Travel to the U.S. has been on the decline ever since President Donald Trump took office, and new data shows the slump translates to a cost of $4.6 billion in lost spending and 40,000 jobs. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel had outperformed overall U.S. export growth during the prior five years; the industry generated an $87 billion trade surplus in 2016, without which the U.S. trade deficit that year would have been 17 percent higher. Overall, the U.S. travel industry supports 15.3 million un-exportable American jobs.
"For our country to have any hope of closing the trade gap, international inbound travel must perform, simple as that," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "After almost a decade and a half of relatively sustained post-9/11 recovery, since 2015 there's been evidence that the country has gotten complacent with the policies needed to support this vital economic engine and job creator."
Over two months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island's government still hasn't received any of the $4.9 billion of short-term loans promised in the storm aid package Congress passed at the end of October. Puerto Rico's government has requested $94 billion in federal aid, only a portion of which has been granted. Members of Congress have raised concerns over how the island's government will steward billions in federal money. In what appeared to be an attempt to reassure Washington, Governor Ricardo Rossello said last month that he was giving Federal Emergency Management Agency unprecedented power to pre-approve relief spending. read more
Wells Fargo bankers chasing bonuses charged hundreds of clients inflated foreign transaction fees, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The report comes just over a year since Wells Fargo paid a $185 million fine for "widespread illegal" sales practices involving fees on 2 million deposit and credit-card accounts opened without customers' knowledge. An internal Wells Fargo review in the latest breach showed that only 35 business clients out of about 300 were charged the actual price they had been quoted by Wells Fargo bankers for their currency trades, two employees told The Journal. They heard the conclusions of the bank investigation in a conference call in June, the paper said. Sources told the newspaper that four foreign-exchange bankers have been fired and federal investigators have opened their own inquiry. read more
The fight for control of the U.S. consumer watchdog agency intensified on Monday as Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump's pick to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), imposed a hiring freeze and halted any new regulations. read more
Shocking news in last week's Sun-Sentinel:
Almost three months into the school year, thousands of public school students in South Florida still don't have a permanent teacher -- a problem expected to get worse as more educators flee the classroom and the number of those seeking teaching degrees plummets.
Okay, not shocking. Utterly predictable, given Florida's unending efforts to create the worst atmosphere for public education in the country. read more