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  • Writer's pictureMike V.

Weekend Reading

Bloomberg: Fed's New Abnormal Marks a Watershed Moment in a Low-Rate World

Six months ago, U.S. central bankers thought they’d soon be returning to the days of on-target inflation, full employment and interest rates that, while lower than in decades past, would still need to rise into growth-restricting territory to keep things on track. But in a watershed moment, the Federal Reserve surprised investors Wednesday by slashing rate projections to show no hike this year. Officials signaled expectations for a slowdown in the economy, which would translate into higher unemployment than previously forecast, and they no longer expect inflation to rise above their 2 percent target. The move was a serious about-face. Since September 2017, they had signaled they would probably need to eventually raise rates above their estimate of the so-called neutral level for the economy -- which neither slows nor spurs growth -- to slow the expansion and protect against the possibility of higher inflation. In the U.S., though the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent, near the lowest levels in five decades, neither price gains nor inflation expectations have gone up. If anything, they’ve been sliding. And it appears to be a global problem. The apparent contradiction has policy makers rethinking things.

Roundup Causes Cancer

Jury finds Bayer's(Monsanto) weed killer caused a man's cancer. A jury found that a man developed cancer from exposure to the Roundup weed killer he used in his yard, the second case to go to trial over the alleged harms of the popular product. Bayer faces about 11,200 lawsuits claiming its glyphosate-based herbicides cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. The verdict is likely to keep heat on the stock that has been in a downward spiral.

Bloomberg: Ford Invests $900 Million to Build Electric Vehicles in Michigan

Ford plans to spend about $900 million and hire about 900 workers to build electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan, while moving production of a small commercial van to Mexico from Europe. Ford is reiterating some previous financial and employment commitments, while changing gears for the third time on building electric vehicles at an underutilized factory south of Detroit. Roughly a year and a half after shifting production of a future electric sport utility vehicle to Mexico from Flat Rock, Michigan, Ford says it now plans to build other battery-powered models there and add a second shift of workers by 2023, at a cost of $850 million. The automaker also is spending $50 million to establish a facility near Detroit where workers will add the self-driving software to autonomous vehicles that will be built at Flat Rock. The factory will continue to produce the Mustang sports car and Lincoln Continental sedan.

Detroit Man Gets 6 Months In Prison After Cashing Dead Mom's Social Security Checks For 37 Years

A Detroit man has been sentenced to six months in prison (plus three years on probation) for cashing 37 years' worth of his dead mother's social security checks - accruing more than $280,000 in benefits to which he wasn't entitled. Though his neighbor, Reginald Carpenter, said he tried to do the right thing by notifying the authorities ("but the checks just kept coming"), 76-year-old Walter Terrell had cashed his mother's checks, despite the fact that she had been dead since 1981. The scheme was uncovered after Medicare tried to contact his mother to ask why her benefits hadn't been used. Though Terrell tried to keep them at bay by telling them that his mother was away or on vacation when they called or tried to check on her, he was eventually caught.

GM to invest $300 million in Orion plant to build EVs and AVs

General Motors plans to invest $300 million in a suburban Detroit plant that builds electric and self-driving vehicles for Chevrolet and the automaker's self-driving Cruise unit. The largest U.S. automaker is expected to announce it plans to build a new electric compact vehicle for Chevy.

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