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Mass. lawmakers push $300M fund to help decarbonize buildings

A similar push for the Zero Carbon Renovation Fund stalled in the State House last year......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

The collateral damage of America"s tech war with China

The battle for the future of tech is heating up, but government-funded, billion-dollar computer-chip factories come with a cost for local Americans. President Biden has pushed to bring semiconductor manufacturing to the US, but the race to outrun China is costing AmericansSaul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderThe collateral damage of America's battle with China for the future of techThe world runs on computer chips. From the phone in your hand and the fridge in your kitchen to car companies' manufacturing equipment and the military's missile systems, almost every part of today's digitally run society relies on the tiny, intricate devices known as semiconductors.Semiconductors are also incredibly difficult to make — especially the most advanced chips. They require massive, delicate machines, hard-to-find materials, and a staggering amount of technical know-how. Right now, production of these chips is made up of a complex web of companies and facilities around the globe — with a few key choke points. For instance, Taiwan's TSMC controls 90% of the physical production of the highest-end chips.The critical importance of semiconductors and the delicate manufacturing process have combined to turn these chips into the main battleground in a new race between the US and China for the future of technology. If the first Cold War was defined by the development of nuclear weapons, this Tech Cold War is defined by the computer chip."Strategists in Beijing and Washington now realize that all advanced tech — from machine learning to missile systems, from automated vehicles to armed drones — requires cutting-edge chips," Chris Miller, an associate professor of international history at Tufts University, wrote in his recent book, "Chip War."The Tech Cold War between the US and China, along with the recent surge in pandemic-induced chip shortages, has triggered a massive push by the federal government to bring semiconductor manufacturing to the US. But the reality of onshoring chip production has been far less glamorous than the patriotic aspirations of outpacing a geopolitical rival.The rush by states, counties, and cities to get in on the semiconductor gold mine has resurfaced old fights about how best to create jobs and exacerbated local battles over housing, public schools, and business development. While revitalizing parts of the country that are struggling economically is an admirable goal, the frenzied pace of the chip war is resulting in billions of dollars getting funneled to corporations, while locals are left with vague promises and underfunded public institutions. In the scramble to seize the future of technology, governments are ignoring the problems of today — and leaving many of their constituents out to dry. Building the 'Silicon Heartland'America's position as a semiconductor powerhouse has been eroding for decades. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, a lobbying group, the share of chips made in the US fell from 37% in 1990 to just 12% in 2020. To reverse this decline, governments have been pulling out all the stops to attract chipmakers to bring their new factories to the US. On the federal level, Congress passed the CHIPS Act in August, which provides $280 billion in new funding to accelerate domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors.This pool of cash, along with a wave of incentives from state and local governments, has already helped push companies to bring projects to the US. Intel, America's leading semiconductor maker, is spending $20 billion to build the world's largest chip factory, in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, which the company says will employ at least 3,000 people after it's completed in 2025. "We helped to establish the Silicon Valley," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told Time when the facility was announced in January 2022. "Now we're going to do the Silicon Heartland." Intel considered 38 other sites across the country before choosing New Albany. In addition to the proximity to plenty of fresh water, which is needed to make computer chips, the suburb is prime for the new middle-class plant workforce. The affluent suburb is home to data centers for Amazon, Google, and Facebook, and the median household income is over $200,000. Early reports say the plant's average salary will be $135,000, with 70% of the jobs consisting of manufacturing technicians, a position that requires at least a two-year STEM degree.The massive Intel plant in Ohio is a key part of the race with China for the future of tech.SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty ImagesEager to shed the "Rust Belt" label, Ohio lawmakers didn't hesitate to lay out the welcome mat for Intel's plant, the biggest private-sector investment in the state's history. Even before the company's announcement, Ohio's state Legislature passed a fiscal budget in June 2021 with incentives to attract megaprojects. And last-minute additions to the 2022-23 budget conveniently expanded tax credits and property-tax abatements — a reduction or complete omittance of property taxes — for projects that exceed $1 billion in investments. "We are in the game for these projects now," Lt. Gov. Jon Husted of Ohio said in a press conference on the budget. "We have the opportunity with the reshoring that's occurring, and we are going to aggressively fight for these investments and these jobs in the state of Ohio." A week after the announcement of the Intel site, Ohio announced an additional $2 billion incentive package, the largest in the state's history. As a part of the package, the state will spend $700 million on expanding the nearby highway and other infrastructure improvements, $600 million on the plant itself, and an additional $650 million on income-tax incentives.On the local level, New Albany granted Intel the longest property-tax abatement in its history — 30 years with zero property taxes — and annexed its neighboring township to have enough space to fit the 1,000-acre plant wholly within the city. "New Albany is a strategically-planned community, and this project fits within the parameters of our business park, where 19,000 people already work," New Albany's mayor, Sloan Spalding, said in a statement about the plant. In sum, the federal, state, and local subsidies granted to Intel are saving the company billions of dollars.What does the city get in return? But as with any funding decision, the effort to entice Intel comes with some trade-offs. Unlike the federal government, which has a vast ability to fund its initiatives and take on debt, state and local governments are more constrained in where they can put their resources. Giving companies cash or letting them forgo taxes means other initiatives or services miss out on those funds. In theory, the thousands of jobs created by these new businesses are supposed to bring more small businesses and taxpayers to the area — for the Columbus plant, Intel estimates 10,000 jobs in addition to the plant jobs — increasing the tax base and incentivizing growth. But as a 2020 analysis by researchers at the Ohio State University on the benefits of development policies like tax abatements found, instead of growing the base for everyone, these sorts of programs "undermine traditional public institutions, such as schools, who rely heavily on property taxes for their financial needs."Even before the Intel plant, the Columbus area was well acquainted with these sorts of trade-offs. Over the past few years, the city has battled over tax abatements given to developers as an incentive to build housing. In 2021 alone, the city's schools lost out on $51 million because of tax abatements given to developers as part of a push to incentivize new housing developments. The abatements were attempting to address a real problem: Central Ohio's population is projected to grow from 2 million in 2010 to over 3 million by 2050, so the city needs plenty of new homes. But, the Ohio State study found, Columbus' residential tax-abatement programs did little to meaningfully address the housing problem, while draining the city's funds.Federal, state, and local subsidies add up to billions of dollars that Intel is saving on its new Ohio semiconductor factory.SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images"While the abatement programs have helped spur an influx of high wealth households into abatement areas, they degrade the public resources available to the nearly 30,000 children (of which more than half live in households with income under the poverty line) in abatement areas," the report said.The budget shifting — and the deteriorating facilities at many local schools — eventually sparked protests from the teachers union in 2022. "Developers get handouts; kids get sold out," teachers chanted as they marched on developers' headquarters in April. The battle culminated in a three-day 4,500-teacher strike in August, the union's first since 1975, that ended only after the school board agreed to a three-year contract that guaranteed some basic provisions, like air conditioning in all school buildings by 2025.This struggle will get worse since the city has handed out even more property-tax abatements to incentivize the construction of housing to absorb the 3,000 plant workers and 7,000 temporary construction workers needed for the Intel facility. According to the rental platform Zumper, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Columbus has jumped from $600 in 2015 to almost $1,000 in 2023. The development incentives that the city has implemented do require developers who receive tax abatements to set aside a portion of "affordable" units built in designated zones. But the trouble with the policy, called the Community Reinvestment Area Program, is that the city determines "affordable" rent rates based on citywide data, which results in "affordable housing" that costs twice the average rent in lower-income neighborhoods. For example, the median income in Columbus is $57,800, but the median household income in the neighborhood of South Linden is $28,610. A CRA housing development built in Linden would far exceed what the average resident of the neighborhood could afford. There is also a buyout option in the policy where developers can choose to pay a fee to avoid including any "affordable" units. Mitchell Toomey, an organizer with Affordable Housing Columbus, told me that while the CRA policy incentivized housing that might be affordable for a six-figure salary, the middle- and low-income workers who need affordable housing are left with no options. Essentially, the affordable-housing policy, he told me, is "making it easier for people coming in from the Intel plant, who have a medium to high income, to price out all of the local people."Little chips, big waterThanks in part to the CHIPS Act, central Ohio isn't the only region getting in the semiconductor game. Factories are also being built in New York and Texas, and two factories are getting major expansions outside Phoenix. But the chip factories in Phoenix raise an even more serious problem than the battles over housing and tax incentives in Columbus. To make semiconductors, chip factories use millions of gallons of water every day. So it may seem odd that Arizona — famous for its desert and multidecade water crisis — would be the focal point of the burgeoning American chip industry. Advocates for the plants see the trade-off between new jobs and high water usage as a net positive. Intel already employs more than 10,000 people in Arizona and contributed $3.9 billion in GDP to Arizona in 2019. And despite the fact that the plants will be the largest water users in the state, the chipmakers say much of that water can be recycled: Intel's data shows that about 80% of the Arizona plant's water usage in 2020 was later recycled. "Given all the ways that we could allocate our water, semiconductor plants that recycle most of what they use are not a bad investment," Joanna Allhands, an editor, wrote in an op-ed in the Arizona Republic. Sarah Porter, the director of Arizona State University's Kyl Center for Water Policy, told KJZZ that with semiconductor plants, 1 million gallons of water can provide 200 high-paying semiconductor jobs, while a golf course would provide only 50 low-paying jobs.But that cost-benefit analysis does not address the long-term strain that the plants could place on the region's already taxed water resources. Intel's 16,000 acre-feet of water usage in 2020 converts to roughly 14 million gallons a day. Even if 80% of that was recycled, roughly 2.8 million gallons lost each day would still be a significant amount.Critics argue that the excessive water usage and housing issues are far from net positive. Rashad Shabazz, a professor of geography at Arizona State University and the author of "Spatializing Blackness," told me that the cultural desire to become the new Silicon Valley and the political drive to create jobs outweighed concerns over housing, schools, and water. "This is what happens when politicians and developers get together to create public policy," he told me. "Neither one of them has the foresight to see the bigger picture, to understand the impact that this is going to have on the environment, on schools, on infrastructure, on water."The discontents of onshoring Even if the massive investments in bringing chip production home help to grow America's domestic semiconductor industry, the US will still have to rely on other countries to complete the manufacturing process. Assembly and packaging will still be shipped abroad, and the technology being manufactured in these plants will be years behind the advanced chips that Taiwan can produce. In the meantime, companies like Intel and TSMC will enjoy billions of dollars in incentives as part of the chip war.It begs the question whether the onshoring of tech manufacturing can be done sustainably and equitably — without displacing, defunding, or diverting the funds that the most vulnerable and essential workers need. If there's a way to bring back jobs while securing funds for schools and not jeopardizing communities' water supply, it's still up for debate. What is clear is that, as Ashik Siddique, a research analyst for the Institute for Policy Studies, wrote, the bipartisan support for onshoring chip manufacturing "shows that getting an edge over China is apparently our government's most urgent priority."Taylor Dorrell is is a writer and photographer based in Columbus, Ohio.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 19th, 2023

Here are the 10 people transforming real estate — from the mayor of Atlanta, to the cofounder of Icon

