2 January 2020

1) The ride sharing business Uber has filed a lawsuit against California, in response to a landmark gig worker law as being unconstitutional. The new law is designed to upend gig economy companies such as Uber and Lyft. Uber claims the new law unfairly targets workers and companies in the on-demand economy, treating them differently than traditional companies. The law forces on-demand companies to reclassify their independent contractors as employees, which would break up their businesses. With Uber actively researching auto-driving cars, this point may soon become mute.

2) In the wake of continual losses despite rising postal rates, America’s postal system, as a public government run entity, may be coming to a end as early as this year. New leadership is being brought into the USPS tasked with creating a package of large structural changes intent on privatizing and selling pieces of the public service off. One proposal is that the postal service stops delivering packages, since there are already several successful businesses who are already doing that.

3) Department stores and apparel retailers continue to shrink as customers continue their migration to Amazon. For the last several years, retailers such as Sears, Macy’s and the Gap have struggled to survive and prosper by closing their retail outlets with even more closures are forecast for this next year. One additional loss of retail revenues is the lost of store credit cards.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 DEC 19:

Dow                28,538.44    up    76.30
Nasdaq            8,972.60    up     26.61
S&P 500           3,230.78    up        9.49

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.92%

Oil:    down   at     $61.21

CVS BUYING HEALTHCARE GIANT AETNA…

By: Economic & Finance Report

Pharmacy giant CVS is buying the third biggest healthcare company, Aetna for a reported $69 billion dollar deal, which includes cash and stock options.

This deal is coming to fruition just in time as the Senate and US House Reps each passed their version of the tax reform bill, now the two versions will go into conference with negotiators from both chambers. The end bill looks like it will be touching President Trump’s desk before Christmas, for his signature into law.

Both CVS and Aetna are power houses in their respective industries and business sectors. CVS beong one of the biggest retail and pharmaceutical chains in the US and Aetna being in the top 3, in the healthcare industry. Both companies have indicated that the merger makes sense because the consumer(s) will be the ultimate winners from the deal because they will be paying a lot less and saving alot more for medical prescription drugs in the US. -SB

Give Us A New Federal Tax! Please! Data Is The Newest And Most Proliferate American Business, Whose Growing Wealth Remains Free Of Taxation !!!!!!!!!

By: James Lymon BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

Economic & Finance Report

Every day, across America, across the whole world, innumerable faceless, seemingly nameless companies slither across the internet to slip into peoples computers and root around gathering information and data about us with the intent of selling and reselling that data to other companies for a profit. All without our knowledge or consent. We are never aware when they are there, what they are copying or what will ultimately be done with it. And for them it’s virtually free! They come into our various computers (desk top, lap tops, tablets, smart phones and old fashion flip phones) to root around looking for any data which might be marketable to someone, then leave to come again at a later date, hopefully not damaging our software or data because their programs where not fully thought out or tested. Then someone else comes in to repeat the process. And what do we get from of all this– aside hopefully no damage to our data and systems?

NOTHING!! Absolutely nothing!

These are our computers, our systems, paid for by us, with our money which we earned through our labors, yet untold businesses feel these computers are their’s to do as they please! Like someone walking uninvited into your house, strolling around making notes of things, taking pictures of this and that, then casually walking out without so much as a howdy there or even a cursory smile. Just as if your house belongs to them and not you. Needless to say, like many other Americans, this somewhat rankles me. After all … all this data is used to manipulate, maneuver, coax, dupe, sway and cajole people for commercial and political gains. Since they are making money harvesting data from our possessions, then we should at least get paid for it, right? But how? Well, maybe it’s nearly impossible to get paid directly for information gathered, but how about indirectly? How about if all the data gathered from everyone had to be paid for, then those proceeds go towards things which benefits all us little people … like maybe health care that everyone is so worried about?

How about if the Federal government was to tax all data acquired through computers or bought and sold to other users of that data? How about a data transfer tax based on a fix rate per byte of data transferred? Right now, there are vast quantities of data being harvested from us, stored, bought and sold over and over for huge profits … and it’s all free as far as we and the government are concerned. A huge new industry of data that unlike other commodities such as oil or consumer goods, goes untaxed, untouched like back in the good old heady days of laissez-faire capitalism.

Let’s say there was a tax rate of one-hundredth of one cent of hard cold American cash currency for each byte of data transferred. So, if one of these companies comes into your computer and helps itself to two hundred bytes of data or information, then there would be a tax of $0.01 X 200 or 2 cents owed to the Federal government. You say, ‘Well so what’! Two cents … that’s nothing but a joke! What difference does that make?’ But for that same company to go into a million people’s computers and harvest data, that’s $20,000 revenue. And for a thousand similar companies, that totals up to $20,000,000 … and twenty million bucks is no longer something to sneezed at. But that’s only the start. Each time that company sells those chunks of data, the transfer is taxed again, so if sold to ten other companies, that’s another $200,000 each for a total of $220,000 in revenue. Then if a buyer such as one of the data mining companies purchases that data, it may resell it tens or hundreds of times, generating untold wealth for the American people.

You see, that two cents multiplies itself many times over into millions of dollars!

I have no idea just how many bytes of data are transferred between computers each year, nor would I dare a guess. I just know that it is tremendously huge! Other business are subjected to inventory taxes, that is taxes on the value of physical property they hold to sell to create their revenues. But data is just waves of electrical impulses on a wispy cloud of electrons, not physically visible to the human eye, and hence, unlike other inventories, goes untaxed. But when it moves from one computer to another across the internet, it becomes visible and therefore accountable. At that time of visibility, it becomes a taxable entity.

The youth of America are heavy users of data machines, creating much of the new data being bought and sold, providing the machines at their own expense which allows all this harvesting of data. Since the millenniums are facing an ever increasing burden of taxes because there are fewer of them to support more and more of their elders, it’s quite natural they would welcome a method of taxation that could reduce what’s now taken directly out of their pockets. Get some real payback for the use of their private property, which so many business consider as 0open range0 for any enterprise to come in and use as they please and see fit.

After all, why should we the people fork out our hard earned cash for taxes while all those data enterprises go scot free?

PUERTO RICO BONDHOLDERS GET HUGE WIN IN COURT!!!!!!!

Puerto Rico Debt

By: Economic & Finance Report

Puerto Rico bondholders attained a huge legal win in Puerto Rico Supreme Court. The case  involved bondholders to follow an unconstitutional Puerto Rico restructuring law. The law would have required the bondholders  to accept restructuring law guidelines, as Puerto Rico figures ways to reduce their financial debt.

The bondholders in the case, Investment funds from OppenheimerFunds Inc, and Franklin Resources Inc, hold 1.5 billion dollars worth in Puerto Rico municipal bonds. A federal judge in San Juan, sided with the plaintiffs (bondholders) indicating that US Constitution and the federal bankruptcy law takes precedence over Puerto Rico’s restructuring law.

As of press time and of the current ruling of the case, the Puerto Rico government has stated that they were looking into the decision of the case and that they would be deciding what action to take on the ruling.

-SB