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7 encouraging and scary snapshots of the US job market

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. job market no longer looks quite so robust. Employers added a meager 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday. And the average job gain for each of the past three months — 167,000 — is well below the 231,000 average for the previous three. All of which renews doubts about a job market in which steady hiring and the consumer spending it drives were expected to fuel continued healthy economic growth. But JPMorgan Chase now estimates that the economy grew at a mere 1.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. The economy occupies a sensitive spot as the Federal Reserve considers whether to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Vulnerabilities in U.S. manufacturing reflect a struggling global economy. Wages still aren’t growing much. Still, some signs of strength remain. Unemployment is just 5.1 percent, down steeply from the 10 percent it reached after the Great Recession. The construction and sale of new homes have advanced this year, supporting evidence of solid consumer confidence. Here are seven factors that explain the state of the job market: GLOBAL SQUEEZE TIGHTENS For months, the U.S. job market cruised as the rest of the world struggled. Not so much anymore. Employers appear to be responding to some of the fears gripping the rest of the globe. Demand for energy and commodities has slid as China’s growth prospects have dimmed. Europe is struggling to sustain its growth. Emerging economies like Brazil are slumping. Fears of a worldwide slowdown, which shook the U.S. stock market in August, appear to have now spilled into the job market. Oil prices have plunged, leading energy companies to cut jobs. The mining sector, which includes energy drillers, cut 10,300 jobs last month. Refiners of coal and petroleum lost 1,100. The dollar has also risen in value against foreign currencies, thereby making U.S. goods costlier overseas and hurting U.S. manufacturers. Producers of metal products, machinery and computers — all key drivers of exports — shed a combined 10,800 jobs in September. Global pressures infected other sectors last month, too, with job losses in wholesale trade and transportation. SOLID GAINS FOR COLLEGE GRADS The numbers show that employers want people with college degrees. The demand is part of a larger shift in the composition of the workforce: Nearly 35 percent of jobs now belong to college grads, up from 30 percent right before the recession began in December 2007 — an increase of 8.6 million jobs for the college educated. College grads also enjoy a scant unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, less than half the overall 5.1 percent rate. LOSSES FOR THE LESS EDUCATED It’s a brutal job market for people with only a high school diploma or no diploma at all. Employers have cut these workers over the past year. Unemployment for high school dropouts rose last month to 7.9 percent, putting it substantially above the overall rate. And the percentage of high school graduates who either have a job or are looking for one — their labor force participation rate — is at just 56.9 percent. The participation rate for Americans as a whole is 62.4 percent, the lowest since 1977. The exodus of less educated workers — due either to retirement or discouragement — accounts for much of that drop. JOB GROWTH SLOWS A hot streak in hiring appears to have ended. Friday’s report downgraded estimated job growth for July and August by a combined 59,000. The July-August-September average gain of 167,000 compares with 324,333 in the final three months of 2014. Some economists note that a decline in the pace of job growth was inevitable because it had been exceeding population growth. “The question is whether wage growth can pick up the baton,” said Gregory Daco, head of U.S. Macroeconomics at Oxford Economics. WEAK INCOMES Pay growth has been close to stalling. A result is that many consumers are hesitant to spend more of their paychecks, thereby preventing the economy from accelerating. The pattern of tepid earnings growth defies what should normally happen when unemployment falls. Lower unemployment tends to reflect a competitive job market, and companies must usually raise pay to draw enough qualified workers. RELATED: Ogden-Clearfield area has one of the smallest wage gaps in the country. Here’s why. But average hourly wages have risen a subpar 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. In September, workers earned an average of $25.09 an hour. “The bottom line is you’ve got less spending power from the American consumer,” said John Silvia, chief economist at the bank Wells Fargo.   FEW LAYOFFS Despite high-profile layoff announcements by Caterpillar and Wal-Mart, most employers aren’t panicking by slashing jobs. Applications for unemployment benefits — which reflect the pace of layoffs — totaled just 277,000 last week. That level remains near historic lows, evidence that many businesses expect their customer demand to remain stable and the U.S. economy to expand for a seventh straight year. MORE FULL-TIME WORKERS All the net job growth over the past 12 months came from full-time workers. Their ranks have swelled by 2.8 million. Conversely, there are 630,000 fewer part-time employees now. The decline in the proportion of part-time jobs has occurred because more Americans have managed to work 35 hours or more each week, meeting the definition of a full-time employee. The additional full-time workers represent a source of strength because they have more income to spend. The rise in their ranks is helping mend some of the lingering damage from the Great Recession, which forced a historically high proportion of workers into part-time positions.

