Even though the joyful season is approaching, many christians are upset because Starbucks released its latest Christmas cups that are just red. Amazon is celebrating Black Friday well in advance of the annual tradition of shoppers and merchants. Donald Trump continues to prove he’s huge for ratings, as "Saturday Night Live" saw the biggest boost in three years. On a different note, it seems the financial institutions deemed as "too big to fail" will soon need to find $1.2 trillion to prepare for the next financial meltdown. And the idea of a negative interest rate is on the table for the Federal Reserve.
These are the five global business headlines from last week:
1. Starbucks Christmas Cups go Red
Starbucks is brewing a war. No, it’s not a coffee war. According to some Christians and anti-political correctness folks, Starbucks is brewing up a war against Christmas and Jesus Christ. Why? Because its seasonal coffee cups are just plain red with a Starbucks logo. There isn’t any imagery or wording that celebrates Christmas, the holiday season or Jesus. This is infuriating many people, including one man who got the ball rolling.
The coffee titan rolled out the new cups in late October and explained that it got rid of the "symbols of the season" it utilized in the past, such as reindeer and ornaments. Instead, it opted for a simple two-toned red cup that tells all of our holiday "stories." Not everyone is pleased with this explanation.
Joshua Feuerstein, a former pastor, posted a Facebook video message entitled "Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus" encouraging everybody to start a movement "#MerryChristmasStarbucks." Ostensibly, not only is he upset with the fact that the cups are a plain red, but also because employees don’t say "Merry Christmas." Moving forward, he wants Christians to use "Merry Christmas" rather than their real names when ordering coffee.
"I think in the age of political correctness we become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our head". "Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red."
It seems to be working, at least in the meantime. Numerous pictures of coffee cups with "Merry Christmas" have been popping up all over social media. Will the movement carry on into Christmas? Only time will tell.
Starbucks responded to Feuerstein’s viral video by writing in a statement that it attempts "to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity."
Whether or not you’re as perturbed as others, the main question is: why are we celebrating Christmas or the holidays so early?
2. Amazon Celebrates Black Friday Early
This year, Black Friday will fall on Nov. 27. Be sure to mark this date on your calendars to browse on YouTube for hilarious videos showcasing shoppers’ disdain for one another.
Amazon is getting a three-week head start on the annual Black Friday festivities, which have seeped into countries like Canada and Great Britain. The online retail juggernaut started the "countdown" to Black Friday by creating a "Black Friday Deals store."
The annual corporate holiday to celebrate being in the black for the first time in the year, is getting Amazon to start encouraging everyone to be excited for pre-deal deals to the annual sales event.
Moreover, Amazon announced that to celebrate this year’s Black Friday, Prime subscribers will receive early access to about 30,000 "lightning deals" before everyone else. Many experts say it’s hard to determine which deals are new and which ones have simply be rebranded. Others are asking: is it even worth it? Well, take a look at some of these deals:
- 19 percent of a 24-pack of Cape Cod potato chips.
- 37 percent off a Tinkerbell pendant necklace.
- 47 percent off Jaybird X Sport Bluetooth Headphones.
- 50 percent off PetSafe items.
- 40 percent off select toys from construction brands.
"Holiday shopping has become synonymous with deal shopping and this year, we’ve added new and convenient ways for customers to save while finding special gifts for everyone on their list," said Alexandre Gagnon, country manager for Amazon.ca, in a statement. "With Prime Early Access, we are providing our most frequent shoppers with a first look at some of the best deals from Amazon.ca this holiday season and all year."
Are these deals worth it for you? Hey, anything to save a buck.
3. Donald Trump Appearances Gives 'SNL' Ratings Boost
Over the weekend, GOP frontrunner and real estate billionaire mogul, Donald Trump, hosted "Saturday Night Live." Despite the protests and a $5,000 reward for anyone who calls Trump a racist during the show, the evening was a success, including for NBC, which generated huge numbers.
