This Day in Business History

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October 1

1879 New York Stock Exchange officials buy a neighboring building and draw up blueprints for a new space because the NYSE had grown too large for its original offices.
1881 The roomier New York Stock Exchange opens for trading.
1890 The McKinley Tariff Act is passed by U.S. Congress. William McKinley, the architect of the bill, wasn't just trying to boost sales of American-made goods by hiking tariffs on imported products to unprecedented levels. He was also looking to open foreign markets and push for reciprocal trade relations using the Tariff Act as a bargaining tool. The tariff established sources of cheap raw materials for American manufacturers and helped alter the nation's approach to foreign trade.
1907 The United States is plunged into the Panic of 1907. The previous spring, a currency drain caused mainly by overzealous funding of new businesses sent the markets tumbling and strongly hinted of a coming depression. By the fall, the public felt the fiscal pinch and pulled their money out of banks. A run on the Knickerbocker Trust in New York, which lacked the resources to pay out to the demanding public, ultimately toppled the economy. Sensing that the nation needed an infusion of cash, President Roosevelt enlisted the aid of his one-time enemy, financier J.P. Morgan, who capitalized on his considerable reputation to borrow $1 million in gold from European countries. Even with Morgan's help, the depression lasted until the fall of 1908.
1908 The Ford Model T, the first car for millions of Americans, hits the market. The "Tin Lizzie" cost only $850 and seated two people, and nearly 15 million Model Ts are eventually sold (all of them black) by the time it was discontinued in 1927.
1949 Five hundred thousand disgruntled steelworkers call a strike that would eventually win them improved retirement benefits. After years of scandal and corruption, as well as the passage of anti-union legislation, the years following World War II had been frustrating for organized labor.

October 2

1922 The New York Stock Exchange opens the doors to its new offices. Like its predecessor, the eleven-story building was located in downtown New York, at 11 Wall Street.
1947 The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) formally establishes Formula One racing in Grand Prix competition. Technological leaps made during World War II had rendered pre-war racing rules obsolete, so the Formula One guidelines were established in order to encompass the new type of racing.
1975 The once-mighty retailer W.T. Grant files for bankruptcy after a year of desperately trying to revive its flagging fortunes. Seeds of the company's collapse were planted in the mid-1960s, when the company decided to open a fleet of new stores and, after five years of rapid expansion, 410 super-sized Grant outlets had been built around the country. At the same time, Grant, which had traditionally stocked mainly inexpensive products, began to offer more of the pricier items usually sold at department stores. Unfortunately, the retail makeover alienated Grant's clientele, who had relied on the stores for cheap goods. When a recession hit in 1974, the company was left with little in the way of customers or earnings. At the time it went belly-up, W.T. Grant was saddled with over $1 billion in debt, making it the nation's single biggest retailing failure.

October 3

1776 Congress borrows $5 million to halt the rapid depreciation of paper money in the colonies. In need of money to fuel the American Revolution, Congress gave its seal of approval to the nation's very first loan. The government borrowed $5 million at a 4 percent interest rate and gave colonial officials stationed in Paris the go-ahead to take out loans worth up to 2 million pounds.
1913 President Woodrow Wilson convenes a special session of Congress to make a speech for revising the nation's tariff laws to the assembly, blending his liberal-minded moral code with political, as well as economic, expediency. He argued for slashing tariff duties, reasoning that the nation "must abolish everything that bears even the semblance of privilege" while also doing everything to make "our business men...masters of competitive supremacy." Wilson's words galvanized Congress and the Underwood-Simmons Tariff Act passed quickly through both houses. The Act fulfilled Wilson's dictate-it lowered duties on 958 items-but the revisions weren't popular with the business community, which disliked the president's decision to put principles over the need to sell American goods abroad. However, big business had little reason to worry, as Wilson was a staunch proponent of increasing American exports. He also intended the Underwood-Simmons Act to serve as a tool to open foreign markets. In Wilson's view, the new tariff laws would propel the nation to global leadership by compelling Americans to become "better workers and merchants than any in the world."
1961 The United Auto Workers (UAW) calls the first company-wide strike against Ford Motor Company since Ford's first union contract was signed in 1941. During the late 1930s, Ford was the last of the Big Three auto firms still holding out against unionization, and it employed strong-arm tactics to suppress any union activity. In 1941 Ford agreed to sign its first closed-shop contract with the UAW, covering 123,000 employees. The ascension of Henry Ford II, Henry Ford's grandson, to the Ford leadership position in 1945 brought a period of stability in Ford-UAW relations, especially after Henry Ford II fired the powerful Personnel Chief Harry Bennett, whose anti-union stance had made Ford Motor Company notorious for its bad labor relations. But in 1961, negotiations between Ford and the UAW fell apart again, and it took 17 days of striking before a tenuous three-year agreement was signed.
1997 An announcement that job growth had slowed during the month of September soothes Wall Street's inflation anxieties and kicks off a day of brisk action. The Dow surges up 116 points before fears of climbing oil prices sends the markets back down.
Born on October 3
1800 George Bancroft, historian, known as the "Father of American History" for his 10-volume A History of the United States.

