Huge state budget deficits which are weakening public finances country-wide have rekindled the debate on levying sales taxes on Internet purchases. Currently, seven states have enacted legislation to collect sales tax on online purchases. The debate pits Ebay and Amazon against Walmart, Sears and Target – big box retailers who charge that online stores have an unfair competitive advantage. The two online behemoths claim that it is unfair to treat them the same as bricks-and-mortar stores. Cash-strapped consumers have migrated to the Internet to save money on purchases where they can and the lack of a sales tax is one way to make budgets stretch a bit farther.
Greek debt downgraded….again
Greece’s debt rating took a 3-notch hit to triple-C by Standard & Poor’s yesterday, according to the Financial Times. The rating, which is just one notch higher than a D – or default – rating, indicates that S&P may be considering downgrading the country’s debt to default soon. Ten-year Greek bond yields jumped to 17%. Today the ECB is meeting in Brussels to debate the second rescue package for Greece with Germany facing off against the ECB and in favor of restructuring Greece’s debt.
Chief Executive Leo Apotheker of HP made some changes at the top at HP yesterday continuing a re-engineering of management since he took the helm last September according to a Reuters' report. The moves were made to coordinate with the company’s new focus on China and India and to improve market share in those countries. HP is also moving into new markets such as tablet technologies, reports Reuters. Increased competition from Cisco and Oracle for HP’s core businesses, weak consumer spending and a significant investment in cloud solutions has put earnings under pressure. In fact, HP trimmed sales forecasts for the second straight quarter this year. Gone in the shakeup are Peter Bocian, Chief Administrative Officer and Ann Livermore who will be replaced in the enterprise division’s top spot. She is moving to a Board position.
Traffic to become unbearable
The Chamber of Commerce in London has warned UK businesses that London is going to be a different place during the 2012 Olympics, set to begin next summer. Warning of transportation nightmares in Central London, businesses are ill-prepared to deal with security, staff availability, supply chain disruptions and adjusting to increasing and/or decreased demand during the Games, according to a Chamber spokesperson and reported in the Financial Times. “There isn’t a single solution” to each business' unique challenges, quoted the Times. It reported that some businesses are considering scheduling deliveries after midnight while others are planning to stockpile inventories to avoid dealing with clogged roadways.
Breaking and entering
Two hacker groups, Lulz and Anonymous, are on a mission to embarrass and harass major companies and institutions around the world. Victims to date include PBS, Sony, MasterCard, Paypal, Visa, Citigroup, Google and Michaels Stores, to name a few. Lulz’s latest victim: the U.S. Senate’s website. Hackers were able to gain administrative level access to a public site over the weekend which might have proved to be an access to more sensitive areas of the Senate website network.
The engine that could
Last evening’s second Republican candidate debate featured seven Presidential hopefuls and a room full of bloggers and tweeters. Predictably, the first question fielded for the candidates was about jobs and job creation in the U.S. and was asked of Herman Cain, formerly of Godfather’s Pizza. In arguably the best metaphor of the evening, Mr. Cain remarked that the current administration has been putting money in the caboose, the wrong end of the train. Instead, noted Mr. Cain, the U. S. government must put provide fuel to the engine of the economy and that engine is the private sector.