Insider's annual 100 People Transforming Business 2022 list is live. Here's the list of honorees in the real estate sector. Insider Insider's 100 People Transforming Business highlights 100 leaders across 10 industries who are driving unprecedented change and innovation. The real estate list includes leaders from such organizations as Bank of America, Piñata, and Gensler. Click here to read the full profiles and see the complete list of Transformers. Insider has release its 2022 list of 100 people who are transforming business across different sectors. Keep reading to see the 10 leaders making waves in real estate. AJ Barkley, Head of Neighborhood and Community Lending, Bank of AmericaCarrie Allen/InsiderBarkley spends most of her day trying to help people overcome the hurdles they've faced in buying their own home. In the Dallas metro area, where she's based, Barkley hears about the need for this kind of help in everyday interactions.One day, Barkley, who heads Bank of America's neighborhood and community lending, struck up a conversation with a restaurant waiter. The waiter, who had dreamed about homeownership and who'd seen TV ads about BofA's efforts in the area, asked Barkley more about the program, and she left the waiter her business card.Read more.Laura Brunner, President and CEO, The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development AuthorityMarlene Rounds/InsiderBrunner has made it her personal mission to help fill the racial and economic wealth gaps in the US through home ownership.After being appointed as the president and CEO of The Port, a government entity in charge of community and economic development in Cincinnati, in 2011, Brunner made a big splash this year with a plan to combat the growing ownership of homes by institutional real-estate investors, instead of the local residents.Read more.Andre Dickens, Mayor, City of AtlantaCourtesy of Andre DickensDickens, 48, put real-estate developers in Atlanta on notice when he became the city's 61st mayor in January.Since joining the Atlanta City Council as an at-large representative in 2014, Dickens has passed legislation requiring developers to preserve units for people who otherwise couldn't afford them. He also championed Atlanta's short-term-rental ordinance, which requires rental owners to pay a $150 annual fee and an 8% lodging tax like hotels.Read more.Eddie Lim, CEO and Cofounder, PointMatt Wong/InsiderHome values have skyrocketed over the past two years, which means Americans have more money tied up in their homes than ever before. In the second quarter of 2022, homeowner equity reached a record $29 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.Lim, the CEO and cofounder of Point, wants to make it easier for people to tap into that wealth. Lim's company, which he founded alongside Eoin Matthews in 2015, offers homeowners lump sums of cash in exchange for a stake in their home.Read more.Lily Liu, CEO, PiñataMatt Wong/InsiderHomeowners get the benefits of wealth creation and building credit histories, while renters pay to keep a roof over their heads — until now. Liu is leading the charge of getting renters some well-deserved benefits.Liu, 39, is the founder and CEO of Piñata, a company that offers rewards and credit reporting for rental payments. She helps renters get something back for paying rent on time, a financial responsibility that has gone largely unnoticed in a housing market where ownership has always been the path to greater wealth.Her efforts are resonating with consumers, because a three-bedroom home with a white picket fence is no longer the American dream for everyone."Today, renters are often renting not just because it's their life predicament, but it's a choice," Liu told Insider. Read more.Evan Loomis, Cofounder, IconLizzie Chen/InsiderHousing on the moon? Loomis is working on it.But first, he's set on tackling the housing shortage here on earth. Loomis is a cofounder of Icon, an Austin, Texas-based construction-technology company that aims to make homebuilding faster, cheaper, and more sustainable by 3D-printing homes.Loomis is a tech evangelist for the homebuilding industry, which he said needs to move past the traditional methods companies have employed for decades."Because homebuilding hasn't adopted robotics, software, or advanced materials, it's stuck in an old paradigm," Loomis said. "That's why we're so passionate about this — because we're going to 'unstick' it and bring it into 2022, and hopefully lead the future with this technology."Read more.Steven Paynter, Principal, Design Resilience Leader, and Studio Director, GenslerParambir Singh/InsiderPaynter used to be the guy you went to at Gensler to talk about mass timber construction, a lower-carbon alternative to concrete and steel structures. But in the past two years, he's gone in a completely different direction.Paynter's become the San Francisco-based international architecture firm's foremost voice on office-to-multifamily residential conversions — a timely turn given the impact of the pandemic on the commercial-real-estate market.Read more.Greg Smithies, Partner and Cohead of Climate Tech, Fifth WallAnthony Baca/InsiderSmithies heads the world's largest real-estate-tech climate fund at Fifth Wall, with $500 million of capital ready to be deployed to decarbonize buildings, the largest single source of carbon emissions in the world.Smithies, who never planned to work in real estate, left BMW's climate-focused venture fund, iVentures, for an even bigger challenge than lowering transportation-related emissions. Buildings make up 40% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, but they have received a mere 6% of climate-venture investment, according to Fifth Wall.Read more.Akilah Watkins, CEO and President at Center for Community Progress, Grounded Solutions NetworkCourtesy of Akilah WatkinsWatkins turned around her first vacant property as a 16-year-old community organizer on Long Island, New York. She rallied with other teens and negotiated with a local bank to turn an abandoned home in Roosevelt into a thriving community center for local youth.She harnesses that same spirit in running the Center for Community Progress, a 12-year-old nonprofit in Flint, Michigan, and Washington, DC, that aims to turn "vacant space into vibrant spaces" across the country.The center gets about 150 to 200 inquiries every year, Watkins said. Often, the person behind a call or email is an elected official at their wit's end over how to salvage a house fallen into disrepair or repurpose a vacant lot.Read more.Ryan Williams, Executive Chairman, Cofounder, Investment Committee Co-Chairman, CadreErika Ramirez/InsiderWilliams, the executive chairman and cofounder of the real-estate-investing platform Cadre, learned the power of real-estate ownership while growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His parents couldn't afford to buy a home, and Williams saw "clear differences" between the lifestyles of renters like his parents and those with equity in housing.This created a single-minded focus on real-estate ownership while he was studying to become an investment banker at Harvard during the last financial crisis. He witnessed the messy entanglements of businesses and homeowners firsthand during a trip to Atlanta, where foreclosures were decimating communities.Read more.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 20th, 2022

Midterm Elections Outcome To Boost Wall Street?

U.S. stocks are likely to enjoy an “impressive rally” this week as Republicans could take at least one chamber in the midterm elections, predicts the chief executive of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organizations. The prediction from Nigel Green of deVere Group comes ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. midterm […] U.S. stocks are likely to enjoy an “impressive rally” this week as Republicans could take at least one chamber in the midterm elections, predicts the chief executive of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organizations. The prediction from Nigel Green of deVere Group comes ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections in which all U.S. House and term-expired Senate seats are voted on. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Midterm Elections To Herald Positive Stock Market Performance He notes: “History teaches us that a sitting president’s party sheds some level of power during these elections, splitting the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government. “This typically results in gridlock as lawmakers are unable or unwilling to agree on major legislation, meaning that substantial laws are either not approved or significantly reduced in scope and impact.” The deVere CEO continues: “This stalemate, while often infuriating for voters, is often good news for stock markets. “Why? Because a lack of sweeping legislative changes means there is less uncertainty for businesses. “The status quo usually means that corporations can push on with their plans and investments without the risk of everything being upended by new laws and requirements.” Some sectors will be more impacted than others, as always. Reforms to legislation on big tech can be expected to come to a halt due to the gridlock, which “represents upside for the tech stocks.” Pharmaceutical and biotech stocks could also capitalize on a Republican wave, as Democrats are pursuing a bill to lower prescription drug prices. Meanwhile, energy stocks could be boosted should Republicans take at least one of the chambers because a windfall tax on oil producers proposed by Democrats is likely to be blocked. As ever, the deVere CEO emphasizes the importance of a trusted investment strategy. “Ensuring your portfolio is properly diversified is one of the fundamentals of successful investing. Having a well-diversified portfolio across asset classes, sectors and regions means you are best-placed to mitigate risks and best-placed to take advantage of important opportunities.” Nigel Green concludes: “Midterm elections have heralded positive stock market performances in the past and we expect to see an impressive rally this time too. “This will be cheered by many investors who have endured a pretty bleak time on Wall Street this year.” About deVere Group deVere Group is one of the world’s largest independent advisors of specialist global financial solutions to international, local mass affluent, and high-net-worth clients. It has a network of more than 70 offices across the world, over 80,000 clients and $12bn under advisement......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 7th, 2022

The Great Gun Buying Boom Of America

America’s relationship with “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” has seen the sale of legal firearms skyrocket over recent years, making the United States one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. This marks perhaps only the start of the great-gun buying boom, and its billowing full steam ahead. […] America’s relationship with “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” has seen the sale of legal firearms skyrocket over recent years, making the United States one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. This marks perhaps only the start of the great-gun buying boom, and its billowing full steam ahead. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun sales have increased, almost doubling since 2019. According to figures provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Small Arms Analytics, monthly gun sales were up from 1 million per month in 2019, to more than 2 million per month by 2020. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   The surge in sales marked a new dawn of American gun ownership, even as lawmakers in the largely Democratic federal government push to enact stricter laws that could make the legal purchasing of guns even more stringent. The numbers are outstanding. Annual sales are also up, between 2010 and 2019, an average of 13 million firearms were legally sold each year. By 2020, and the later part of 2021, this number skyrocketed to more than 20 million. Despite the ongoing boom in sales, with an estimated 393 million firearms - legal and illegal - floating around the country, the relationship Americans have with guns and firearms has challenged modern society and political systems even further. Commercial sales aren’t the only side of the legal firearms market that has experienced significant growth in recent years. A report released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) found that nearly 170 million firearms have been produced in the U.S. over the past three decades. Smaller handheld guns such as pistols accounted for almost 50% of all the firearms produced in the U.S by 2021. In 2001 that figure was closer to 21%. Embedded in the social fabric of the nation, the relationship Americans have with guns and firearms has become an increasing challenge in modern-day society. The nation has been arming itself to the teeth with guns and firearms. While the reasoning behind the soaring sales varies, from self-protection to hunting and recreational purposes, the gun and ammunition store market is set to bring in more than $15.5 billion in revenue this year alone, an annual increase of 3.6% according to the latest statistical figures. These numbers paint a statistical portrait that is both amusing and certainly shocking regardless of which side of the political aisle you may be sitting. Gun Sales Are Up Across The Market Amid a surge in mass shootings and gun-related crime, an enclave of action groups and Democratic leaders in the Biden Administration have been working to pass new laws that would make it harder for civilians to legally purchase firearms. While there is currently no government or national database of gun sales, the FBI currently holds records of pre-sale background checks. In March 2021, the FBI reported close to 4.7 million background checks, a jump of 77% from March 2019. This marked the highest of any month since the agency started keeping records more than two decades ago. Looking deeper, the lines have become increasingly blurred on why Americans have been purchasing firearms at an alarming rate. Currently, U.S. gun ownership totals around 120 civilian-owned guns per 100 residents, the highest among any country in the world. Growth In Retail Firearms Sales There are currently around 10 gunmakers in America that collectively manufacture and distribute around 70% of total production. While sales have climbed non-stop in recent years, top gunmakers have also been producing more to keep up with surging demand. The most dominant firearm category in recent years has been pistols (36%) and rifles (35%), being the most commonly produced firearm in the U.S. Today, most firearms cost between $400 and $800, while smaller carry pistols such as those mentioned above retail on average around $500. Hunting rifles and firearms used for recreational purposes cost between $600 and $750. These prices exclude an additional magazine, cleaning solution, and oil or licenses. Gun enthusiasts have had an ongoing debate on whether a handgun, rifle, or shotgun is perhaps the best defense weapon, though production numbers reveal that smaller pistols and handheld guns are becoming increasingly popular. Ammunition & Accessories Demand Remains Steady It’s safe to say that while the sales of firearms have grown across the board, the demand for ammunition and accessories has also increased. While there is limited data available on the growth of sales regarding ammunition and accessories, tighter regulations have not halted many Americans who are emptying gun shops across the country. Various gun retailers and sellers have stated that gun prices will only increase in the coming years under new proposals by the Biden Administration to tighten the regulations on legal gun ownership. Moreover, the widespread price and performance challenges have filtered throughout the sector. In the recent months, gun-related accessories such as holsters, protective wear, among other items have experienced a share increase in retail purchases. The shift in consumer interest is widely present, both for online and in-store purchases. Some experts in the commercial and retail firearms market have also laid claim that if any current proposals do end up passing through the market could soon become flooded with “ghost guns” or illegally privately homemade firearms. Between 2016 and 2021, law enforcement agencies recovered more than 45,000 suspected ghost guns from crime scenes. From this figure, around 20,000 were traced and recovered in 2021 alone. While it’s not yet clear how proposals will potentially impact the price of ammunition and firearm accessories or the availability thereof, we’re still seeing significant growth in retail purchases throughout the market. States Leading The Gun-Buying Boom While every state regulates the purchase and ownership of firearms, several states - Texas, Florida, California, and Pennsylvania - experienced the biggest jump in annual gun sales throughout 2020, with an estimated one million firearms sold. Reporting on the sales of guns will be different in every state due to the differences in how some states report local sales to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). According to most recent estimates, based on figures provided by the FBI background check system, several states - Kentucky, Illinois, Utah, and Indiana -  reported having the most gun sales per 1,000 people between January and July 2022. For this period, Kentucky saw roughly 542.3 gun sales per 1,000 people, up from 444.7 for the same period in 2021. The state with the lowest number of reported gun sales per 1,000 people was Hawaii, which reported 7.7 in 2022, up from 6.9 in 2021. Besides Hawaii, The District of Columbia currently holds the lowest percentage of legal gun sales per capita. In 2020, D.C. reported roughly 6.5 per 1,000 inhabitants. The common understanding here revealed how larger states, with more residents, had higher rates of gun sales per capita as opposed to smaller regions in the country. Who Owns America’s Guns? The percentage of Americans that own a firearm has remained marginally unchanged according to a 2020 Gallup report. The metrics in this report have been tracked since 2007, and most recent estimates revealed that roughly 32% of American adults cited they personally own a gun. When breaking this down into smaller demographics, we see that gun ownership among men is the highest, 45%, while only 19% of women say they personally own a gun. More so, gun ownership was reported to be higher among white individuals (38%), while non-white Americans (18%) and Eastern residents (21%) had lower percentages of owning a gun. Politically, Republicans (50%) held the highest category of gun ownership with Democrats (18%) coming in behind those who identify as Independent (29%). Regardless of their political classification, ethnicity, or even level of income, Americans are keeping strong to the underwritten notion that owning a gun or bearing arms will forever be part of their modern culture. The Names Producing America’s Firearms Americans have been purchasing their beloved firearms from several well-known gun manufacturers that have locally been producing a collective 70% of current firearm stockpiles. Manufacturing of guns and ammunition are set to bring in more than $21.1 billion in 2022, while the overall market has grown by 6.7% between 2017 and 2022 according to most recent estimates. Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWBI) and Strum, Ruger & Co (NYSE: RGR) are the only two publicly traded gun manufacturers that produce more than one-third of American firearms. Other big names include Sig Sauer 7.7%), Freedom Group (6.4%), 0 F Mossberg & Sons (4.7%), Taurus International Manufacturing (4.2%), and WM C Anderson (3.8%) that currently produces some of the most widely purchased firearms. Although these big names have been fueling the American firearms industry, in a recent PBS NewsHour correspondence, companies including Smith & Wesson and Strum, Ruger & Co, have come under media scrutiny over how they market new guns and other offerings to consumers. Many of these companies have claimed that their practices are within a common understanding of consumer demand and are done so by directing media and marketing efforts directed towards target audiences. Despite their influence in the market, and how much leverage they have, they are only a small but fragile piece of the bigger puzzle that makes up the American firearms industry. The Bottom Line Guns and gun ownership will forever be a topic that rivals conversations on both sides of the political sphere. Despite the push coming from the White House to introduce sweeping gun reforms, the years ahead could see the firearms industry only experience expansive growth as many more Americans look to withhold their civil right to bear arms amid the heating social concern that surrounds gun ownership......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 22nd, 2022

