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Thursday, Jul 27th

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Reality Check: America and the Foxconn Dream

Foxcom dream in WisconsinWisconsin is about to shell out as much as $3 billion for the privilege of luring Foxconn Technology Group. At $519 per citizen, it would have been cheaper to buy an iPhone for every man, woman and child in the midwestern state.

Let's be clear: The big winner isn't the taxpayer. It's Foxconn and its billionaire chairman Terry Gou. As I predicted several times, Foxconn would only come to the U.S. if and when his demands were met.

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Fed keeps interest rate unchanged amid low inflation

Janet YellenThe Federal Reserve declined Wednesday to raise its benchmark interest rate amid a low inflation rate that's lagging despite a strong job market.

Strong job growth normally drives up prices, but it is not the case now. The unemployment rate is 4.4 percent but inflation is below its targeted 2 percent.

"In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent," the Fed said in a statement. "The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation."

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JPMorgan Whistle-Blowers Set to Reap Record $61 Million Bounty

JP Morgan whitleblowersTwo whistle-blowers are set to share a record $61 million award from the Securities and Exchange Commission for helping make the case that JPMorgan Chase & Co. failed to disclose to wealthy clients that it was steering them into investments that would be most profitable for the bank.

The SEC issued letters on Wednesday notifying six whistle-blower applicants of the preliminary decision. The letters said that two of them would share almost a quarter of the record asset-management settlement that the SEC reached with the bank in December 2015.

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CBO rejects Trump's claim that budget plan would eliminate deficit

Trump budgetThe Congressional Budget Office cast doubt Thursday on the White House’s claim that President Trump’s proposed budget would balance in 10 years.

In its analysis of the spending plan Trump unveiled in May, the non-partisan budget office said that the deficit would shrink under the Trump budget but would still total $720 billion in 2027. The White House had projected a $16 billion surplus in 2027.

The difference is mostly Trump's economic optimism.

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Study: ‘Buy America’ rules raising costs for US transit systems

Buy America increases prices of mass transitFederal requirements to buy American-made products may be forcing some U.S. transit systems to spend more money, according to a new study from a center-right think tank.

The American Action Forum (AAF) released research Friday that found “Buy America” rules for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants could be raising procurement costs in some areas.

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Ascena closing up to 650 clothing stores including Dress Barn

Ascena to close 650 storesBetween 250 and 650 retail stores including Ann Taylor, Dress Barn, Loft and Lane Bryant are closing, owner Ascena Retrail Group announced.

The locations are closing over the next two years and also include Justice, Maurices and Catherines. CEO David Jaffe revealed the news Thursday during a conference call with investors.

It's unclear how many of each specific brand are expected to close, though 250 locations will definitely close. Up to 400 others are also being considered for shuttering.

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Earn minimum wage in the US? You can afford to live in exactly 12 counties

Minimum wage earners have few places to liveA person working a full-time minimum-wage job will find it virtually impossible to rent an affordable home anywhere in the US, according to a study that sheds new light the country’s housing crisis.

The report reveals that there is not a single county or metropolitan area in which a minimum-wage worker can afford a modest two-bedroom home, which the federal government defines as paying less than 30% of a household’s income for rent and utilities. And in only 12 counties in the country is a modest one-bedroom home affordable, according to the report, published Thursday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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