Friday, March 1

Business

China Has Thousands of Navalnys, Hidden From the Public
Business

China Has Thousands of Navalnys, Hidden From the Public

After watching “Navalny,” the documentary about the Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, a Chinese businesswoman messaged me, “Ren Zhiqiang is China’s Navalny.” She was talking about the retired real estate tycoon who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for criticizing China’s leader, Xi Jinping.After Mr. Navalny’s tragic death this month, a young dissident living in Germany posted on X, “Teacher Li is closest to the Chinese version of Navalny.” He was referring to the rebel influencer known as Teacher Li, who used social media to share information about protests in China and who now fears for his life.There are others: Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died in government custody in 2017, and Xu Zhiyong, the legal scholar who is serving 14 years in prison on charges of ...
Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank
Business

Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Tuesday that she had personally urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to increase commercial engagement with the West Bank, contending that doing so was important for the economic welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians.Ms. Yellen’s plea was outlined in a letter that she sent to Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday. It represented her most explicit public expression of concern about the economic consequences of the war between Israel and Hamas. In the letter, Ms. Yellen said, she warned about the consequences of the erosion of basic services in the West Bank and called for Israel to reinstate work permits for Palestinians and reduce barriers to commerce within the West Bank.“These actions are vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and ...
Boeing’s Safety Culture Faulted by F.A.A. in New Report
Business

Boeing’s Safety Culture Faulted by F.A.A. in New Report

A Federal Aviation Administration report released on Monday found flaws in Boeing’s safety culture while noting that the airplane manufacturer had made some improvements since two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max 8 jet in 2018 and 2019.The report, written by a group of experts convened a year ago at Congress’ behest, found that there was a “disconnect” between senior management and other employees at Boeing. The company, the panel found, has at times been “inadequate and confusing” in the way it carried out its safety culture.In a statement, the F.A.A. said that it would “immediately begin a thorough review of the report” and take action on its recommendations as appropriate.“We will continue to hold Boeing to the highest standard of safety and will work to ensure the company comprehens...
What Is Your Housing Situation? We Want to Hear From You.
Business

What Is Your Housing Situation? We Want to Hear From You.

“No society can be fully understood apart from the residences of its members.”I have that quote (from “Crabgrass Frontier,” the seminal history of America’s suburbs) taped to a wall behind my desk. It summarizes why I love covering housing for The New York Times and seem never to run out of things to write about. Housing is everything. It’s where we live and raise our families. It is most people’s largest store of wealth. Whether you own, you rent, or you sleep outside, where you hang your head defines much of your existence.Over the past few decades, and especially since the pandemic, housing has gone from a symbol of American strength to an everyday crisis. Aspiring homeowners are becoming forever renters. People live in increasingly crowded households, the supply of illegal housing has ...
Spring Training at Coachella: Can the M.L.S. Cash In on Its Preseason?
Business

Spring Training at Coachella: Can the M.L.S. Cash In on Its Preseason?

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Dan Perkin and Scott Bissmeyer, work buddies on vacation, sat on metal bleachers watching the Portland Timbers play the San Jose Earthquakes in the first of four preseason Major League Soccer games that day.They had spent $125 each on V.I.P. day passes, which included food, drink and access to tents to keep cool. Self-described “M.L.S. road trippers,” they have visited numerous M.L.S. stadiums, and have watched teams in Tucson, Ariz., where as many as 11 clubs came together for preseason training in the past.But this year, with 12 M.L.S. teams — along with two from the United Soccer League and four from the National Women’s Soccer League — gathered at a 1,000-acre property outside Palm Springs, Calif., for preseason training, Mr. Perkin and Mr. Bissmeyer de...
U.S. Economy: Has an Era of Increased Productivity Returned?
Business

U.S. Economy: Has an Era of Increased Productivity Returned?

The last time the American economy was posting surprising economic growth numbers amid rapid wage gains and moderating inflation, Ace of Base and All-4-One topped the Billboard charts and denim overalls were in vogue.Thirty years ago, officials at the Federal Reserve were hotly debating whether the economy could continue to chug along so vigorously without spurring a pickup in inflation. And back in 1994, it turned out that it could, thanks to one key ingredient: productivity.Now, official productivity data are showing a big pickup for the first time in years. The data have been volatile since the start of the pandemic, but with the dawn of new technologies like artificial intelligence and the embrace of hybrid work setups, some economists are asking whether the recent gains might be real ...
Capital One to Acquire Discover in $35.3 Billion Deal
Business

Capital One to Acquire Discover in $35.3 Billion Deal

Capital One announced on Monday that it would acquire Discover Financial Services in an all-stock transaction valued at $35.3 billion, a deal that would merge two of the largest credit card companies in the United States.“A space that is already dominated by a relatively small number of megaplayers is about to get a little smaller,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree.Capital One, with $479 billion in assets, is one of the nation’s largest banks, and it issues credit cards on networks run by Visa and Mastercard. Acquiring Discover will give it access to a credit card network of 305 million cardholders, adding to its base of more than 100 million customers. The country’s four major networks are American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Discover, which has far fewer cardholder...
The Great Compression – The New York Times
Business

The Great Compression – The New York Times

Robert Lanter lives in a 600-square-foot house that can be traversed in five seconds and vacuumed from a single outlet. He doesn’t have a coffee table in the living room because it would obstruct the front door. When relatives come to visit, Mr. Lanter says jokingly, but only partly, they have to tour one at time.Each of these details amounts to something bigger, for Mr. Lanter’s life and the U.S. housing market: a house under $300,000, something increasingly hard to find. That price allowed Mr. Lanter, a 63-year-old retired nurse, to buy a new single-family home in a subdivision in Redmond, Ore., about 30 minutes outside Bend, where he is from and which is, along with its surrounding area, one of Oregon’s most expensive housing markets.Mr. Lanter’s house could easily fit on a flatbed truc...
Money in College Savings Accounts Can Now Go Toward Retirement
Business

Money in College Savings Accounts Can Now Go Toward Retirement

Starting this year, some of the money in 529 college savings accounts can be used for retirement if it’s not needed for education.New rules under the federal law known as Secure 2.0 allow up to $35,000 in a 529 account to be rolled over to a Roth individual retirement account for the beneficiary of the 529 account if certain conditions are met.State-sponsored 529 accounts, named for a section of the tax code, are used to pay for education expenses — mainly college costs. Money deposited in the accounts grows tax free and can be withdrawn tax free to pay for eligible expenses like tuition, housing, food and books.The new Roth option is aimed at parents who may be reluctant to save in a 529 because they worry about having to pay income taxes and a penalty if for some reason the funds aren’t ...
Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market
Business

Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market

The pandemic created an economic crisis unlike any recession on record. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the aftermath, too, has played out in a way that almost no economists expected.When unemployment soared in the first weeks of the pandemic, many feared a repeat of the long, slow rebound from the Great Recession: years of joblessness that left many workers permanently scarred. Instead, the recovery in the labor market has been, by many measures, the strongest on record.In early 2021, some economists foresaw a surge in inflation. Others were skeptical: Similar predictions in recent years — in some cases from the same forecasters — had failed to come true. This time, however, they were right.And when the Federal Reserve began trying to tamp down inflation, there were warnings th...