October 4

1931 President Herbert Hoover convenes a meeting of 30 U.S. business leaders. Several months after the meeting, Hoover established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, an agency dedicated to funding some of the nation's major institutions, including banks and railroads.
1996 The Labor Department releases a batch of job statistics. According to the report, payrolls shrank by 40,000 in September 1996, while unemployment swelled ever so slightly. Traders promptly warmed to the news, interpreting it as a sign that borrowing costs would continue to hold steady. The Dow Jones zoomed up sixty points during a day of brisk trading and closed just below the vaunted 6,000-point mark. With a presidential election just a month away, the report's effects were felt even beyond Wall Street. Fearful of a backlash from voters, President Clinton's team went into spin mode, trying to shift attention to the news that wages had increased by six cents an hour during the same period. Still, the job statistics provided ammunition for Republican challenger Bob Dole, who criticized the President's "low growth" fiscal policies.
Born on October 4
1928 Alvin Toffler, writer and futurist.

October 5

1814 George W. Campbell's last day as the Secretary of the Treasury. Campbell was the United States' fifth secretary, as well as one of the seven foreign-born citizens to hold this post.
1880 The first ball-point pen is patented by Alonzo T. Cross.
1976 The Ford Motor Company and officials for the United Auto Workers hammer out a new contract, finally bringing a three-week strike to a close. The nation's second largest automaker gave in to almost all of labor's demands, including a boost in the number of paid vacation days and improved retirement and unemployment benefits.
Born on October 5
1902 Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald's hamburger franchise in 1955, who began working at the age of 15, driving ambulances in World War I. When he returned to the U.S., he played jazz gigs, worked in real estate, and sold paper cups. By the early 1940s, Kroc had entered the blender industry as the sole distributor for a contraption called the "multimixer." During a sales trip to San Bernardino, California, Kroc visited a restaurant that prepared food using an assembly-line system. Watching workers churn out the now-classic menu of burgers, fries and shakes, Kroc smelled profits and sat down with the owners-the McDonald brothers-to work out a deal to franchise their restaurant. In 1955, Kroc opened a second McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois, and, by the end of the year, Kroc had opened two more burger shops and had generated gross sales of $235,000. By 1961, Kroc had set up 228 McDonald's franchises to the tune of $37 million in gross profits. Later that year, Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers. When Kroc died in 1984 there were over 7,500 McDonald's golden arches around the world.

October 6

1814 Alexander J. Dallas takes the oath to become the United States' sixth Secretary of the Treasury. Dallas' tenure came to a close in 1816.
1926 The Duesenberg company is incorporated into the Auburn-Cord company, and the Duesenberg brothers, Frederick and August (German-American engineers from Iowa), begin working toward automobile manufacturer E.L. Cord's dream of producing the finest and most luxurious automobile the world had ever seen.
1995 Thirty-two thousand Boeing machinists hit the picket lines in three states to call for a pay raise and job guarantees. After years of frustration and failed walkouts, labor had little reason to be hopeful about the strike's outcome, but workers successfully halted production on planes and forced airlines to roll back their schedules. Sixty-nine days from beginning of the strike, union officials agreed to a new contract that met the machinists' demands, complete with a pay increase that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years, safeguards against job cutbacks, and a full extension of health premiums through the end of 1998. Following the agreement, union spokesman Matt Bates called the agreement a "slam dunk" for the machinists and chief negotiator Bob Gregory hailed the episode as proof that the labor movement was "alive and well."
Born on October 6
1846 George Westinghouse, prolific inventor, held over 100 patents on creations including air brakes for trains.
1887 Le Corbusier, Swiss-born French architect and city planner.

October 7

1765 Delegates from nine of the American colonies meet in New York to discuss the Stamp Act Crisis and colonial response to it.
1913 Attempting to find ways to lower the cost of the automobile and make it more affordable to ordinary Americans, Henry Ford took note of the work of efficiency experts like Frederick Taylor, the "father of scientific management." The result was the assembly line that reduced the time it took to manufacture a car, from 12 hours to 93 minutes.
1982 When the NYSE opening bell sounded, traders snapped up stocks and bonds at a furious pace. At the end of the day, a record 147 million shares had changed hands on the exchange, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its highest mark in fifteen months. The source of Wall Street's euphoria was traders' enthusiasm at reports that the Federal Reserve was taking a hands-off approach to the nation's fast-growing money supply. Many on Wall Street had feared that the Fed would introduce austerity measures to help reign in the money supply. However, with the country struggling through a protracted fiscal slump, the Fed was apparently less concerned with meeting its money-growth targets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed was going to "concentrate its efforts on healing the economy's deep wounds." If Wall Street's reaction was any indication, the healing had already begun.
1984 President Ronald Reagan and Democratic challenger Walter Mondale square off in a presidential debate. Mondale was poised to criticize the president's economic record, specifically the government's astronomical debt and the growing chasm between the "haves" and "have-nots" in American society. Unfortunately for Mondale, an old-fashioned liberal who worshiped at the altar of government programs and federal spending, he was little match for the so-called "Teflon President." With the nation in a patriotic mood after a summer filled with jingoistic fare like the Rambo sequel and the U.S.-dominated (and Los Angles-based) Olympics, there was little support for Mondale's talk of tax hikes and austerity. Reagan successfully convinced Americans that Mondale's economic policies would bring back the damaging inflation of the 70s and he returned to the White House after winning by a landslide.
1997 Both the Nasdaq industrial composite climbed to an unprecedented 1,736.10 points, while the S&P 500 zoomed past its old record, posting a new mark of 983.12-just another record-breaking day in the mighty Bull Run of the mid-1990s.

