get you through these last 48 hours of work.
Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Housing Starts and Building Permits for October
H. J. Heinz
Heard On The Tweets:
Clamato Juice Co: "We, uh, also could shut down at any moment due to a strike. Better stock up, er, now." #Twinkies
— e mcmorris-santoro (@evanmc_s) November 19, 2012
Oh god this means another week of Twinkie stories, doesn't it.
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) November 19, 2012
Let's nip this in the bud, #NBCNews: you do NOT want me guest hosting "Meet The Press." I'd be in over my head!
— Todd Barry (@toddbarry) November 19, 2012
DRUNK HULK NO SCIENTIST! CAN TELL YOU WHAT LABEL SAY! CAN TELL YOU WHAT BIBLE SAY! BUT AGE OF WHISKEY IS MYSTERY!
— DRUNK HULK (@DRUNKHULK) November 19, 2012
“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME! THE PARROT SPOKE!! DON’T LEAVE ME SHARRON! DON’T TAKE THE KIDS!” - Probably the first person to hear a parrot talk.
— Adam Hess (@adamhess1) November 19, 2012
-- Tweets rounded up by Alexis Kleinman.