US Utilities Cut to Negative in First as Moody’s Warns of Debt

By Bloomberg – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

For the first time ever, Moody’s Investors Service cut its outlook for U.S. utilities to negative, warning that the sector’s debt levels have reached their highest since the financial crisis and may remain there for months.

The sector’s consolidated debt-to-equity ratio has hit the highest level since 2008 as companies finance mergers, acquisitions and other investments in renewable energy and pipelines, Moody’s analysts led by Ryan Wobbrock said in a note Monday. The federal tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump stands to make matters worse, since utilities that depend on regulated returns are collecting less cash from customers to cover their tax expenses, the ratings firm said.

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We’re Shocked! Shocked! To Hear That Corporate Execs Use Share Buybacks To Line Their Own Pockets

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Here’s one for the Clueless Regulator Hall of Fame:

Corporate executives are using stock buybacks to pad their own compensation, according to SEC official

(CNBC) – Share buybacks have surged since the Republican-backed tax bill made it through Congress in December.

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Failed States, Part 1: Hopeless European Millennials And The Populist Takeover

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Europe is frequently held up as an example of how the rest of the world should behave on a variety of issues. But this comparison misses at least two things: First, “Europe” is actually a lot of different countries in a lot of different situations. Second, much of what seems to work over there only does so because it’s being financed with ever-increasing amounts of debt.

For countries, as for individuals, borrowing money is fun at first but beyond a certain point becomes debilitating, as interest payments begin to crowd out everything else. That’s where a growing number of Europe’s failed states now find themselves, with overly-generous pensions and overly-restrictive labor laws making it virtually impossible to run a functioning market-based economy.

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High Minimum Wage Laws INCREASE Poverty Among the Already-Poor

By Kaylee McGhee – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

‘Each $1 increase in the minimum wage has…increased poverty rates and the receipt of public assistance…’

Labor Force Participation Still Well Below Pre-Recession Levels

Photo by jronaldlee

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Anti-poverty initiatives, like higher minimum wage laws and heftier welfare programs, have actually hurt poor and disadvantaged communities, according to a new studyby the Employment Policies Institute.

University of California, Irvine economists David Neumark and Brittany Bass, and Brian Asquith of the National Bureau of Economic Research, studied the long-term effects of these programs in struggling neighborhoods, looking at how minimum wage and welfare policies have impacted poverty rates over the past three decades.

They found that rather than improving impoverished communities — as they are designed to do — these policies have hurt poor areas.

“Neither a higher minimum wage nor more-generous welfare benefits have reduced poverty rates in the country’s most-disadvantaged neighborhoods. In fact, the authors find some evidence that poverty rates and the share of residents on public assistance have increased alongside a rising minimum wage,” the study reads.

The researchers said they found that the most common long-term outcome of higher welfare benefits was increased poverty and a higher number of people receiving public assistance.

“To put this in practical terms, it means that each $1 increase in the minimum wage has, in disadvantaged neighborhoods over the past three decades, increased poverty rates and the receipt of public assistance by roughly three percent,” the researchers wrote.

This study raises important questions about the effectiveness of the poverty-reduction programs leftist politicos tout.

“These findings cast serious doubt on whether the normal poverty-reduction policies — minimum wages and welfare programs — actually contribute to increased employment, reduced poverty, and higher household earnings,” the EPI wrote. “Indeed, this study should give pause to any level of government interested continuing or expanding such policies.”

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Chairman for People and Arrogant Eurocrat

arkadiusz-sieron   By Arkadiusz Sieron – Re-Blogged From Sunshine Profits 

Two of the most powerful men in the world. Trump? Putin? Xi? Nah. Chairman Jerome Powell and President Mario Draghi. Let’s analyze their recent press conferences!

Powell – Chairman for People

In the last edition of the Gold New Monitor, we promised that we will elaborate on the Powell’s and Draghi’s press conferences. It’s high time we fulfilled the promise.

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Party Dips Spread Norovirus, Herpes, Report Says

By Zoe Papadakis – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Party dips can give you norovirus and even herpes, an investigation revealed, so you might want to think twice next time you indulge in a party spread.

On Monday’s episode of Food Unwrapped on Channel 4 in the U.K., microbiologists revealed just what dangerous viruses could be lurking in some of your favorite dips and the worst part is that you would not even know about it until it was too late, The Daily Mail reported.

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Physical Fitness Linked to Slower Brain Aging

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Keeping physically fit and having more flexible arteries may be keys to slower brain aging, says a study from Australia’s Swinburne’s Center for Human Psychopharmacology.

“Exactly why this occurs is unclear, but research indicates that exercise and physical fitness are protective,” said lead author Greg Kennedy. “A healthier, more elastic aorta is also theorized to protect cognitive function, by reducing the negative effects of excessive blood pressure on the brain.”

Kennedy says that from early adulthood, memory and other features of cognition slowly decline, and the risk of dementia rises with age.