October 8

1871 The Great Chicago Fire begins in southwest Chicago, possibly in a barn owned by Patrick and Katherine O'Leary. Fanned by strong southwesterly winds, the flames raged for more than 24 hours, eventually leveling three and a half square miles and wiping out one-third of the city. Around 250 people were killed in the fire; 98,500 people were left homeless; 17,450 buildings were destroyed.
1897 Journalist Charles Henry Dow, founder of the Wall Street Journal, begins charting trends of stocks and bonds.
1990 After weeks of partisan wrangling, Democrats and Republicans finally pass a deficit reduction package through both legislative chambers. Far from a peaceful compromise, the budget plan was passed as a last-ditch move to avert a costly government shutdown.
1997 A Federal jury orders Chrysler to hand over $260 million to the Jiminez family, whose son, Sergei, was killed after being jettisoned from the third seat of a Chrysler minivan. The accident happened in 1987 when the Jiminez's Dodge Caravan was hit by another vehicle travelling at just five miles per hour. During the impact, the minivan's rear liftgate malfunctioned, and the back door flew open, allowing the boy to be ejected onto the pavement. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. The Federal government reported that between 1984 and 1994, 37 deaths could be traced to faulty liftgate latches on Chrysler's minivans. The automaker was hit with 100 lawsuits related to the faulty liftgate, but the government still held off on mandating a recall of the latches. A day before the ruling, however, Chrysler recalled 1.1 million minivans, a decision estimated to have cost the car giant roughly $30 million. Surprisingly, this move, coupled with anticipation of the Federal jury's decision against Chrysler, caused just a small decline in Chrysler's stock, which closed on October 7 at 34 15/16, following a 3/16 drop.
Born on October 8
1810 James Wilson Marshall, discoverer of gold in California.
1941 Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader.

October 9

1779 The Luddite riots being in Manchester, England in reaction to machinery for spinning cotton.
1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt requests congressional approval for arming U.S. merchant ships.
1996 According to an official fund estimate release, investors had sunk $16 billion into stock funds during the previous month. The report eased Wall Street's perpetual fears of a downturn by indicating that investors were still bullish despite occasional signs of economic decline. As the Bull Run of the mid-90s broke record after record, more and more Americans were deciding to try their luck in the stock market and mutual funds were becoming an increasingly popular investment choice.
1997 After a few rounds of heated negotiations, Smith Barney and a group of female employees (the plaintiffs) reach a tentative settlement on the sexual harassment and job discrimination suit brought against Smith Barney in the spring of 1996. According to the suit, branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money, one Smith Barney office featured a "boom boom room" where women workers were encouraged to "entertain clients," and Smith Barney paid female employees less than their male counterparts and denied them promotions. The settlement was never finalized, because in the summer of 1998, a U.S. District Court Judge refused to approve the deal on the grounds that it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff's grievances.
Born on October 9
1873 Charles Rudolph Walgreen, "the father of the modern drugstore."
1899 Bruce Catton, U.S. historian and journalist.

October 10

1795 The United States Mint hires its first two female employees. They were put to work as adjusters.
1911 The Panama Canal opens.
1970 The Quebec Provincial Minister of Labour, Pierre Laporte, is kidnapped by terrorists.
1973 Spiro Agnew resigns the vice presidency amid accusations of accepting kickbacks and a federal tax evasion charge. President Richard Nixon names Gerald Ford as the new vice president. Agnew later pled guilty and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Walter E. Hoffman to three years "unsupervised" probation and fined $10,000. After handing down his sentence, Hoffman called the ordeal "a tragic event in history."
1995 Professor Robert E. Lucas, Jr. wins the Nobel Prize for Economic Science for his exploration of the relationship between human tendencies and macroeconomics. He became the sixth University of Chicago professor to be honored with the award in as many years. Lucas's work challenged the once sacrosanct assumptions of Keynesian economics. Where Keynes looked past the link between the public and macroeconomics, Lucas studied how people react to shifts in economic policy. The result was the "rational expectations" hypothesis: Lucas argued that people brace themselves for policy changes, which ultimately nullifies the government's efforts to boost the economy. While the academic community heaped praise on Lucas, he remained modest, reminding his peers and reporters that the search was still on for ways to better regulate the economy.