Youth Protest California Lawmakers’ Refusal To Hear Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill

Youth protest California lawmakers’ refusal to hear fossil fuel divestment bill (SB 1173), vow to continue the fight Young climate justice activists from across the state raise “bloody hands” at Capitol hearing to demand  California stop funding climate breakdown and health inequities.  Youth Protest Lawmakers’ Refusal To Hear Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill SACRAMENTO, CA –  […] Youth protest California lawmakers’ refusal to hear fossil fuel divestment bill (SB 1173), vow to continue the fight Young climate justice activists from across the state raise “bloody hands” at Capitol hearing to demand  California stop funding climate breakdown and health inequities.  Youth Protest Lawmakers’ Refusal To Hear Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill SACRAMENTO, CA –  Elementary, middle and high school students from across the state converged on the Capitol today to stand in silence, their raised hands painted red, inside the hearing room of the Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee, where Chair Jim Cooper refused to debate a bill for fossil fuel divestment.  Youth activists with Youth Vs. Apocalypse, Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles, Fridays for Future Sacramento also held a press conference to speak out about their plans to continue to fight for divestment from an industry they call racist, destructive, and deceptive. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Senate Bill (SB) 1173 would have redirected the approximately 10 billion of public pension fund money that is currently invested in the oil, gas and coal industries.  The bill had been passed by the state Senate and was scheduled to be heard in Committee this Wednesday.  Marlay’ja Hackett, a fifteen year old activist from Oakland, CA, had been scheduled to speak as an expert witness in support of the bill. However, amidst mounting public and legislative support for the bill, Committee Chair Jim Cooper abruptly announced that the debate and vote on the bill would not happen. Youth rallied to express outrage that a single person, Assemblymember Jim Cooper, the recipient of $218,186 dollars in fossil fuel industry campaign contributions, would be able to unilaterally silence debate and block a key vote on whether the state will continue to invest billions in an industry that threatens not only the habitability of our planet, but also the day-to-day health of many Californians, predominantly people of color. Youth argue that these public funds have a moral and legal obligation to stop bankrolling climate chaos like fires, floods, deadly heat, drought, and health inequities impacting young people, communities of color, and low-income communities. CalPERS & CalSTRS have doubled down on their shareholder engagement policy – despite voting “no” on majority of climate resolutions this Spring – failing to achieve even the bare minimum of their own policies’ claims; have dangerously overstated the cost of divestment, and missed out in billions in returns by failing to divest. Assemblymember. Jim Cooper – Chair of the Committee, who has received donations from Big Oil – may have attempted to silence youth voices. But young people are gathered  to show that they cannot be silenced and that the fight will continue.  At the Capitol, they met with legislators, including bill author Senator Lena Gonzalez, who vowed to continue the fight to redirect public funds out of the fossil fuel industry. Quotes: “The elected officials who refused to support our bill are smart people. They have the brains it's just that they have no heart. But that will not stop us. We will keep pressing our representatives to a bill for divestment from fossil fuels.” Said Leela Korde, 11, Youth Vs Apocalypse Organizer “Being a 15 year old young woman from a neighborhood with high levels of pollution, Jim Cooper refusing to even hold  a vote on divestment, and to keep investing in fossil fuels feels like a slap in the face . It tells me that some of our politicians, just like these companies, have no regard for me , my community or our lives. Today I want every elected official and power holder  to put us first, give the next generation a chance . We won’t stop fighting. No one said it was going to be easy. But we need your help. Fight for us. Fight for a better world.” said Marlay'ja Hackett, 15, Youth Vs Apocalypse Organizer “Those in power may think they have good intentions, but our current reality is that climate action is not being taken. And we are already dealing with the consequences. I need every person in power to look past their own fear and defensiveness, and to start fighting for climate justice like our lives depend on it, because they do. And to everyone who is not a politician or CEO, who feels powerless and afraid, we are with you. We are doing this work and we will not stop. Politicians and executives would like us to think that they run everything. But they're just people sitting in rooms of office buildings, and they don't expect us to come knocking at their doors. We may not have passed our bill this year but we will be back, not just in the legislative buildings or at the capitol but in the streets, in our own communities, continuing the fight for climate justice.” said Raven Fonseca Jensen, 18, Youth Vs Apocalypse Organizer “Although it is hard to hear that Bill SB1173 got killed, I am extremely grateful and honored to have been give the amazing opportunity to work with my fellow youth organizers and adult allies. The journey of meeting so many great and powerful people throughout these past years, especially people of power like Senator Gonzalez, who use their influence to fight with us, has been motivating and empowering to continue this work that can be mentally draining.” said Christopher Soriano, 15,Youth Vs Apocalypse Organizer “As a teacher, I appreciate democratically elected representatives like Senator Lena Gonzalez & Senator Scott Weiner for using their power, platform, and voice to advocate for youth, younger and mid-career BIPOC teachers, and frontline communities. People in my profession do this work because we are investing in the future, and already are underpaid. The last thing I want to do is risk my hard-earned money on a losing venture with no future - and fossil fuels are a dying industry.” Said Cory Jong, Oakland Teacher “It's quite amazing speaking and listening to Senator Gonzalez, she is a wonderful and strong speaker. It's so inspiring as a brown girl to see other brown women hold government positions such as hers. It's comforting to see faces like yours.” Said Kiana Diaz, 15, Youth Vs Apocalypse Organizer “Even though some of us couldn't speak today, we still showed a message they will not forget. It was an honor to see all the supporters including Senator Gonzalez.” Said Samuel Adeyeye, 15 Youth Vs Apocalypse Organizer Updated on Jun 24, 2022, 2:54 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJun 24th, 2022

A Call To Arms: Teachers In Conservative States Are Volunteering To Carry Guns

A Call To Arms: Teachers In Conservative States Are Volunteering To Carry Guns Authored by Darlene MCormick Sanchez (emphasis ours), Crosses and flowers laid out in the public square of the grief-stricken town Uvalde, where a teen gunman killed 19 students and two teachers, are an all-too-familiar scene igniting a call to arms for teachers in Texas and beyond. An emergency worker directs a volunteer with simulated injuries during a training exercise for an active shooter at Hopewell Elementary School, in West Chester, Ohio, on May 25, 2016. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) The Republican-led Texas legislature is addressing the twin issues of school safety and mass violence following the May 24 Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Committees of lawmakers are reviewing past legislative efforts, such as the Guardian and Marshal programs that allow teachers to carry firearms in the hopes of hardening schools as targets. School officials and firearm trainers in the Lone Star State say interest has risen sharply since the recent shooting. Jeff Sellers owns Schools on Target, a company in Marble Falls, Texas, that trains teachers to carry firearms in schools. Since the school shooting, Sellers told The Epoch Times that he has added nine additional classes—double the amount customarily held—for June through August. “I’ve gotten an insane amount of calls,” Sellers said. “It hasn’t stopped. Ninety percent is because of Uvalde.” Bryan Proctor, owner of Go Strapped Firearms Training in Arlington, Texas, told The Epoch Times much the same thing—that training requests for the Guardian program have skyrocketed. “We’ve had about a 100 percent increase,” Proctor said. “It’s been pretty dramatic. I’ve sent out over 20 proposals in the past week.” Proctor said teachers want to protect their students and themselves, despite what people may be hearing form the select voices in legacy media. “What you’re seeing is a vocal minority,” Proctor said. Arming teachers isn’t about giving them something else to be responsible for—but instead giving them a tool as a last defense. Elsewhere, state legislatures are investigating how to make schools safer and arm teachers. Louisiana is currently looking at legislation similar to Texas, allowing teachers to carry guns in schools after receiving specialized training. Ohio’s latest bill aims to be less restrictive than the current law, mandating 700 hours of police training and board approval before allowing teachers to be armed. Republican governors Bill Lee of Tennessee and Ron DeSantis of Florida took action on school security this week. Lee signed an executive order June 6 to ensure working safety protocols at schools, and to evaluate training for active shooter scenarios. DeSantis signed a school safety bill into law on June 7 that focused on crisis intervention and training, and mental health awareness.  Meanwhile, teacher unions have nixed the idea and portrayed arming teachers as unpopular with educators. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 73 percent of teachers oppose the idea. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America during a anti gun rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10, 2015. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Meanwhile, policies to arm teachers in some form has widespread participation throughout the country amid the horror of gunmen targeting schools for mass shootings. The RAND Corporation reported in 2020 that 28 states permit armed teachers under some circumstances, while states such as Texas and Florida have passed laws encouraging the practice. In North Florida, one principal at a private Christian school said he would like to see the program expanded to include private schools. The principal, who didn’t wish to be identified, said he added chain-link fencing around his school’s 40-acre perimeter and allowed just one-way traffic onto the campus, except during drop-off and pick-up times. Now, cameras monitor doors into buildings, and access is controlled remotely or with special key fobs. Classrooms stay locked throughout the day. But it’s not enough anymore, he said. He asked for training under Florida’s school guardian program to protect his school’s 340 students, ranging from toddlers to high school seniors. He was denied because the program doesn’t extend to private schools. Currently, it is open to employees of public schools or charter schools who volunteer to serve as guardians and their official job duties. To qualify, they must pass psychological and drug screenings, and complete a 144-hour training course. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) arrives at a memorial service on the one-year anniversary of the shooting which claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., U.S., on Feb. 14, 2019. (Joe Skipper/File Photo/Reuters) Sheriff’s offices in 45 of Florida’s 67 counties participate and receive funding to cover screening and training costs. And guardians receive a one-time bonus of $500 for serving in the program. Schools in districts can arrange to send employees for certification. So the principal is now training on his own to become a licensed, armed security guard. “It’s the only option,” he said. “Even before this last school shooting, I said, ‘I’ve got to go get this taken care of.’ So we’re doing it the right way.” About a decade ago, Texas lawmakers created the school Marshal program, as a way for educators to carry weapons inside schools, and later initiated the Guardian program. Under the Marshal program, school employees can carry a handgun on school premises after 80 hours of training. However, school marshals are restricted from carrying concealed firearms if they are regularly in contact with students. Instead, the marshal can store a gun in a safe at the school. There are 62 school districts participating in this plan, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Gretchen Grigsby, director of government relations with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, told The Epoch Times that 30 new students and nine new school districts have signed up for the Marshal program since the Uvalde shooting. The Guardian program authorizes school boards to arm employees under the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act and the Texas Penal Code. After completing 16 hours of training, those employees may carry a concealed firearm in the presence of students. According to the Texas Association of School Boards, 389 districts reported using the Guardian plan as of May. While Democrats are calling for gun control, people like Sellers reiterate that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Sellers told The Epoch Times that the first few minutes of an active shooter situation are critical, and arming teachers could save lives. “In active shooting incidents, time is everything,” Sellers said. “No gun control law is going to stop evil from conducting evil acts.” File photo showing people singing the national anthem during a rally promoting Second Amendment rights, in Washington, D.C., on July 7, 2018. (Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images) Madalyn Maresh is an assistant superintendent at the Edna Independent School District, a rural 3A district northeast of Victoria, Texas. She told The Epoch Times that her district reopened the application process for the Guardian program at her school in response to the Uvalde shooting. “The day I reopened it, I got two applications immediately,” she said. In the three years since the program has been operational, she gets between 3 to 10 volunteers per year. Without guns for protection, teachers are forced to use their own bodies to shield students from an active shooter, she said. “You’ve got to find what fits your community. We got zero push back on it—our community embraces it,” Maresh said. Kyle Collier, police chief for City View ISD in Wichita Falls, Texas, said an additional four or five teachers volunteered after the Uvalde shooting. Nanette Holt contributed to this report. Tyler Durden Fri, 06/10/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 11th, 2022

