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    HERZLIYA, Israel---Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Monday the central bank expects to follow a "gradual and relatively slow" trajectory of short-term interest-rate increases over the next three to four years to bring borrowing costs back to "normal" levels. Fischer said observers focus too much on when the Fed will start raising its benchmark short-term rate from near zero, and instead should think more about where interest rates are headed over time.

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    Warren Buffett advocates a "major and carefully crafted expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit" over raising the minimum wage in a Wall Street Journal commentary published Friday, saying this is a "better answer" to the widening economic gap between those living the American dream and those living an "American Nightmare." Any plan to increase the minimum wage "would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way," he writes. Read: We went to Omaha to get the same $18 haircut as...

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    Nash was' A Beautiful Mind' that changed economies. John F. Nash Jr., a mathematician whose work on the nature of strategy and negotiation changed modern economics and whose personal struggles with mental illness touched millions, died Saturday in a car crash together with his wife, Alicia. Their combined struggles with his mental illness was documented in the book, "A Beautiful Mind," which was later transformed into an award-winning movie starring Russell Crowe.

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    John F. Nash Jr., the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose life was the subject of a movie, has died in a car crash near Trenton, N.J., according to medias reports Sunday. Nash's battle with schizophrenia was made into the 2001 movie, "A Beautiful Mind." Nash, 86 and his wife Alicia, 82, of Princeton Junction, N.J., were killed in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

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    WASHINGTON-- The engines of the U.S. economy are sure to fire back up. What's still a mystery is just how much. Not long ago, economists thought U.S. growth could reach nearly 4% in the second quarter after a tepid 0.2% gain in the first three months of the year, a period marked by unusually harsh weather.

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    BERLIN--German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble sees no need to discuss "alternatives" or disbursing further aid to Athens, since "Greece has to deliver what it promised" on its current bailout program first, he said in a radio interview. "Greece committed itself to the fulfillment of this program on Feb. 20 and therefore we don't need to talk about alternatives," the minister said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk that aired Sunday, adding that the country has "quite a lot of...

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    ATHENS--Greece said Sunday that it won't have the money it is due to repay to the International Monetary Fund next month unless it strikes a deal with international creditors over further rescue funding. Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told privately owned television station Mega that Greece is scheduled to repay EUR1.6 billion to the IMF between June 5-19, but the payments cannot be met. "This money will not be given," he said.

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    Costco, AutoZone, Avago Tech still left to report. First-quarter earnings reports are winding down, and most companies appear to have dodged the dreaded year-over-year decline. That should free investors to refocus their concerns on broader economic data in the week ahead.

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    It was one of the most iconic symbols of post-recession America: the college graduate working as a coffee shop barista, carrying a mountain of student debt and a bachelor's degree into a job that ordinarily would have required only a high school education. That’ s not just bad for those individuals— that’ s bad for the economy as a whole,” said Tara Sinclair, a professor...

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    The U.S. Senate early on Saturday passed a two-month spending extension for federal transportation projects that puts off a decision on long-term funding for road, bridge and rail transit projects until the height of the summer construction season.

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    Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners is known for his accurate stock market calls and keen insights into the economy, which he shares RealMoney Pro readers in his daily trading diary. This past week, Kass sees car-rental stocks as "value traps," ventures into Yahoo (YHOO)! Put the Brakes on Car Rental Stocks Originally published on May 19 at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

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    The U.S. Senate on Friday rejected a push to beef up rules against currency manipulation in a key trade bill, avoiding a clash with the Obama administration and U.S. trade partners. The Senate voted 51 to 48 against an amendment that would have allowed sanctions against countries that deliberately weaken their currencies to make their exports cheaper.

