Business Briefs – August 12, 2018

U.S. Budget Deficit Totals $76.9 Billion In July

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government racked up a $76.9 billion deficit in July, with increased government spending and tax cuts keeping the country on track to record its biggest annual deficit in six years. The Treasury Department reports that in the first 10 months of this budget year, the deficit totaled $684 billion, up 20.8 percent from the same period last year.

For Many Kids, Summer Means Powering Down For Camp

NEW YORK (AP) – With summer in full swing, thousands of kids at sleep-away camps around the U.S. are doing without their cell phones, laptops and iPads. So how’s it going? Camp directors, parents and kids themselves say it’s not as bad as some would think. About 90 percent of the nearly 8,400 sleep-away camps counted by the American Camp Association are now device free.

Serving On Corporate Board While In Congress? That Could End

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressman Chris Collins’ indictment on insider trading charges is drawing attention to the fact that members of Congress are not prohibited from serving on corporate boards as long as they don’t receive compensation for doing so. One government ethics expert says that’s allowed to ensure that lawmakers aren’t prevented from accepting positions at philanthropic organizations. Two lawmakers plan to introduce legislation to prohibit members from serving on the boards of publicly held companies.

Russian PM Strongly Warns U.S. Against Ramping Up Sanctions

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s prime minister has sternly warned the United States against ramping up sanctions, saying that Moscow will strike back with economic, political and “other” means. Dmitry Medvedev says that if the U.S. introduces sanctions against Russian banks as some reports suggested, Moscow will see that as a declaration of an “economic war” and respond accordingly. The tough message from Medvedev reflects a growing dismay with the new U.S. sanctions that have sent the Russian ruble plummeting.