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Governor was appropriately rebuked in Planned Parenthood case

Unsurprisingly the response to my column last week was split right down the middle, half chastising me and half thanking me. (And to the commentor on the site predicting the demise of my column — Howdy, I’m still here.) What is surprising is that all I really did was recount how the law has stood throughout the United States for over 40 years, as well as some of the philosophical underpinnings for why the law is the way it is. In the last paragraph, I stated my personal belief that the law was probably not the best way to resolve the issue of abortion, but rather education and contraceptive accessibility could continue the downward spiral of the abortion rate. Today, the abortion rate stands at about the same as before Roe v. Wade passed attesting to the wisdom of that approach if you really oppose abortion and value life. Yet, the readership and society remains sharply divided on this issue. This Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert found himself in federal court with Planned Parenthood Association of Utah over Governor Herbert’s unilateral decision to cut off federal grants that had already been awarded to Planned Parenthood. The federal district court found in favor of Planned Parenthood and ordered Governor Herbert to continue to provide the funding. A hearing is scheduled for October 15 to decide whether the court’s order will become permanent. • RELATED Planned Parenthood scores win in court In understanding the Utah case, you must first understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. While abortion was the excuse Governor Herbert cited for cutting off funding, no federal or state funding is given to Planned Parenthood for abortions. Why abortion entered into the debate over Planned Parenthood funding for education and testing to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies is a non sequitur by the governor (an act that does not logically follow the given reason.) Cutting off Planned Parenthood’s funding would have zero impact on abortions in Utah at best, and possibly increase abortions at worst. The lack of any nexus between the governor’s reason and the actions he took caused Judge Clark Waddoups to find there was a “substantial likelihood” that Planned Parenthood would prevail in the underlying lawsuit. One sentence from the Judge’s ruling bears reading by everyone concerned about this issue. For clarity, I’m substituting actual names of the parties for plaintiff and defendant, but otherwise, this is Judge Waddoups ruling: “The court also concludes that public interest favors Planned Parenthood. The programs carried out by Planned Parenthood target at-risk individuals and the reduction of communicable diseases. These are strong public interests that outweigh the Governor’s stated interests in defunding Planned Parenthood.” What are the strong public interests that Planned Parenthood was protecting with the federal funding? Two educational programs would have been defunded by the governor’s action, one was the “Utah Abstinence Education Program” to promote abstinence among young people and the other was “Personal Responsibility Education Program” which focused on abstinence, contraception to prevent pregnancy and STDs, and promoting healthy relationships. I’m more than a little dumbfounded by the logic of wanting to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions by defunding educating our youth. The other program prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases through education and monitoring. The governor’s action would also have stopped reimbursing Planned Parenthood for pregnancy and STD testing for victims of rape and sexual assault. Not only was the governor’s action not in the citizens of Utah’s best interest, but he is acting contrary to fundamental constitutional concepts of justice. He attacked the local, Utah branch of Planned Parenthood without any evidence. His actions had nothing to do with the other organizations that had been accused of misconduct. This is roughly the equivalent of attacking the Utah Education Association for some teacher union misbehavior in Wisconsin. We don’t accuse or punish groups or organizations for the misconduct of others. I’m basing my critique of Governor Herbert on a ruling of a federal judge that there is a substantial likelihood that the governor acted unconstitutionally, but he will still have his day in court. Critique in the press or on the stump is one thing, but the law doesn’t punish or take away rights without due process and without proof. This is why we are still funding Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. E. Kent Winward is an Ogden attorney. He can be reached at 801-392-8200 or

