British banks can’t be trusted – let’s nationalize them | The Guardian


Economist Laurie Macfarlane says the banks make a mockery of the nostrums of free-market capitalism. Because the banks were given state bailouts after their catastrophic failures, there is the assumption that, when another crisis hits, the same will happen again.

No other industry enjoys the same protection. They are “too big to fail”, which means they benefit from an implicit subsidy – worth £6bn in 2015. The Bank of England is their lender of last resort.

State-backed deposit insurance of up to £85,000 per consumer is another de facto mass public subsidy.

Source: British banks can’t be trusted – let’s nationalize them | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian

Why governments should protect us from barely-taxed tech monopolies | The Guardian


.. These companies can afford to push the limits of acceptable behavior, because they have paid such care and attention to Washington. While the tech companies are hardly the image of corpulent K Street, they have built massive lobbying operations that pace the halls of the regulatory agencies and Congress, stacked with skillful hacks.

Google executives set foot in the Obama White House more often than those of any other corporation – its head lobbyist visited 128 times. Google spread its money across Washington with joyous ecumenicism. Google spent about $17m on influence peddlers of both partisan varietals. By one count, Google poured more into its DC apparatus than any other public company.

An investigation by The Intercept concluded: “Google has achieved a kind of vertical integration with the government.”

Source: Why governments should protect us from barely-taxed tech monopolies | Technology | The Guardian

A Boom in Credit Cards: Great News for Banks, Less So Consumers | The New York Times


The amount of debt owed by American consumers, which receded in the wake of the financial crisis, is again on the rise.

Outstanding credit card debt — the total balances that customers roll from month to month — hit a record $1 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve. The number of Americans with at least one credit card has reached 171 million, the highest level in more than a decade, according to TransUnion, a credit-reporting company.

That is occurring at an opportune moment for the banking industry, which is suddenly struggling to earn as much money from traditional profit engines.

Source: A Boom in Credit Cards: Great News for Banks, Less So Consumers – The New York Times

Trump Is About to Own This Credit Cycle | Bloomberg Gadfly

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If Trump decides to renominate Yellen, he’ll incur the wrath of conservative Congress members who think she’s gone outside her monetary policy mandate.

Should Trump make a bigger change, say, by nominating Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor, he’ll be viewed as somewhat responsible should the central bank raise rates too quickly, or make some policy error that craters the U.S. economy.

Stanford University economist John Taylor is also in the running, as is Trump adviser Gary Cohn.

Whoever he picks will have a tough job cut out for them.

Source: Trump Is About to Own This Credit Cycle – Bloomberg Gadfly

GlobalFoundries Turns the Corner | Semiconductor Manufacturing & Design Community

Founded in March 2009 as a spinout of the manufacturing arm of Advanced Micro Devices, Global Foundries’ Abu Dhabi-based owner soon acquired Singapore’s Chartered Semiconductor in January 2010, and further expanded through the July 2015 acquisition of IBM Microelectronics.

It is now engaged in building what Jha said will be the largest wafer fab in China, in Chengdu, capable of processing a million wafers a year. The Chengdu fab, operated by GlobalFoundries but with investments from the local government, will begin with 180nm and 130nm products now fabbed in Singapore, and then add 22FDX IC production to meet demand from Chinese customers.

Source: GlobalFoundries Turns the Corner | Semiconductor Manufacturing & Design Community

Northrop, Raytheon, BBN secure DARPA contracts to develop ‘swarm’ unmanned systems | Military & Aerospace Electronics


DARPA says the two industry teams will perform work under the first phase of the OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program that aims to deploy swarms of autonomy and human-swarm teaming unmanned platforms for small infantry forces.

DARPA wants each system to include an expandable game-based architecture that can support swarm tactics design, integration and exchange; collaboration between teams of humans and swarm systems; and a physical testbed to validate new technologies.

Source: Northrop, Raytheon, BBN secure DARPA contracts to develop ‘swarm’ unmanned systems – Military & Aerospace Electronics

Senate proposes measure to curb protests over Pentagon contract awards | Stripes


It wasn’t enough. Boeing and Lockheed protested the decision, arguing that the selection process was “fundamentally flawed,” holding up the weapons program for several more months, while the legal dispute was heard.

Concern over the growing number of such protests – the “lawfare” that critics say hinders the government’s ability to move ahead with important programs and services – has prompted action by the Senate.

In this year’s defense spending plan, the Armed Services Committee has included a provision that would force large contractors – those with annual revenue of at least $100 million – to pay for the delays their challenges cause should they be on the losing side of a protest.

Source: Senate proposes measure to curb protests over Pentagon contract awards – U.S. – Stripes

SoftBank’s big checks are stalling tech IPOs


Big cash infusions for startups from an ever-expanding group of financiers, led by SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and Middle East sovereign wealth funds, have extinguished hopes that the technology IPO market would bounce back this year.

These deep-pocketed financiers, which have traditionally invested in the public markets but are seeking better returns from private tech companies, have enabled startups to raise more money, stay private longer and spurn the regulatory hassles of an IPO even as they become larger than many public companies.

Source: SoftBank’s big checks are stalling tech IPOs

PayPal’s future rests on striking quadruple whammy


Mobile transactions are growing about 50 percent annually, and now account for more than a third of volume, according to the company. PayPal’s Venmo service has even faster velocity. It’s a payments-cum-social media service that lets people send money to each other for free and post comments about what it’s for.

Venmo handled $9 billion of payments last quarter, 93 percent more than the same period last year.

Trouble is, Schulman’s outfit gets precious little financial benefit for this service.

Source: Breakingviews – PayPal’s future rests on striking quadruple whammy

Low pay, no bonus: U.S. retailers struggle with hiring


staffing companies that hire employees for the industry say the problem is deeper and is putting pressure both on the quality of staff retailers can hire and, sooner or later, wages that potential candidates will demand.

The staffing firms say it may also create a squeeze on retailers as they seek to hire heavily for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas — the biggest drivers of retailers’ annual profits.

Source: Low pay, no bonus: U.S. retailers struggle with hiring