Cupcakes now are a focal point in an ongoing debate over school nutrition. While some U.S. school districts have banned the treats from classrooms, the new secretary of agriculture in Texas recently announced a policy granting "cupcake amnesty."
Nontraded real estate investment trusts and mutual funds loaded with questionable bonds could lead to the next market debacle, writes Bob Veres. This could reflect poorly on advisers and financial planners, he adds.
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, maintains that low interest rates did not contribute to the housing boom and bust, but many of his fellow economists are not convinced. The Wall Street Journal conducted two surveys that found that many economists think low rates were a contributing factor. "There is plenty of blame to go all around," said Martin Eichenbaum of Northwestern University. "Loose monetary policy certainly contributed to easy financing, which was one element of the bubble."
Business are able to gather volumes of data about their operations and customers, but the key question now is what to do with it all, write two IBM executives. Modern analytics can help companies improve HR, risk assessment and customer service, they argue.
While the executive and the legislative branches of the government discuss regulatory reform for the financial industry, the judicial branch is issuing influential rulings that often go against Wall Street executives. "Judges have lifetime appointments and are freer to act on their conscience than regulators," said Charles Elson, chairman of the corporate-governance center at the University of Delaware.