Business

Business News at a Glance

Posted February 4, 2018 10:17 p.m. EST

Labor Dept. Plan Could Let the Boss Pocket the Tip

The Trump administration is moving to give restaurants and other employers more control over workers’ tips. Under a new proposal, for which the public comment period ends on Monday, employers could use workers’ tips for essentially any purpose, as long as the workers were directly paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. But critics have denounced the plan as legalizing wage theft and accuse the administration of suppressing evidence that lends credence to the charge. A study by the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the change would cost tipped workers $5.8 billion a year in pay.

Super Bowl Ads Look to Score With Laughs

Last year, Super Bowl commercials with social and political messages stole the show, but in the first half, this year’s advertisers aimed more for laughs. Wendy Clark of DDB North America was a fan of the Tide ad and the Doritos-Mountain Dew ad featuring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman lip-syncing to Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes. But the blowback was swift for Dodge Ram when the carmaker used a speech given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the voice-over for an ad. The general sentiment: Did the car brand really just use King’s words to sell trucks?

Key to the Wells Fargo-Fed Deal: Holding Directors Accountable

The Federal Reserve’s goal in imposing tough sanctions on Wells Fargo was to send a message that Wells Fargo's board would be held responsible for the bank's years of misconduct and shoddy governance, according to people familiar with their thinking. After three weeks of frenzied negotiations, a deal was announced Friday night that represented a milestone in the evolving relationship between regulators and banks. Wells Fargo, one of the country’s largest banks, was banned from getting bigger until it can convince regulators that it has cleaned up its act.

Powell Steps Becomes Fed Chief as Economy Starts to Show Strain

Jerome H. Powell, who will be sworn in Monday as the Federal Reserve’s 16th chairman, is stepping into his new role as a half-decade of economic tranquility is beginning to show some signs of strain. The Fed has gradually been increasing interest rates to maintain control of inflation, and markets are starting to notice. Stock prices fell Friday as investors contemplated higher rates with a tightening labor market. Powell has said that he plans to continue the Fed’s gradual retreat from the economic stimulus campaign it mounted after the 2008 financial crisis, and markets have taken him at his word.

Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built

A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build. The cohort is creating a union of concerned experts called the Center for Humane Technology. Along with the nonprofit media watchdog group Common Sense Media, it also plans an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort and an ad campaign at 55,000 public schools in the United States. The campaign will be funded with $7 million from Common Sense and capital raised by the Center for Humane Technology.

DC Comics Joining Forces With Young Adult Authors

DC Entertainment, the home of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, is planning two new graphic novel imprints aimed at younger readers. DC Zoom will feature stories for middle school readers, and DC Ink will focus on young adults. Books from the two divisions are scheduled this fall. Though a few of the graphic novels will have creators who are already working in the comic book industry, the majority of the writers are a Who’s Who of popular novelists for young readers, including Laurie Halse Anderson (“Speak”), Melissa de la Cruz (the Descendants series) and Michael Northrop (“TombQuest”).