The mutual fund industry has gone “woke.” It’s not just the asset managers who screen socially “unacceptable” companies in industries involving, say, guns, fossil fuels, tobacco, or gambling. Those have been around for decades.
No, there’s something else amiss. And if you’re investing your hard-earned money, you might be part of the problem.
A great plague of our contemporary political landscape is that one bad policy begets even more bad policies. Such is the case with many of America’s existing immigration laws.
Federal law, for example, calls for specific enforcement protocols. But our elected representatives have decided that some of those protocols simply should be ignored. This mindset led to ideas like catching and then releasing illegal aliens into our communities, preventing local law enforcement from working with federal law enforcement, and “sanctuary” cities where those who have broken our laws can hide from accountability.
From this witches’ brew of bad ideas has come the latest product rollout, one suited for our time: stimulus checks for illegal aliens. Using the economic damage caused by COVID-19 as a pretext, anti-borders activists and their allied politicians have found a way to sustain those here illegally while creating further incentives for even more foreign nationals to move here.
All taxpayers are dealing with a disastrous filing season this year, with the IRS backed up on processing millions of returns and refunds from last year and communication from the agency nonexistent at best. But some taxpayers will have an added headache in the future as a result of an unnecessary new paperwork requirement that went into effect this year. Fortunately, however, legislation introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) would address this issue by removing the burdensome new requirement.
Ever since IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig claimed last year that the “tax gap,” or the gap between what the IRS collects and what it believes it is owed, could be as large as $1 trillion, politicians and legislators have been scrambling to propose ways to collect all that missing revenue. That’s despite the fact that more sober analyses show that the $1 trillion figure is probably wildly exaggerated, that it is functionally impossible to wholly prevent tax evasion, and that a far greater concern is the IRS’s inability to handle its taxpayer service responsibilities.
But as far as proposals to collect all this supposed “extra revenue” go, most of the focus has rightly been on schemes to drastically increase the IRS’s enforcement budget and allow the IRS to snoop on taxpayers’ financial accounts. But another more targeted change has already gone into effect, and is already causing problems.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to pitch spending $500 million of additional federal taxpayer money on private companies that produce electric vehicles (EV). The governor will discuss her proposal on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
However, it’s unclear if general economic development is an approved use of federal COVID dollars under U.S. Treasury guidelines.
The Detroit News first reported the story.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plans to crack down on private companies, forcing them to disclose financial and operation statements more frequently, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Regulators have grown more concerned over the lack of oversight regarding private fundraising for companies, the WSJ reported. The private investment market has become a popular way for companies to raise money without undergoing the regulatory scrutiny required for public trading.
“When they’re big firms, they can have a huge impact on thousands of people’s lives with absolutely no visibility for investors, employees and their unions, regulators, or the public,” SEC Commissioner Allison Lee told the WSJ. “I’m not interested in forcing medium- and small-sized companies into the reporting regime.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday that House leadership plans to hold a vote on final passage of President Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better Act by Friday at the latest.
Biden’s social spending bill contains new federal benefit programs and about $550 billion for climate change initiatives.
“I expect to consider most of the debate, perhaps not all, but most of the debate on Build Back Better on Tuesday, excuse me, on Wednesday, today’s Tuesday, on Wednesday, tomorrow,” Hoyer said during a news conference.
The U.S. State Department joined an initiative to welcome Afghan refugees into the country that is sponsored by organizations supporting groups with possible ties to Palestinian terrorist organizations, a Daily Caller News Foundation review found.
Welcome.US is part of the Office of American Possibilities initiative, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, according to its website. The initiative’s main co-chairs include former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The initiative also formed a coalition composed of nonprofit leaders and organizations, former government officials, corporate leaders and public figures. Businesses, including Starbucks, Uber, Facebook, Microsoft, Walmart and Airbnb, also support the effort.
This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to a broad sweep of federal agencies for a systemic lack of transparency that is hampering efforts to monitor many billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief spending, according to a report by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
The PRAC was established in 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to “promote transparency and conduct and support oversight” of more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.
In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog details its difficulty in determining how funds are being spent due to federal agencies’ poor reporting on the government spending website, USAspending.gov.
Harvard University announced Thursday that its endowment grew by $11.3 billion to a record $53.2 billion during the fiscal year ending in June, a year-over-year increase of 33.6%.
The announcement comes after Harvard, which runs the nation’s largest private university endowment, defeated a lawsuit from students who took umbrage with the school’s decision to not offer partial tuition refunds when it moved to online-only classes during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fiscal year 2021 was an extraordinary year. Public and private markets both continued their strong performance, which allowed the endowment to not only increase its distribution to the University, but also continue to grow during this critical time when pandemic-related financial pressures challenge all of higher education,” Harvard Management Company Chief Executive N.P. Narvekar said in a report Thursday.
Organizations representing community banks and credit unions are blasting the Democrats’ commitment to expanding IRS reporting requirements, calling the proposal a government overreach that would require financial institutions to spend more money on compliance costs at the expense of products and services for their members.
According to the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, customers at some credit unions have already decided to close their accounts over “government intrusion” concerns fueled by the prospect of such new rules taking effect.
The Democrats’ proposal would require financial institutions to report account activity above $600 to the IRS.
U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.
Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report. The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.
Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.
