Union Leaders Live "High on Hog," too.

While unions call for tax and minimum-wage increases to fix "income inequality," reports to the U.S. Department of Labor reveal 472 union officers and employees were paid more than $250,000 in 2013.

In all, America's 100 highest-paid union officers and employees received $54.8 million taken from workers last year.

Union officials lived even higher on the hog in fiscal 2013 than the year before, when 428 union officers and employees were paid more than $250,000 and the top 100 received compensation totaling $52.1 million.

Read more: Union Leaders Live "High on Hog," too.

Have you heard of bitcoins?

It's kind of an e-currency. Overstock.com announced that they will begin accepting bitcoins, following many other lesser known companies, such as Cups and Cakes Bakery in San Francisco. Bitcoin is a decentralized, anonymous electronic currency that first came into being in 2009. It has since gained worldwide recognition and is increasingly gaining acceptance by some, and creating alarm for others, especially governments used to being able to centrally control all things financial. Where it all will lead is unclear. For some the problem is that while you can use the "cryptocoin" to buy produce at a farmers market or security services from major internet companies, it is also being used in illegal drug transaction or to buy weapons on the black market. Without any centralized authority able to track and monitor transactions, it also becomes an attractive tax haven.

Businesses Impacted by Shutdown, Victims of a Myth

This morning's Review-Journal contains a report that a number of small businesses whose enterprises are based upon tourism in local national parks and recreation areas are suffering due to the partial government shutdown. These businesses, who provide services such as bikes for tours of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and jeep tours of Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, have become victims of the closures of these areas.

Read more: Businesses Impacted by Shutdown, Victims of a Myth

Construction Economists Optimistic About 2014 Commercial and Industrial Growth

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu, American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chief Economist Kermit Baker and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chief Economist David Crowe provided a collaborative economic forecast combining their expert economic analysis on leading, present and lagging economic indicators.

Read more: Construction Economists Optimistic About 2014 Commercial and Industrial Growth

Is the President's "war on coal" for real?

 

Is President Barak Obama really determined to eliminate the use of coal as a generator of electric energy in the US, as both liberals and conservatives seem to believe?

While President Obama has launched a war on coal it's not for the purpose of "saving the planet," but to be able to "squeeze" the coal industry for as much revenue as possible, announced Eric Sharpe during a presentation at the Energy Expo held in Billings, last month. "Obama doesn't want to destroy coal he wants to squeeze it to death," said Sharpe.

Read more: Is the President's "war on coal" for real?

Removal of Ban will Allow Private Securities to Advertise

Monday, Sept 23 will mark one of the most meaningful days in the history of the US Securities industry. The implementation of Title II of the JOBS ACT, i.e., the removal of the General Solicitation ban, went into effect. This is perhaps the most important development with regard to this legislation to date, which was passed with bi-partisan support.

Read more: Removal of Ban will Allow Private Securities to Advertise

Australia Has Second Thoughts on Carbon Tax

Australia has repealed its Carbon Tax, which placed a price on carbon emissions.

The tax was estimated to have had a $15 billion negative impact on Australia's economy. Its repeal is estimated to save each family $550 per year.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose election was based on a pledge to repeal the tax, said: "Today, the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone. A useless, destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families' cost of living and which didn't actually help the environment is finally gone."

Read more: Australia Has Second Thoughts on Carbon Tax

October Retail Holds Promise for Holiday Sales

Positive retail sales numbers in the month of October point to a good holiday sales season ahead. According to the National Retail Federation – the world largest retail trade association – October retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 2.5 percent seasonally adjusted over September, and 4.2 percent unadjusted from 2012.

"Consumer spending is growing as we head into the holiday shopping season and the timing couldn't be better," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Consumers seem to have found some sense of confidence, driven, in part, by lower gas prices. While positive gains were seen in most retail categories, retailers will continue to rely on heavy promotions to drive traffic and sales this holiday season."

Read more: October Retail Holds Promise for Holiday Sales

Veteran Landman Pursues Mineral Owners

For veteran landman Dan Clancy, it took over six years to track down all the mineral ownership for one Bakken drilling project. The reason: Several variables make the process quite tedious and time consuming and one tract of land can have as many as 1,000 mineral owners, each of whom must be contacted ahead of leasing and drilling. In one case, he had to track mineral ownership in 100,000 acres and many of the owners only own a small fraction.

Read more: Veteran Landman Pursues Mineral Owners

Market Update

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