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: Corporate Profits Booming Under Yoke Of Socialism, Fascism: Give yourself a hand, Corporate America, history's greatest martyr-hero: You have managed to turn record profits despite the country being run by a socialist, fascist Muslin dictator for the past four years.
U.S. corporate profits have soared 71 percent, after taxes, under the crushing grip of Dear Leader Obama, Bloomberg writes. No other president since World War II, when America was also run by socialist monsters, has seen such a profit increase. Corporate profits are the highest share of GDP since at least 1947, when record-keeping began, if you can trust the government's records. "Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy," Bloomberg writes.
Well, there's your problem right there, companies will say: The economy has been so terrible under Obama that naturally their profits are going to look bigger in comparison. Companies have squeezed profits out of this horrible economy by making it even more horrible, laying off workers and slashing costs. So-called "economists" disagree with this corporate view, Bloomberg writes, noting the economy would be in worse shape if not for Obama's redistribution, er, stimulus plans.
The cognitive dissonance is on fullest display in the banking industry. Nobody has whined harder about Obama than the put-upon bankers, whom Obama once cruelly called "fat cats," sending the delicate flowers to their fainting couches, where they fanned themselves furiously with wads of cash. And yet nobody is making more money than the biggest, most oppressed banks. Despite the hardships of tighter regulation and higher capital requirements, Goldman Sachs managed to utterly smash profit expectations in the fourth quarter, not only from cutting costs like banker pay, but also because of "a significant rebound in its core business," writes Susanne Craig in the New York Times.
And JPMorgan Chase, run by banking's Whiner-In-Chief Jamie Dimon, turned a record profit of more than $21 billion in 2012, the Wall Street Journal writes. Dimon had his pay cut in half for his lax oversight of the risks being taken by JPMorgan's chief investment office. Without their $6 billion London Whale loss, JPMorgan's profits would have been even higher.
But still the whining continues apace. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey refined his previous analysis of Obamacare, deciding it was more like fascism, not socialism as he'd previously thought. Judging by the literally thousands of furious emails Huffington Post business editors have received in the past 12 hours about Mackey's comments, we can guess Whole Foods might want to get ready for another customer boycott in the days to come. Not to worry, though: Whole Foods' profits -- which have risen 306 percent under Obama -- will probably be just fine.
Thing Two: What Happens To A Dreamliner Deferred? Boeing's 787 Dreamliner headaches just keep getting worse. Yesterday Japan grounded all of the 787s due to mechanical problems. Now the FAA has grounded all 787s in the U.S. until it can figure out what's making the plane's unique lithium-ion batteries catch on fire. Boeing said it was still sure the plane, which has been dogged by delays and problems for most of its short life, was safe.
Thing Three: Happy Now, America? Chinese Workers Getting More Educated, Better Paid: Americans are always complaining about how China is taking all of the jobs. Well, complain no more, because China is no longer taking all of the jobs, as its workers are starting to demand higher pay, semi-humane working conditions and breathable air, the Wall Street Journal writes. They're also getting more educated, with the Chinese government investing $250 billion in higher education, the New York Times writes. It's a lot like what the U.S. did after World War II, with the G.I. bill, although the NYT writes that there's no guarantee the effort will work out as well for China as it did for the U.S. But at least China can take comfort in knowing that America doesn't waste its money on educating its children any more.
Thing Four: Germany To Take Gold, Go Home: Germany has rather bizarrely decided to gather up hundreds of tons of the gold it keeps warehoused at the New York Federal Reserve and the Banque de France in Paris and send it all back home. This might shock you, but Germany is dealing with a strain of nationalistic paranoia, and this is a way to humor that strain, writes the Washington Post's Neil Irwin.
Thing Five: Water Wars: It's a disturbing vision of a future America: Texas officials are suing Oklahoma and New Mexico over the rights to water from the Red River and Rio Grande, the Wall Street Journal writes. Water disputes in the parched West are as old as Chinatown, but they've become especially intense lately, with 84 percent of Texas under drought conditions. Get used to it.
Thing Six: Banks Helping Banks: German banking giant Deutsche Bank helped smaller Italian bank Monte Paschi hide hundreds of millions of dollars in losses during the crisis, through the magic of derivatives, Bloomberg reports. This is the latest in a long history of questionable derivatives arrangements preceding the crisis, and follows reports that Deutsche Bank managed to hide billions of dollars of its own losses during the crisis.
Thing Seven: Prosecutor Denies Threatening Swartz With Decades In Prison: Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. prosecutor in the Aaron Swartz case, denied that her office threatened the Internet activist with decades in prison, the Wall Street Journal writes. Swartz committed suicide while being prosecuted by U.S. authorities for downloading millions of scholarly articles from a database at MIT.
Thing Seven And One Half: Happy Birthdays: Today is the birthday of both First Lady Michelle Obama (49) and First Lady of Comedy Betty White (91). While we're at it, happy birthday also to Muhammad Ali (71) and James Earl Jones (82). And, sure, why not: Al Capone, born on this day in 1899.
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Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Weekly Jobless Claims for Jan. 12
8:30 a.m. ET: Housing Starts for December
10:00 a.m. ET: Philadelphia Fed Factory Index for January
Bank of America
Heard On The Tweets:
allow me to slip into something a little less comfortable *slides into social situation*
— adam (@adamochoa) January 16, 2013
When someone asks me what part of the chicken I would like to eat, I always ask for its soul.
— PoisonedWellBaby (@katy_baybay) January 9, 2013
Think I'm gonna change my hair color. Pretty excited for all the "you look terrible" comments from strangers on the Internet!!
— Morgan Murphy (@morgan_murphy) January 16, 2013
In accordance with Obama's new proposal, Joe Biden has agreed to stop pointing finger guns at marginally attractive diner waitresses.
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) January 16, 2013
One of the many great things the internet has given us: the ability to immediately find out about things you didn't get invited to!
— Eric Appel (@erockappel) January 16, 2013
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Alexis Kleinman.