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    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday reaffirmed the central bank’s plans to raise interest rates this year despite new concerns that the nation’s economic recovery may be slowing down.In a speech in Rhode Island, Yellen dismissed disappointing data from earlier this year. Government figures showed growth came to a halt during the first quarter, and many private economists believe the revised numbers will show the economy actually contracted. Data for the second quarter suggests any rebound will be modest.But Yellen expressed confidence that the recovery remains intact -- even if it is not as robust as Fed officials themselves once thought. And that would be enough for the Fed to begin reversing nearly a decade of easy money.“Because of the substantial lags in the effects of monetary policy on the economy, we must make policy in a forward-looking manner,” Yellen said in prepared remarks. “Delaying action to tighten monetary policy until employment and inflation are already back to our objectives would risk overheating the economy.”Yellen explicitly stated Friday that she expects the Fed will raise its benchmark interest rate this year, assuming the recovery proceeds as forecast. Most investors believe that means the central bank will make its first move in December, according to prices of fed funds futures.Still, Yellen emphasized that the economy has yet to fully heal from the deep wounds of the Great Recession. She noted that many people have dropped out of the work force because they were discouraged by their job prospects, while others are working part-time when they would prefer full-time jobs. Wage growth has remained anemic, and inflation has persistently run below the Fed’s 2 percent goal.But Yellen pointed to other signs of progress: Fewer homeowners are underwater, meaning that they owe more on their house than it is worth. Government spending cuts have abated, and efforts by Walmart and Target to increase workers’ pay could portend broader wage gains.“The headwinds facing our economy have not fully abated, and, as such, I expect that continued growth in employment and output will be moderate over the remainder of the year and beyond,” she said.That’s why the pace of future interest rate increases would likely be “gradual.” Yellen said. However, she cautioned that officials have “no intention” of raising rates on a preset course but would tailor their strategy to the progress of the economy. The Fed’s objectives “would best be achieved by proceeding cautiously, which I expect would mean that it will be several years before the federal funds rate would be back to its normal, longer-run level,” Yellen said.Officials at the central bank have struggled to interpret the direction of the economy in recent months. By several measures, the recovery seems to be following the Fed’s script. The Labor Department released data Friday showing core inflation, which excludes prices of food and energy, rose 0.3 percent in April -- the strongest rate in nearly four years and a sign that prices may finally be moving toward the Fed’s goal.Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has dropped substantially over the past year and is nearing what many economists believe is its lowest sustainable level. Hiring is robust, and so-called underemployment is diminishing.Yet those factors have not translated into solid economic growth. At their last policy meeting in April, Fed officials cited a range of possible explanations: the West Coast port shutdown, bad winter weather and statistical noise. Yellen reiterated those on Friday, but sounded a humble note when it comes to forecasting.“I am describing the outlook that I see as most likely, but based on many years of making economic projections, I can assure you that any specific projection that I write down will turn out to be wrong, perhaps markedly so,” she said.Two top Fed officials are pushing the central bank to wait until next year to begin raising rates. Earlier this week, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans argued for “exercising caution” as the central bank retreats from its easy-money stance.“I see no compelling reason for us to be in a hurry to tighten financial conditions,” he said during a speech in Germany.




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    It was a quiet end to the week on Wall Street with little changed on benchmark indexes ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend. Even stronger-then-expected inflation data and a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen failed to stir markets to action.

