Business Highlights: Bank execs blame panicked depositors for failures; IRS to pilot free e-filing

The top stories in the business world for the day.

Senators accuse bank executives of blaming panicked depositors but they blame the senators

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Top executives from Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank largely avoided accepting responsibility for the dramatic failures of their banks at a Senate Hearing on Tuesday. Instead, they used their time to blame events that were largely outside their control. Senators from both sides of aisle were not impressed by the arguments. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Banking Committee criticised the executives who took risky actions and missed obvious problems which led directly to the demise their banks. They also criticized them for accepting lucrative bonuses and pay packages even days and weeks before the failures.

IRS pilots free electronic filing system to be launched in 2024

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - The IRS plans to launch a free pilot program of a government run online tax filing system. As part of funding received from the Inflation Reduction Act - the Democrats' flagship climate change and health care bill that President Joe Biden approved last summer - the IRS was asked to look into creating a "direct file" system. The IRS released a feasibility study on Tuesday, after months of research. It outlines the interest from taxpayers in direct file and explains how it could be implemented, as well as its cost, potential challenges, and other factors.

Disney's latest tit for tat: Disney asks the judge to dismiss DeSantis appointed board's lawsuit

ORLANDO (AP) - Disney has asked a Florida state judge to dismiss a suit filed by a governing council appointed by Governor. Ron DeSantis will oversee Disney World. In its motion filed on Tuesday, the company claimed that Disney was the victim of 'weaponizing powers' of government meant to punish it for protected expression. Disney filed its motion in state court in Orlando. The latest in a series of legal battles between the entertainment giant DeSantis, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and DeSantis in both federal and state court. It's a fight over who has control of the Disney World special governing district, which decides what is built.

Retail sales in April up 0.4%, boosted by a solid job market and falling prices in certain areas

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Consumers increased their spending in April compared to March, especially in the dining out sector and online. This was boosted by a strong job market and a lowering of inflationary pressures. The Commerce Department's report released Tuesday also noted an increase in auto sales. The second half of the calendar year will be a challenging time for shoppers, from tightening of credit to a weakening job market. In April, retail sales were up 0.4% from the 0.7% drop in March. This was the first rise since January, when unusually warm temperatures and an increase in Social Security benefits prompted more spending.

ChatGPT's chief believes artificial intelligence should only be regulated by an agency in the US or globally

The CEO of ChatGPT, a company that specializes in artificial intelligence, told Congress that government involvement is essential to mitigate the risks associated with increasingly powerful AI systems. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, testified Tuesday at a Senate Hearing that he supported the creation of an agency in the United States or globally that would grant licenses to the most powerful AI systems. The agency would also be responsible for ensuring compliance with safety standards, according to Altman. After releasing ChatGPT in late 2018, his San Francisco-based company gained a lot of public attention. The lawmakers expressed concern about the latest 'generative AI tools' that could mislead, spread lies, violate copyright and disrupt the job market.

Study finds that YouTube recommends violent and graphic gun videos for 9-year olds.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - YouTube does a great job of sending videos to users based on what it thinks the user will like. New research shows, however, that YouTube's powerful algorithm can also bombard young users with violent or disturbing content. The Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit organization, created YouTube accounts that mimicked the behavior of boys who were interested in first-person shooting games. Users as young as 9 began to be recommended videos with graphic images of school shootings, and training in tactical firearms. YouTube claims to be doing its best to protect kids, but researchers claim that the videos could cause trauma or lead vulnerable children down a dark path of extremism and radicalization.

Monopoly concerns lead FTC to file suit to stop Amgen's $26B Horizon deal

Federal regulators have filed a lawsuit to stop Amgen from acquiring Horizon Therapeutics for more than 26 billion dollars. Federal Trade Commission stated Tuesday that Amgen would have unfair leverage in blocking competition for Horizon's medications. The deal was announced last December. The FTC stated that the deal would cement Horizon's monopoly on treatments for thyroid-eye disease and chronic refractory arthritis. The Associated Press did not receive a response from an Amgen representative when they called for comment. Amgen executives said in December the deal would provide a solid platform for their company to expand into treatments for rare diseases.

Biden rejects a bid by Congress for the reinstatement of tariffs on solar panels imported from SE Asia

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Joe Biden vetoed a resolution by the Congress that would have reinstituted tariffs on imports of solar panels from Southeast Asia. Biden's veto ends a long-running debate over punishing China for violating U.S. trade rules that limit imports of solar panels cheaply made in Asia. Biden's decision to veto the bill means that tariffs will be delayed for two years, at least until June 2024. Both parties of Congress have voiced concern about unfair competition by China. Some U.S. producers claim that China has moved its operations to four Southeast Asian nations -- Thailand, Vietnam Malaysia and Cambodia -- in order to avoid U.S. antidumping rules.

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $1 billion in settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by shareholders.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Wells Fargo agreed to pay $1 billion in settlement of a lawsuit brought by its shareholders. After a fake account opening scandal in 2016, the shareholders alleged that Wells Fargo made misleading statements regarding its compliance with federal regulatory agencies. The class action lawsuit was filed by hundreds of thousands public employees in Rhode Island and Mississippi who had their retirement funds invested with Wells Fargo. The settlement, which was filed on Monday night, received preliminary approval from a federal judge in New York. Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, said that it disagreed but was happy to see the case resolved.

The S&P500 fell 26.38 or 0.6% to 4,109.90. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 336.46 or 1% to 33,012.14. Nasdaq Composite fell 22.16 or 0.2% points to 12,343.05. Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies, fell by 25.37 points or 1.4% to 1,736.18.