Hosts of CNBC’s Squawk Box were stunned on Thursday after the network broke the news that holiday sales for 2018 had unexpectedly fizzled.
“We just got some big economic data and it’s moving the markets right now,” CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin explained. “Retail sales falling the most in a decade, falling 1.2 percent. Gains of futures evaporating. We were up triple digits.”
“I mean, the retail sales data was so disappointing,” one host agreed.
“Nine years,” another host grumbled.
“And we thought the holiday season was so great!” Sorkin exclaimed.
“I was thinking that things were pretty good, maybe I’m going to shift back to more hawkish,” co-host Joe Kernen lamented. “This might seem to indicate that they stay exactly how they are.”
“This is real data,” Sorkin agreed.
The anchors went on to speculate that President Donald Trump’s government shutdown may have contributed to the dismal retail sales.
Later in the hour, CNBC’s Jim Cramer struggled to explain the data.
“It was actually a very bad holiday season,” Cramer remarked. “This was on [Fed Chairman Jerome Powell]. I said that the homework indicated that things had gotten very weak. He had not done the homework. I don’t know who he was speaking to.”
Watch the video below from CNBC.
Trump’s tax law threatened TurboTax’s profits — so the company started charging the disabled, the unemployed and students
The 2017 tax overhaul vastly expanded the number of people who could file simplified tax returns, a boon to millions of Americans.
But the new law directly threatened the lucrative business of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax.
Although the company draws in customers with the promise of a “free” product, its fortunes depend on getting as many customers as possible to pay. It had been regularly charging $100 or more for returns that included itemized deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. Under the new law, many wealthier taxpayers would no longer be filing that form, qualifying them to use the company’s free software.
Trump’s packed Supreme Court backs ‘forced arbitration’ that bars workers from taking abusive bosses to court
Corporations are rapidly rendering sexual harassment, race and gender discrimination, life-threatening workplaces and wage theft immune to employee legal action.
They achieve this by forcing the vast majority of non-union private-sector workers to sign away their rights to go to court or use class or collective arbitration. Instead many millions of workers are being forced to forgo these efficient legal ways to resolve issues and to file individual arbitration claims.
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy says that by 2024 more than 80% of non-union private-sector workers will find courthouse doors chained shut by forced arbitration clauses that ban lawsuits and collective actions. (EPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to press the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.)
Corporations can legally put carcinogens in our food without warning labels — here’s why
A recent study by the Environmental Working Group revealed something horrifying: Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller Roundup, was present in 17 of the 21 oat-based cereal and snack products at levels considered unsafe for children. That includes six different brands of Cheerios, one of the most popular American cereals.
I've written before about the limits of corporate free speech when it comes to public safety, but on that occasion I discussed this insofar as it involved corporate-sponsored climate change denialism. Yet here we have something more tangible, more direct: The safe glyphosate limit for children is 160 parts per billion (ppb), yet Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch has 833 parts per billion and regular Cheerios has 729 ppb. While the potential risks of glyphosate are fiercely debated, many scientists believe that it is linked to cancer.