October 11

1862 The Confederate Congress in Richmond passes a draft law allowing anyone owning 20 or more slaves to be exempt from military service. This law confirms many southerners opinion that they are in a 'rich man's war and a poor man's fight.'
1939 The American Federation of Labor (AFL) declares its opposition to U.S. involvement in World War II. Far from a radical response to America's potential engagement in the war, the AFL's stance was in line with majority opinion. At the time, President Roosevelt was a major proponent of keeping U.S. troops at home. The AFL was not, however, an entirely passive observer of the war. At the same time that they announced their opposition to U.S. involvement, the union also chose to begin a boycott of German, Japanese and Russian goods.
1950 The Federal Communications Commission authorizes the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to begin commercial color TV broadcasts.
1972 The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) files charges against Bank of America Vice President George L. Bates and Western Oil Development Corp. According to the suit, Bates was guilty of "fraud and deceit" while trading stocks of Western Oil. Meanwhile, Western Oil officials were accused of using "fraudulent statements" to boost the company's stock prices. Allegedly, Western Oil intended to use the inflated stock as a resource to "acquire valuable properties." In the second case, the SEC decided to convene hearings on charges of anti-fraud violations by Continental Investments and two of its subsidiaries. The hearings stemmed from charges that Continental Investment manipulated its investment relationship with the United Fund group, a mutual fund company, for improper fiscal gain. Continental Investment officials maintained their innocence, describing their dealings with the United Fund group as "complex" and "technical," but not corrupt.
Born on October 11
1844 Henry Heinz, manufacturer, founder of H.J. Heinz Co.

October 12

1837 President Martin Van Buren's failure to calm the Panic of 1837 prompts Congress to sanction the use of Treasury notes, provided that they didn't exceed $10 million. Unfortunately, Congress's efforts to stabilize the nation's currency failed to lift the depression, which continued to plague the country for the next seven years.
1977 General Electric announces that it posted record gains during the third quarter. According to GE officials, earnings skyrocketed by 18 percent, topping out at $268.5 million for the period.
1995 An announcement on October 9, 1995 that producer prices had climbed by 3/10 of 1 percent during the month of September doesn't cause the usual stir in the financial community. Enthused by an otherwise healthy economy, analysts refused to interpret the news as a sign of impending inflation. One analyst boasted, "inflation fundamentals look as good as they have in 30 years."

October 13

1893 Union Pacific, one of the nation's largest railroads, announces that it is in receivership.
1982 The Bureau of Engraving and Printing enters the computer age by unveiling the first batch of mechanical equipment intended to inspect notes.
1988 A U.S. district court hands down a record-setting $115 million settlement against Sundstrand Corp. The aerospace and industrial parts company was caught over-billing on sales of parts to the Pentagon. Sundstrand, which pleaded guilty to padding their bills by "millions of dollars," used the money to pay for "unallowable" expenses like sauna sessions and servants hired for company officials. In addition to fraud, Sundstrand also confessed to improperly wining and dining defense workers as a ploy to "improve (the company's) ability to market its products to the Defense Department." In an unrelated case that was decided the same day, Sundstrand was slapped with another $12.3 million settlement after its Data Control unit also admitted to over-billing on contracts. Strangely, the huge fines didn't damage the company's stock price, which rose 12.5 cents per share on the day.

October 14

1773 Britain's East India Company tea ships' cargo is burned at Annapolis, Maryland.
1884 Transparent paper-strip photographic film is patented by George Eastman.
1943 Edward J. Noble, who had already earned millions from sales of his popular "Lifesavers" candy, buys the auctioned Blue Network unit of the NBC radio network, promptly renaming it American Broadcasting Systems. A year later, Noble changed the name again, this time to what has become a more familiar title, the American Broadcasting Company, Inc. (ABC)
1996 Chrysler Corporation announces that it racked up record net earnings of $680 million for the third quarter. Not only were 1996 sales of RAM pickup trucks way up, but company officials managed to keep the factory lines rolling by inking a labor deal with the United Auto Workers. Wall Street applauded the announcement and Chrysler's stock posted a $1.00 gain, to close the day at $32.75.
Born on October 14
1857 Automotive pioneer Elwood Haynes is born in Portland, Indiana. After training as an engineer and a chemist at John Hopkins University, Haynes returned to Indiana and began experimenting on a carriage powered by an internal engine. In 1894, he completed construction on one of America's earliest automobiles, a one-horsepower, one-cylinder vehicle, and on Independence Day of that year drove it through the streets of Kokomo, Indiana on its trial run. This automobile is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution as the oldest U.S. automobile in existence. For the next few decades, Haynes continued to make improvements to the new science of automobile manufacturing, including a successful carburetor, the first use of aluminum in automobile engines, and the first muffler.