Every so often we receive a comment to the effect that we are paranoid and should stop seeing a Communist under every bed, however, it appears that based on the views expressed by Prof. Saule Omarova, President Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, our concerns about the takeover of the Democratic Party by Socialists and Communists have received some very solid confirmation.
Indeed, Omarova is so far out in Communism’s Left Field that Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury secretary (a garden variety liberal Democrat) raised concerns about her taking the post.
And Secretary Yellin’s concerns are amply justified.
In 2019, Omarova posted to Twitter in support of the “old USSR” where there was “no gender pay gap.” She attempted to do damage control after being criticized for it, but failed to fully condemn the Soviet Union.
Republican lawmakers say China’s recent crackdown on financial technologies could offer an opportunity for the U.S. to press its advantage in innovation.
China’s central bank issued a statement Friday morning declaring all cryptocurrency transactions and services illegal, banning coin mining operations and vowing to crack down on its citizens’ use of foreign crypto exchanges.
Several Republicans say China’s loss could be the United States’ gain.
U.S. stocks shed more than 500 points as the markets opened Monday morning as emerging risks continue to become the September story for Wall Street.
The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 570 points – its biggest single day drop since mid-July. The S&P 500 lost 1.4%, while the tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6%.
The sell-off comes as a the result of a number of investor concerns. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will begin a two-day meeting, which investors are worried will result in a decision that will pull stimulus funds as inflation continues to surge.
Prominent economic historian Niall Ferguson said current inflation could be in line with where it was in the 1960s during the period that preceded a decade of high consumer prices, CNBC reported.
“What is interesting about disasters is that one can lead to another,” Ferguson said in a Friday interview with CNBC. “You can go from a public health disaster to a fiscal, monetary and potentially inflationary disaster.”
During the 1960s, inflation stayed low before shooting up in the 1970s, according to government economic data. Consumer prices ultimately peaked in 1980 before rapidly declining.
Multiple watchdog groups said Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar may have violated federal law for failing to mention any income received from her critically-acclaimed 2020 memoir in her latest financial disclosure report filed on Friday.
Omar reportedly signed a deal worth up to $250,000 for her memoir, “This Is What America Looks Like,” in January 2019, around the same time she was sworn into Congress. Omar’s communications director said the House Ethics committee approved the book deal, but the Democratic lawmaker’s financial disclosures covering the calendar years 2018 and 2019 contain no mention of the book or any advance income received upon signing a deal.
The book was published in May 2020 to rave reviews by the press and Omar’s Democratic colleagues. The Atlantic dubbed it one of the best political books of the year, and numerous high profile Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, praised on the book.
A new Democratic proposal to increase the capital gains tax could cost 745,000 jobs, a study published by the Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) projects.
The Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act, which would tax unrealized capital gains when heirs inherit assets, among other things, would have a “significantly negative impact” on the economy, including average job losses of 745,000 over 10 years, the report found.
The analysis, conducted for the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, found that sustained annual job losses from eliminating a tax benefit on appreciated assets known as the step-up in basis could eliminate between 537,000 to 949,000 jobs, with models predicting a base of 745,000 lost jobs through 2030.
On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a far-left hate group, announced a new initiative in conjunction with the online payment processor PayPal, aimed at targeting so-called “extremist and hate movements” on the platform, the Daily Caller reports.
The partnership is led by the ADL’s “Center on Extremism,” and will involve the ADL studying the use of PayPal’s services by alleged “extremists,” and sharing their findings with politicians and law enforcement, for the purpose of disrupting “the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements.” PayPal’s Chief Risk Officer Aaron Karczmer released a statement celebrating the new program as having the potential to make “an even greater impact than any of us could do on our own.”
PayPal has frequently and exclusively targeted conservatives in recent years, while ignoring actual extremism from the Left. Following the peaceful protests at the United States Capitol on January 6th, PayPal suspended its services for several organizations and individuals that paid for travel expenses for people attending the march, which was in protest of the widespread voter fraud that took place in the 2020 election. PayPal also banned the anti-terrorism website Jihad Watch in August of 2017, after Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters attacked a peaceful right-wing protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, leading to the death of one left-wing protester.
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered to waive $2 billion in payments to secure his spaceflight company Blue Origin a NASA contract.
Bezos asked NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an open letter Monday to award Blue Origin a contract to construct a Human Landing System (HLS), a lunar-landing vehicle, as part of the Artemis program, offering to waive up to $2 billion in fees. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX had been awarded the $2.9 billion contract in April, beating out Blue Origin’s bid, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Artemis program is intended to return human astronauts to the Moon, with a manned mission to Mars planned as well. Though the program was initially planned as a joint contract, it was awarded solely to SpaceX due to budgetary constraints which Bezos’ offer sought to alleviate, according to the letter.
“Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2 billion to get the program back on track right now,” Bezos wrote in the letter.
by Lawrence Reed Everybody knows who America’s first president was, but can you identify the country’s first economist? If any man or woman deserves that description, it is surely the one who wrote this and so much more: I propose . . . to take off every restraint and…
by Fred Lucas The Internal Revenue Service seized $446,000 from the bank accounts of brothers Jeffrey, Richard, and Mitch Hirsch in 2012, claiming a “structuring” violation against the owners of Bi-County Distributors Inc. for making multiple bank deposits of less than $10,000. The government never charged them with a…