Falling unemployment rates and rapid inflation led the Federal Reserve on Wednesday to raise interest rates for the second time this year, reports Bloomberg.
Officials indicated that there would likely be two more increases in 2018, "consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation." The quarter-point hike brought the rate to 2 percent.
The decision came with a statement that changed course from a May increase, when the Fed said there would be only three total increases in 2018 and forecasted that things would remain steady "for some time." Officials still predicted that inflation wouldn't change longer-term expectations, citing solidly increasing economic activity that they think will keep the balance. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza
Trump's financial disclosure form confirms he reimbursed Michael Cohen for Stormy Daniels hush money
President Trump "fully reimbursed" his attorney, Michael Cohen, for "2016 expenses," per his public financial disclosure released Wednesday.
In October 2016, Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels as part of a hush agreement, to keep her from discussing an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. The president, who denies the affair, previously denied knowing about the payment, but his attorney Rudy Giuliani revealed earlier this month that Trump had in fact repaid Cohen. Trump later sought to downplay the accuracy of Giuliani's explanation, saying the attorney still needed to "get his facts straight," but Trump himself tweeted an admission that he had reimbursed Cohen, arguing that the payment was not related to his presidential campaign.
The financial disclosure is the first official acknowledgement that Trump was involved with the payment to Daniels. It does not list the reason for the expense, but notes that the value of the reimbursement was between $100,001 and $250,000. Per the form, Trump reimbursed Cohen in 2017. Summer Meza
The federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Monday.
The deficit is growing at a faster rate than previously estimated, the CBO added, spurred on by recent legislative decisions including the Republican tax bill passed in December and last month's approval of increased military spending, which together will add $1.6 trillion to deficits in the next decade.
Federal debt will reach $804 billion by the end of the fiscal year in 2018, estimates showed. The last CBO report, published in June, projected that deficits wouldn't top $1 trillion until 2022, but increased federal spending and cuts to government revenue streams have bumped the estimate up two years.
The report did find, however, that economic growth is steady and unemployment is low. Moreover, the nation's GDP is set to increase by 3.3 percent in 2018, making good on Republican promises to spark growth in the economy.
Even so, deficits in the next decade are poised to be at their highest levels since World War II — with the exception of 2008 and 2009, when the country was in a recession. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza
Megyn Kelly reportedly wants $20 million a year to stay at Fox News; Rupert Murdoch says she's replaceable
Megyn Kelly is a rapidly rising star at Fox News, her contract expires next year, and she has hired a new agent and publicity team to help her negotiate a hefty raise. Kelly is set to earn $15 million this year, The Wall Street Journal reports, and is seeking more than $20 million a year for her next contract, about the same as fellow Fox News star Bill O'Reilly makes (though O'Reilly's contract is up for renewal next year, too). Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch tells The Journal, which he owns, that he is monitoring Kelly's contract talks "every minute of the day" and hopes to sign a new contract "very soon," but if Fox News and Kelly can't reach agreement, "we have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for her spot."
CNN and ABC are reportedly very interested in poaching Kelly, with ABC reportedly considering her for Good Morning America or an evening news magazine. Kelly, a lawyer by training, has gained notoriety through tough on-air exchanges with Donald Trump and, on Tuesday, Trump advocate Newt Gingrich. There has been speculation that with former Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes' ouster, the conservative cable news network might take a more centrist turn, and Kelly would be a key part of that strategy. Murdoch shot that idea down, telling The Journal "we're going to want Bill [O'Reilly] to stay with us," and "we're not changing direction... that would be business suicide." Peter Weber
These days, Donald Trump may be the personification of the Republican id, but that wasn't always the case. Back in 2004, fresh off the success of The Apprentice, and promoting his new book, Trump: How to Get Rich, The Donald discussed his political views with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
When the 2004 election came up, Trump said he identified "more as a Democrat." Blitzer asked him to clarify if he meant he was socially liberal. Trump replied: "I've been around a long time. And it just seems the economy does better under the Democrats than under Republicans." In the same interview, Trump also dodged questions about whether the success of The Apprentice made him think about getting into politics. Marshall Bright
The world has about 17 million millionaires, as counted in U.S. dollars, and 4 million of them are in China, according to a report released Monday by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). China's numbers are more impressive because a year ago it had about 3 million millionaires. The number of Chinese households with more than $1 million in private cash, stocks, and financial investments (not counting real estate or luxury goods) ballooned mostly because of the 38 percent jump in China's stock market, BCG said.
That's true in more than just China, too. "The increase was driven primarily by the solid market performance of existing assets, both in developed and emerging markets," BCG's report said. The U.S. still had the largest number of millionaires, 7 million (Japan was No. 3), and North America is the richest region, with about $1 trillion in private wealth. But that will probably change by next year's report, BCG said, when Asia Pacific takes the lead with $57 trillion in private wealth. Peter Weber