Recent content from Eric Wieffering
The foot-stomping frenzy about debit card fees reminds me of a sandbox showdown between 2-year-olds.
When Brent Heuth and a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin decided to measure the economic impact of cooperative-owned businesses in the United States, they didn't figure it would be too hard.
Congress returns next week, and one of the first things on the agenda will be figuring out how to pay for the cost of keeping interest rates low on federally guaranteed student loans.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act is that rarest of Washington objects: a bill signed by President Obama, heartily endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans and championed by the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Democrats and Republicans rarely agree on anything these days, especially when the conversation swings to taxes and the economy.
Brian Dunn is out as chief executive of Best Buy, but not for the reasons many thought would prove his ultimate undoing: Losing the loyalty of customers and the confidence of investors.
Simon Kallal's first golf venture, 2nd Swing, found water in 2006, when it was liquidated in bankruptcy.
The future of the airline industry is beginning to look a lot like its recent past.
Beware monopolists claiming they have the best interests of consumers in mind.
An underperforming professional sports team knows it's time to hire a new coach when the current one "loses the locker room."
Americans may think that health care is a universal right, but for most people in the United States, it's a benefit that can be extended, altered or revoked on a moment's notice.
Americans believe deeply in the virtues of free markets. Except when they behave in ways we don't like.
The medical device industry is right. The approval process for new devices is badly broken.
Education reform has all the hallmarks of a parent-led, grass-roots movement to fix failing public schools.
Corporate tax cut fever is in the air.
HEI Inc. posted its first profit in three years Monday, and investors seem increasingly confident that CEO Mark Thomas is delivering on his turnaround plan for the Victoria-based technology firm. Since late December, HEI's share price has surged almost 30 percent.
The Lusso Collection, an Eden Prairie-based club that offered unlimited access to dozens of multimillion-dollar getaway homes around the world, promised members a "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"-like experience.
St. Paul residents may wonder why their property taxes are going up in 2012 even as the amount of services and amenities the city can afford to provide goes down.
A decade ago, Minnesota legislators and business interests struck a grand bargain around property taxes.
E.J. Daigle has a plea for America's moms and dads.
Manufacturing companies are struggling to find enough people who can program and run the high-tech machines that cut metal and plastic components. But these precision manufacturing jobs are also among the highest-paying. Though the total number of jobs is expected to shrink in the next decade, demand for these skills is expected to remain strong.
Chief executives don't usually get a victory lap, and some of them don't deserve one.
Death may not be proud, but it sure can be expensive.
It's the oldest trick in advertising's toolbox.
One measure of a company is how it faces up to the kind of disruptive change that, left unchecked, could lead to its ruin.
Minneapolis city officials thought they were saving downtown in 1995 when they agreed to buy Target Center for $72 million.
When Old Country Buffet tumbled into bankruptcy last week for the second time in four years, top executives of Buffets Inc. were quick to blame the restaurant chain's woes on weak spending by consumers.
Nobody, not even his 54 employees, would have blamed Jim Dow for selling Diversified Plastics, the Brooklyn Park manufacturing firm Dow founded 35 years ago, to the highest bidder.
Airlines raised ticket prices nine times in 2011, and they seem determined to maintain or exceed that pace in 2012. Earlier this week the nation's biggest carrier, Delta Air Lines, pushed through its second fare increase of the new year.
GWG Holdings makes money when its customers die, and as the prospectus for its $250 million debt sale makes clear, sooner is better than later.
Listen closely and you can already begin to hear it stirring: The collective sound of jaws hitting the floor as companies reveal the take-home pay of their top executives.
Most conversations about the beleaguered housing sector focus quickly on one topic, prices. As in, "Will they ever stop falling?"
Minnesota begins 2012 in much the same shape it began 2011: Slowly repairing the ravages of the Great Recession, brandishing an unemployment rate that suggests the state is doing better than the nation as a whole.
Count Mankato, Owatonna and Willmar among the state's economic hot spots, according to ia just-released analysis of Minnesota's outstate economy.
Every investor's portfolio has one: an established, even profitable company stuck in a state of permanent turnaround.
The closing of Ford's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul marks the end of an era in Minnesota's economic history.
Clearly, Dan Boivin does not understand the role of a lap dog.
Physician/inventor Scott Augustine isn't given to nuance. Once, outside a courtroom, he denounced a federal investigation of Medicare fraud, saying, "The government didn't have a…
Enron's bankruptcy 10 years ago Friday taught investors to trust no one. Not senior executives, not the analysts, not the accountants, and definitely not the regulators or Wall Street bankers.