Maine Stimulus Checks of $850 Coming as Early as June

States are continuing to send direct payment to their residents, and the latest to do so is Maine. On April 20, Governor Janet Mills signed a $1.2 billion supplemental budget to send Maine stimulus checks. Eligible residents could get Maine stimulus checks of up to $850 as early as June. Maine Stimulus Checks: Who Will […] States are continuing to send direct payment to their residents, and the latest to do so is Maine. On April 20, Governor Janet Mills signed a $1.2 billion supplemental budget to send Maine stimulus checks. Eligible residents could get Maine stimulus checks of up to $850 as early as June. Maine Stimulus Checks: Who Will Get Them? Earlier this week, Governor Mills signed a $1.2 billion supplemental budget into law to send $850 Maine stimulus checks to more than 850,000 residents. Individual taxpayers with income of up to $100,000 ($150,000 for heads of households and $200,000 for couples filing jointly) will be eligible for the direct payment. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Recipients will be free to spend the money on whatever they want. To be eligible for the Maine stimulus checks, residents must have filed an income tax return as full-time residents by Oct. 31, 2022 and not be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return. The stimulus checks will account for $729 million of total spending. “We will begin the work immediately of getting $850 checks into the mailbox of every Maine adult who qualifies, and, as always, will continue to carefully monitor the Maine economy, the wellbeing of Maine people, and Maine’s fiscal health, investing in long-term solutions while maintaining the State’s solid financial position,” Commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Kirsten Figueroa, said in a press release. Mills’ Budget: What More Does It Offer? Along with Maine stimulus checks, the budget also offers property tax relief for older residents and lower-income homeowners and tenants. Further, the budget also sets aside $20 million to fund two years of free community college for eligible students who graduate between 2020-2023. There is also a $60 million provision to address contamination from so-called forever chemicals, including PFAS. The budget also offers assistance to child care workers, as well as an emergency housing relief fund to address homelessness. Further, the budget sets aside a $3 million legal fund to support the lobster industry battling the government rules aimed at protecting endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. Mills also offers relief to students in the form of an annual $2,500 or up to $25,000 lifetime refundable tax credit benefit for student loan debt relief. As well, the budget offers $8 million in a one-time General Fund to enable the University of Maine System to keep tuition flat for in-state students, as well as update and renovate campus buildings. “What this budget shows once again through hard work and good faith negotiation Democrats, Republicans and independents can come together to do what is right for Maine people,” Mills said. Federal spending and better than expected revenue forecasts has encouraged state lawmakers to return money to their residents. Initially, the budget plan was referred to as pandemic relief, but now, it is called inflationary relief. Updated on Apr 22, 2022, 9:54 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 22nd, 2022

Bank Of America CEO Says Spending Is Healthy Despite Roaring Inflation

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Bank of America Chair & CEO Brian Moynihan on CNBC’s “Mad Money” (M-F, 6PM-7PM ET) today, Tuesday, April 19th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: ‘Don’t Fight The U.S. Consumer’ – Bank Of America CEO Says Spending Is Healthy Despite Roaring Inflation […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Bank of America Chair & CEO Brian Moynihan on CNBC’s “Mad Money” (M-F, 6PM-7PM ET) today, Tuesday, April 19th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: ‘Don’t Fight The U.S. Consumer’ – Bank Of America CEO Says Spending Is Healthy Despite Roaring Inflation JIM CRAMER: Let’s check in with Brian Moynihan, the Chairman and CEO of Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) to get a better read on the quarter and the consumer in America. Mr. Moynihan, welcome back to “Mad Money.” if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Hey Jim, how are you? Good to see you again. CRAMER: My favorite line Brian in this report was when you said you can see the organic growth engine that our company is delivering. Once again, no banks are organic except for yours. Tell us why. MOYNIHAN: Well, we have a great team and a great franchise and we have great customers who give us more business and tell their friends about us. And so year over year, you saw us grow our deposits 200, more than 200 billion, 240 billion. You saw our loans grow 10%. You saw, you know, we had a downdraft in investment banking fees, but you saw wealth management fees up nice and so we grew revenue, expenses were down, that creates operating leverage and that's off the organic growth engine that’s delivering more accounts. Two hundred plus thousand new customers for the consumer business in the first quarter alone. CRAMER: What I think's incredible is because of your digital efforts and because of your customer service and who you guys are, this is sticky money. This isn't jumping from one place to another, correct? MOYNIHAN: Yeah, we have a trillion foreign deposits for people for consumers like you and me, you know, from mass market consumers all the way up to wealthy consumers. 1.4 trillion of our $2 trillion is in that consumer base, about 40% of it’s in checking. People have a lot of money in their checking balance so we can talk about that because of the stimulus payments and everything and higher wages. But the reality is that sticky money and when we saw the repricing of the Fed last time all the way, you know, from the floor zero up to 2%, you know, you can see our pricing go through and even when that went on, we grew our deposit base 5% in the preceding 12 months so we can grow as Fed’s rates rise because the team does a very good job of getting more customers and doing a great job for them and the digital capabilities, the branch capabilities, the wealth management, financial advisors and private bankers. Across the board, they do a great job. CRAMER: Well, unlike most people who say that, you're actually proud that your people are being paid more. I mean, everyone's so gun shy because of Wall Street saying, wow, they're paying their people too much, I'm worried. That is not the line that you tell people. MOYNIHAN: Well, we have a great team but if you think about a company like ours where basically a very talented group of 200,000 plus people, a bunch of computers that they use to serve their customers well and their customers can use directly well and and buildings to house them so people are what our company is, and they're the ones that make the computers work and the other ones that do the great job for their customers so we pay them well and we started minimum, starting salaries now $22, full benefits, $10,000 tuition reimbursement, $275 a month per child for childcare credits for people to lower income levels, you know, healthcare that's well taken care of for lower income and higher income people pay more. We do all that because we need those great talented group of people to serve our customers well and our brand score’s now at the highest they've ever been which is a good thing. CRAMER: Now at the same time you have pretty good data on the strength of the consumer and I love the line dry powder. That can keep us out of recession, can’t it? MOYNIHAN: I think if you think about it, just a couple of facts. In the first quarter in the month of March ‘22 versus March ’21, the consumers fairly state it has been about 13% more than they did last year. And by the way, there were 7% to 8% more transaction. So even there is inflationary part of pricing that's done so we showed that to the investors yesterday and showed it to the world yesterday. But importantly in the first couple of weeks in April, that number’s moved back to 18% indicating faster spending in the consumers and people say well, it's due to inflation but gasoline expenditures are about 5% of 21% of what people spend in a Bank of America. So that's a trillion dollars almost in the quarter have grown at 13%. The consumers are out there spending. Now, what's driving that is the second part of it and what you mean by dry powder. If you look in the consumer accounts so you take, talked yesterday about two cohorts, customers had 1 to $2,000 in their accounts pre-pandemic, average 1,400 or so. They now have about 3,400 or 3,500 in the account. For people who averaged between two and $5,000 average clear balance in their account, they now have, they average about $3,000. They now have about 12, $13,000 in their account, so they have more money and it's grown every month for the last year, more or less, and the last payment was a year ago and that's just because people are earning more and getting paid more and frankly, there's been a underspending because travel and other things have been hard and now it's going to open up and it’ll keep doing it. That could be inflationary but also gives— CRAMER: Well, you gave us some unbelievable travel, the travel restaurant spend, recovery. I mean, this these are amazing numbers. MOYNIHAN: No and they are and I know you're in the restaurant business so hopefully your restaurants are full and and people can't even get a reservation. CRAMER: They are. MOYNIHAN: So you're seeing people spend money and that's that's a good thing. Now, the question is is that puts pressure on the Fed but the Fed knows what job they do. They gotta raise rates and bring the inflation down. That's not theoretical and will it be a soft landing or slightly hard landing, but that under, in investing you say, don't fight the Fed. I would always believe in America, don't fight the US consumer. They are a very strong force and you can see them very healthy, their loan balances are down. They have plenty of borrowing capacity and they have plenty of spending capacity. CRAMER: I love that. Now, when you and I always talk digital when it was nice at the beginning. Now it is an imperative. You know, I spoke to almost, well I’d say I did speak to every CEO or number two at all the big banks and you know what they say? Yeah, Brian got that right. They say Brian got that right. What did they, what did you get right that they all wish they had done? MOYNIHAN: Well, it just took investment across long periods of time and discipline to do things that people will use and get them to use them. So it doesn't, a whole bunch of wonderful things don't work unless the customer actually gets the benefit, actually uses them to do things. So whether it's the Zelle payments, which now I mean, this is kind of interesting. This quarter, we passed where people sent more transactions on Zelle to send, you know, me to send Jim money as opposed, than wrote checks and wrote checks. So you've seen the crossover finally where that's happening. You think about digital sales. We started building that product by product many years ago, that has ended up with 53% of the sales are digital and by the way, all the branches are open after the pandemic has mitigated. Now, all 4,000 plus branches are open, all those teammates are working hard handling people in the high touch which is critically important but 50% are coming digital so you get a mortgage, a car loan, a card, open a checking account all online and Merrill Edge is growing strong, a lot of online applications. So, what did we do? We invested $3 billion a year for many years in technology and you just had to be investing but you had to keep the discipline of being an innovator to develop feature functionality but being a disciplined person to get get it in a way that customers really would use it. So they would deposit their checks on mobile, they would use Zelle, they would use Merrill Edge not just build functionality for functionality and we’re at 54 million digital users and 40 and 35 million active, you know, literally using it all time or 40 odd million using all the time and it's very strong right now. CRAMER: Well, one last thing I know there was this New York Times article, “He Quietly Turned Bank of America Around, Can He Do More?” and you don’t even need to do more but I know you will. But one of the things you did was you created this the think small, small business. I saw your small business number, your percentage of market share, I am telling you that ad campaign worked Brian in so many different ways and neither neither one of us ever thought would happened. MOYNIHAN: The Small Business team does a great job. A woman named Sharon Miller runs that segment and then we have a segment just next bigger than that which is five to $50 million companies and then we have our middle market that Wendy Stewart runs but if you go across that continuum, that small business is 80, $90 billion plus in deposits. It just really grows strong. They do a great job, they’re number one, we're the number one lender to small businesses in the country and Sharon and her team do a great job. And again, that's digital functionality and that's personal functionality. And we got a lot upside there because we just, we bought in our merchant servicing platform, and now we're deploying it. And I just walked into branch the other day near the Boston Marathon where they're setting up and I had some time to kill and I walked in and talked to the person, she was a merchant specialist. She told me she can't wait to get the new equipment to go out and sell and, you know, the teams have great feature functionality, but we still have lots of areas that we can even grow faster in those areas. CRAMER: Well look, next time you're on, we're going to talk more about what you've done to help the less fortunate which is a nationwide and nationwide thing that I want to bring out from you because that isn't why you do it. But I know who you are. Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America. I love seeing you, buddy. Thank you. MOYNIHAN: Thanks, Jim. Thank you. Updated on Apr 20, 2022, 1:02 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 20th, 2022

How China turned a Tiananmen Square memorial into one of the most sought-after sculptures in the world

