AlamyHere’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.
• Congress closed up shop for its Thanksgiving recess without passing a farm bill, and if you think that shouldn’t worry you because you’re not a farmer, think again: If your elected representatives can’t get a bill passed by Jan. 1, the price of milk price could rapidly skyrocket to $7 a gallon. (What’s the sticking point? Food stamps. House Republicans want to kick 3.8 million people out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program next year, and far more over the next decade. Democrats aren’t having it.)
• Turnabout is fair play: Men’s Wearhouse (MW) is making a bid to buy rival clothier Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) — the same company whose takeover bid it rejected back in September. Back then, the Men’s Wearhouse board shot down the Banks offer because they felt the bid undervalued their company. But apparently, they do agree about the whole “synergy” thing: The two would benefit by joining forces.
• If you’re one of the many people whose Thanksgiving air travel plans have been bollixed up by the massive winter storm now barreling across the country, know that the airlines are sympathetic to your plight. They’ve started to waive change fees for travelers booked to fly through the effected regions. United (UAL), US Airways (LCC), Delta (DAL) and JetBlue (JBLU) have already announced change fee waivers; most other airlines should follow suit.
• After the turkey has been consumed Thursday, holiday shopping season will start in earnest, and Americans will be looking for Black Friday bargains. But be warned: The amazing discounts you’ll see on the price tags will often be 99 percent retail trickery. Frequently, store chains set their “original” prices far above what they expect shoppers to pay, so that the discounted “sale prices” still earn them the profit margins they want.
• And finally, Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space tourism company, has announced that it will accept futuristic money for its futuristic services: People can now pay for their space travel tickets with bitcoins.