Smith: The New Ten

The $10 bill | Michael Stacy/Missouri Business Alert
Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks have emerged as popular choices to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill | Michael Stacy/Missouri Business Alert

Dunkin’ Donuts rules.

So do falling energy prices…and good news from Sprint.

Eleanor Roosevelt rules…and so does Rosa Parks.

With the hazy days of August upon us, these are some of the trends and stories that are catching my attention this week:

Women Rising

For the last decade, studies have noted the increasing number of women college graduates. Higher education translates into about $1 million in additional income over a lifetime, according to federal studies. A little over half of all American males are now graduating from college, compared to more than 60 percent of women. Women are getting more doctorates and master’s degrees than men, and their areas of expertise stretch from education to business to medicine. Next trend: More women leaders and the end of the pay gap?

The New Ten

There’s plenty of excitement about putting a woman on the $10 bill – even if it won’t happen until 2020. Out is Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first secretary of the treasury. A recent poll by McClatchy/Marist says Americans favor former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, but there are plenty of votes elsewhere for Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist.

Send in your votes to me at: I’ll keep track of your thoughts and share them with you. Whatever the case, the winner won’t be the first woman on American currency. Martha Washington received that honor more than 100 years ago.

Falling Commodity Prices

From gold to aluminum, the impact of a slowing Chinese economy is having an impact around the world. Closer to home, fuel prices of all types are continuing to decline. Very simply, there’s more supply than demand.

Vacationers should continue to enjoy low gasoline prices. When winter sets in, natural gas will likely be cheaper than last year, according to economists. In fact, natural gas is so cheap that many coal-fired plants are burning natural gas instead of coal.

Warmer winters are a factor in America, but so is the expected rev up of Iran. Expect legacy energy to continue to be less expensive as we bridge to new ways to power our cars and heat our homes.

Sprint’s good news

I’m old enough to remember Sprint’s grandparents. The struggling company’s roots were in a group of telephone companies patched together in the Midwest and headquartered in Kansas City. The dream was to link America via fiber optic cable – you could hear a pin drop from coast to coast.

From that great seed, a campus eventually was built in Johnson County to house the growing company. Then came a series of bad decisions, much bad leadership and lots of competition.

But the recently announced second quarter earnings give renewed hope – the first in decades. Sprint is growing its customer base at a rapid pace. A turnaround would be good news for Kansas City. Fingers crossed.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Wherever I’ve travelled in the last decade, Dunkin’ Donuts has been the American emblem of retail achievement. The news this week that the donut chain is opening in Iceland – after McDonald’s had bailed – is proof positive that the world has a sweet tooth.

My students are excited about the new Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Columbia. Move over, McDonald’s. American fast food has a new leading indicator – the Dunkin’ Dollar.

Randall Smith

Randall D. Smith is the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism and is the founder of Missouri Business Alert.

He can be reached at



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