401(k) plans under scrutiny
One of the newest ideas coming out of Washington, D.C., to reduce the federal deficit includes scaling back some tax advantages that top income earners receive by saving in 401(k) plans. The logic behind this proposal is that 401(k) plans are among the costliest tax breaks allowed by the government, and the plans have benefited more people at the higher end of the income totem pole than those on the low-to-middle end.
Job numbers improving
Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is about the same as it was when Republican Gov. Tom Corbett took office in January 2011, falling from 8 percent then to 7.9 percent in December last year; the number of jobs has grown by nearly 200,000 to 5.75 million; and the size of the state's workforce has grown by 159,000, according to Julia Hearthway, secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry. Ms. Hearthway made a visit to Pittsburgh last week to share the good news about Pennsylvania's job picture.
Record revenues at Reed Smith
Reed Smith's global revenues surpassed $1 billion in 2012 for the first time in the law firm's history. The Pittsburgh firm has more than 1,700 attorneys in 25 offices worldwide. Last year's record financial performance puts Reed Smith in second place to K&L Gates, the only other Pittsburgh law firm with more than $1 billion in revenues. Global revenues for K&L Gates in 2012 were $1.06 billion.
Consumers spend more consciously
Best-selling author and social forecaster Patricia Aburdene predicts 2013 consumer spending patterns will more closely reflect the values and priorities of the spending public. Ms. Aburdene, author of "Conscious Money," says consumers will spend more money on green products and to encourage fair trade. She also believes the sharing trend that became popular with Zipcar is likely to expand to other industries, such as tools, baby gear and beyond.
Quote of the week
"While they can have the best intentions, it's a stomach issue and a pocketbook issue. People are falling out of the middle class in huge numbers."
-- Gerald Celente, publisher of The Trends Journal, in reference to Ms. Aburdene's prediction that consumers will spend more for purchases that reflect values they care about.
Tim Grant: email@example.com or 412-263-1591.