Erlacher Mug

New publisher named to lead the Standard-Examiner

Brandon Erlacher has been named publisher of the Standard-Examiner and vice president of Ogden Publishing Co. Born in Elkhart, Ind., Erlacher began his career as a youth carrier for The Elkhart Truth in the 1980’s. After serving in the U.S. Navy and earning a degree from the University of Notre Dame, he returned to The Truth, where he became publisher in 2008. “My family and I are eager to get to know Ogden and to begin working with the team at the Standard-Examiner to serve this community,” Erlacher said. “We’ve already become enamored with the region and look forward to exploring it as we get settled.” Brandon is married to his wife Chris and has two sons, Jack and Evan, and two stepdaughters, Sydney and Kate. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, reading and Notre Dame football. He is passionate about community and has volunteered teaching economics and journalism in several schools. Erlacher also has helped non-profit organizations meet their marketing and strategic goals. During his tenure as publisher, The Truth focused on community journalism and digital initiatives. Flavor 574, the Truth’s online food magazine, won the Hoosier State Press Association’s James W. Brown Innovation Award in 2014, while won more than a dozen awards from the Local Media Association for its design and content in 2014 and 2015, and the Indiana Associated Press Media Editors honored “Five Years Later,” The Truth’s look at the Great Recession, as the state’s best newswriting in 2014. “I’m excited about joining a newspaper dedicated to local journalism,” Erlacher said. “This is a newspaper with a long history of service to its community. We want to build on that legacy.” Erlacher starts Oct. 12. “Brandon will be good partner and leader for the strong staff of the Standard-Examiner,” said Doug Phares, president of the Sandusky Newspaper Group, which owns the newspaper. “We are glad he accepted this opportunity and expect he will bring the same level of excellence we saw at The Elkhart Truth during his time there.” Erlacher will also work with the newspaper group as its vice president for Strategic Data.

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Creativity: The key to becoming the best version of ourselves

“To be successful we must live from our imaginations, not from our memories.” — Steven Covey How can we put more creativity into our lives and work? It is so easy to get stuck in a rut. The longer we live, the greater the tendency to keep doing things the same way. However, if we look closely there are always opportunities for more creativity. Creative opportunities can encompass communication skills, problem-solving, developing relationships and decision-making. Most of us need and desire to be creative. When we’re creative, we experience growth and become more confident and more resilient. To get to our creative place we have to leave our comfort zone and go into the uncharted territory of intuition and imagination. When we combine these with knowledge, we can have flashes of insight, recharge our thinking and increase fulfillment. Without creativity, there is minimal progress. We are the “creators” of our own destinies. Creativity empowers us by adding strength to our instinctive and innate abilities, which in turn improves our effectiveness, productivity and well-being. Nurturing our creativity and that of others unlocks the potential of our collective minds. It can bring skills to bear in new, meaningful ways that benefit our families, teams, organizations and us. Creative thinking is a skill that can be learned but it takes courage and practice. Here are 14 ways to help you start unlocking your creativity and that of others: 1. Get visual. Visualize data and ideas to get everyone thinking with the right-brain. When presenting, add graphics, funny pictures or drawings to illustrate your point. 2. Think like a traveler. Try to see things as if you’ve just landed in that spot and are seeing things for the first time. Expose yourself to new situations or information. 3. Improve brainstorming. Enforce a “no holds barred” idea session. Avoid words like “but,” “how” and “can’t.” Designate someone to keep everyone honest. 4. Make it a game. Have everyone write an idea down, crumple it up and toss it onto the table. Pick one idea at random and build on it. 5. Work backward. Figure the ideal scenario 10 to 15 years ahead. Start there and work backward. Don’t worry about the “how.” Focus on the “what.” 6. Think in opposites. Present from the back of the room. Start the meeting from the end of the agenda. Give a series of answers and ask for the questions. 7. Have fun. Play takes us from set patterns by opening up the floodgates to innovation. Read joke books and take time to laugh. Appoint someone as "Director of Levity.” 8. Take mental breaks. It’s hard to nurture creativity in a burned-out brain. Rest periods help: quiet reflection time, meditation, power naps, yoga and journaling. 9. Get physical. Physical activity unlocks our right-brain and lets inspiration in. Go for a run, walk, bike ride or whatever activity suits you. 10. Play to strengths. Any skill can be used creatively. Throw ideas into a spreadsheet to categorize and dissect and let the brainstorm begin. 11. Embrace failure. If everything works, then we’re not being bold enough. Innovation involves trying things that don’t work until they do. 12. Think temporary. Approach everything in life and work as if the current method is temporary and your job is to find a better way. 13. Use your imagination. Imagination is like a muscle. The more we use it, the bigger it gets. Knowledge gets us from A to Z, but imagination takes us anywhere. 14. Use your intuition. Our minds are limited. We are more intuitive than we think. Trust your gut because it already knows what your mind can’t explain. Choose creativity. Stop squashing that little kid inside of you. Make a commitment to cultivate that creative spark that can bring out the best in you and those around you. Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from northern Utah. He can be reached at

