Many U.S. businesses, still struggling to boost revenues, are cutting prices to remain competitive. The Journal reports that with "about half of companies reporting year-end earnings, Thomson Reuters estimates revenue for companies in the S&P 500 stock index rose just 0.9%—capping two years of lackluster revenue growth and tying the third-weakest quarterly sales growth since the fall of 2009." The Journal adds that the "persistent weakness in revenue also prompts companies to cut back costs and plow their spare cash into share buybacks instead of investments like new factories and hiring. Fourth-quarter earnings, as a result, are expected to be up 9.4%."
THE START-UP RECESSION
Edward C. Prescott and Lee Ohanian write in today's Journal that "the annual rate of new business creation is about 28% lower today than it was in the 1980s," thanks in large part to regulations enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that favor big companies. And more bad news: "The remarkable productivity growth that has enabled the U.S. to become the wealthiest country on earth has slowed considerably... The productivity of U.S. workers has grown at an average annual rate of about 2.5% since 1948, but has averaged only about 1.1% since 2011—less than half the historical rate." As we note in a related editorial, the solution lies in a return to pro-growth economics.
A wave of mandatory retirements plus new FAA regulations mandating more rest for pilots are causing a labor shortage in the cockpit.
WHEN YOU AGREE WITH OBAMA 97% OF THE TIME...
...you are bound to have a tough race in 2014. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat up for re-election this fall, was expected to coast to re-election. But he's facing a surprisingly formidable challenger in GOP strategist Ed Gillespie.
ABOUT THAT OTHER 3%
Democrats are seeking some political distance from the President. But the fact that trade was not even discussed at a meeting between Barack Obama and...
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