• Individuals, foreign governments, and lobbyists are spending big at Trump’s resorts and hotels and gaining from his administration, a New York Times investigation found. 
  • It found that 60 individuals had spent $12 million in Trump’s businesses and, in some form, saw their interests advanced by his administration. 
  • Trump won the election in 2016 pledging to “drain the swamp,” but is profiting from favor-seekers patronizing his hotels and resorts. 
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More than 200 foreign governments, lobbying groups, and individuals spent money in President Donald Trump’s businesses and benefitted from his administration, a New York Times investigation found. 

It documents how foreign government officials, corporate executives, lobbyists, and attorneys patronized Trump businesses and were awarded lucrative federal contracts, ambassadorship, and appointments to federal task forces. Others secured legal changes. For some, the favor granted by the president was a tweet. 

According to the Times investigation, 60 individuals spent $12 million in Trump’s hotels and resorts, and “almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by the president or his government.” 

The Times based its report on interviews with 250 sources, including executives and lobbyists, members of his clubs and employees at his businesses, and former and current Trump administration officials. 

Individuals identified in the report told the Times that any advantages they had gained from the Trump administration were not linked to the patronage of his businesses. 

Trump won the presidency in 2016, pledging to “drain the swamp” of influence-peddling in Washington DC.

After winning the presidency, Trump stepped back from his business empire, handing over the management to his two sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump. But the president did not divest himself of his business holdings entirely, meaning he continues to profit from them.

White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Times

That’s not easy when the safe investments that pension funds usually rely on are paying less than 1 percent, a consequence of low interest rates.

CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension plan, fell short of its goal in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Now, along with embracing riskier investments like private equity, Bienvenue is gambling on making low rates work for him, by borrowing billions of dollars in hopes of juicing the pension plan’s returns.

“We have to take more risk in some places,” he said. “…Systemically low interest rates, the net effect makes the challenge more difficult.”

CalPERS’ shift is just one example of how an era of persistently low interest rates has rippled across the economy, altering incentives while benefiting some groups and hurting others.

Consumers have snapped up 0% percent auto loans and mortgages at sub-3 percent rates. That’s helped the economy by driving sales of new homes and automobiles.

Depressed rates also have fueled a rise in corporate and government debt, aggravated trends toward greater inequality and left a wounded economy more dependent upon fiscal support from lawmakers at a time when Congress is intensely polarized.

Rates have been stuck at ultra-low levels for most of the past 12 years because of chronically weak demand in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The recovery from the 2008 financial crisis was the most anemic since World War II and — despite President Trump’s claims to have produced the greatest economy in history — the U.S. economy grew at an average rate of just 2.5 percent from 2017 through the end of last year.

Aging populations, subpar productivity growth and a once-in-a-century global health scare led the Fed earlier this year to return its benchmark borrowing rate to near zero and to resume large-scale buying of corporate

Americans’ incomes fell in August by the most in three months after the government’s supplemental unemployment benefits expired, threatening to temper consumer spending that increased during the month.

The 2.7% decrease in personal income followed an upwardly revised 0.5% gain a month earlier, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 2.5% drop in August. Consumer spending on goods and services increased 1% from the prior month after a downwardly revised 1.5% gain in July.

Absence of supplemental jobless payments filters through to less spending growth

The decline in income highlights the impact of the expiration of the extra $600 in weekly jobless benefits at the end of July, which had temporarily propped up household finances and helped spur consumption. While President Donald Trump in early August announced an additional $300 a week in federal jobless benefits, many states didn’t get those funds out until early September, and the benefit only lasts six weeks, meaning that further declines in income could continue later this year.

The income and spending report showed wages and salaries rose 1.3% in August. Three months earlier, worker pay excluding bonuses increased 2.7%. At the same time, unemployment insurance payments made up 3.2% of annualized income in August, compared with 6.6% in July.

“Labor income now has a big headwind when you add the fact that that extra unemployment income has been taken away at the beginning of August and the fact that state and local governments are straining,” James Sweeney, chief economist at Credit Suisse Group AG, said on Bloomberg TV.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin renewed discussions about additional government assistance, which could allow for additional federal jobless benefits. It remains to be seen, however, when or if the legislation will come through. The two will continue talks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stock exchanges have put New Jersey on notice: Pass a financial transaction tax and they will relocate their primary data centers, where billions of dollars of trades are executed daily – possibly to Chicago.

A move to the Windy City wouldn’t just save millions in annual tax dollars. It could also help level the playing field for market participants by making lightning-fast price changes harder to exploit by high-speed traders and promote deeper liquidity, industry members said.

That’s because all 16 U.S. stock exchanges have their disaster recovery sites in the same building at 350 East Cermak Road in Chicago, as opposed to their main sites, which currently reside in three data centers spread across a 50-mile swath of northern New Jersey.

In the electronic trading world, the physical distance a signal must travel is a key factor in how long it takes to get an order filled, and the race to get the best prices is one in which nanoseconds matter.

Moving to the Chicago site would reduce the possibility for latency arbitrage, where firms detect a trade on one exchange and then use microwave or laser technology and sophisticated algorithms to race to the other exchanges, executing trades and booking profits before those exchanges can update their prices.

“A lot of investments in fast infrastructure would become obsolete and a lot of trading strategies on that side would be eliminated,” said Jack Miller, head of trading at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Reducing latency arbitrage would make it easier for market participants to complete trades at their desired price, said a senior exchange executive who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. That would encourage larger displayed trade sizes with tighter spreads between the price at which an asset is being