Here’s a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you’ll just want to know.
• Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to cap the salaries of top executives at 12 times their company’s lowest wage, apparently taking to heart the warnings of business leaders that such a law would damage Switzerland’s economy, Reuters reports. The nation voted 66 percent against imposing the limit, according to a projection from Swiss television. Perhaps they felt that cap was a bit tight; certainly it’s far lower than what U.S. CEOs expect. Among the S&P 500 companies, the average CEO makes 204 times what his rank-and-file workers do; that’s up 20 percent since 2009.
• American Airlines is in court Monday seeking final approval for its merger with US Airways (LCC), which is good news for the struggling carrier, and probably bad news for fliers. Merged airlines, as we all know, reduce flights and seats to save money, and then raise prices because they can. A USA TODAY Network analysis of the top 100 airports in the lower 48 U.S. states found that “on average, those that lost at least a quarter of their domestic seats since the start of 2005 saw nearly twice the average fare increase over the past eight years.”
• Last week, we reported about two different companies interested in buying Time Warner Cable (TWC): Giant Comcast (CMCSA) and smaller rival Charter Communications (CHTR). Now there’s word that the two are contemplating a joint deal to buy TWC and split it up between them. That would help Comcast (already the nation’s No. 1 cable company) to avoid antitrust issues with the deal, while a making it easier for Charter (far smaller than either of the other two) to pull together financing for its part of the acquisition.
• Walmart CEO and President Mike Duke, 63, has announced he’s retiring from those roles. The world’s No. 1 retailer says Doug McMillon, now its head of international operations, will be his successor. A spokesman said Duke’s decision was “a personal one,” having nothing to do with any of the issues currently troubling the company, such as the allegations that international subsidiaries in Mexico and elsewhere paid bribes.
• And finally, entrepreneur/angel investor Jason Calacanis is a big fan of loosening the rules around crowd-funding to let average Joes get into the high-stakes game of venture capitalism. Calacanis (who sold his startup, Weblogs to AOL for $25 million in 2005) argued that if consumers are allowed to gamble in Vegas, they should be allowed to gamble on start-ups, and that their insights as users will help them pick winners. We wonder if all those retail investors who lost big on the Facebook IPO would agree.