National Business

LEAD BS 092915 Joel Grasmeyer01-1

Cool and hip Ogden attracting influx of young entrepreneurs

OGDEN — After several years of concerted rebuilding and efforts to capitalize on its natural assets — two rivers and the nearby Wasatch mountain range — the city of Ogden has become a magnet for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. But little over a decade ago, Ogden’s bedraggled downtown had been all but abandoned, and few viewed the former railroad boom town as the cool place to live. A recent Newsweek article noted the city’s turnaround, touting Ogden-Clearfield area’s wage gap — the expanse between rich and poor in terms of income — as the narrowest in the nation, as per the U.S. Census. The write-up described Ogden as a “middle-class oasis” due to its good-paying jobs and lower-than-average cost of living. ▪ RELATED: Census: Ogden stands out as an economically egalitarian oasis Travis and Shalae Larsen, then young 20-somethings, relocated from Idaho to Ogden in 2002 after Shalae completed her degree in landscape architecture at Utah State University. Travis had landed an electrical job in Brigham City and Shalae signed on with a company in Salt Lake City, so Ogden seemed like the appropriate midpoint to establish home base. “We perused ‘homes for sale’ booklets and saw this great old victorian for a crazy-cheap affordable price,” Shalae Larsen said. “And we had fallen in love with Historic 25th Street — we loved its vibe.” Shalae even wrote her masters thesis on design guidelines for Ogden’s Historic District, reveling in the neighborhoods where her great-grandparents met while riding the streetcar. “For the first five years, neither of us worked in Ogden because there wasn’t a great job market for what we were doing,” Shalae said. Once the recession hit, both she and Travis were commuting to Salt Lake City for work but chose to keep their home in Ogden with its network of nearby mountain-biking trails and three ski resorts within a half-hour’s drive. “We instantly got very involved in the community here,” Shalae said. “It would have made more sense to move to Salt Lake City, but its cost of living was much higher.” By 2006, they had each launched their own companies — Shalae’s io Design Collaborative and Travis’s Arc Blue Electric Inc. That move cut down on their daily beeline between Ogden and Salt Lake City. Both rent office space in the historic Scowcroft Mansion on the southwest corner of 24th Street and Monroe Boulevard, an east-central Ogden area now ripe for redevelopment. Shalae’s advice for newcomers? “Get involved,” she said. “Our level of activity in the local community has helped our networking and it’s a win-win situation. The community benefits from our time and expertise, but then our businesses also grow.” Ogden’s lower cost of living serves as a boon for entrepreneurs. “As a business owner, you can have low overhead but we’re also getting this groundswell of activity and vibrancy,” Shalae said of the mix of residents with roots and newcomers with energy. “There’s just a lot of really interesting things happening, and people are experimenting with different ideas.” Joel Grasmeyer, 43, falls in that latter category. The independent software developer has spent the last decade creating business apps for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and the web. “My wife and I moved here in 2006 — she got a job at ATK and I was already working from home on my software business,” Grasmeyer said. Relocating from the Los Angeles area afforded a slower pace of life and “much better skiing,” he added. The couple bought a house in North Ogden and Grasmeyer discovered he could rent instant office space for $50 to $75 per month at StartUp Ogden, which provides shared downtown work space through a partnership between Weber State University and Ogden City. [gmap=41.224449, -111.970320] “It has a really good vibe to it, and super-fast Internet service,” Grasmeyer said. “I work from home a few days and there a few days per week.” An obvious advantage to StartUp Ogden is the chance to connect with other entrepreneurs. Each Wednesday, Grasmeyer said he participates in a lunchtime event called Hack Ogden, where a speaker is invited to talk about topics such as video-making, sales techniques, 3D printing and website development. “The goal is to create 750 tech-related jobs over the next 10 years out of that space,” Grasmeyer said. Other benefits of working in downtown Ogden are nearby workout opportunities plus a plethora of fun restaurants. Grasmeyer also remarked on Ogden’s appealing real estate market. “We sold our house in southern California and it seemed like all the houses here were 50 percent off,” Grasmeyer said. “I call it Boulder (Colo.) with half the cost of living.” Nick and Kim Bowsher relocated from Washington to Ogden in September 2011. Nick’s promotion at work prompted the move, and Kim said she gave up a great architectural job to accompany him here. “We lived in Eden that first year and commuted to Salt Lake City. We hated it ... but we had promised the company that we’d stay for two years,” Kim said. By fall 2012, the couple moved into Ogden proper, and Kim dove into her freelance architecture work. A barside chat with Kym Buttschardt, one of the owners of Roosters Brewing Company on Historic 25th Street, led Kim to join Ogden’s Junior League and to make a host of new friends. Soon her freelance work expanded into marketing and public relations, and in September 2012, she formed a community group called Ogden Young Professionals. “You sound so braggy to say you’re thriving, but I’m doing well,” Kim said. “This town has something going for it in terms of interconnectivity ... I have been able to do things here that I really think I have no business doing.” Those feats include starting a summer concert series and community farmers market at the Oasis Community Garden. She also helped organize this month’s Harvest Moon festival on Historic 25th Street, a Saturday event that drew in tens of thousands of people. “All the things I’ve wanted to do have been crazy ideas in the back of my head — and somehow you can pull them off in Ogden,” said the 29-year-old. In late 2013, the Bowshers bought a bungalow in east-central Ogden, part of the city’s urban renewal efforts to replace ramshackle structures with new but vintage-style homes. “We love the house and neighborhood,” Kim said. “One of the things that was a real draw is that I can walk from my front door downtown and be anywhere I need to be. It’s a small town with big opportunities.” Rod Kramer, outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Weber Pathways, moved to Ogden three years ago from Missoula, Montana, where he said he directed tours for the Adventure Cycling Association for 35 years.  “I moved here because of this job,” Kramer said, also spurred on by advice from a friend who said “you need to go there because it’s going to explode and you’ll be here on the ground floor.” This is a tremendous resource for Ogden and Weber County,“ Kramer said of the cultivated trail network that surrounds and bisects the city. ”I’ve loved trails my entire life, and here I am in a position to promote them in a community that is beginning to embrace them.“ Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