Mary, Larry wants you back.
Not much has changed about the Holidazzle parade since it first snaked its way down the Nicollet Mall in 1992.
Here's a topic to toss around the dinner table this Thanksgiving, even though it wades into the dangerous territory of economics and public policy.
If Upper Deck made trading cards for countries, here's what the vital statistics for the U.S. economy would have looked like four years ago this month, on the eve of what we now call the Great Recession.
Black Friday is no longer the busiest day of the holiday shopping season, but its event-like trappings -- 3 a.m. openings, time-limited sales available only in stores -- are vitally important in bringing people to the store and creating momentum for the rest of the season.
AVERAGE DEBT OF GRADUATES Four-year, public U. of Minn. Duluth $30,998 MSU, Moorhead $29,410 Winona State $29,123 Four-year, private MCAD $44,385 Crown College $38,042…
During the housing boom, qualifying for a loan was as easy as drawing a breath.
From afar, the economic crisis in Europe seems like a puzzling and sometimes amusing sideshow.
A new culprit has emerged as a major source of the nation's long-term unemployment crisis: the jobless themselves.
Shareholders of Polaris and Best Buy reacted predictably last week to news that the companies had each made a bet on the future of electric motorcycles.
Alex Danovitch's business has nine employees, Andy Johnson's has 90. One firm is four years old, the other 11. One is in south Minneapolis, the other in St. Cloud.
Most Americans get their health insurance through an employer, and the average annual premium for family coverage has more than doubled in the past decade.
Gov. Mark Dayton's decision to deposit another $100 million in Minnesota's community banks is a sincere but ultimately symbolic gesture that will do little to spur new small business lending in the state.
It seemed fitting that the co-author of a depressing bestseller about America's economic decline would deliver the keynote speech at Gov. Mark Dayton's daylong conference about Minnesota's broken down jobs engine.
Trade makes nations wealthier.
The pall over Minnesota's medical device industry seems notably absent in the Chaska offices of Lake Region Medical.
The effort to crown the Great Recession's biggest losers seems to have settled, momentarily, on the least likely of candidates: young people with college degrees.
In just the past two months, food companies and government safety agencies have issued recalls for hamburger, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cheese, smoked salmon, spinach dip, ground turkey and cantaloupes.
Sandy Pope says things you might not expect to hear from a union leader.
2014 may prove an agonizingly long time to wait for some of the 800-plus businesses along the 11-mile Central Corridor line.
Some day in the not-too-distant future the company-sponsored health plan will be as rare as the company-funded pension.
Only 2 percent of President Obama's speech to Congress on Sept. 8 dealt with the plight of underwater homeowners, but those 72 words could do as much or more for the flagging U.S. economy as the entire $447 billion jobs bill.
Investors, professional and amateur alike, are always trying to spot the next big thing. Maybe it's that Silicon Valley social media start-up, or a Boston biotech company that's in early clinical trials or a newly resuscitated shell company with some promising claims in the oil fields of North Dakota.
Economically, the U.S. feels much less secure than it did in the months and years before the attacks.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no new clues Thursday about what steps the central bank might take to boost the U.S. economy, but he did use the occasion to send Washington a message:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke comes to Minnesota on Thursday with the U.S. economy teetering on the brink of another recession and investors and policymakers around the world hanging on his every word.
Most of us know Gaylene Adams only as a number.
One of the hardest things for a child to learn is that the easiest choice is not always the best one.
You'd never get a Minnesotan to acknowledge it, but there's a lot of North Dakota envy going around these days.
U.S. companies will spend more than $1 billion on social media marketing this year. They will employ all manner of digital technology to try to deepen their relationships with customers, including bombarding us with tweets and imploring us at every turn to like them.
Few government programs invite more magical flights of fancy than Social Security.
Lessons apparently don't stay learned at MTS Systems.
When one of his biggest customers went bankrupt, Corby Pelto allowed himself to entertain the notion that the court-appointed trustee overseeing the case might help his Minneapolis-based insurance services firm recover some of the $18,000 Pelto was still owed.
The stock market is not the economy, and it's not even the most reliable indicator of what will happen in the economy. Back in October 1987, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 22 percent of its value in a single day. It would be another two years before stocks recovered, but the U.S. economy? It grew 4.1 percent in 1988. The recession that everyone feared was imminent didn't arrive until 1990.
American Crystal Sugar Co. paid out nearly half a billion dollars last year to the 2,800 sugar beet farmers who own the co-op. This year, it's likely to be $750 million or more.