How your employer uses perks like wellness programs, phones and free food to control your life

Free office food isn’t there just to fill your belly fizkes/Shutterstock.com Companies offer all sorts of benefits and extras to attract the most favored workers, from health care and stock options to free food. But all those perks come at a price: your freedom. There’s a reason labor historians call these perks “welfare capitalism,” a […]

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FUCT gets day in court as SCOTUS considers dropping slippery moral standard when granting trademarks

When’s a brand too scandalous to trademark? That’s a question the Supreme Court will soon decide in a case that tests the constitutional limits of free speech. I attended the oral argument on April 15, when lawyers representing streetwear clothing label FUCT argued the company has a right to register its brand as a trademark, […]

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‘You’re unallocated!’ and other BS companies use to obscure reality

Corporate America has invented many ways to avoid letting the public know it’s laying people off – or telling employees themselves “You’re fired.” Common parlance includes “downsizing,” “headcount management,” “restucturing” or even the unsightly “involuntary separation program.” Or a boss might say “Your position has been made redundant” or simply, “You’ve been let go.” General […]

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Why political meddling with central banks is a terrible idea – and the Federal Reserve is no exception

Nixon convinced Fed Chair Arthur Burns, seated left, to lower interest rates, helping him win re-election in 1972. AP Photo Central bank independence is increasingly at risk around the world. In the U.S., President Donald Trump said he may nominate two close political allies to the Federal Reserve, following months of criticism over the bank’s […]

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America and the world still need the WTO to keep trade and the global economy humming

The WTO’s home in Geneva. Martin Good/Shutterstock.com President Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the World Trade Organization. Since taking office, the Trump administration has been blocking the appointment or reappointment of WTO judges – imperiling the essential work of its court in issuing trade rulings. The president has even threatened […]

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People who win big prizes shouldn’t get taxed when they give their windfalls away

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo AP Photo/John McConnico When former President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he didn’t keep the approximately US$1.4 million, converted from Swedish currency, that came with it. Instead the Nobel Prize Foundation transferred the money directly to Fisher House, a nonprofit that houses families of […]

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Tax returns waste everyone’s time – but there’s an easy solution the tax preparation industry and some lawmakers don’t like

Congress designed a complicated tax system. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic Each year hundreds of millions of Americans file their personal income tax returns using a form 1040. The average American spends eight hours and US$110 doing so. Much of that money goes to professional tax preparers and software companies. Much of that time is spent entering […]

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