Financial Markets Wall Street

Health care stocks push S&P 500 to first gain in six days

NEW YORK — A rebound in the health care sector helped steady stocks on Tuesday, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its first gain in six days. Drugmakers including Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic were among the biggest gainers as the industry group rebounded from a sharp slump the day before. The gains for the overall market were small. Stocks flitted between modest gains and losses for most of the day before closing slightly higher. The market remains close to its lows for the year and is set to close out September with its worst quarterly performance in four years. Concerns that China’s economy is slowing more rapidly than previously thought have hurt the market. Investors are also preoccupied with the outlook for U.S. interest rates. Federal Reserve policymakers have said they will likely raise interest rates before the end of the year. Some investors see a rate increase as a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy. Others think it would be a mistake to raise borrowing costs just as the global economy is showing signs of flagging. “The Fed is still, as it has been for over a year now, the number one thing that’s overriding the market,” said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. “There’s just so much skittishness, people just don’t have confidence.” The S&P 500 rose 2.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,884.09. The index slumped 50 points the day before and is down 8.7 percent for the third quarter. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 47.24 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,049.13 The Nasdaq composite dropped 26.65 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,517.32. Biotechnology stocks have been a weak spot for the stock market recently. The sector has slumped on concern that lawmakers will seek to implement new regulations to curb price hikes in the industry. On Tuesday, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index edged down 0.6 percent, its eighth straight day of losses. The index has slumped 27 percent from its peak in July, putting it in a bear market, Wall Street terminology for a drop of 20 percent or more. Brad Sorensen, a director at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, said he wasn’t surprised by the sell-off in biotech stocks given how sharply valuations have climbed in recent years. “The biotech industry was concerning to us,” Sorensen said. “It clearly had bubble-like characteristics with a lot of speculative money moving into it and a lot of IPOs.” Yahoo was among the stronger stocks on Tuesday. The stock rose 66 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $28.26 after the company said that it still planned to spin off its stake in China’s Alibaba Group. Yahoo is moving ahead with the plan even though the IRS has yet to rule on the tax payments that the company could face from the gains on its initial investment. Investors also got some good news on the economy from a report showing that American consumers were feeling more confident this month. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 103 in September after surging in August to 101.3. The September reading was the highest since January. The price of oil rose on expectations that the Energy Department will report a slowdown in U.S. crude production when it releases its monthly petroleum supply report Wednesday. U.S. crude rose 80 cents to close at $45.23 a barrel in New York. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 89 cents to close at $48.23 a barrel in London. Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.05 percent from 2.09 percent a day earlier. The euro edged up to $1.1250 and the dollar slipped to 119.72 yen. In Europe, Germany’s DAX edged down 0.3 percent and the CAC-40 in France was down by the same amount. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares lost 0.8 percent. Gold fell $4.90 to $1,126.80 an ounce. Silver dropped 3.5 cents to $14.57 an ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.25 per pound In other futures trading on the NYMEX: • Wholesale gasoline rose 1.4 cents to close at $1.363 a gallon. • Heating oil rose 2 cents to close at $1.498 a gallon. • Natural gas fell 8.4 cents to close at $2.586 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Sprint phones