Preliminary numbers for Nielson suggest that the Nov. 7 edition of "SNL" garnered its highest rating since Jan. 2012. NBA legend Charles Barkley was host of the show that evening. NBC will be releasing its full results this week.
The trend continues. Whenever Trump is on television, the numbers go through the roof, or at least make record gains. However, the preliminary figures, say some experts, show that the country may be going through "Trump fatigue." Indeed, Trump is everywhere because networks are demanding it.
Nevertheless, Trump’s appearance on "SNL" envisioned him sitting in the Oval Office in 2018. Just two years into his presidency and Syria is at peace, China is borrowing money from the U.S., Ivanka Trump is Secretary of the Interior and the American people are "winning."
Trump then told the audience: "If you think that’s how it’s going to be when I’m president, you’re wrong. It’s going to be even better," Trump said. "I said to the writers of this sketch, ’Keep it modest.’"
Oh, and Larry David heckled Trump and called him a racist. He will be receiving his $5,000 reward from Deport Racism.
4. 'Too Big to Fail' Banks Need $1.2 trillion
Over the next little while, the major financial institutions in the world may need to look under the sofa, in their coat pockets or to their respective central bank to come up with $1.2 trillion, in order to protect themselves from the next global economic collapse and financial meltdown.
Financial regulators from the G20 have presented new rules that are meant to prevent a "too big to fail" bank from bringing down the entire financial system. As many of you remember, this is exactly what happened in 2008 when Lehman Brothers folded, which led to one of the worst financial events since the Great Depression.
How will this new regulation work? Well, the new rules from the Financial Stability Board (FSB) will require 30 of the biggest banks in the world to increase their capital cushions, which is essentially cash set aside for a rainy day, or a blizzard-turned-hurricane-turned-volcanic eruption. The loss-absorbing cash will be required to equal 16 percent of a financial institution’s assets by the year 2019. This will then increase to 18 percent by 2022.
Some of the stringent requirements will have an effect on banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and Barclays. Ostensibly, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are two banks most vulnerable to the stricter requirements and could need to raise up to $25 billion and $30 billion, respectively.
The new rules "minimizes impacts on financial stability, maintains the continuity of critical functions and avoids exposing public funds to loss," said Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor and head of the FSB, in a statement.
5. Federal Reserve May Turn to Negative Interest Rates
Although the Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates next month, Fed Chair Janet Yellen didn’t mince words that negative rates are on the table in the event of a major financial catastrophe. The negative rate policy has been embraced by the European Central Bank, Denmark and Sweden.
During a speech to the House of Representatives, the head of the U.S. central bank noted that negative rates could be implemented should the U.S. economy take a turn for the worst. This surprised many because negative rates haven’t even been considered in the country until now.
Here is what she told Congress:
“Potentially anything – including negative interest rates – would be on the table. But we would have to study carefully how they would work here in the U.S. context,” Yellen said during her testimony.
Indeed, a rate hike is likely coming, but considering that a negative rate is still on Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) table, it’s rather interesting.
Some economists are entirely against the premise of a negative interest rate because it’s a tax on consumers and it veers investors into risky investment propositions in their quest for yield. Renowned economist Walter Block writes in an essay:
“A basic principle of Austrian economics is that the originary rate of interest (the rate of discount of future goods compared to present, otherwise identical, goods) can never be negative. The reason for this arises not because capital is productive, nor out of man’s psychology."
Is the "war on Christmas" continuing? With the plain red Christmas cups from Starbucks, many Christians and anti-political correctness crowd thinks so. Amazon is unveiling thousands of deals ahead of the big Black Friday event. The Donald is proving a lucrative political candidate for networks and television shows everywhere. It has been several years since the economic collapse, but "too big to fail" banks have yet to learn from their mistakes. And the U.S. central bank could institute negative interest rates should the economy go through another downturn.
What do you think were the biggest business headlines from last week? Let us know in the comments section...