Economic View: How to Clean Up the Student Loan Mess

Supported by Business Day How to Clean Up the Student Loan Mess Photo The University of California at Berkeley. A Princeton researcher has found that the arbitrary process of loan servicers’ assigning a call to one operator instead of another has real effects on a borrower’s loan status. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times Student loans are central to financing college educations, yet millions of borrowers are in default. That is clear evidence that the system is in dire need of improvement.
In fact, new research on student loans is reinforcing a key lesson of behavioral economics: Seemingly minor details matter in a major way. Who answers the phone at the loan company, what choices you’re offered and how they are framed can have profound effects on your financial well-being.
Federal policy ignores these simple truths. While the federal government owns the loans, private companies collect payments, keep records and communicate with borrowers.
It might seem trivial to worry about ..

Vocations: Catering to Fliers’ Tastes at 30,000 Feet

Supported by Business Day Catering to Fliers’ Tastes at 30,000 Feet Photo William Gillen oversees the design and development of recipes for LSG Sky Chefs, a Lufthansa subsidiary that prepares meals for about 300 airlines. Credit Dylan Hollingsworth for The New York Times William Gillen, 53, is the director of culinary excellence for the North America region of LSG Sky Chefs, based in Irving, Tex.
Your company is a subsidiary of Lufthansa and prepares in-flight meals for some 300 airlines. What’s the scope of operations in the region you handle?
In North America, we have about 40 customer service centers located in or near airports, where our teams do all the cooking and prepping from scratch. Then we transfer plated dishes to planes via trolleys.
What is your role?
I manage 13 chefs in Irving, Tex., part of our more than 500 employees throughout North America. I oversee the design and development of recipes and liaison between our airline customers and these chefs. My goal is to e..

Royal Mail fined for sending 300,000 nuisance emails

The postal group apologises for sending emails to people who had already opted out of receiving marketing
Royal Mail has been fined £12,000 for sending over 300,000 nuisance emails to people who had already opted out of receiving marketing.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said on Friday that Royal Mail did not have the consent to send emails to recipients, and therefore it had broken the law.
Royal Mail sent emails on two separate dates in July last year.
Read more Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytia one year before Trump election According to the ICO, Royal Mail has claimed the emails were a service as opposed to marketing information informing customers of a price drop.
The ICO did not agree with Royal Mail’s version of events.
“Royal Mail did not follow the law on direct marketing when it sent such a huge volume of emails, because the recipients had already clearly expressed they did not want to receive them,” said ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley.
“T..

As Trade Conflict Escalates, U.S. and China Enter a Battle of Wills

Supported by Business Day As Trade Conflict Escalates, U.S. and China Enter a Battle of Wills SHANGHAI — As the United States and China exchange increasingly antagonistic trade threats, American business leaders, farm groups and some economists worry that President Trump might be going too far.
Given the stakes, he may just be getting started.
At the heart of the dispute is a fundamental question: Which of the countries is more willing to endure short-term pain on trade for the long-term gain of playing a leading role in industries like robotics, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, electric cars, artificial intelligence and more.
China has embarked on an ambitious and expensive plan to retool its economy for the future and to dominate these industries. Mr. Trump has said that China’s approach relies on unfair and predatory practices, and on stolen American technology. Even as Chinese leaders say they want to avoid a trade war, they are staunchly defending their plans for high-tech sectors..

Your Money Adviser: Higher Property Taxes? You May Be Able to Appeal

Supported by Business Day Higher Property Taxes? You May Be Able to Appeal Photo Credit Minh Uong/The New York Times If your property tax bills are increasing, you’re not alone.
The average tax bill in 2017 was about $3,400, or 3 percent higher than the prior year, according to a report published on Thursday by Attom Data Solutions, which analyzed tax information on 86 million single-family homes across the country.
Of course, tax bills were much higher in some markets. The report identified nine counties with average property taxes greater than $10,000 — most of them in the New York area, led by Westchester County ($17,179).
Property taxes are typically the second largest cost for homeowners after their mortgage, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data. Real estate taxes fund local governments, allowing them to operate schools and parks, pick up trash and provide emergency services and other functions.
The higher tax bills reflect, in part, rising home values in..

Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytica data breach a year before Trump election

Facebook was aware that Cambridge Analytica was mishandling its users’ data long before both President Trump’s election campaign and the Brexit referendum, an executive at the firm revealed.
Sheryl Sandberg, who has served as Facebook’s COO for the last decade, told NBC’s Today show that the company knew about the data firm harvesting personal information two-and-a-half years ago but did not properly prevent it from being abused.
“We thought it had been deleted because they gave us assurances,” Ms Sandberg said. “But what we didn’t do was the next step of an audit and we’re trying to do that now.
“We could have done this two-and-a-half years ago [but] we thought the data had been deleted and we should have checked.”
How to stop Facebook from revealing everything about you 9 show all How to stop Facebook from revealing everything about you 1/9 Lock your profile down If you haven’t done this already, do it now. In Settings, hit the Privacy tab. From here, you can control who gets to ..

Brexit trade deal: US lays out 'wish list' and it does not look good for the UK

Donald Trump's administration wants to scrap a host of EU rules on food safety, chemicals, animal welfare and the environment
The US has laid out its annual trade “wishlist” and it will not make easy reading for David Davis and Liam Fox’s team of negotiators.
The 500-page tome from the US Trade Representative published this week firmly espouses the virtues of free trade and less regulation, just as Donald Trump proposed slapping a further $100bn (£71.5bn) of import levies on Chinese goods.
It wants to get rid of “burdensome” rules on everything from animal welfare to restrictions on chemicals or the import of crops for biofuel.
Read more China vows to fight 'at any cost' as Trump threatens $100bn tariffs The USTR's biggest concern is the increasing importance to US trade policy of testing, labelling and certification requirements and “sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures”.
What does this mean in plain English? Essentially, it’s health and safety which, ..

Uber appoints new UK board members and says its turning to 'good governance'

The ride-hailing firm says its looking for a 'new approach' to working with cities
Uber has appointed a former British Gas executive to its UK board in a move it says is proof that it is willing to change.
Susan Hooper, former managing director at the energy giant, will join Uber’s UK board as a non-executive director.
Ms Hooper also sits on the boards of the Department for Exiting the European Union, Wizz Air and Mecca Bingo owner Rank Group.
Read more UK productivity growth hit a 10-year high in the second half of 2017 Roger Parry, chairman of market research firm YouGov, will also join the ride-hailing firm’s UK board.
Both Mr Parry and Ms Hooper are expected to sit on the first board meeting later in April.
Uber’s UK chairwoman Laurel Powers-Freeling said the appointments showed Uber’s “willingness to address past issues and follow the path of good governance that two individuals of their calibre have decided to work with us.”
Tom Elvidge, Uber's UK general..

Tech Tip: Moving Your E-Book Collection to One Device

Moving Your E-Book Collection to One Device Q. Is it possible to read Nook books on a Kindle? Is there an e-reader that handles books from multiple e-bookstores?
A. The Barnes & Noble Nook e-books and Amazon’s Kindle e-books use different formats, but dedicated users have shown it is possible to convert and read Nook books on an Amazon device. How you do it depends on the hardware you have — and can take some technical fiddling to copy over Nook books to a Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet.
Slinging e-books between two brands of e-readers is generally unsupported by all companies. It can also involve breaking the built-in copyright protections — so read all the fine print to fully understand what is allowed.
One approach is sideloading the Barnes & Noble Nook app (or even the Google Play store) for Android onto an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, which allows you to download and read your Nook books within their own app. You can find various book-moving tutorials for e-readers and Fire tablets..