Hello Ramparts readers; it’s time for the next set of monthly reads…hand-selected by the analysts at Fort Pitt Capital Group. Enjoy!
The first piece is by Ruth Simon and Caelainn Barr, titled “Endangered species: Young US entrepreneurs.” According to a recent report, the share of people under age 30 who own businesses has reached a 24-year low. The generational struggle reflects both general post-recession challenges and difficulties raising money. “We need startups not only for employment, but also for ideas,” says John Davis, faculty chair at Harvard Business School. “It’s part of the vitality of this country to have people starting new businesses and trying new things.”
Michael Santoli’s article, “Five years into recovery, Dow companies squeeze workers as investors thrive,” contrasts Corporate America’s record profits and buoyant stock prices with recent staff reductions at American Express Co., eBay Inc., Coca-Cola Co, and other big businesses. While the number of people who work at blue-chip firms remains static, total profits of the current Dow 30 members have surged by more than 42 percent through the end of 2014.
An article from The Economist entitled “Risk and litigation: Home of the Unbrave,” examines a recent trend to outlaw sledding in certain U.S. locales for fear of lawsuits and general liability. Liability concerns are not only taking the fun out of childhood play, but limiting Americans’ willingness to take risk as well. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones says Europeans and Americans manage risk in different ways, with European countries tending to put more rules and regulations in place, and Americans preferring litigation.
Richard Eisenberg recently contributed an article to Forbes, “The IRA at 40: Has it lived up to its promise?,” which reviews how much the IRA has done to help Americans build wealth for retirement. Craig Copeland, senior research associate at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, says “IRAs have become a bridge from the employer plan to retirement. That’s not how they were envisioned, but that’s what they’ve become.”