24 March 2021

1) The CLEAN Future Act, a nearly 1,000-page piece of legislation, is meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution that’s emitted from the petrochemical facilities that produce plastics or the raw materials used to make plastics. More significantly, the bill would impose a temporary pause on air pollution permits needed for approval of new plastics production facilities. But Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that provisions in the sweeping climate bill from top house democrats would stifle the plastics industry. The EPA regulations also require any permit for a plastics production facility to be accompanied by an ‘environmental justice assessment’, which would include consulting with the people living in the region where the facility is located.

2) Canadian Pacific Railway announced its plan to acquire the Missouri-based Kansas City Southern Lines rail company, which operates railroads in Mexico, Panama, and the United States. The new agreement will result in the first ever rail network to span the length of the North American continent to create the first rail network spanning from Canada to Mexico.
The CP values KCS at $29 billion dollars and agrees to assume $3.8 billion in outstanding debts as part of the agreement. The deal awaits final approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

3) President Biden’s economic advisers are preparing to recommend spending as much as $3 trillion dollars aimed at boosting the economy, reducing carbon emissions and narrowing economic inequality, including a giant infrastructure plan that may be financed in part through tax increases on corporations and the rich. Rather than trying to push a mammoth package through Congress, Biden has separated his plan into legislative pieces. The bill includes money for rural broadband, advanced training for millions of workers and 1 million affordable and energy efficient housing units. Additionally there is nearly $1 trillion dollars in spending on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations and improvements to the electric grid and other parts of the power sector. But Republican support will depend in large part on how the bill is paid for.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 MAR 21:

Dow Jones 32,423 down by 308.05
NASDAQ 13,228 down by 149.85
S&P 500 3,911 down by 30.07

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 1.69%

Oil: down at 60.62

16 March 2021

1) The technology known as carbon capture and storage, a concept that has been around for at least a quarter century to reduce the climate damaging emissions from factories, is being pursued by major international oil companies. The idea sounds deceptively simple, just divert pollutants before they can escape into the air, and bury them deep in the ground where they are harmless. But the technology has proved to be hugely expensive, and so has not caught on as quickly as advocates hoped. Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell plus lesser known Norway’s Equinor, France’s Total, and Italy’s Eni are investors in capture and storage projects.

2) Reports are, that amid all the trillion dollar spending, the White House is now starting to consider how to pay for the programs meant to bolster long term economic growth with investments in infrastructure, clean energy and education. The challenges are twofold: 1) how much of the bill is paid for with tax increases and 2) which policies to finance with more borrowing. The administration hasn’t decided whether to pursue a wealth tax. With interest rates so low, U.S. borrowing costs are manageable right now. The federal government currently collects the biggest chunk of its revenue, about half in 2019, from individual income taxes, which now tops out at 37% of income above $518,000 per year. For now, there are few signs of inflationary spiral or fiscal crisis that policy makers thought would accompany debt levels like today’s. The Congressional Budget Office this month projected that the national debt would double as a proportion of gross domestic product over the next 30 years. But the cost of borrowing is rising for the government and across the economy so the large debt could mean trouble in the future.

3) India’s foreign-exchange reserves has surpassed Russia’s to become the world’s fourth largest, as India central bank continues to hoard dollars to cushion the economy against any sudden outflows. Reserves for both countries have mostly flattened this year after months of rapid increase. India’s reserves, enough to cover roughly 18 months of imports, have been bolstered by a rare current-account surplus, raising inflows into the local stock market and foreign direct investment. India’s foreign currency holdings fell by $4.3 billion to $580.3 billion as of March 5, edging out Russia’s $580.1 billion pile. China has the largest reserves, followed by Japan and Switzerland on the International Monetary Fund table.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 MAR 21:

Dow 32,953.46 up by 174.82
Nasdaq 3,459.71 up by 139.84
S&P 500 3,968.94 up by 25.60

10 Year Yield: down at 1.61%

Oil: down at $65.29

4 March 2021

1) Kelley Aerospace has officially launched the world’s first supersonic unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), called the ‘Arrow’. The drone is designed with a single shell of lightweight carbon fiber that allows it to reach speeds up to Mach 2.1. The UCAV has reduced radar cross-section and infra-red signatures, and is designed for multiple combat or reconnaissance roles. Kelley has 100 pre-orders for the war machine, which costs between $9 to $16 million dollars each. It’s designed to complement manned aircraft making it a force multiplier in the aerial battlefield. A manned combat aircraft would control multiple Arrow UAVs, tasking each with a different missions.

