Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration to succeed Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman in January after liberal Democrats, women's groups and others voiced opposition to his nomination. Wall Street, fearing Mr. Summers would have put the brakes on the government's stimulus program, responded to his withdrawal with a 118-point jump in the Dow Jones industrial average.
Unappealing result for homeowners
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said the average commercial building was able to reduce its property assessment 21 percent on appeal, compared with 9 percent for those living in a private residence. Some have attributed the difference to companies' ability to hire lawyers to make their case while homeowners may not know the best way to present their appeal.
Brother, can you spare a billion?
It took a minimum of $1.3 billion in net worth this year to make Forbes Magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans, which means notables including T. Boone Pickens (worth a mere $950 million) didn't make the cut. For the 20th consecutive year, Microsoft's Bill Gates topped the list with a net worth of $72 billion, followed by Warren Buffet at $58.5 billion. Local businessmen Henry Hillman landed at No. 235 with $2.4 billion and Richard Scaife tied at No. 371 with $1.4 billion.
Or maybe a 20?
Nearly 50 million Americans live in poverty, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report out last week, a continuation of a troubling and persistent trend since the 2008 recession hit. "The recovery has pretty much helped people at the top and not helped people in the middle or at the bottom," said economist Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute. In 2012, the poverty level was set at $23,283 for a family with two adults and two children. In Pittsburgh, median household incomes rose by $3,281 to $39,884 between 2011 and 2012, but the metro area still has a poverty rate just above 12 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Addressing pay disparity
The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a plan that would require companies to disclose how much more their CEOs are paid than their other workers. Supporters say this will help shareholders make better informed decisions on executive pay.
Fed makes a cautious decision
The Fed surprised Wall Street on Wednesday when it decided to continue its bond-buying program to keep interest rates low, saying it wanted to see more evidence that the economy was getting stronger before backing off on the controversial program.
Apple's new phones
Critics are not impressed with the new iPhones that launched Friday, but that didn't stop Apple-to-the-core fans from camping out all night to get their fingerprints on the 5S, with its fingerprint security scanner, and the lower-priced 5C that comes in different colors.
Steve Twedt: email@example.com or 412-263-1963.