The impact of Apple’s repatriation of its overseas profit hoard of some $250 billion — which is expected to be massive — could be dwarfed if much of the about $2.5 trillion in profits that is still held overseas by American companies is repatriated as well.

Economists expected 250,000 new jobless claims to be filed during the week ending January 13, but claims fell to a 45-year low of 220,000. Any number below 300,000 in an economy as large as the United States’ reflects a healthy economy.

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced on Thursday that it was voluntarily raising its minimum wage for new workers to $11 an hour starting next month.

“Did you see they're doing trickle-down again?” asked a buddy of mine, a Vietnam vet, the other day at lunch. “It doesn't work. It's just a con to give big tax cuts to the rich and the corporations while there's nothing for the average guy.” He sounded like a recent editorial in the New York Times, “The Republican Tax on the Future.”

Should you need a license to pump gas? Some people seem to think so, which is perhaps why Oregon had a 56-year-old law prohibiting you from dispensing your own petrol. Now the state has finally modified the proscription, allowing people in rural areas to pump their own gas — and some Oregonians are getting the vapors.

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