October 15

1878 Thomas A. Edison founds the Edison Electric Light Co., which was, in part, funded by wealthy investors like J.P. Morgan, who thought Edison, the inventor of the telegraph, was a wise investment. Though electric light had eluded inventors for over fifty years, Edison had vowed that he would create the first incandescent lamp. He quickly made good on his promise. His company was soon flush with profits, and competitors hoping to cash in on the burgeoning market were springing up everywhere. Under the tutelage of Morgan, Edison adopted the aggressive tactics of vertical integration, buying his rivals and transforming his company into a model modern enterprise. Without anti-trust laws to put the breaks on the feeding frenzy, Edison's shop, re-christened the General Electric Company, dominated the field with just one major competitor, the Westinghouse Company.
1914 Congress passes the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which labor leader Samuel Gompers calls "labor's charter of freedom." The act exempts unions from anti-trust laws; strikes, picketing and boycotting become legal; corporate interlocking directorates become illegal, as does setting prices which would effect a monopoly.
1915 America's banking community does their patriotic bit for the war effort by arranging a $5 million loan to help out the cash-strapped British and French governments.
Born on October 15
1908 John Kenneth Galbraith, a strong proponent of Keynesian economics, a writer, and a diplomat. In his trademark work, Affluent Society, Galbraith laid out his economic philosophy, including the belief that increased production and a large GNP would provide the cure for various social ills. During his career, Galbraith also served in John Kennedy's administration, doling out fiscal wisdom, as well as serving as ambassador to India.

October 16

1911 The Progressive Party, which was searching for a presidential candidate to help them wage war against the ever-expanding corporations that they felt were engulfing the nation, gives the nod to Republican reformer Robert LaFollette. The party had once nominated Teddy Roosevelt, but the former president, who had allowed the United States Steel Corporation to grow into an industry-dominating giant, was hardly a model trust-buster. However, fatigue prevented LaFollette from carrying the nomination through to the convention and he was quickly replaced by the more trust-friendly Roosevelt. Despite his populist appeal and previous experience in the Oval Office, Roosevelt lost the general election to Woodrow Wilson.
1946 President Harry Truman lifts price controls on meat, a move that pleased millions of Americans. With World War II quickly receding into memory, Truman saw fit to wean the nation from the austere economic diet that the government had devised to fight wartime inflation.

October 17

1931 After a long run as the crime kingpin of Chicago's underworld, Al Capone finally lands in jail, ultimately for tax evasion, a relatively minor offense for a man who oversaw an elaborate liquor bootlegging network, extensive prostitution rings, and various gambling operations. For many years, crime did pay for Capone. By 1927, he had hauled in an impressive--and tax-free--fortune worth over $100 million. Of course, with his penchant for maiming and killing the competition, Capone was just a bit more dangerous than the average entrepreneur. However, usual strong-arm tactics couldn't help him bully past the IRS. Capone was sentenced to an eleven-year prison term and was forced to pay $80,000 in fines and court fees.
1973 In a move that would affect the economy throughout the decade, 11 Arab oil producers increase oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) approves the oil embargo at a meeting in Tangiers, Morocco. Almost overnight, gasoline prices quadrupled, and the U.S. economy, suffered greatly as a result. U.S. car companies, who built automobiles that typically averaged less than 15 miles per gallon, were unable to satisfy the sudden demand for small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The public turned to imports in droves, and suddenly Japan's modest, but sturdy, little compacts began popping up on highways all across America. Even after the oil embargo crisis was resolved, American consumers had learned an important lesson about the importance of fuel efficiency, and foreign auto manufacturers flourished in the large American market.

October 18

1648 The "shoemakers of Boston," the first labor organization in what would become the United States, is authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1919 Rolls-Royce America, Inc. is established, and their luxurious motor cars would prove a favorite means of transport for America's elite during the roaring 1920s.
1977 Hanns Martin Schleyer, a Daimler-Benz executive and head of the West German employers' association, is found dead in Alsace, France. On September 5, he was kidnapped in Cologne by the Red Army Faction (RAF) during an assault in which his driver and three police were killed. The Red Army Faction was a group of ultra-left revolutionaries who terrorized Germany for three decades, assassinating at least 30 corporate, military, and government leaders in an effort to topple capitalism in their homeland. Six weeks after the kidnapping of Schleyer, Palestinian terrorists, who had close ties with the RAF, hijacked a Lufthansa airliner to Somalia, and demanded the release of 11 imprisoned RAF members. On October 17, after the pilot was killed, a German special forces team stormed the plane, releasing the captives and killing the hijackers. The RAF's imprisoned leaders responded by committing suicide in their jail cell in Stammheim, and Schleyer's murder was ordered.
1983 Auto giant General Motors finally agrees to terms on a long-standing discrimination complaint. After a few protracted rounds of haggling with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, GM resolves to increase its hiring of minorities and women during a five-year span.
1995 Bill Clinton insists that he stood firmly behind the decision to raise taxes. After successfully dodging charges that he was a tax-happy liberal, Bill Clinton was elected the first Democratic president in twelve years. A year into his first term, Clinton pushed through a $241 billion tax hike, raising the scorn of Republicans and wealthy citizens who would, ostensibly, bear the brunt of the increase. Seeking atonement, as well as the money and support he would need to capture a second term, Clinton said to a crowd of affluent donors at a Houston fund-raiser: "You think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too." Far from absolution, the remark sparked the familiar charge that the president was an ideological opportunist, willing to "flip-flop" on issues to better his career.
1996 The Dow manages to shrug off a spate of bad news, including the announcement of more woes for the tobacco industry, to storm to a record close of 6094 points. As impressive as the record mark may sound, it was just another day for the Dow, which had set new highs thirty other times during the mighty bull run of '96.