2) There are about a thousand restaurant closures a month in Texas, a result of the coronavirus pandemic. About 11,000 restaurants have closed in Texas since the start of the pandemic. This is about a fifth of all Texas restaurants with about 150,000 Texans who have lost their jobs. Nine out of 10 of these restaurants are small businesses employing less than 50 people. Restaurants in downtown city centers have been hit particularly hard because business lunches and conventions were suspended almost immediately. Surprisingly, the more expensive restaurants have not fared as well as family dining locations.

3) The American Petroleum Institute is considering throwing its weight behind a government imposed price on carbon dioxide emissions as a way to slow global warming, making for a major policy shift by the oil industry’s top trade group. Supporters of a tax argue that a carbon tax increases the cost of energy derived from oil, natural gas and coal so it would be more effective than regulations at paring U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell already support a carbon tax-and-rebate plan. The tax has gained momentum as international energy companies make investment decisions based on the assumption that emission limits will be imposed by regulation, tax or other mechanisms. The companies are seeking regulatory certainty on the issue, instead of environmental policies that whipsaw with every presidential election. A carbon tax could benefit producers of natural gas over coal and spur investment in renewables and nuclear power. Some environmentalists who oppose fossil-fuel development criticized the possible move, calling it little more than a public relations ploy by letting producers buy their way out of climate accountability. Several utilities have lobbied Biden administration officials to support a nationwide carbon price.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 MAR 21:

Dow 31,270.09 down by 121.43
Nasdaq 12,997.75 down by 361.03
S&P 500 3,819.72 down by 50.57

10 Year Yield: up at 1.47%

Oil: up at $61.06

14 January 2021

1) Bitcoin, the digital currency, hit an all time high of $41,000 per coin, but Bitcoin as well as the other cryptocurrencies, has a history of volatility and is unregulated. After hitting a record high in December of 2017, Bitcoin plunged 50% the first month of 2018. There are now warnings that Bitcoin is a massive bubble waiting to collapse in the near future. There are upsides to cryptocurrencies, such as the need to not deal with a bank, but it also makes the currency’s future uncertain. The biggest risk to owning Bitcoin is the possibility of being banned, and this has already been done with other cryptocurrencies. The IRS considers Bitcoin property, not currency, which means there are tax consequences. If you hold the bitcoin for a year or less, any trading profits are taxed as short-term gains, at the same rates as ordinary income. But if you hold it for more than a year, your profits are taxed as long-term capital gains, at rates of 0% to 20% in 2021 depending on your income level. The IRS has more recently been going after cryptocurrency holders who aren’t reporting their digital currencies.

2) Fears of a Bitcoin bubble bursting increased as Bitcoin fell with $170 billion dollars wiped out in 24 hours as Bitcoin pulls back by over 11% from a day earlier to $35,828.06. The sell off of cryptocurrencies comes after a huge rally and perhaps signaling some profit-taking from investors. The $40,000 mark could have been a trigger for profit-taking.

3) Americans are asking what really happens when there’s a 50-50 split in the senate? With the vice president a democrat, the democrats hold the narrowest possible majority which leaves some major obstacles and mine fields for the party. The senate cloture rule requires 60 members to end debate and vote on most topics, which in practice will allow the republican to filibuster much of the democrats’ legislative agenda. This is how the 50-50 split is likely to work in real life, the first hurdle is the organizing resolution, which determines everything from committee membership and staff budgets, to who gets the best office space. But in these hyper-partisan times, agreeing on even the rules of the road may be tricky. In theory, senate democrats could change the cloture rule and abandon the need for 60 votes, which would kill the filibuster. There will be further problems when the votes are not along party lines, and senators vote their minds.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 JAN 21:

Dow 31,060.47 down by 8.22
Nasdaq 13,128.95 up by 56.52
S&P 500 3,809.84 up by 8.65

10 Year Yield: down at 1.09%

Oil: down at $52.87

12 January 2021

1) The cryptocurrency Bitcoin plummets the most since March as a stronger dollar and investor nerves strip off nearly $140 billion in the cryptocurrency market cap, renewing fears that Bitcoin may be a bubble waiting to burst. But Bitcoin is still up roughly 89% over the past month. Other cryptocurrency coins, such as XRP and Litecoin, have shed about 18% each. Bitcoin hit a record high last week above $41,000, driven by the combination a weaker dollar, economic optimism, and a wave of bullish sentiment toward cryptocurrencies as big-name investors and investment banks touted a potential for huge gains this year, with the stronger dollar and higher bond yields triggering a plunge in Bitcoin and gold prices.