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    On Labor Day last year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti went to a celebration in a park on the south end of the city and announced what he called “the largest anti-poverty program in the city’s history”: boosting the minimum wage to $13.25 per hour by 2017.It was an ambitious move for a town that hadn’t recovered quite as strongly from the recession as two of its northern neighbors — Seattle and San Francisco. Legislators in those two cities had recently voted to go all the way to $15 an hour. But even L.A.'s more modest proposal still drew howls of resistance from corporate leaders, who predicted businesses would lay people off and flee the city in droves.For labor leaders, it was just the opening bid. The next month, they pushed a faction of the City Council to counteroffer with a proposal that would bring the minimum all the way to $15.25 by 2019. After a few more months of wrangling over economic impact studies and provisions like paid leave, that number finally settled at an even $15 — the new gold standard for wage campaigns in big liberal cities. On Wednesday, the Council passed a staged increase that would get the minimum up to $15 by 2020, by a vote of 14 to 1.[Los Angeles becomes the biggest city yet to approve a $15 minimum wage]“How L.A. got to that number is rooted in the activity generating from the East Coast, where New York fast-food workers raised this as a demand, starting their first strikes two years ago,” says Laphonza Butler, president of the Service Employees International Union’s home care workers unit in Los Angeles. “It has just become the vernacular of the workers movement. And when Mayor Garcetti introduced his proposal at $13.25, we all knew that wasn’t enough."For that reason, $15 became a number workers citywide could rally around, channeling energy from a campaign coordinated by labor unions and community activists around the country. And now that L.A., the second biggest city in the country, has done it, supporters are eager to replicate their organizing model in places like New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as well.An emerging modelDespite the apparent ease with which it appeared to cruise to victory, the new $15 minimum wage wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Organizers had to pull a few key elements together in order to push it through.The first coincided with the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Freddie Gray in Baltimore. The ensuing months of protest, under the slogan “Black Lives Matter,” fed naturally into a campaign that consciously cast itself in the terms of social, racial and economic justice."I think the unfortunate awful things that we’ve seen around the country certainly put into the forefront the struggles and the reality of poverty,” says Rusty Hicks, the secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles AFL-CIO, who co-chaired the Raise the Wage campaign with Laphonza Butler. “The same places where you see low wages are the places where you see failing schools, college out of reach, or not even imaginable.”To make that connection explicit and visible, the campaign recruited civil rights and prison reform movement leaders as co-chairs. Labor leaders had learned their lesson from past campaigns that had failed to do that, which allowed the focus to fall on unions rather than on a broader coalition. So they brought in religious groups and immigration activists, compiling a roster of more than 260 organizations in support.“The moment it became about business vs. labor, Angelenos would lose,” Butler explains. “We worked to make sure that this was about regular people. it wasn’t about organizations, or profit margins, or anything but the 750,000 working Angelenos who every day played by the rules and feel that a decent standard of living was out of reach."[Campaign to begin for a $15 minimum wage in D.C.]All those forces pulling in the same direction were able to pack every hearing with sign-waving, low-wage workers and to mount protests that filled the streets. But it wasn’t just power in numbers. The coalition also divided and conquered its opposition, by targeting the hotel industry for a wage hike first.“A place like L.A. is known for Hollywood, it’s known for tourism, it’s known for the hospitality industry, which has had massive investments from the city and the county,” Hicks recalls. “So it was an industry that was doing quite well. It had some of the lowest-paid workers in the city. Those workers stepped forward, and the city responded, by making sure that the workers were able to share in the prosperity.”The city passed a $15.37 minimum wage for large hotels last November. Once lawmakers had done that, hotel owners had no reason to resist a higher wage across the city. There were also some businesses that already favored the $15 wage floor, which made the campaign an easier lift.Success in L.A. has emboldened activists to pursue minimum wage campaigns across the country. Thus far, very few of them have failed.“You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, and that’s what L.A. represents,” say Dan Cantor, national director of the Working Families party. “We want a minimum wage that’s actually a living wage. And if you can make that visible, you have enormous support for it. Even people who won’t personally be affected by it, you instantly understand, to earn $30,000 a year, that’s not exactly a king’s ransom, and everybody should be able to have a shot at that.”Opponents in the business community are not ready to roll over quite so easily. Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, says Garcetti’s proposal caught the business community off guard, and appeals to at least pass it in concert with a package of more business friendly, growth-oriented measures went unheeded. The chamber even challenged the integrity of the mayor’s economic impact study, which slowed down the eventual vote, but didn’t change the result.[What if Walmart raised its minimum wage to $70,000 a year?]The best chance other business groups have to avert a similar rout, he says, is to mount an aggressive campaign in response.“As soon as possible, start a full community outreach, media outreach and advocacy campaign. Inject into the narrative about wage increases the negative impacts on employment,” said Gonzalez. “The progressives are very good at putting a human face on the folks who want a wage increase. I think we need to be better about putting a human face on the employees and small business owners who are going to be the victims.”The problem for business, however, is that there aren’t real-life examples of cities that have suffered after raising a minimum wage that high — nobody’s actually had to deal with a $15 minimum wage yet. Dire projections of job losses and layoffs based on economic models just aren’t as effective.Alternate routesAs much as activists might learn from the Los Angeles experience, not every campaign will unfold the same way. New York State has started by convening a “wage board,” which has the power to unilaterally require higher wages in the fast-food industry. Liberal groups in Washington have launched a campaign to put a $15 wage to a popular vote in 2016, rather than going through the D.C. Council.Supporters in other cities and states know that a $15 minimum wage just won’t fly. Some have much lower wage levels already, like Kansas City, where activists are pushing a new $13 minimum wage. Some boosted their minimums recently and don’t have an appetite for more. Still, activists are exploring other options.[The best indication of what a federal $12 minimum wage could mean for poor places comes from Puerto Rico]Take Connecticut, which recently boosted its minimum to $10.10 an hour. There, advocates are asking legislators to impose a $1 surcharge on employers for every hour worked by an employee who makes less than $15, which is supposed to make up for the cost in public assistance required by low-wage workers who can’t pay for rent, food and health care on their own. They’re calling it the “McWalmart fee,” referring to the large employers that would have to pay the most as a result.But even for those lesser efforts, $15-an-hour campaigns around the country create leverage."I think the national movement around $15 an hour is creating a new floor,” says Erica Smiley, campaigns director for the labor-backed group Jobs with Justice. “And while there are some cities where going from $7.25 to $15 an hour might be an incredible jump,  I think it has definitely created a new standard for employees to negotiate around.”In response, some conservative states — like Missouri — have already passed laws preempting cities and counties from raising their minimum wages above the state level on their own. But such measures can’t prevent private companies from doing so for their own workforces. That’s what’s happened recently with companies like Aetna and Facebook (FB). As $15 wage ordinances spread across the country and raised the market price of labor, these firms moved forward on their own, spreading the campaign even further.