The "Pillar of Shame" was meant to spread all around the world. It didn't — until now, thanks to its removal in Hong Kong. Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt (right) with a Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for Insider Last December, Hong Kong removed the Pillar of Shame, a memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The removal only increased the monument's fame – and brought a flood of requests for replicas.  Creator Jens Galschiøt gave up his copyright to the sculpture, enabling 3D printers to make copies. HONG KONG – In the 1990s, a Danish sculptor launched an audacious project to pepper the earth with copies of a grotesque sculpture that depicted human bodies wreathed together in pain. The monument, known as the "Pillar of Shame," is constructed out of bronze, copper or concrete and stands atop a square plinth. It rises about 8 meters, or 26 feet, in all. Its creator, Jens Galschiøt, envisioned it as a "Nobel Prize of Injustice" and vowed to place replicas of the pillar all over the world to mark acts of genocide and murder. For a time, Galschiøt's effort was something of a success. He installed a copy of the pillar in Hong Kong in 1997 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops killed hundreds if not thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters. He landed a second copy in Mexico in 1999 to commemorate the slaughter of Indigenous people and a third in Brazil in 2000 to honor landless peasants killed by military police. But then the project stalled. For over two decades, it seemed no one was interested in getting a Pillar of Shame — that is, until now.These days, the 67-year-old sculptor is so inundated with requests for copies of his signature artwork that he needs a full-time apprentice just to manage the endless stream of emails and phone calls. He's being sought out for art exhibitions, speeches, interviews, and new Pillar of Shame installations around the world. At Galschiøt's foundry, about two hours outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, his team is working overtime to cast replicas of various sizes. He has also invited artists everywhere to help meet the demand for replicas by using 3D-printing technologies and a free blueprint of the sculpture."The Pillar of Shame in miniature.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe spark that led to an explosion of interest in Galschiøt's project came in October, when Hong Kong University  ordered that the Pillar of Shame be removed from its longtime home on the school's campus — part of a larger effort to erase any public commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.The sculpture's removal, carried out in the dead of night two days before Christmas, accomplished its goal of eliminating the controversial monument from public view. But it also unleashed something unexpected: China and Hong Kong authorities gave Galschiøt's struggling art project the sort of publicity that no amount of money and PR firms could buy. Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame was suddenly being discussed in The Washington Post and The New York Times and in outlets in Thailand, Iceland, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Indonesia, to name just a few."They have made a big mistake," Galschiøt said in an interview. "Now, instead of one, they're getting hundreds of Pillars of Shame."A group of former US government officials is working to erect a full-size replica in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. In Norway, there's a request to display a replica near the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. In Taiwan, a pro-democracy group plans to unveil a 3D-printed model by June 4 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. An artists collective is planning to organize a worldwide tour with Galschiøt's pillar to raise awareness of Hong Kong's struggle for democracy.Makerwiz 3D-printing studio in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Source: Makerwiz.Galschiøt is also making smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper that he aims to hoist on top of plinths with plates dedicated to Tiananmen victims and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, installing them at universities. For everyone else — volunteers at his workshop and ordinary people who are inspired by Galschiøt's vision, or perhaps his tenacity — he has finished a batch of 60 bronze copies that are about a foot tall. He's working on another 40. "There's a lot of people who ask for a copy of that sculpture now," Galschiøt said.The nascent efforts are a cautionary tale of what happens when regimes try to censor art. "The rulers, tyrants know the power of art. That's why artists, poets, and musicians are the first ones they persecute and even kill," said Rose Tang, a Tiananmen survivor and artist. But, as one 3D printer who recently replicated Galschiøt's sculpture put it, "ideas can never be suppressed." Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame is finally an idea whose time has come. Except, rather than commemorating atrocities in spots across the globe, the monument now seems poised to become synonymous with one event above all others: the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's efforts to erase it from memory. A witness For more than two decades, anyone who visited the western edge of Hong Kong University's winding Pok Fu Lam campus would inevitably bump into Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame. It was situated off a major campus walkway, boxed inside a narrow atrium next to a popular student canteen. (Disclosure: The author teaches at Hong Kong University's journalism program.) As you looked up from your meal, your eyes would fall upon the Eiffel Tower-like heap of some 50 twisted bodies screaming in pain. Many of the faces looked like cadavers that had already breathed their last while others appeared to be in the act of dying; a man clutching a baby looked as if he was running away from some danger. Layers of thick orange paint flowed from the top down, turning yellow and peeling in places, giving the whole mass the hellish appearance of a pile of burning human flesh. The inscription "THE TIANANMEN MASSACRE" was etched in thick, blood-red letters on one side of the square base, above the date June 4, 1989. Directly to the left was another inscription that read, "the old cannot kill the young forever."Students gather around Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderFor students who came to study here from mainland China, the pillar might be their first introduction to the Tiananmen massacre. On one side of the pillar's base, a plaque provided "A Brief History of the 1989 Beijing Pro-Democracy Movement." It recounted how the death of pro-reform Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989 sparked mass demonstrations in favor of democratic reforms. Beijing's Tiananmen Square became a central gathering spot for students who waged a hunger strike to try to prompt a dialogue with Communist Party leaders. The government refused, declared martial law, and ultimately sent in military convoys to clear the square. On June 3 and 4, 1989, "several thousand soldiers forced their way via various routes into Beijing City, using guns and bullets to shoot unarmed citizens and students. Tanks were deployed to recover the Square," the plaque read. An official death toll was never confirmed. A 1990 report on the massacre by Amnesty International noted that Chinese authorities tallied some 200 civilian casualties, while Amnesty itself concluded that at least 1,000 people had been killed. Another more recent estimate based on a diplomatic cable declassified in 2017 pinned the number of civilian casualties at more than 10,000.Whatever the ultimate toll, there was no doubt in Rose Tang's mind that it had been a bloody day. Rose Tang in Tiananmen Square on May 21, 1989. At the time, she was a 20-year-old freshman in college.Rose Tang/HandoutTang was a freshman studying English at what was then known as the Beijing Second Foreign Languages Institute. She ditched classes in the spring of 1989 to join her classmates in Tiananmen Square to chant pro-democracy slogans, even though, she now says, she had very little idea of what democracy even meant. Her memoir of the events of June 4 describes bullets whizzing overhead, a stampede trampling over dead bodies, and the deafening noise of tanks moving in and crushing tents set up in the square. But there's one detail of the aftermath that helps explain why Galschiøt's sculpture found a loyal following in Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997. When Tang revisited Tiananmen Square some seven months after the massacre, she found no trace of what had happened there that day. There were no signs of blood stains or bullet holes from June 4, 1989, let alone any memorial. She walked around, trying to find proof to back up her memories. There were only a few armed soldiers patrolling the square as water trucks sprinkled water on the ground. "All I could see was the clean wet concrete ground glittering in street lights," she recalled in her memoir.Tang turned to a life of art and activism to help her cope with the events of that day. She has written poetry and music inspired by June 4, 1989, and toured with a band that performed songs that student protesters sang at Tiananmen Square. "Making music and using music to heal and mobilize people is my way of carrying on the true legacy of Tiananmen. Art is power. Performance is protest," she said.Tang eschewed making sculptures, though. "I just personally found it really hard to convey the experience of Tiananmen through visual art," she said. She admires Galschiøt for trying. Rose Tang at a Tiananmen Square massacre memorial in New York City on June 4, 2020.Thirdblade PhotographyBut something about Galschiøt's sculpture always puzzled Tang. On close inspection, the figures assembled on Galschiøt's pillar appeared to span the races. One could be excused for wondering whether this was all a mistake: A white man from Denmark created a sculpture to commemorate the killings of Chinese civilians, and he filled it with people from all over the world?'My Inner Beast'The international nature of the sculpture was precisely what Galschiøt had in mind when he began to sketch out the vision for his Pillar of Shame in the early 1990s. Galschiøt had turned to making sculptures in the 1980s after a career as a blacksmith at a Danish shipyard and a rebellious youth filled with drugs, travel, and a desire to distance himself from his father's communist sympathies. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he grew hopeful for a more egalitarian future but was soon dismayed by Serbian militias' mass rape of Muslim women in Bosnia and other atrocities. He became convinced that civilization is only a thin veneer that can crumble at any time and unleash an inner barbarism laid bare in such episodes. In 1993 he installed concrete sculptures of a pig dressed in a gentleman's overcoat in 20 cities across Europe. Titled "My Inner Beast," the project aimed to call attention to Europeans' mistreatment of ethnic minorities. The sculptures proved an unwelcome sight to governments that never asked for them. Most were torn down, and only a few remain standing today. Galschiøt's middle son, Kasper Galschiøt Markus, recalled eating "significantly more porridge" in the months that followed since Galschiøt nearly went broke paying for the project out of pocket. But profit wasn't the goal. The reaction to the sculpture became part of the story the art sought to tell, summarized by the motto, "It is not the foreigners but our reaction to the foreigners that threatens our civilization." Galschiøt preparing a Pillar of Shame replica.Mikkel Møller for InsiderGalschiøt began to make small models of the Pillar of Shame that same year. As the idea took shape, he assembled 7 tons of clay to create the casting mold for the sculpture.He included faces of people that represented a wide variety of races and ethnicities, hoping to create a universal symbol. Once he finished his prototype in 1996, he went looking for contacts who could help him install it in various places around the world. The Tiananmen Square massacre quickly came to mind, but he knew it would be impossible to install a pillar in Beijing. 'They made a good fight for freedom'Hong Kong offered the tantalizing possibility of a work-around. After years of negotiations, the UK was due to hand control of Hong Kong back to China on July 1, 1997.  If Galschiøt could get the pillar to Hong Kong while the city was still in British hands, China would take the sculpture with it. "At that time, we had good reason to believe that this statue would not be allowed to enter after the transition," Albert Ho, who helped Galschiøt get the pillar to Hong Kong, recalled in a later interview.Ho was a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, a group founded in 1989 just before the massacre. One of the alliance's signature projects was an annual candlelight vigil commemorating Tiananmen victims. Galschiøt reached out to see whether the group would help him install a replica of the sculpture and soon he had a partner: On May 2, 1997, he packed up a copy of the pillar in a shipping container and sent it off to Hong Kong. The sculpture arrived at a Hong Kong container terminal nine days before the alliance's annual candlelight vigil in the city's sprawling Victoria Park. The alliance displayed it prominently at the June 4 vigil, which happened to coincide with Galschiøt's birthday. Afterward, the pillar was loaded onto a truck headed for Hong Kong University, where student leaders hoped to install it near their student union. Tang joined part of the march to campus, walking alongside Galschiøt. Galschiøt grew concerned as scuffles broke out between students and security guards who wouldn't let the truck through to campus. Security guards eventually relented, and the sculpture was dropped off as onlookers applauded, according to Associated Press archival footage from the night. "They made a good fight for freedom," Galschiøt told an AP reporter at the time.The pillar made the rounds to several schools around the city before the Hong Kong University student union voted in 1998 to permanently host it on its campus. Galschiøt, meanwhile, wrote a manifesto for his artwork. "My name is Jens Galschiøt. I'm a Danish artist born 1954. My new art happening the Pillar of Shame has just been launched, as the sculpture was displayed 4th June '97 in Hong Kong," began the lengthy December 1997 missive, which predicted that "over the next ten years the happening will spread over the Planet." Galschiøt listed Auschwitz, the site of the infamous Nazi death camp, and Rwanda, where a 1994 genocide had just killed an estimated 800,000 people, as two possible candidates for Pillars of Shame.Galschiøt outside his studio in Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderSoon he managed to install a "Columna de la infamia" in Mexico to commemorate the 1997 killings of 45 Indigenous people in Chiapas state and a "Coluna da infâmia" in Brazil to mark the 1996 murder of 19 landless Brazilian peasants. Both sculptures made brief appearances near parliament buildings in their respective countries, elevating their visibility in Mexico and Brazil. In 1999 he outlined a grand vision to install a pillar in Berlin atop a platform covered with bronze plates notched with 10 million lines representing the victims of Nazi-era persecution (the project was too costly, and he gave up on it in late 2002). In 2012, he traveled to Iraq to explore the possibility of placing a pillar there to commemorate the victims of Saddam Hussein's mass murders of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s (installing a sculpture in a war zone was too dangerous, though Galschiøt hopes to try again someday).Galschiøt openly mused that Hong Kong's Pillar of Shame might someday move to Beijing if political circumstances allowed it. But he acknowledged that it might just as well be removed or destroyed: "The Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong," he wrote in a post on his website.'The old cannot kill the young forever'Galschiøt was right about the possibility of his sculpture being removed from Hong Kong.The early signs of trouble came in April 2008, when Galschiøt flew to the city only to be denied entry. He was there to paint the pillar orange as part of a campaign to raise awareness of China's alleged human-rights abuses ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. In Galschiøt's absence, members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China carried out the paint job. News reports at the time described the ordeal as a test of the freedoms China had granted to Hong Kong when it took over.Hong Kongers would experience many more such tests in the years that followed. In 2014, protests erupted when China insisted on vetting any candidates for the territory's chief executive before allowing the post to be elected directly by the people. The tense 79-day standoff with pro-democracy protesters became known as the Umbrella Movement after demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray police used to try to disperse them. The sense of togetherness and community among the protesters felt like a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement to Tang, who flew from the US to Hong Kong to camp out with the protesters and speak up for their cause. Even larger protests shook the city in 2019 after Hong Kong leaders proposed amending the territory's extradition laws to allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. The protests grew into a broader movement against Beijing's encroachments on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the terms of its handover from the UK. Meanwhile, Beijing readied a national-security law that would give China broad authority to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong. Even before the law took effect, in June 2020, authorities had already taken aim at Hong Kong's long tradition of commemorating the Tiananmen victims. They refused to let the alliance organize its annual June 4 vigil in 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions. Thousands showed up anyway. In 2021, Hong Kong blocked the June 4 vigil again and put up a massive police presence to deter Hong Kongers from defying the ban. The same month, the alliance's museum commemorating the massacre was forced to shut down. Police raided the museum in September and confiscated its exhibits just a day after arresting the alliance's leaders under the guise of the national-security law. The alliance disbanded on September 25, and days later reports surfaced that the digital version of its Tiananmen Square massacre museum had been blocked in Hong Kong.  By early October, the pillar's time had come. Galschiøt wasn't formally notified that the Pillar of Shame would be removed. Mayer Brown, an American law firm representing Hong Kong University, sent a letter demanding its removal to the liquidators of the alliance (the alliance didn't actually own the sculpture; Galschiøt had always retained ownership). The October 7 letter gave the now-defunct pro-democracy group six days to remove the sculpture from the university, a publicly funded institution, or consider the pillar abandoned property that would be dealt with "at such time and in such manner" as the university saw fit. Galschiøt tried to intervene but said he couldn't get a reply to his lawyer's pleas to let him come to Hong Kong to retrieve the artwork.The sudden deadline was sandwiched between two typhoons that pummeled Hong Kong with heavy rains and winds. As the storms moved through the city, the October 13 removal deadline held firm. Hong Kongers flocked to the sculpture to bid their farewells to what many saw as one of the last vestiges of freedom of expression in the Chinese territory. "Say goodbye to freedom," one man said as he snapped a photo of the sculpture one day before the deadline. Steps away, a father took a selfie in front of the pillar with his 9-year-old daughter. Afterward, the little girl grabbed her father's phone and snapped some photos of it herself. On their way out, he pointed to the inscription "the old cannot kill the young forever" as she looked on attentively. Shortly after, it started to rain again. But the crowds kept coming.A father introduces his daughter to Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe university hit a snag when Mayer Brown bowed out of the legal matter amid public outrage that an American law firm would be helping Chinese authorities stifle freedom of expression in Hong Kong. (Mayer Brown's decision prompted a former Hong Kong chief executive to call for a China-wide boycott of the law firm. Spokespeople for Mayer Brown did not respond to comment requests.) Several weeks followed when the sculpture's fate stood in a strange state of limbo; it wasn't clear when exactly it would disappear, but there was no doubt the end was near. An artists' collective known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong made use of the delay to take detailed photos of the pillar and create a three-dimensional model that could be used as a basis for 3D printing. Galschiøt, meanwhile, dusted off old molds that he had used to create smaller replicas of the Pillar of Shame in the 1990s so that he would be ready if his sculpture were removed. The limbo ended on December 22. Galschiøt had just told the workers in his workshop in Odense, Denmark, to go home early and enjoy the holiday when he got a call from a reporter seeking comment on the sculpture's removal.  The energy drained from his body; he looked like a parent who had just learned about the loss of his child, recalled his apprentice, Lauge Jakobsen. Social media lit up with footage of workers fencing off the area around the pillar so no one would witness its removal. Reporters still managed to document parts of the ordeal, which ended with a human-like fragment of the sculpture being loaded into a shipping container by a group of workers in hard hats resembling pallbearers at a funeral.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University as seen the day after the monument was removed.Cezary Podkul for Insider As Galschiøt watched from a distance, all he could do was decry the university's actions. He issued a statement calling the sculpture's removal an unreasonable act of "self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong." Hong Kong University said in a statement that "no party has ever obtained any approval from the university to display the statue on campus," and the statue would be placed in storage pending legal advice on what to do with it. Galschiøt said the university has now responded to his lawyer, and he is sorting out the details of how to return the sculpture from Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for the university did not provide further details. 'Jens' biggest supporter has been the Chinese government'The sculpture's dramatic removal gave Galschiøt the kind of worldwide attention he had long hoped to bring to his international art project. "Suddenly, all the world's eyes were turned on this Pillar of Shame," recalled Jakobsen, his apprentice. "From 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at night the phone was calling all the time, and our email was looking like a celebrity's fan email because every 10 seconds there were coming new emails."Jakobsen switched from working in Galschiøt's workshop to assisting him in the office as he juggled media requests and inquiries about how to acquire a Pillar of Shame. "Jens' biggest supporter last year has been the Chinese government," Jakobsen said during a phone interview. Galschiøt could be heard laughing beside him.Jessica Chiu was one of those requesters. The native Hong Konger, who's 32 and lives in Norway, first learned about Tiananmen Square from her high school math teacher, who would abandon his usual lesson every June and instead teach about the massacre. Later, as a student at Hong Kong University, Chiu would occasionally pass by Galschiøt's sculpture. Chiu leads a Norwegian nonprofit focused on supporting human rights in Hong Kong. The group had been interested in exhibiting Galschiøt's pillar in Norway since 2020; its removal in Hong Kong reinforced those plans. "It makes us more motivated to do it, and it just makes the impact bigger," Chiu said. Her nonprofit has already applied for permits to display the sculpture at two locations in Oslo, including a plaza near the Nobel Peace Center.Galschiøt at his gallery in Odense, Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderA similar effort is taking shape to bring a copy of the pillar in the US. The most provocative spot under consideration includes a park directly across from the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. A group of former US government officials, outraged by Mayer Brown's involvement, is spearheading the initiative, which is still in its initial planning stages, according to a person familiar with the effort. Getting a 2-ton sculpture cast and transported abroad — let alone securing a spot for it — is no easy feat, so it's unclear how many of such installations will ultimately succeed. Galschiøt estimated that making the sculpture in a full-size bronze cast costs about $800,000. To make it more affordable and easier to handle, he has started making the smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper using an old mold he created in the 1990s. He hopes to distribute the smaller pillars to universities around the world (and requests that schools interested in a copy contact him). He scored his first win in Budapest, Hungary, on March 2, when one of the copper replicas was installed on the site of a future Budapest campus of Fudan University. Hungary lawmakers had voted in 2021 to donate four plots of land toward the planned campus of the Shanghai-based university, which ranks as one of China's most elite schools. The move sparked criticism of Chinese influence-buying and prompted Budapest's mayor to rename streets near the proposed site after various alleged human-rights abuses committed by China. Galschiøt traveled to Budapest to personally dedicate his "a szégyen oszlopa" (Hungarian for "Pillar of Shame") near the corner of Free Hong Kong Road and Uyghur Martyrs Road.Galschiøt applies paint to a pillar, which will soon be shipped aboard.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe use of the artwork to make political statements about China's alleged human-rights abuses could get easier thanks to the rise of 3D printing. Lady Liberty Hong Kong's three-dimensional model of the sculpture has enabled anyone with access to a 3D printer to create a copy of the sculpture without bothering with the cost and logistics of transporting it from Denmark. To make the process even more hassle-free, Galschiøt surrendered his copyright to the sculpture, writing in an open letter on Christmas Day that anyone is free to 3D print or mass-produce replicas of the pillar as long as profits go to benefit pro-democracy causes in China and Hong Kong.  A 2-foot-tall replica created using Lady Liberty's model recently showed up at a Hong Kong pro-democracy rally in Manchester, England. An even bigger version — 10 feet or taller — is set to be 3D-printed in Taiwan in time for the June 4 anniversary of the massacre. The New School for Democracy Association Taiwan, a pro-democracy group, is spearheading that effort, which is in the planning and fundraising stages, according to the project's manager.Lady Liberty itself is hoping to organize an international art tour with Galschiøt that would feature the pillar as well as the group's own signature artwork,  a symbol of the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong. The 3.5-meter-tall, crowdfunded sculpture of a woman wearing a helmet, goggles, and a respirator made the rounds to various sites across Hong Kong in 2019, including a famous summit known as Lion Rock, before being vandalized and thrown off the cliff (most likely by pro-government activists). Lady Liberty is preparing to sell small replicas of the Pillar of Shame to help fund the art tour, which would also invite other artists to participate, a spokesperson said.Galschiøt's team with a copy of the Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for InsiderTang is raising her hand for the effort. She said she'd like to reunite her Tiananmen band and perform under Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame if a replica makes its way for a tour in the US. In Canada, a scrappy group of expatriate Hong Kongers created a supply chain that allows them to 3D print and ship copies of the pillar anywhere in the world. Their website, CanHKer.ca, sells a variety of Hong Kong-themed merchandise — including 3D prints of Lady Liberty Hong Kong — to fund pro-democracy causes. Proceeds from the 3D-printed pillar replicas are earmarked for organizations that help young Hong Kong refugees resettle in Canada and seek asylum, said Eric Li, who cofounded one of the groups and helped launch the merchandise website. Many of the refugees are youths who faced persecution for their pro-democracy activities, Li said. Some are depressed and feel guilty, even suicidal, for having left Hong Kong behind, he said. Others are traumatized after their violent clashes with police. "They feel they betrayed their friends because they ran away from the action," said Li, who helps arrange counseling for the youths as part of his work for one of the groups that will receive proceeds from the pillars'  sales. Art 'without interruption'There isn't much action left when it comes to protests in Hong Kong. The Beijing-imposed national-security law has succeeded in ending the mass demonstrations that gripped the city in 2019. You might find an occasional pro-democracy slogan or poster here or there, but any public artwork the government could deem subversive to Beijing is likely to quickly vanish from public view. A day after Galschiøt's pillar disappeared in December, two other Tiananmen-themed monuments were removed by universities in Hong Kong. The "Goddess of Democracy," an imitation of a sculpture created by Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, was hauled away from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on December 24. A relief depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre was removed from the campus of Lingnan University the same day. Both artworks were created by Chen Weiming, an exiled Chinese sculptor who lives in California. Chen is now trying to repatriate the monuments from the universities and is planning to house them at a Tiananmen Square museum that he hopes to build at his sculpture park in Yermo, California. "In America, I can do anything I want to do. In China, I can't do it," Chen said.In late January, Hong Kong University covered up the last public tribute to Tiananmen victims on its campus — a hand-painted slogan on a bridge outside a dormitory. It read, "The souls of the martyrs shall forever linger despite the cold-blooded massacre. The spark of democracy shall forever glow for the demise of evil." Every year, students would touch up the paint on the 32-year-old inscription and wash the Pillar of Shame.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University has been replaced with an outdoor seating area.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe former site of the pillar is now a seating area with movable plastic furniture atop wooden planks. The area stood empty on a recent Monday evening as the clean, wet planks glittered in overhead lights. With the usual churn of a university, it won't take more than a few years for future generations of students to sit in the area without any idea of what stood here previously, or why. But nearby, another sculpture remains intact. It's a commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, widely regarded as the father of modern China, who sits calmly in a chair surrounded by a placid fishpond topped with water lilies. Sun is a rare figure in recent Chinese history, revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for helping to end feudal imperial monarchy in China and briefly serving as the first president of the Republic of China in 1912. Even as Hong Kong stamps out dissent, posters honoring him as a "great outlaw" invite visitors to a museum of Sun's life and legacy. The university installed Sun's statue in 2003 so students could follow his historic footprint, according to a dedication issued at the time. A sculpture of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, adorns a lily pond on the Hong Kong University campus.Cezary Podkul for InsiderIt is impossible to know what Sun might say about the removal of the Pillar of Shame and other artworks in Hong Kong if he were alive today. But a speech that he gave nearly 100 years ago on Hong Kong University's campus gives a clue. In his remarks, Sun called Hong Kong and the university his "intellectual birthplace" and explained why he got his revolutionary ideas there: "Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption."Cezary Podkul is an award-winning investigative reporter who has written for ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He teaches at Hong Kong University's Journalism and Media Studies Centre.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

