6 Most Important Things in Business Today
The president set in motion plans to examine the financial future of the U.S. Postal Service. According to Reuters:
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the creation of a task force to study the U.S. Postal Service and its financial difficulties, after recently claiming without evidence that deliveries for Amazon.com Inc were costing the service money.
The task force will look into the post office’s business model, similar to a commission set up by U.S. President George Bush in 2002.
“The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout,” said the order, signed by Trump. It said the Postal Service had lost $65 billion since the 2007-2009 recession.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and a U.S. agency are in a war of words over the investigation of a fatal accident. According to The Wall Street Journal:
An unusual public feud between Tesla Inc. and federal accident investigators escalated Thursday over the examination of a fatal car crash, sidelining the auto maker from an official probe concerning its semiautonomous driving system.
In dueling explanations, Tesla and the National Transportation Safety Board clashed over whether the company withdrew or was removed as an official party to the agency’s investigation into last month’s crash of a Model X sport-utility vehicle that killed the driver near Mountain View, Calif.
Volkswagen has a new CEO. According to The Wall Street Journal:
Volkswagen AG’s board ousted Chief Executive Matthias Müller and replaced him with Herbert Diess, who quietly orchestrated a boardroom coup while he was rebuilding the company’s namesake brand.
The move comes nearly three years after Volkswagen admitted to rigging 11 million diesel-powered vehicles to cheat on emissions tests, sparking a large recall and criminal prosecutions, while costing the company more than $25 billion in fines, penalties, consumer compensation and legal fees.
The president has started to consider the U.S. joining a large Asia trade group. According to Bloomberg:
President Donald Trump directed officials to explore rejoining an Asia-Pacific trade pact he withdrew from shortly after taking office and expressed optimism about a deal with China, a shift in tone that boosted sentiment in the markets.
A week after escalating tensions with his threat to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese products, Trump said Thursday the two countries ultimately may end up levying no new tariffs on each other.
A judge said Uber drivers do not work for the company. According to Reuters:
A U.S. judge in Philadelphia has ruled that limousine drivers for Uber Technologies Inc are independent contractors and not the company’s employees under federal law, the first ruling of its kind on a crucial issue for the ride-hailing company.
U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson on Wednesday said San Francisco-based Uber does not exert enough control over drivers for its limo service, UberBLACK, to be considered their employer under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The drivers work when they want to and are free to nap, run personal errands, or smoke cigarettes in between rides, Baylson said.
State pension funds are massively underfunded. According to CNNMoney:
In most states, public pension funds don’t have enough money to pay for benefits they’ve promised to government workers.
The problem is getting worse. Overall, the shortfall across states grew by $295 billion between 2015 and 2016, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
All together, state pension plans had just $2.6 trillion to cover a cumulative liability of $4 trillion.