Immelt v Sanders, Millennials v Student Debt, and Theme Parks v Earlybirds


GE Fires Back at Sanders, But It’s No Stranger to Government Help
 Now that the presidential campaign has reached New York, everyone is getting cranky. In their attempt to challenge the Republicans for name-calling, the Democratic candidates are taking turns calling each other unqualified. One of them, Bernie Sanders, has wandered into a back-and-forth with GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. Bernie listed GE as one of the companies ruining the moral fiber of America via tax avoidance. In a Washington Post op-ed, Immelt fires back (“we’ve never been a big hit with socialists”), then gets down to a detailed overview of some of GE’s good works, including a big factory in Sanders’s home state of Vermont. In complicating but related news, it was revealed this week that GE recently got Boston and Massachusetts officials to double promised tax breaks in return for getting the conglomerate to move its headquarters there. Everyone hates government, till they don’t …

Atlas Obscura Celebrates Curiosity With the Weird and Wondrous
 In NewCo’s latest Video Spotlight, Atlas Obscura cofounder Dylan Thuras discusses how his company is creating an online compendium of “the world’s most curious and awe-inspiring places.” Next week is Obscura Day, celebrating weird and wonderful experiences all around the world. And see all our Spotlights here.

The Millennial Shuffle
 Those anticipating a millennial meltdown have a new data point: Barely half of those with student loans are current on their payments. That might get better because college grads are getting more jobs, although Bloomberg reports Fed data suggesting those jobs tend to stink. On a more positive note, NewCos SoFi and Earnest are both trying to solve these problems with innovative approaches to both lending and employer benefits.

Your Insurer Pays You To Eat Your Vegetables
 Cheaper insurance and a longer life makes for a pretty good deal. This week John Hancock became the first American life insurance company to start paying its customers to eat healthy. John Hancock already gives discounts to policyholders who visit the doctor regularly and share their Fitbit data. Now healthy eaters can reduce annual premiums as much as 15 percent and earn up to $600 a year. This seems a similar tradeoff as auto insurance that tracks your driving habits: smarter, less cost, less privacy, and probably worth it.

Early Morning Surge Pricing … at a Theme Park
 Walt Disney World has come up with many ways to reduce the pain of lines at its theme park, some carrot (entertainment while waiting), some stick (if you pay a premium, you can jump some lines). This week it’s wielding more stick, accelerating its variable-pricing scheme to go after those who get up early to beat the lines. If you want to beat the lines, you’ll have to pay more. How much more? Money estimates that the earlybird surcharge will raise the one-day cost for a family of four to $900 — not including food. Is that really how the mouse wants to reward its customers?

Photo: JD Lasica

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