Top-Ranked Material ETFs to Bet on This Year

Let's look at a few material ETFs that are sizzling with opportunities as the sector is anticipated to remain a hot space for investments amid the global health crisis. The materials sector has performed decently in 2021. The S&P 500 Materials sector has gained 26.2% in the past year. In addition, the space is expected to remain strong as improving labor market conditions, growing consumer confidence, accelerated coronavirus vaccine rollout and the passage of the much-awaited $1.2-trillion infrastructure bill are pointing toward a faster recovering economy.According to the White House, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would allocate $550 billion in new money to transportation projects, the utility grid and broadband (as stated in a CNBC article). The legislation also provides $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects along with $66 billion for passenger and freight rail and $39 billion for public transit.The bill will also channelize $65 billion into broadband, a priority for many lawmakers after the pandemic brought into notice the unequal division in Internet access facilities for households and students across the nation (per a CNBC article). The bill will also invest $55 billion in water systems, including initiatives to replace lead pipes.Commenting on the bill, President Biden has said that it would “create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century,” as mentioned in a CNBC article.The coronavirus vaccine rollout is gradually helping control the spread of the outbreak across the globe. The optimism surrounding the gradual reopening of global economies and increasing demand is painting a rosy picture for cyclical sectors. The progress in coronavirus vaccine rollout presents a strong case,favoring a faster return to normalcy and economic recovery.Moreover, the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE) antiviral COVID-19 pill, PAXLOVID, has relaxed concerns regarding Omicron to some extent. Pfizer can begin delivering PAXLOVID in the United States on an immediate basis. In November, Pfizer had informed about signing an agreement with the U.S. government to supply 10 million treatment courses of PAXLOVID. The delivery will be completed in 2022. The FDA had also granted a nod to Merck’s antiviral pill for COVID-19.Material ETFs to Bet OnAgainst this backdrop, let’s look at some top-ranked material ETFs that can outperform in the coming weeks:iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF IYMiShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF tracks the Russell 1000 Basic Materials RIC 22.5/45 Capped Gross Index and holds 37 stocks in its basket. It has AUM of $763.9 million and charges 41 basis points (bps) in fees and expenses. The product is heavily skewed toward specialty chemicals and commodity chemicals, with the two sectors making more than 30% of the portfolio. VAW carries a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy).The Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund XLBThe most-popular material ETF follows the Materials Select Sector Index. The Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund manages $8.18  billion in its asset base. The ETF charges 12 bps in fees per year from investors. In total, the fund holds about 28 securities in its basket. In terms of industrial exposure, chemicals dominate the portfolio with around 69% share, while metals & mining and containers & packaging round off the top three positions. XLB carries a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) (read: 7 ETF Predictions for 2022).Vanguard Materials ETF VAWVanguard Materials ETF has amassed about $4.15 billion in its asset base and offers exposure to 117 stocks by tracking the MSCI US Investable Market Materials 25/50 Index. The ETF has 0.10% in expense ratio. Specialty chemicals and industrial gases take the largest share at 29.8% and 18.2%, respectively, while others offer single-digit exposure. VAW carries a Zacks ETF Rank #2.Fidelity MSCI Materials Index ETF FMATFidelity MSCI Materials Index ETF provides exposure to 119 materials stocks, with AUM of $530.4 million. This is done by tracking the MSCI USA IMI Materials 25/50 Index. The ETF has 0.08% in expense ratio. FMAT carries a Zacks ETF Rank #1. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB): ETF Research Reports Fidelity MSCI Materials Index ETF (FMAT): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Materials ETF (VAW): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF (IYM): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 5th, 2022

Why Did The IRS Send Coronavirus Stimulus Checks To Americans Abroad?

