August 16 Editorial

It’s fair to say a good percentage of the U.K. Brexit vote’s outcome was based on emotional frustration and we’re seeing that mirrored in the U.S. What politicians and business leaders often seem to forget – or neglect – is that their view of the world and how it should work is often quite different from that of the everyday citizen. Failing to bridge that gap results in what the U.K. is left dealing with now. What ultimately happens in the U.S. remains to be seen but there’s no denying the social divide has never been so vast and so obvious.

From Yahoo to Uh Oh, what was once a pioneering internet success story, Yahoo has been sold to American telecom giant Verizon Communications for almost $5 billion in cash. It will be combined with AOL, another faded internet star, which Verizon bought last year. The deal does not include Yahoo’s valuable stake in Chinese firm Alibaba. The price tag for the deal is well below the $44 billion Microsoft offered for Yahoo in 2008 or the $125 billion it was worth during the dot. com boom. Sometimes knowing when to sell is as important as figuring out the next major innovative platform. Just ask Mark Cuban.

Charge It! That was an oft-used phrase during the 1980s when people opted to rack up credit card bills as they did their shopping. But consumers at Walmart are no longer able to use Visa at three of its locations, with the American retailer threatening to impose the ban on all 400 of its Canadian stores, opining that Visa charges exorbitant fees. Walmart says it pays more than $100 million in annual fees for customers using cards such as Visa and Mastercard. Expect Visa to work out a new, cheaper arrangement. It simply can’t afford to lose Walmart, which provides it such a tremendous amount of revenue.

It could be quite a while before we see a barrel of oil selling for $110, but when it’s hovering around the $40 mark, that quite simply is too low. While it’s a nice break at the gas pumps, in the bigger picture our economy needs it to be closer to $70 in order to maintain the level of federal programs that we’ve become accustomed to having in our society. Otherwise, bottom of the barrel interest rates will continue, which among other things, falsely props up a delicate housing market that is in reality a house of cards. Once those rates go up, so will the number of delinquencies – by the power of 10.

Did you know?… Canadian exports to the United Kingdom total just 3% of our country’s total output, with gold providing the lion’s share. The U.S. is far and away our largest trading partner, followed by the European Union, China and Mexico.

Angus Gillespie