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    Welcome to Main Street Morning, The Washington Post’s daily collection of news affecting entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses with a special focus on policy and government.Here’s what’s affecting my small business my clients and other entrepreneurs today.WashingtonThe trade bill backed by the President clears Senate hurdle.The Obama administration proposes a new rule forcing banks to report small-business lending data by race.The ElectionsHillary Clinton talks about community banks, joins LinkedIn (LNKD) and lets a small business owner take over her Twitter account.The EconomyStudy suggests many high earners are living paycheck to paycheck.Existing home sales fall as prices increase.Consumers’ expectations for the U.S. economy suffered the largest dive since 2013.Manufacturing declines in the Kansas City region.America is missing one million entrepreneurs…where did they go?Start-upA payment start-up appears ready to join the “private IPO” parade.FinanceSurvey finds that minority-owned businesses still have a tougher time getting back loans.Sales and MarketingHow big brands are engaging mobile customers.Seven deadly sins of digital marketing.The chief executive of Carl’s Jr. doesn’t care if you’re offended by the chain’s sexy ads.Here are seven critical marketing strategies if you own an auto repair shop.Delta’s hilarious new safety video features the stars from 23 of the most viral memes ever.EntrepreneursHow an entrepreneur stopped chasing every new idea so he could focus on one big goal.Actress, academic, tech entrepreneur, vocal supporter of the Greens and expectant mother Lily Cole explains why she’s an accidental entrepreneur.A penny stock investor explains why entrepreneurship will always beat a 9-to-5 job.He’s a successful video game entrepreneur, but he can’t get an employment visa to stay in the country.RetailHow Apple saved Best Buy.Why Anthropologie’s dresses got too ridiculous for even its most loyal customers.How retailer H&M’s benefits are different from similar companies. PeopleHow credit cards can hurt America’s low-wage workers.Why this could be a great time to be unemployed.Transgender employees are seeking more workplace protection.TechnologyThis bitcoin-like crypto-currency could power the Internet of Things.Microsoft rolls out a ton of new features for Outlook.com.OnlineAn Apple iCloud outage impacts 200 million people. The LawA serial entrepreneur is charged with defrauding more than a dozen investors over CrossFit centers.IdeasHow about a rap lyric-generating algorithm?OpportunitiesSix ways for teens to make money during summer vacation.Around the CountryGallup analyzed the experiences of small-business owners by race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status and sexual orientation.The Girl Scouts officially welcomes trans-girls.A suburban Philadelphia business hopes the Pope’s visit to the city will provide an added lift.The fastest growing cities in the U.S. aren’t New York or San Francisco.How Los Angeles restaurant operators are responding to the city’s minimum wage hike.The Better Business Bureau serving the Kansas Plains, Nebraska, South Dakota and Southwest Iowa is warning businesses that someone impersonating a BBB representative may contact your company with threats of prosecution.Around the WorldSome of the world’s biggest banks admit to gaming the currency market.Ecuador’s president does all his own social media.Another gauge shows that China’s manufacturing activity is still shrinking.Why a French court could disrupt Facebook’s global ambitions.Gene Marks owns the Marks Group  a Bala Cynwyd  Pa.  consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. Follow Gene Marks and On Small Business on Twitter.News we should know about? Email us here.




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    Gradual moves thereafter, Fed not on any' preset course'. WASHINGTON-- Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, not convinced that recent soft economic data portends a lasting slowdown, said Friday she still expected the central bank to raise rates this year, followed by gradual moves thereafter. Weak consumer and business spending, combined with sputtering factory output, have raised doubts in many investors' minds that the Fed will be able to hike rates this year.

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    By Myra P. Saefong and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch, Eric Yep. Profit-taking ahead of OPEC needed, analyst says. Oil futures settled lower on Friday, with the U.S. benchmark scoring its 10th straight week gain by a thread, as concerns over the global glut of crude supplies persisted ahead of a long holiday weekend.