October 19

1960 Canada and the United States agree to undertake a joint Columbia River project to provide hydroelectric power and flood control.

The U.S. government decides to halt exports to Communist Cuba. The embargo was a signal that the U.S., embroiled in a fierce battle with the Soviet Union for Cold War superiority, was stepping up efforts to topple the regime of Fidel Castro. It wasn't long before the government moved from economic to military efforts, but Castro wasn't budging.
1966 Gulf and Western Industries Inc., an umbrella company for a wide array of business enterprises, purchases Paramount Pictures Corp. (the legendary film company that boasted top talent like Rudolph Valentino and Cecil B. DeMille), shifting gears and placing its focus squarely on media. The newly formed company was responsible for a number of hits, including the Godfather and Indiana Jones trilogies, before Gulf and Western, since renamed Paramount Communications, was snapped up by fellow media giant Viacom Inc.
1982 After being caught on film during an FBI sting operation trying to broker a $24 million cocaine deal, John DeLorean (who formed the DeLorean Motor Company in 1974 after raising nearly $200 million in financing; he walked away in late 1973 from his $650,000 job at General Motors, boasting he was "going to show them how to build cars") is arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. But two years later a federal jury ruled that he was a victim of entrapment, and DeLorean was acquitted of all charges. Nevertheless, the debacle ruined his credibility, and John DeLorean's fall from the top of the automotive industry was complete.
1987 In retaliation for Iranian attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, the U. S. navy disables three of Iran's offshore oil platforms.

"Panic selling" sends the Dow into an unprecedented 508-point freefall. After a day of frantic action, the markets had shed 23 percent of their total value. The staggering loss sent analysts scurrying to find a smoking gun--and they found several. Along with the usual suspects, inflation and rising interest rates, the announcement of a surprisingly steep trade deficit and news of an American attack against Iran were both blamed for Wall Street's woes. Some industry insiders looked even closer to home, speculating that the market's computerized trading system played a role in sparking the crash.
Born on October 19
1784 Leigh Hunt, English journalist, essayist, poet and political radical.
1895 Lewis Mumford, American writer, urban planner and social critic (The City in History).

October 20

1975 The United States announces a deal to make annual sales of 6 to 8 million tons of grain to the Soviet Union. The U.S. government decided to put economics ahead of Cold War politics.
1978 The closing bell brings a merciful end to one of the ugliest weeks in Wall Street history. Inflation loomed over Wall Street, triggering a panicked sell-off that pummeled the markets. Looking to stop the losses and ease the burden on member banks, the Federal Reserve increased the rediscount rate on loans to 9.5 percent.
1995 On the eve of its 50th anniversary, the United Nations does a bit of fiscal house-cleaning and hands out bills to its biggest debtors. The announcement that America owed the U.N. $1.25 billion is made, a sad moment for the country that had helped found and initially fund the U.N. The debt (after years of failing to pay dues or the expenses for peacekeeping missions) even threatened the United States' membership in the organization. Under the U.N. charter, a member would be forced to relinquish its vote if "its arrears equals or exceeds what it owes in contributions for the preceding two years." Though the U.S. threatened to cross that mark by 1997, officials conceded that it was highly unlikely that the U.N. would banish one of the world's most powerful countries. Still, America's delinquency was troublesome for the U.N., which had exceeded its annual budget by August of 1995 and was forced to take out a $125 million loan.
Born on October 20
1632 Sir Christopher Wren, astronomer and architect.

October 21

1902 Following a five month walk-off, which required intervention by an official arbitration committee, the striking members of the United Mine Workers agree to terms with anthracite mine bosses.
1957 President Eisenhower decides to embark on a speaking tour in an effort to bolster the nation's sagging economic spirit and generate support for his economic and defense policies. Ike called on Americans to "cast aside any morbid pessimism" about the nation's fiscal future and to reaffirm their faith in private enterprise. America was wrestling with economic insecurity. The confident glow from World War II was fading and Americans were faced with worries of the Cold War and fears that rejuvenated European and Japanese economies would upset America's fiscal and military supremacy. Despite the unprecedented prosperity the nation was enjoying, America's crisis of confidence was not entirely unfounded. Just a few years earlier, the economy slipped into a brief recession and industrial production declined by 10 percent.
1986 President Ronald Reagan signs a bill to trim the debt by $11.7 billion. The U.S. government was floundering in its attempts to rein in the budget deficit.
Born on October 21
1833 Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prizes.

