Business Stories of the Week: Friday, March 2, 2018

by March 2, 2018

The White House has agreed to an informal deal with Boeing on a new 747 to replace the current Air Force One. (Photo via

Boeing, White House reach Air Force One deal

Shortly after winning the 2016 election, President Trump called foul on Boeing’s $4 billion contract to build two new modified 747-8 aircraft to replace the aging 747-200s serving as the presidential transport aircraft. On Tuesday, however, Boeing reported that the White House had agreed to an “informal” deal for $3.9 billion, according to CBS News. The current planes, which were built in the late 1980s, cost taxpayers close to $180,000 per hour to fly. The new jets will likely be more energy efficient and cost effective.

Consumer Confidence Index highest since 2000

The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index hit its highest level since Bill Clinton was in the White House, the Wall Street Journal reports. For February, the CCI was 130.8. The last time it was above 128.6 was December of 2000. Its lowest point in the past 20 years was at the height of the Great Recession in February of 2009, when it dropped to 25.3. This comes in spite of the stock market volatility over the past few weeks and on the heels of companies offering bonuses and pay increases.

Bill Gates says cryptocurrencies have deadly side

During an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit, Bill Gates said the anonymity associated with cryptocurrencies endangers lives because of its ability to mask kidnapping ransom, fentanyl sales, terrorism funding and money laundering. Although he said he believes cryptocurrencies can cause problems, he hasn’t criticized the underlying technology surrounding them. Despite his criticism, the price of Bitcoin remained steady on Wednesday morning, even though experts expected it to drop after the comments.

Roku keeps NRA channel

In the wake of dozens of organizations severing ties with the National Rifle Association, Roku announced that it would continue to offer the NRA channel on its streaming service. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company said it “do(es) not curate or censor based on viewpoint,” and welcomes other groups — including anti-gun advocates — to use its service as a platform. The channel is offered free to subscribers and Roku said it does not have a commercial relationship with the NRA.

Uber or ambulance?

In an effort to help vulnerable populations access medical care, Uber is teaming up with medical providers to give rides to patients without smartphones, NPR reports. Around 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments every year due to transportation issues. This new service will bypass the Uber app completely, allowing patients to confirm their transportation through text messages or landline calls. Uber’s CEO told NPR that this isn’t meant to replace ambulances, but to serve as an alternative for non-urgent medical transportation so patients wouldn’t need to call an ambulance.