Recent content from Eric Wieffering
Wieffering: Time to get over debit card fees
The foot-stomping frenzy about debit card fees reminds me of a sandbox showdown between 2-year-olds.
For Thrivent and others, warnings were there
With billions in sales, some co-ops are big business
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.
Student loans are a great deal - for the government
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.
Wieffering: Start-up bill results in less-informed investors
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.
Wieffering: Tax-free sales give unfair edge to online sellers
Democrats and Republicans rarely agree on anything these days, especially when the conversation swings to taxes and the economy.
Wieffering: Best Buy needs an outsider as its next CEO
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.
Wieffering: With second chance, 2nd Swing finds the green
Simon Kallal's first golf venture, 2nd Swing, found water in 2006, when it was liquidated in bankruptcy.
Wieffering: Regional air carriers not immune to tough times
The future of the airline industry is beginning to look a lot like its recent past.
Wieffering: Tickets should be yours to use, or resell
Beware monopolists claiming they have the best interests of consumers in mind.
Wieffering: The Street is losing faith in Best Buy's CEO Dunn
An underperforming professional sports team knows it's time to hire a new coach when the current one "loses the locker room."
Wieffering: Health care overhaul aims to heal a creaky system
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.
Wieffering: Rising gas prices not as evil as you might think
Americans believe deeply in the virtues of free markets. Except when they behave in ways we don't like.
Wieffering: Proceed with caution on 'reforms' of device OKs
The medical device industry is right. The approval process for new devices is badly broken.
School reform free-for-all has the cash flying
Education reform has all the hallmarks of a parent-led, grass-roots movement to fix failing public schools.
Making the case for lower corporate taxes
Corporate tax cut fever is in the air.
Wieffering: HEI in the pink but hardly tickled
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.
Wieffering: For Lusso, luxury vision ends up in bankruptcy
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.
Wieffering: Approval in St. Paul always seems to be conditional
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.
Property tax system needs reform, not quick 'fixes'
A decade ago, Minnesota legislators and business interests struck a grand bargain around property taxes.
Wieffering: Good pay, job security in two years instead of four
E.J. Daigle has a plea for America's moms and dads.
Jobs go wanting
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.
Wieffering: Buckley helped 3M rediscover its mojo
Chief executives don't usually get a victory lap, and some of them don't deserve one.
Wieffering: Fighting death's final indignity: The price tag
Death may not be proud, but it sure can be expensive.
Basic instinct behind many consumer choices
It's the oldest trick in advertising's toolbox.
Wieffering: Clear choices are essential to surviving rapid change
One measure of a company is how it faces up to the kind of disruptive change that, left unchecked, could lead to its ruin.
Go long to measure the true cost of a stadium
Minneapolis city officials thought they were saving downtown in 1995 when they agreed to buy Target Center for $72 million.
Wieffering: Buffets Inc.: Revisiting a deal gone wrong
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.
Wieffering: Company prospers, and so do workers
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.
Wieffering: Let's hope talk of American, Delta merger goes nowhere
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.
Wieffering: This business may look grim, but it plans to reap big profits
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.
Eric Wieffering: Devil is often in details of executive paychecks
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.
Wieffering: For some, recovery may never come
Most conversations about the beleaguered housing sector focus quickly on one topic, prices. As in, "Will they ever stop falling?"
Look anew at Minnesota's job creation challenge
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.
Vibrant economies aren't found only in cities
Count Mankato, Owatonna and Willmar among the state's economic hot spots, according to ia just-released analysis of Minnesota's outstate economy.
Supervalu has a tough time living up to its name
Every investor's portfolio has one: an established, even profitable company stuck in a state of permanent turnaround.
Wieffering: Fate of Ford plant was settled long time ago
The closing of Ford's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul marks the end of an era in Minnesota's economic history.
Wieffering: At MSP, some cracks in the fortress hub wall
Clearly, Dan Boivin does not understand the role of a lap dog.
This medical device rivalry is getting a bit heated
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…
Wieffering: Enron's fall is a lesson we still can't seem to learn
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.
Wieffering: Retailer tries to reconnect with its best customer
Mary, Larry wants you back.
Downtown Minneapolis dropped off shoppers' list
Not much has changed about the Holidazzle parade since it first snaked its way down the Nicollet Mall in 1992.
Wieffering: Now isn't the time to kill tax cut, benefits for jobless
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.
Four years after roof fell in, a few good signs
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.
Wieffering: Early store openings reflect new retail reality
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
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…
Paying for college, mortgaging your future
During the housing boom, qualifying for a loan was as easy as drawing a breath.
Those troubles across the pond floating our way
From afar, the economic crisis in Europe seems like a puzzling and sometimes amusing sideshow.
Don't blame the unemployed for the jobs crisis
A new culprit has emerged as a major source of the nation's long-term unemployment crisis: the jobless themselves.
Wieffering: Returns aren't in on Best Buy's VC venture
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.
How many dreams fall prey to health care costs?
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.
Less than meets the eye in Dayton's business loans
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.
Wieffering: The best plan to boost jobs: Invest in workers
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.
Benefits of trade outweigh cost - eventually
Trade makes nations wealthier.
Wieffering: Medical parts maker recasts itself as device developer
The pall over Minnesota's medical device industry seems notably absent in the Chaska offices of Lake Region Medical.
Generation Me not the only loser in this recession
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.
Every trip from farm to table brings risk
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.
Wieffering: Teamsters candidate brings new perspective
Sandy Pope says things you might not expect to hear from a union leader.
University Avenue shops wait it out
2014 may prove an agonizingly long time to wait for some of the 800-plus businesses along the 11-mile Central Corridor line.
Wieffering: In health insurance, choice doesn't come free
Some day in the not-too-distant future the company-sponsored health plan will be as rare as the company-funded pension.
Fixing economy requires more work on housing
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.
Toro took the bull by the horns to succeed
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.
Calculating 9/11's toll on U.S. economy
Economically, the U.S. feels much less secure than it did in the months and years before the attacks.
Wieffering: Fed alone can't put people to work, restore confidence
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:
Fledgling economic group bags timely speaker
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.
Jobless over a year: Real people and real pain
Most of us know Gaylene Adams only as a number.
When the better choice is devil you don't know
One of the hardest things for a child to learn is that the easiest choice is not always the best one.
North Dakota enjoys the spoils of full employment
You'd never get a Minnesotan to acknowledge it, but there's a lot of North Dakota envy going around these days.
At times, even General Mills can't tame the online beast
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.
Social Security's problems are solvable
Few government programs invite more magical flights of fancy than Social Security.
Feds making a return visit to MTS Systems
Lessons apparently don't stay learned at MTS Systems.
Small firms hit twice when clients go bankrupt
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.
Growth need not be a casualty of austerity
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.
Protections for sugar company, but not its workers
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.