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Monday, Jun 18th

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Wells Fargo slammed with $1B fine

Wells Fargo

Federal regulators slapped Wells Fargo with a $1 billion fine on Friday over customer abuses in its auto-lending and mortgage businesses, the latest in a series of blows to the troubled San Francisco-based bank.

The fine, levied by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the CFPB, marks the biggest enforcement action taken during the Trump administration against a bank and dwarfs previous penalties by the two agencies. It is also the first significant action by the consumer protection bureau since Mick Mulvaney took over as acting director in November.

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China's Xi renews vow to open economy, cut tariffs as U.S. trade row deepens

China's Xi vows to open eonomy, cut tariffsChinese President Xi Jinping promised on Tuesday to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars, in a speech seen as an attempt to defuse an escalating trade dispute with the United States.

While much of his pledges were reiterations of previously announced reforms that foreign businesses say are long overdue, Xi’s comments sent stock markets and the U.S. dollar higher on hopes of a compromise that could avert a trade war.

Xi said China will widen market access for foreign investors, addressing a chief complaint of its trading partners and a point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which has threatened billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods.

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Richest 1% on target to own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030

Richest 1% on target to own 2/3 of world's wealth by 2030

The world’s richest 1% are on course to control as much as two-thirds of the world’s wealth by 2030, according to a shocking analysis that has lead to a cross-party call for action.

World leaders are being warned that the continued accumulation of wealth at the top will fuel growing distrust and anger over the coming decade unless action is taken to restore the balance.

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Fed Raises Interest Rates for Sixth Time Since Financial Crisis

Jerome H. Powell

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday by a quarter of a percentage point and signaled that the central bank is on track to raise rates twice more in 2018.

■ The Fed said it would raise its benchmark interest rate to a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, marking the sixth time since the financial crisis that it has raised rates.

■ The Fed said at the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting that the economy continues to strengthen and that it expects to increase rates another two times this year as it pursues a return to more normal interest rate levels. Officials also increased their expectations for economic growth this year in the United States, declaring that “the economic outlook has strengthened in recent months.” They said they expect to raise interest rates three times next year, an increase from the two increases in 2019 that they forecast in December.

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World’s Wealthiest Billionaires Got Nearly $1 Trillion Richer In 2017: Bloomberg

money goes to moneyThe rich aren’t just getting richer — they’re getting much, much richer.

Citing its Billionaires Index, Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the world’s 500 wealthiest people became almost $1 trillion richer ― that’s $1,000,000,000,000 ― in 2017, thanks largely to booming stock markets. For comparison, that’s over four times as much wealth as they gained last year.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, saw the biggest gain in wealth in 2017. He added $34.2 billion to his net worth, which now totals $100 billion.

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The GOP tax plan could negatively affect your Social Security benefits

Tax reform? No, tax CUTS for the wealthy!Without a guaranteed monthly stipend, the number of seniors living below the federal poverty level could well rise by millions. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that 34% of elderly Americans receiving benefits relies on Social Security for 90% or more of their monthly income. Stats like these are why Social Security is so important, and why current and future retirees are eager to see this critical program protected.

But this "financial rock" is primed to face some serious obstacles in the years to come. The most recent annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees estimates that it'll begin paying out more in benefits than it's collecting in revenue by 2022. Just 12 years later, in 2034, its approximately $3 trillion in asset reserves will be completely depleted. To continue making monthly payments through 2091, the Trustees believe an across-the-board cut to benefits of up to 23% may be needed.

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Study: ‘Buy America’ rules raising costs for US transit systems

Buy America increases prices of mass transitFederal requirements to buy American-made products may be forcing some U.S. transit systems to spend more money, according to a new study from a center-right think tank.

The American Action Forum (AAF) released research Friday that found “Buy America” rules for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants could be raising procurement costs in some areas.

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