Must Read Money Stories for Monday, Oct. 31

by October 31, 2016
Elon Musk is expected to unveil details this week of the upcoming merger between his companies Tesla Motors and SolarCity. (Photo by Andrea Kreuzhage via Flickr.)

Elon Musk is expected to unveil details this week of the upcoming merger between his companies Tesla Motors and SolarCity. (Photo by Andrea Kreuzhage via Flickr)

Democrats eye minimum wage for Election Day boost

The federal minimum wage hasn’t budged from $7.25 per hour in almost eight years, and with the economic rollercoaster and soaring living costs during that timeframe, several states and dozens of cities have been taking matters into their own hands. Minimum wage workers in more than half the country today earn more than the nationally required rate—a trend that could be further propelled on Nov. 8 through ballot initiatives in states such as Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington, where minimums are already higher than the federal threshold. According to NPR, the minimum wage debate could be a major boon for Democrats on Election Day, especially for Hillary Clinton in battleground states such as Colorado and Arizona.

Tesla’s push to revolutionize rooftop solar

On Tuesday, Elon Musk is expected to disclose financial details of the anticipated marriage of his two companies, Tesla Motors Inc. and SolarCity Corp.—a $2.2 billion-deal that would house the luxury electric car-maker and the nation’s largest rooftop solar installer under one sustainable energy-minded corporate roof. More specifically, Musk wants to apply the same aesthetic appeal of Tesla cars to rooftop solar, while also transforming the standard ways in which the residential devices convert solar into electricity. This Wall Street Journal article further explains Musk’s plan, which includes glass roofing tiles in American,  French, Italian and Tuscan styles.

California wins on Madoff-related Ponzi scheme

Dubbing himself the “investment wizard,” Stanley Chais of Beverly Hills spent more than decade   engineering a Ponzi scheme in which he charged massive fees to hundreds of clients—many of whom  ultimately had their life savings funneled directly to Bernie Madoff, the onetime Nasdaq chairman whose financial scheme collapsed in 2008. Chais died two years after Madoff’s scheme fell apart, and it wasn’t until last week that more than 400 victims saw some justice. According to this Associated Press article published in the New York Times, the state of California won a $15 million settlement on Friday that will liquify Chais’s estate and draw a seven-year-old case to a close.

Google Fiber rollout put on halt

The nationwide rollout of Google Fiber—the super-speedy internet access program that began a few years ago in select test markets via new fiber-optic networks—is now officially on hold. Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. announced Fiber’s halt last week and simultaneously disclosed the resignation of the program’s top executive plus an unknown number of layoffs, according to this Associated Press article published in the Washington Post. Google will keep the ambitious and expensive Fiber program running in the handful of cities where it first rolled out, but will no longer pursue its expansion plans into at least eight other markets such as Phoenix, Portland and Los Angeles.