Sprint is making its biggest gamble since trying to buy T-Mobile

Sprint says it won’t be putting any money toward an intensely watched auction for wireless airwaves next year, in what amounts to the company’s biggest gamble since it tried (and failed) to buy T-Mobile. By choosing not to compete with its bigger rivals for new radio frequencies, Sprint is making a bet on the assets it’s already got. It’s a big decision that could prove pivotal as the company tries to engineer a massive turnaround from its fourth-place position behind T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon. “Sprint is prioritizing its financial resources to improve our network coverage, capacity, speed and reliability now and over the next few years,” said Sprint spokesman Jeffrey Silva. Sprint faces mounting doubts about its ability to survive in what’s become a hypercompetitive industry. A long, bruising fight among all the carriers over wireless plan prices last year led to the end of restrictive two-year contracts and device subsidies. Now consumers have more freedom than ever to switch providers, along with entirely new ways of paying for smartphones. And more changes are on the way. Analysts expect the looming airwave auction to play a big role in shaping the future of the industry. It’s designed to grant access to a special type of radio waves, or spectrum, that can carry cellphone calls and mobile data across long distances and through thick urban walls. For an idea of how big a deal this is, the most recent spectrum auction surprised everyone by raising over $40 billion. And that was for spectrum that’s considered less valuable than what’s in contest for the upcoming auction. The auction is likely to raise enormous amounts of money despite Sprint’s decision to back out, said Preston Padden, a former Disney executive who’s advocated for greater participation in the auction. “Verizon, AT&T, T-MO and multiple financial and other non-carrier bidders will assure strong demand and a hugely successful auction,” Padden predicted. Padden may have a point, and here’s why: The airwaves at stake here are simply too good to ignore. T-Mobile, whose fast-growing customer base surpassed Sprint’s in size this summer, is staking its long-term strategy on the auction. It spent a tremendous amount of political capital pressuring Congress and federal regulators to pass rules for the auction that would favor the company. T-Mobile chief executive John Legere even tweeted Saturday that Sprint was “crazy to sit out this historic auction.” Wireless carriers of all sizes plan to use this spectrum, which operates at frequencies of 600 MHz, to expand their mobile broadband networks. It should make our cellular data faster and better able to handle intensive applications like streaming music and video. The auction has been described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, partly because carriers have never had so much access to such premium invisible real estate before. For Sprint to turn down a chance at gaining some of this game-changing spectrum raises questions about the company’s long-term strategy. Sprint says it doesn’t need any more spectrum to improve its network and that the money it saves by not participating in the auction will actually help it invest in other ways. Any spectrum it acquired in next year’s auction probably couldn’t be put to use anyway until 2020 at the earliest, said Silva. But the real reason Sprint is backing out of the auction? It doesn’t have a choice, analysts say, because it’s hemorrhaging cash too quickly to have any extra left to spend. “It simply doesn’t have the financial resources to buy more spectrum at this point,” said Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. “Eventually, their only way out will be to find a merger partner. For now, they’re just trying to keep the wheels on.” Indeed, Sprint is hinting - none too coyly - that it would just love to find another company to merge with. Company chief executive Marcelo Claure told Reuters last week that Sprint would be “stronger and more formidable” if it merged with a cable company. There is a whole host of reasons why the cable industry might view Sprint as an attractive target. As Americans increasingly turn to mobile devices for their Internet, cable companies are realizing they need to keep those customers by offering wireless access to the Web, too. Many now offer public WiFi hotspots as a solution. But in places where WiFi doesn’t make sense, these companies lack coverage. That’s where a cellular carrier like Sprint could fill the gaps. The question for Sprint is whether its network is attractive enough, or someday could be, for a cable company to seek a merger. At a time when practically everyone else in the industry is looking to get in on the spectrum feeding frenzy, Sprint will need to show that its decision to sit out will pay off in the form of a more competitive network.