October 22

1914 The passage of the anti-protectionist Underwood-Simmons Act took a bite out of the nation's pocketbook. To compensate for the lost income, Congress passes the Revenue Act, mandating the first tax on incomes over $3,000.
1916 Former Secretary of War William H. Crawford takes the oath to become America's Secretary of the Treasury. Crawford replaced Albert Gallatin, who was bumped from the Treasury to serve as America's minister to France.
1986 President Ronald Reagan signs off on a bill that promised to simplify America's notoriously confusing tax code. Though Reagan accidentally signed his last name before his first on the legislation, it was still allowed to pass into the law books. Once enacted, the bill effectively scrapped eleven extraneous tax brackets and bumped millions of low-income citizens from the tax rolls.
1988 Congress passes a bill designed to combat fiscal corruption. Wall Street during the 1980s was fraught with the stray cocaine scandal, insider trading, and securities fraud cases. The bill doubled the maximum prison term for insider trading, bringing the toughest sentence to ten years in jail. The bill also raised the ceiling on fines for insider trading up to $1 million for individuals and $2.5 million for corporations and partnerships. Along with stricter penalties, the new laws made companies responsible for improper trading committed by their employees. Wall Street greeted the new legislation with measured approval. Edward I. O'Brien, president of the Securities Industry Association, deemed the new penalties to be "high," though he conceded that bill was "generally the right thing" for the industry.
Born on October 22
1887 John Reed, American journalist, poet and revolutionary (Ten Days That Shook the World).

October 23

1869 The New York Stock Exchange puts memberships up for sale for the first time in its 77-year history.
1975 House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Al Ullman, a Democrat from Oregon, proposes an economic plan featuring a $12.7 million tax cut targeted to middle-income citizens. While Ullman's plan quickly won favor with members of both parties, the bill was still bogged down by partisan wrangling. At issue was Republican President Gerald Ford's attempt to tack spending cuts on to Ullman's tax measure. Democrats, and even some Republicans, recoiled at the idea, arguing that it placed short-term political gain ahead of the nation's economic well-being. House Democrats mounted a brief, but effective campaign to kill Ford's proposal. Shortly before the measures came up for a vote, Ullman flooded the press with economists' negative assessments of the spending cuts. His tactic was successful. The House Ways and Means Committee gave the green light to tax relief, but refused the president's proposed spending cuts.

October 24

1929 Black Thursday--the first day of the stock market crash which began the Great Depression.During a day of frantic action, stock prices plummeted and investors on the New York Stock Exchange dumped 13 million shares. Despite the best efforts of J.P. Morgan and other wealthy investors, Black Thursday proved to be but a preview of the even more difficult times ahead for Wall Street.
1940 The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 becomes law, establishing the 40-hour work week.
1996 TWA is hit with a double whammy. First, the airline carrier announces that it had posted a $14.3 million loss during the previous quarter. Then, Jeffrey H. Erickson, TWA's CEO and President announces that he is planning to step down in early 1997. Both events only added insult to injury for a company that was still reeling from the tragic crash of Flight 800 during the summer of '96. While reflecting on his time at the top of TWA, Erickson chose to accentuate the positive, stating, "I am proud of the accomplishments of the people of TWA under my leadership." Fortunately for the company, Wall Street also chose to look on the bright side and TWA's stock gained 3/8 of a point to close the day at 8-1/2.

October 25

1923 The Teapot Dome scandal comes to public attention as Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana, subcommittee chairman, reveals the findings of the past 18 months of investigation. His case will result in the conviction of Harry F. Sinclair of Mammoth Oil, and later Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, the first cabinet member in American history to go to jail. The scandal, named for the Teapot Dome oil reserves in Wyoming, involved Fall secretly leasing naval oil reserve lands to private companies.
1994 Sprint Corp. announces it is joining forces with three of the cable industry's largest companies. By unifying, Comcast, Tele-Communications, Cox Enterprises, and Sprint would be able to offer a full range of phone services, as well as a mighty information and multimedia delivery network. The agreement was a major coup for Sprint in its escalating competition with AT&T and the Baby Bells.
1995 AFL-CIO members elect John J. Sweeney as their new president. With his pledge to rid the union of fraud and corruption, Sweeney's election seemed to symbolize a new era for the AFL-CIO. Despite his promises, Sweeney ultimately ran afoul of campaign finance laws and was forced to relinquish his post. However, during his tenure, Sweeney was able to win a few battles, including one notorious dispute with U.P.S. that was resolved only after workers hit the picket lines.

October 26

1982 When officials from President Reagan's administration gave their report for the past fiscal year, the deficit had ballooned to $110 billion. The total only grew more astronomical as the decade continued.
1980 General Motors announces that it lost $567 million during the previous quarter. While this was the biggest quarterly drop ever posted by an American company, the magnitude of the loss was somewhat blunted by GM's tax credits. According to the Wall Street Journal, the auto giant's pre-tax losses for the quarter topped out at $953 million.

