Hey, Friday, Hey!

A recap of some of the week’s top business news for Oct. 13, 2017


[Not] So Fresh, So Clean

The Trump administration announced this week that it plans to roll back more Obama-era rules. This time: we’re talking the environmental ones, specifically the Clean Power Plan.

The rundown on this regulation is that it made the first federal limit on greenhouse emissions for power plants to curb climate change and slow things down a little.

Trump and his folks (read: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt) claim the repeal is to support the coal industry by bringing back those jobs.

But, economists are saying that the repeal probably doesn’t really matter and that it’s not likely that companies seeking more renewable processes will reverse course.

And they might be right. Power companies like American Electric Power Co., NRG Energy Inc., and Southern Co. have said they aren’t changing directions — they’re still going toward the clean energy market they say cheap fuel, technology, and consumer demand creates.

Trading Sorrows

So, 700 officials from U.S., Mexico, and Canada are in the fourth round of negotiations to modernize NAFTA — the 23-year-old free deal that allows the countries to trade with each other. These negotiations are going to determine if the countries can still play fair together.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau definitely doesn’t seem to have the bromance with Trump that he had with Obama, but the Canadian leader has said that they both want to help their citizens benefit from free trade and that they always find common ground.

Basically, nobody knows what’s gonna happen and some are accusing Trump of sabotaging the whole thing: Would failing negotiations give Trump a reason to pull the U.S. out, or does he just want it to fail so that Mexico will withdraw? Who in the heck knows right now.

Well, he did say in a Forbes interview on Tuesday: “I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we’re going to make it good.”

On Tuesday, though, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray did warn that ending NAFTA would also mess up U.S.-Mexican relations in other areas, so everyone is just sitting back to see what the deal is.

Super side note: After Brexit, the U.K. and the European Union is going through the same thing. Since it’s separate now, what are its trade deals gonna be? There are even reports that it might join in on the NAFTA deal.

So I Know It’s Real

The Fed released the minutes from their September meeting on Wednesday and they show one thing: officials want to raise interest rates, but only if they think inflation indicates that the economy is actually doing well and not just a fluke.

There’s something important you gotta understand first, though. The Federal Reserve uses interest rates to make sure the economy is growing at the speed it should. If it’s growing too slow, like in a recession, it’ll lower interests rates to get people spending money again. But, if it’s growing too fast, they’ll lower the rate so that inflation doesn’t go crazy. (Too much inflation is bad because your dollar won’t be able to buy as much.)

So basically, just like with a new boo, only time will tell if the current inflation is just a fluke. Some folks at the Fed want to wait and see what happens over the next couple of months.  If inflation continues to bump up, it may mean that the economy is on the up-and-up. Lately, it’s been near — but still short of — the Fed’s target of 2 percent.

But not everybody is down, and some are ready to hop on into a new commitment. They fear that if the Fed waits too long to raise interest rates, inflation might be out-of-control.

One Time For The Home Team

University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler won the Nobel prize in economic sciences on Monday.

He’s a pioneer in behavioral economics, which basically mixes psychology with economics. Why? Because us humans don’t always make the decisions that are the most rational ones. So, it includes our emotions and all that jazz. Go figure.

Super side note: The stock market has not been reacting to all of the things happening in the news and even Thaler says he doesn’t even get it.

“We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping,” Thaler told Bloomberg TV. “I admit to not understanding it.”

Top image via Giphy