Coronavirus stimulus checks were primarily sent to financially support people struggling due to the pandemic and, in turn, to stimulate the economy. However, the IRS also issued billions of dollars in stimulus aid to Americans living abroad. Even though sending coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans abroad doesn’t exactly stimulate the U.S. economy, several lawmakers believe […] Coronavirus stimulus checks were primarily sent to financially support people struggling due to the pandemic and, in turn, to stimulate the economy. However, the IRS also issued billions of dollars in stimulus aid to Americans living abroad. Even though sending coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans abroad doesn’t exactly stimulate the U.S. economy, several lawmakers believe there is a valid reason for sending payments to Americans living abroad. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Coronavirus Stimulus Checks To Americans Abroad The IRS has issued about $5.5 billion (more than 3.7 million payments) in stimulus payments to people living outside of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C, according to government data. This data includes the three stimulus checks sent since the start of the pandemic last year. Moreover, the data includes U.S. citizens abroad, military personnel stationed abroad, and residents of many major U.S. regions, such as Puerto Rico. According to government data, about 9 million U.S. citizens live overseas, and many of them would have qualified for the stimulus checks because of the eligibility requirements set by Congress. Still, it is estimated that the scope of the payments is relatively small, at less than 1% of the total payments issued by the IRS. Those against sending coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans abroad argue that it is not in line with the government’s objective because the aim is to stimulate the economy by increasing demand for goods and services in the country. Thus, sending coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans abroad doesn’t contribute to this objective. However, several lawmakers believe the primary objective of the stimulus checks was to support American households amid mass unemployment and financial hardship. Thus, if the objective of the stimulus checks is to help struggling American families, then it makes no difference if they live in the country or abroad. U.S. citizens living abroad have to file a U.S. tax return on their total income. Thus, by filing a tax return, Americans living abroad may qualify for the Economic Impact Payment (stimulus checks). Americans Abroad Got Child Tax Credit The Economic Impact Payments had a broader scope than most other federal stimulus payments. For instance, Americans living abroad didn’t qualify for the enhanced unemployment benefits even if they were working remotely for a U.S. company. Americans living abroad only qualified for the enhanced child tax credit if they (or their spouse) had their main home in the U.S. for over half the year. As a result, parents who don’t meet this criterion may have to refund the amount of the credit they received. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, about $94 million of the total $61 billion sent through the monthly child tax credit installments from July to October went overseas. Updated on Nov 12, 2021, 9:29 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 12th, 2021

Interview With John Doerr and Ryan Panchadsaram From CNBC’s ESG Impact Conference

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Kleiner Perkins Chair & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author John Doerr and Fmr. Deputy CTO of the United States & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author Ryan Panchadsaram at CNBC’s ESG Impact conference, which took place today, Thursday, October 28th. Video from the interview will be available at […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Kleiner Perkins Chair & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author John Doerr and Fmr. Deputy CTO of the United States & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author Ryan Panchadsaram at CNBC’s ESG Impact conference, which took place today, Thursday, October 28th. Video from the interview will be available at cnbc.com/esg-impact/. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Icahn eBook! Get our entire 10-part series on Carl Icahn and other famous investors in PDF for free! Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet or print it! Sign up below. NO SPAM EVER (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Interview With John Doerr and Ryan Panchadsaram ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Thank you, sir and it is great to see both of you. We are, we are with two legends, if you will, for this important conversation about climate and what are really the opportunities to get there. Yeah, John? JOHN DOERR: We're, we're with three legends Andrew. You're one also. SORKIN: You know, I'm just pretending to to be here with you. Let's talk about this because both of you have written a book that's about to come out called “Speed & Scale” and John, you talk about the plan to cut carbon emissions and reach net zero of course by 2050. Everybody's trying to do it. Everybody wants that to be the goal. The question, of course, is how do you get there and you have some ideas. Top level, what's the most important thing that that investors and the folks who are listening need to be thinking about? DOERR: The most important thing that we need is a plan. There are lots of goals. There's lots of ambition. We, we are not on track to meet a net zero goal by 2050. The UN Emissions Gap Report just out in the last couple of days said that if we achieve the pledges from the world's countries, will reduce emissions by 2030 by just 7%. We need to reduce them by 50% to get to a one and a half degrees C world. So this is an existential crisis. It's an economic, unparalleled economic opportunity. And it's, it's really the challenge of our lifetimes. SORKIN: Ryan, you've said that currently the plan doesn't really even begin to get to there to maybe 2070 at best. In terms of the, the public private role that we can have here given your experience in Washington and the valley now, how do you see it what, what is the opportunity set in front of us? RYAN PANCHADSARAM: Totally. So when you look at the plan, right, the book outlines a plan that has six big solutions you know to get to net zero but the plan also includes four different levers that we can pull on, right, everything from winning the policy and politics, right. Government set the direction for how a country should like the future for essentially giving businesses confidence, consumer confidence, but governments have to make those hard commitments Andrew and then follow through on them, but that's just one of the many levers. We have to also turn movements into action from the ballot box to the corporate boardroom, as well as invest and innovate. So these are the four levers that we have. We've got to pull on all four equally. And if we do, we can get to net zero not in 2070, but in that 2050 timeframe. SORKIN: Okay, but John, you break down the, the climate action as far as I can tell in six parts, electrifying transportation, decarbonizing the grid with alternatives like wind, solar nuclear, fixing food, the food industry, protecting nature, cleaning up businesses and removing carbon. You got, you have a slide better yet you brought props. So okay, but let's talk about what's doable in terms of the priority there on that, on that sheet. How you do it, what's, what's the low hanging fruit? What's the hard stuff? DOERR: So this whole plan for our audience is available for free. It fits on one page. It's at speedandscale.com. And the biggest single thing we can do is decarbonize the grid around the world. That'll eliminate 24 gigatons out of our 59 gigaton target. And that means moving to zero emissions technologies across the board like wind and solar instead of coal and gas. But the key to these six objectives is the magic, the power is in the key results. So for each of these, there's a concrete measurable time bound goal which must be achieved. If we don't achieve that goal, we'll find out early on that we're off track and we can make adjustments. None of these are going to be easy and each of them is a realm all unto itself but the difference between goals and having an action plan is having real key results. SORKIN: Ryan maybe help us with this with it, with his prop as well though. In term he said sort of the low hanging fruit was that was the grid perhaps I don't know how low hanging fruit that is. Let's also talk about the hard stuff on that list. What is the hardest thing on that list in your mind? PANCHADSARAM: Totally. The hardest stuff is actually objective number six, right, removing the carbon that's left but like the 1, 2, 3 punch that gets us almost 80% of the way there is that switching to clean energy, getting gas out of our buildings, switching to electric vehicles, stopping deforestation, right, those just three very concrete things reduce the emissions aggressively but in writing the book, looking at the models, whether it's the IPCC work or our work, we're still gonna be left with five to 10 gigatons of emissions a year in 2050. And so we've got to do the hard thing which is carbon removal, both nature based as well as engineered, and we've got to start doing that now and doing it well. But it shouldn't be the crutch Andrew, right, like companies today, they're making net zero commitments. They can't say, Well, I'm buying offsets. I'm doing carbon removal. For those companies, they first have to look at their emissions, their carbon footprint and say, how do we cut? Then how do we conserve and then and then they can leave on the, lean on the carbon removal pieces. SORKIN: John, I saw a tweet of yours. You said, “In the course of writing this book, I was reminded of a quote that helped inspire the green growth fund.” The quote, “The green economy is poised to be the mother of all markets. It's the economic investment opportunity of a lifetime.” It very well may be one of the great opportunities of a lifetime. The question though is how do you pick which ones are the right opportunities? Because as you know, over the last 20 years, there have been a lot of people who've invested in this space and unfortunately for them, they have lost. DOERR: Well, I think the crucial thing is to be data driven and to go for the gigatons, go for the largest economic opportunities that exist. One of my favorite ones is electrification of transportation and in particular, the holy grail of that revolution is advanced batteries, battery breakthroughs. That's the equivalent of the microprocessor for this new clean energy future. Some estimates are that market is $400 billion per year for 20 years to replace all the internal combustion engines with electric vehicles. If that's not a monster market, I don't know what is. But Larry Fink is on record. He's, he's forecasting that there will be 1,000 unicorns coming out of the climate clean tech energy revolution. I agree with that. SORKIN: Hey Ryan, one of the things I want to ask is effectively a public policy question. PANCHADSARAM: Oh, yeah. SORKIN: One is the question, one is the question of what do you do about China, India and other places that are not doing this let's just say as fast as we may be doing it? The other is, and we're already seeing it right now, the price of oil today is going up materially and there's a debate and discussion now that that may be a function of the fact that we are not either investing fast enough in some of these renewables or we're moving too fast to effectively de-invest in fossil fuels. PANCHADSARAM: Yeah, I’ll take the last one than the first one. So, when you look at oil prices, the fluctuation in gas, that's always what's happened with scarce resources, right. If we invest in more solar and more wind and more battery storage, those are things that are predictable, right. We've gone to wars over the price fluctuations of oil and gas and so to kind of blame it on renewables is pretty unfair. And so when we think about how we navigate this energy crisis, we're going to have to navigate it well, but when you think the 2022 and beyond, it's not about drilling more or finding more gas, it's deploying more clean energy because we can rely on it. On the first piece about the US, China, India and other countries, I think there's something that's pretty clear is that the alpha emitters, like ourselves in the US, we've got to go first, right. We've got to show the world it's possible and in the course of that, and by deploying more clean energy, we get to drive down the costs. The wealthy nations like China and Europe, they got to be on that train as well too, right. There's no more excuses. We've got to lead and the kind of competitive nature here too from a policy side is likely the countries that lead on this transition are going to create the businesses that matter the most around them, right, the valuable ones. And so it is effectively a race. A race who can create and own these markets of the future. SORKIN: Right. Hey John, I noticed it seemed like you wanted to jump in on this very issue and debate around whether we are either de-investing too quickly or investing too slowly. Steve Schwarzman runs Blackstone just warned yesterday he said that he believes this energy shortage, he believes is gonna ultimately lead to unrest and call for government, it will, will result in government intervention perhaps on the other side of the green debate. DOERR: Well, this is a revolution, this and in revolutions, there are winners and there are losers. It's not some kind of green kumbaya party that we're having among all the, all the participants. China made a strategic decision. They said they wanted to own the solar photovoltaic future. And so as a matter of policy, internal demand and global economic leadership, they funded solar manufacturers in every province and in every region and the result today is that they're 80% of the solar market. Now hot on their heels is India. Modi has declared he wants to install 450 gigawatts of solar by 2030. That would make him as large as the US market is for solar and they intend to distribute that globally to be a global supplier and powerhouse. So the energy transition will be rugged. We must though pay attention to environmental justice to make sure that populations that historically have been left behind in this transition have an opportunity to participate in the jobs of the new clean energy future. SORKIN: Right. John, you've always invested in some of the great entrepreneurs of our time so I have an investment and valuation question which is here we have Tesla, which just this week surpassed a trillion dollars in valuation that after Hertz announced it was going to be ordering 100,000 vehicles and I'm curious how you see that valuation. There's a lot of people that are buying into Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and buying into other companies that are in this space because there are so few of them. DOERR: Well, I think the fundamental driving this is the size of the market and the excellence of the product. If you haven't driven a Tesla, people aren't buying Tesla because it's green. They're buying it because it's a great automobile and the powerful thing that Tesla has done beyond creating a trillion dollar company that's worth as much as their next four competitors is they've put the global auto industry on notice that the future of electric transportation is what consumers will demand when we get cost and prices to be competitive globally. For an electric vehicle to prosper in India, you've got to displace an internal combustion vehicle with an average price of $12,000 to $14,000. We are not there yet in terms of batteries and we are not there yet today in terms of the market penetration. Globally, electric vehicles are about 4% of the worldwide fleet. That gives you a sense of how far we have to go and why I think the Tesla bulls are probably right. SORKIN: Probably right so I was gonna ask you is the valuation right that you know you often talk about being a first mover. Their first mover 5, 10 years from now, you want to hope that lots of other automobile makers are also following that lead but the question is how big, how big will the market ultimately be? DOERR: I think ultimately transportation will be electric globally. That's what the Speed & Scale plan calls for. As an anecdote, I think it was just a week ago that Elon was the guest of the leadership of Volkswagen. They want to know how that company moves so nimbly and they are committed to being a global leader. I believe they will be in the transportation future. SORKIN: Ryan, you said that the hardest piece of this is going to be the carbon capture piece and, and it's critical to so many of the plans that are out there to getting us to 2050 the right way. A number of major corporations have also made some pretty ambitious plans that require carbon capture. What are the most promising technologies that you found thus far in that space? PANCHADSARAM: Yeah, the most promising technologies in the carbon removal space, right, like using engineer mechanisms to pull carbon from the sky. You got the direct air capture world, right. This is climate works, carbon engineering, you've got other companies like Charm and Heirloom that are using other approaches as well too. I mean this market is so young Andrew, right, there are barely 4,000 tones that have been actually pulled out from the sky and we've got to get to 5 billion tons. And so the market opportunity here over the course of the next you know two decades is going to be quite incredible. But it's got to start now, right. That market needs to be instigated and the work you're seeing from Microsoft and Stripe and others to pay ahead, right, to pay that green premium for carbon removal because the cost something on the order of like 600 bucks a ton today is what's getting things kick started. We're going to need things like a price on carbon to actually make it, to drive down that actual cost from 600 to 100 to maybe 50 as time goes on and people start to scale these things up. But that's the kind of nut of it, we're going to need it. There's going to be a market there. The companies that are paying ahead are doing the right thing they're instigating but there's also going to have to be truly a cost on polluting carbon that goes towards carbon removal. DOERR: So Andrew, besides— SORKIN: Yes sir. Go ahead. DOERR: I was just gonna say besides, besides the mechanical or engineered approaches, there are natural approaches to remove carbon such as growing greater kelp forests which can rely on the awesome powers of nature to capture and sequester this stubborn carbon that will be leftover. SORKIN: Gentlemen, I want to thank— PANCHADSARAM: One thing I— SORKIN: Go ahead. We're gonna leave it there in about a second but, but let's, tell us the one thing about technology. PANCHADSARAM: Oh yeah, the one thing though to look at too is there are carbon capture technologies when in the use of natural gas and other places but always look at those with a skeptical eye because of the added cost of that compared to the renewable option, the cleaner one, and the truth is you're going to find that the market wins on that side, Andrew. SORKIN: Okay, Ryan and John. The book is called “Speed & Scale.” Appreciate it. Congratulations on the on the book. Hope to see you guys in person very, very soon. Thanks. DOERR: Let's do that. Updated on Oct 28, 2021, 3:34 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 29th, 2021