GOP 2016 Trump Taxes

FACT CHECK: Math in Trump's tax plan doesn't always add up

WASHINGTON — In proposing a major overhaul of the U.S. tax system, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump vows to reduce the tax rates paid by millions of Americans, spur economic growth not seen in decades and do so without adding to the national debt. “It’s a tax reform that I think will make America strong and great again,” Trump said Monday. Here is a look at some of the claims Trump made when announcing his tax plan and how they compare with the facts. TRUMP: “It will provide major tax relief for middle income, and for most other Americans, there will be a major reduction.” THE FACTS: Trump’s plan will undoubtedly reduce the amount of money Americans pay in income taxes. Kyle Pomerleau, an economist at the Tax Foundation, which advocates for lower tax rates, said the cost of Trump’s cuts could easily total more than $7 trillion over the next decade. For single people making less than $25,000, and married couples earning less than $50,000 a year, Trump would get rid of federal income taxes entirely. He also keeps the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit for low-income Americans they can claim even if they pay no taxes under the current system. Trump would reduce the number of tax brackets from the current seven to four: 0 percent, 10 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent. While such a change would reduce taxes for middle-income earners, the “most other Americans” who would benefit the most would be those who make enough to fall into the current top tax bracket and pay 39.6 percent on income above $413,000. Steve Gill, a tax and accounting professor at San Diego State University, said that as a group, Americans who are making more than $200,000 a year would pay $400 billion to $500 billion less in taxes annually under Trump’s plan than under the current system. TRUMP: “It reduces or eliminates most of the deductions and loopholes available to special interests and to the very rich. In other words, it’s going to cost me a fortune.” THE FACTS: Only Trump and his accountant can be sure, since he does not specify in his proposal exactly which deductions and loopholes he plans to eliminate and has yet to release any of his tax returns. But it appears likely that Trump’s plan would be a financial boon for someone of his wealth. Trump and his wife would pay 25 percent, instead of the current 39.6 percent, on any income above $300,001. An income statement he released alongside his personal financial disclosure report this past summer reported his 2014 income as $362 million. His proposal to eliminate the 40 percent tax on inheritances of more than $5.4 million would allow him to pass on his estate to heirs tax-free, a savings worth billions given his estimated net worth of more than $10 billion. And by cutting 10 percentage points from the current corporate tax rate of 35 percent, the Trump Organization and its hundreds of subsidiaries would pay less — assuming they don’t already use tax strategies to reduce their effective rate below 15 percent. TRUMP: “And all of this does not add to our debt or our deficit.” THE FACTS: In order for Trump’s tax rate reductions to be what’s known in Washington parlance as “revenue neutral,” he would have to offset them in some way. Several tax experts, even those who like Trump’s reduction in rates, said his plan appears unable to do so. Trump proposes making up some of that lost revenue by eliminating some deductions, but he’s ruled out getting rid of those for home mortgage interest and charitable gifts, which are worth more than $120 billion a year. Martin Sullivan, chief economist at a nonprofit tax analysis group and a former employee of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, said adopting Trump’s plan without increasing the deficit “doesn’t look possible if you take the mortgage interest and charitable off the table.” To get anywhere near breaking even, Sullivan said, Trump would have to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes and perhaps begin taxing retirement savings in pensions and 401(k)s. Many advocates of tax cuts argue they pay for themselves by boosting economic growth. But Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform, a low-tax advocacy group that Trump consulted as he developed his proposal, said Trump’s cuts are so large that won’t happen even under the most optimistic scenarios for growth. “It just doesn’t square up,” he said. TRUMP: “We are reducing taxes, but at the same time if I win, if I become president, we will be able to cut so much money and have a better country. We won’t be losing anything other than we will be balancing budgets and getting them where they should be.” THE FACTS: Even if Trump’s tax plan winds up being revenue neutral, it wouldn’t bring in enough money to balance the budget. At the upcoming end of the current fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit will end up at $426 billion. That means Trump would have to find that much spending to cut to balance the nation’s books. Trump pledged Monday to start by going after waste, citing the example of “hammers that cost $800 that you can buy in a store for a tiny amount of money” — a reference that dates to a defense program in the 1980s. He also poked fun at a government-funded soccer field that cost $1 million. To make up the deficit, Trump would have to find 530 million such hammers or 426,000 soccer fields to cut from the budget. Put another way, Trump would need to eliminate all improper or insufficiently documented payments made by the federal government — estimated by the Government Accountability Office at $124 billion in 2014 — more than three times over.