2) Trump has been permanently barred from the platform Twitter, resulting in$5 billion dollars in losses in market value, with Twitter stock dropping after the barring of the President. Twitter stated they permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence. Trump, who had about 88 million followers, generated enormous publicity for the platform with his controversial and incendiary tweets over the past six years. As a result, Twitter’s stock fell as much as 12% on Monday thus the decline of $5 billion dollars from Twitter’s market capitalization. Investors are worried that the Trump ban will erode interest in the platform and lead to boycotts among those who see the decision as politically motivated and a way to silence a major conservative voice.

3) Fears are growing that a bigger stimulus may be seen as the ‘peak of this bubble’ resulting in a market correction or worst. Some think that with the Democrats set to take control of both the House and Senate, perhaps President-elect Joe Biden will be less likely to spook markets with tax ambitions. Biden has promised $2,000 stimulus checks if the Senate turned blue, so now the question is what will happen? For millions of Americans, it’s been a painful waiting game already, they having subsisted with minimum money since losing their jobs from the pandemic. Joe Biden made the promise that if Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock turned the senate blue that would end the block in Washington and allow the $2,000 stimulus checks to immediately go out the door to people who are in real trouble.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 JAN 21:

Dow 31,008.69 down by 89.28
Nasdaq 13,036.43 down by 165.54
S&P 500 3,799.61 down by 25.07

10 Year Yield: up at 1.13%

Oil: down at $52.18

18 November 2019

1) Experts question if proposals to tax the billionaires, the so call wealth taxes, really work in practice? Lawyers and advisers to the wealthy say the tax would never collect the amounts claimed by proponents, simply because a yearly determination of assets isn’t easy and straight forward. There are just too many strategies that can be used to shelter assets, including moving them off shore. Attempts to tax the wealthy in other nations have been far from successful, the Great Brain Drain of Britain is a prime example. The rich simply move somewhere else.

2) While U.S. retail sales rebounded in October, consumers cut back on purchases of big ticket household items and clothing. This could temper expectations for a strong holiday shopping season. Still, compared to October of last year, retail sales are up 3.1%. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy.

3) NextEra Energy Inc., the world’s first utility with capitalization of $100 billion dollars plus, owes its success to clean power business. Two decades ago this Florida utility plowed some of its extra cash into a wind farm in Oregon. Then NextEra made loans to wind-farm developers, and when some ran into financial troubles, NextEra forgave debts in exchange for majority stakes in the farms. Without any master plan for renewables, NextEra grew in the industry to become the largest.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 NOV 19:

Dow             28,004.89    up    222.93
Nasdaq          8,540.83    up      61.81
S&P 500         3,120.46    up      23.83

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.83%

Oil:    up   at    $57.93

TRADE WAR ON HORIZON, TRUMP vs EVERYONE ELSE????

By: Economic & Finance Report

Could a possible “trade war” be on the horizon, over Pres. Trump’s aluminum & steel tariffs? It could be the case says economic and international business negotiators.

Many economists have indicated that the tariffs imposed could be detrimental to the US economy, while others believe that the impact is minimal, because the tariffs Trump is planning to issue, will only cost American taxpayers a few cents more on the dollar, to support home grown/home based manufacturers, in the steel and aluminum industries.

Gary Cohen, White House director of the National Economic Council is against imposing a tariff on steel and aluminum, while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro, are for imposing the tariffs on steel and aluminum goods & products. –SB

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?

THE SUPER TAXING ON MILLIONAIRES HAS BEEN DROPPED BY FRANCE (NEW YEAR DAY EDITION 2015)

 

French tax By: Economic & Finance Report

The super taxation by French government to tax wealthy millionaires has been dissolved or let go recently. France has dropped the tax indefinitely. The tax was levied  on having millionaires who were living in France (citizens/nationals) had to pay substantially high tax rates, something of upward of 70%-75% on the current tax rates.

The tax was already rejected by the French Supreme Court and it was having major hurdling blocks already, since France is already going through its own economic crisis. The tax had taken a more drastic effect on an already volatile economy.

The increased tax rate already being substantiated by a minority population in France; it still was being rebuked by the majority of the population. Many protests had occured by citizens and people alike, in which they were displeased with the tax. The indicator was that the  tax  was hurting an already digress economy and not only this, the tax was heavil hurting more businesses not to hire people, and affecting an already growing unemployment figure within the country.

-SB