October 27

1858 After a string of seven business failures, the resilient entrepreneur Roland Macy finally hit the jackpot, founding his own department store, named Macy's. The store, which opened in New York City, was packed with a variety of useful products and became an immediate success. Today, Macy's is, by volume of sales, the biggest department store in the world.
1992 The economy stumbled through the early 1990s, dragging down President Bush's poll ratings and his re-election bid in the process. However, on the eve of the 1992 election, there was a small burst of hope for Bush's campaign when the government released a report indicating that the economy was emerging from the slump. Unfortunately for Bush, the news did little to persuade the electorate that he could lead the nation to a richer fiscal future. A few weeks later, Democratic challenger Bill Clinton rolled to victory.
1997 When the opening bell sounded, traders were a little jittery. News of a 6 percent decline on the Hong Kong index had spread to Wall Street, priming investors for a sell-off. At first there was a wave of steady, though hardly panicked selling, but by 2:00 P.M., the Dow had dropped 323.42 points. To prevent a crisis, market officials pulled the plug on trading, the first time that Wall Street invoked the so-called "circuit-breaker rules."

October 28

1981 According to an official report from the U.S. government, the budget deficit topped out at $57.93 billion during the year, shooting past the administration's projections by $2.3 billion. Amazingly enough, the deficit had shrunk slightly since the end of 1980. Still, the deficit was an embarrassment, as well as a political liability, for President Reagan. Members of the president's cabinet stepped in to perform damage control, vowing to balance the budget by 1984 with a program that leaned heavily on spending cuts. Ultimately, Reagan failed to make good on the pledge and the budget deficit soared to new heights throughout the decade.
1997 The Conference Board, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based polling company, releases the news that consumer confidence in the economy dipped during the past month. The news came just a day after the Dow lost 554 points and caused some nervousness on Wall Street. However, cooler heads eventually prevailed, with analysts stressing that the report had not been confirmed and that it was much too early to start to panic.

October 29

1929 Black Tuesday--the most catastrophic day in stock market history, the herald of the Great Depression. Sixteen million shares were sold at declining prices. By mid-November $30 billion of the $80 billion worth of stocks listed in September will have been wiped out.
1964 Thieves steal a jewel collection--including the world's largest sapphire, the 565-carat "Star of India," and the 100-carat DeLong ruby--from the Museum of Natural History in New York. The thieves were caught and most of the jewels recovered.
1979 The day marks the fiftieth anniversary of the great stock market crash of '29, and is also notable because trading at NYSE was interrupted by protesters, who stormed the exchange to demonstrate against the proliferation of nuclear arms.
1996 Internet service provider America Online (AOL) announces a risky pricing strategy designed to help the company stay on top of the Web access industry. AOL's new plan centered on offering unlimited monthly access at a flat fee of $19.95 per month. As part of the plan, AOL was looking to eat $460 million in charges. Though it had already fended off a host of competitors during its brief life span, AOL was hoping the new prices would solidify its position as a leader in the cutthroat internet industry.

October 30

1972 President Nixon gives the go-ahead to legislation that increased Social Security spending for the elderly by an impressive $5.3 billion. With the conflict in Vietnam growing more complicated and unpopular by the day, he needed to win points on the domestic front. The Social Security Act also increased annual sums paid out to beneficiaries and expanded the Medicare rolls to include disabled citizens under age 65.
1988 Sears and Roebuck executives announce the plan to sell the 110-story Sears Tower. The granddaddy of American retailing was suffering from slow earnings and a slumping stock price. Investors were getting nervous and the company clearly needed to take action. The idea was to use the money from the sale--which promised to range anywhere from $800 million to $1.2 billion--to buy back sizeable amounts of the company's stock. Along with putting what was once the world's tallest building on the trading block, Sears unveiled a new retailing strategy designed to stimulate business. The plan called for across-the-board price cuts, as well as a shift toward stocking more name-brand merchandise. Wall Street was less than impressed with Sears' new game plan. While the sale of the tower would undoubtedly rake in some much-needed cash, analysts feared that slashing prices would further damage the company's short-term earnings. The announcement triggered a small sell-off and Sears' stock closed the day with a $1.875 loss.
1988 Philip Morris pays out $13.1 billion to take over fellow industry giant Kraft. While Phillip Morris was sizeable even before the deal, acquiring Kraft made it the world's single biggest producer of consumer goods.

October 31

1938 The New York Stock Exchange unveils a 15-point program geared toward upgrading protection for the investing public. With the nation still wary from stock market crash of 1929, Wall Street needed a way to boost investor confidence. The exchange also hoped the measures would serve as a vehicle for repositioning itself as a more service-oriented and user-friendly organization.
1978 The dollar nearly sets a record low against foreign exchange markets. The drop was triggered by fears that oil prices would keep climbing higher and news that the Treasury Department was considering asking the International Monetary Fund for aid. While the government vehemently denied the report, they couldn't change the fact that the world had lost faith in the dollar.



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