A married couple with a 4-month-old baby were both laid off by Google, while one of them was on parental leave

Allie was around halfway through her maternity leave when Google laid her off. She and her husband both got the news at the same time, she said. Google laid off around 12,000 employees, or roughly 6% of its workforce, on Friday.Stephanie Keith/Getty Images A married couple with a four-month-old baby were both hit by Google's mass layoffs on Friday. Allie was on maternity leave while her husband, Steve, was set to go on paternity leave in a few weeks. They said they'd work full-time on their own business instead. "This was the push that we needed." A husband and wife with a four-month-old baby said they were both hit by Google's mass layoffs on Friday.Allie and Steve, who asked to go by their first names only but whose identities are known by Insider, had both relocated to California when Allie started working for the tech giant six years ago. Steve began working at the company around two years later.The couple, who were high school sweethearts, had their first child in fall 2022. Allie went on parental leave shortly before, and planned to be off for around eight months in total. Steve took two months of parental leave in late 2022, and was set to take a further two from March.Google laid off around 12,000 employees, or roughly 6% of its workforce, on Friday. Allie and Steve were among those affected, they told Insider. Both found out that they were being laid off at the same time.Google's layoffs come as other tech giants are dramatically cutting their workforce. Twitter, under new owner Elon Musk, laid off thousands of workers in late 2022. A class-action lawsuit filed against the company accused it of violating the Family and Medical Leave Act by terminating workers on or soon to take parental leave.Another Google employee told Insider she was laid off just days before going on maternity leave.Google employees have expressed their shock at the abrupt and impersonal nature of the layoffs, which happened over email. Some managers weren't even informed of the mass terminations before they happened.Allie was a marketing manager at Google while Steve had been a research operations manager. Allie said they "didn't really see each other every day at work" because they worked in different buildings but sometimes had lunch together and did Google's bike trails, Allie said.Allie said she "absolutely" enjoyed her "six wonderful years" working at the company, in particular praising her colleagues and the staff benefits. Steve said that Google had invested a lot of time and money into its staff. Perhaps ironically, the generous parental leave was one of the things that attracted both workers to Google.Allie said that there had been an "overwhelming response" after she announced the news of their layoffs, with people from both Google and other companies reaching out, in some cases offering jobs.The couple said that they planned to use their dual layoffs as an opportunity to develop their own business. They set up White Cube Media, which makes animated explainer videos for companies, back in 2014 and worked on it in their spare time.They didn't mind balancing it along their full-time jobs at Google, which gave them the safety and consistency they needed while they grew their business, Allie said. They would work on White Cube Media late at night and during the weekends, and even while on vacation in Hawaii, Mexico, and Amsterdam, she said."We're very hard workers," Allie said. "It doesn't even feel like work for us."But now Allie and Steve can work on the business full-time, they told Insider. "This was the push that we needed," Allie said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 24th, 2023

Big Tech"s wipeout sends workers scrambling

We're taking you inside the mass layoffs hitting Silicon Valley's biggest companies. Plus, a look at the biggest four-day workweek experiment yet. Hi, I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. This is Insider Weekly, a roundup of our top stories. Get this newsletter in your inbox each Sunday – sign up here.On the agenda today:Inside the tech industry's week from hell.Why JPMorgan is suing this startup founder for millions of dollars of fraud.A real-world experiment proved that we should shift to a four-day workweek.The US is facing the biggest financial crisis in history.Breaking news this morning: At least 10 people have died at a mass shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration in California, police confirmed to Insider. This is a developing story. Follow our coverage here.Up first: I just returned to New York after a few days in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. It was intense and informative, packed with meetings with business leaders and government ministers from around the world. I also moderated a panel about the industrial metaverse.I posted a few videos and notes on LinkedIn, if you want a behind-the-scenes look at the meeting. I've also written a short dispatch about my takeaways below. Dispatch from DavosDavos, SwitzerlandHanna Erasmus and EyeEm/Getty ImagesMore than 1,500 business leaders descended on Davos in the Swiss Alps last week. I was there to take it all in. After meetings with senior figures in business and government, plus panel discussions and dinner conversations, here are my tweet-length takeaways:Sustainability: Climate change, sustainability, and the energy transition were front of mind. There's consensus on what needs to happen. But the "how" is still a work in progress.AI: The viral popularity of ChatGPT has moved AI to the mainstream. Many marveled at the potential, some expressed concern over the risks, and Microsoft rivals gritted their teeth whenever the buzz came up. Economy: I sensed a subtle shift in the mood. The reopening of China and a potential thawing of US-China relations, plus signs of slowing inflation in the US, had attendees feeling a little less negative.Future of work: The right approach to remote work is still a mystery. In the meantime, there are dire predictions for office buildings.I'll be writing more on these topics in the coming days, so keep an eye out. And let me know if you have any questions about the mood among the business elite: mturner@insider.com. Tech's week from hellGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai giving a speech to college students in New Delhi, India in 2015.Saumya Khandelwal/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesIt was a wipeout at Silicon Valley's tech giants this week. On Tuesday, Insider's Ashley Stewart broke the news that Microsoft staffers were bracing for layoffs; the company announced 10,000 cuts the next day.And layoff news percolated throughout the industry the rest of the week. On Wednesday, Insider's Kali Hays reported that Twitter is bracing for more layoffs, and Alphabet on Friday announced 12,000 job cuts at Google.Then, of course, there's Amazon, which kicked off its largest job cuts in company history on Wednesday, affecting a whopping 18,000 people. Upon hearing the news, many staffers went to Slack to cobble together what was going on and which teams would be impacted the most. Insider obtained a list of more than 35 Amazon teams that were affected. Inside the tech industry's brutal job cuts.Read more:Microsoft is telling some managers to embrace 'good attrition,' using massive layoffs to push underperforming employees out the door quickerGoogle has finally buckled under pressure to conduct layoffs — here are the units that could be affectedThe rise and fall of Charlie JaviceCharlie Javice; Arif Qazi/InsiderCharlie Javice became a superstar in the world of finance when she was barely out of high school. But it all came crashing down — less than a year after selling her financial-aid startup, Frank, to JPMorgan for $175 million.JPMorgan has slapped the 30-year-old entrepreneur with a massive lawsuit, claiming she defrauded investors by lying about the number of users on her service. In 2021, she claimed 4.25 million people were using Frank; in reality, it never had more than about 250,000 users. An Insider investigation reveals that Javice had a history of exaggerating her accomplishments.Read the full story here.No more working on FridaysArif Qazi/InsiderWe just got the most convincing evidence yet that the four-day workweek is a positive change for employees. Thirty-three companies took part in a six-month trial of the policy — and all reported increased revenue and an improvement in employee well-being.There were some other really interesting takeaways, like how small companies saw huge gains. One startup doubled its gross profits and productivity doubled over the trial period. More about the real-world experiment.Read more:Why the four-day workweek isn't the kind of perk most workers want: It's 'an upper-class issue'We're facing the biggest financial crisis in historyHouse Speaker Kevin McCarthy holds the speaker's gavel high after winning election as speaker of the House early Saturday morning.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesThe US technically hit its debt ceiling this past week — and failing to raise it by summer could imperil the entire financial system. Trouble is, the new GOP House majority is using the debt limit as leverage to push through their policy priorities, like cutting spending on Democratic favorites like Social Security and Medicare.This has happened before. Republicans averted a debt crisis three times under former President Trump, and again two years ago. But with a Democratic White House, the GOP is playing hardball.What happens if America stops paying its bills.This week's quote:"Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated. You are no longer required to perform any work on Amazon's behalf effective immediately." An email sent to laid-off Amazon staffers by Amazon's HR boss Beth Galetti — informing them that their role was being cut. More of this week's top reads:A man faced backlash after using AI to create an entire children's book in one weekend.Goldman Sachs' job cuts may not have gone far enough.A leaked transcript reveals the investment giant Blackstone's real-estate strategy.I asked ChatGPT to write my resignation letter, but got career counseling instead.A woman bought a house at the peak of the market and interest rates — and regrets it.We bought a $2.5 million cabin on a luxury cruise ship so we can live at sea.What it's like to fly business class on the world's longest flight — an 18-hour trip.Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Dave Smith and Lisa Ryan. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 22nd, 2023

What the U.S. Hitting the Debt Ceiling Means for You

The U.S. hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said she doesn’t anticipate Americans will feel the effects before June—but there could be some consequences. The U.S. hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion on Thursday, raising economic concerns about what happens if lawmakers can reach a deal to pay the U.S. government’s debts. The Treasury Department has begun using a series of “extraordinary measures” to avoid a government default on its debt, which buys the U.S. about six months to either raise the debt ceiling or come up with a creative way out. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said she doesn’t anticipate Americans will feel the effects before June, but that Congress needs to negotiate a solution fast. No one knows what would happen if the U.S. defaults on its debt, which would be a historic first, but experts warn it would likely ripple into a global financial crisis. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Whenever tax revenue doesn’t fully cover government programs, such as defense spending, social programs, and government salaries—which it has every year since 2001—the government must borrow money, but it’s restricted by a set limitation on how much debt the U.S. can incur. Per the U.S. Constitution, Congress needs to approve all borrowing, so Congress implemented the debt ceiling over a century ago to avoid approving each new debt. Since then, lawmakers have raised the debt ceiling dozens of times. “It’s Congress’s responsibility,” Eric Swanson, a professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine, tells TIME. “If you’re going to pass a law that the spending is this and the taxes are this, then whatever the difference is, has to be debt. You have to pass the law that authorizes the debt.” Swanson is hopeful that Congress will avoid disaster by reaching an eventual agreement to raise the debt ceiling, but “they might push it really close to the deadline,” he says. “There’s a lot of disagreement these days.” How’s how the debt ceiling fight could impact you. Financial markets and 401(k)s The U.S. defaulting on its debt would threaten the value of bonds, equities, and the U.S. dollar, which would unfurl in the global market already saddled with high inflation and interest, potential recession, and multiple geopolitical crises. In short, it would be terrible for financial markets and anyone with a 401(k) retirement account. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped nearly 1,000 points in the past two days as Wall Street prepares for the potential shock. Firms like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are already strategizing for the future. A similar standoff to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time, and there was a huge push to sell off stocks. The threat alone of reaching June without a solution may scare investors into pursuing international equities and foreign government bonds. A default would likely cause investors to lose confidence in the U.S.’s ability to pay its bonds, which have historically been viewed as some of the safest investments. “Nobody knows for sure what will happen, because it’s never happened before. We’ve had these debt ceiling standoffs, the treasury has done these extraordinary measures before, and the standoffs have always gotten resolved,” Swanson says. “So I guess there’s a big question when the Treasury comes to the end of these extraordinary measures, is there anything else they can do? Is there something else up the Treasury’s sleeve that they haven’t told anyone about?“ he adds. Social Security and Medicare recipients About 20%, just over $1 trillion, of the federal budget went to Social Security and around 13%, more than $760 billion, went to Medicare in 2022, making them two of the largest funded programs by the federal government. There are no disruptions in these programs expected for now. However, if the government defaults on its debt, that could cause delays in Social Security and Medicare payments, along with other key programs like veterans’ benefits and SNAP food assistance. To address the debt ceiling, House Republicans have begun discussing spending cuts to social programs. Some Republicans have discussed cuts to Social Security and Medicare, though the party is far from united behind that strategy. Lawmakers will likely prioritize funding Social Security and Medicare—not least because they are popular with a key voting bloc—older Americans. “​​If Social Security payments were to be delayed, the voters would go completely ballistic,” Swanson says. “That would be politically very costly to both parties and I think none of them want that to happen.” Filing taxes The 2022 filing period for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is from Jan. 23 to April 18. The IRS estimates that taxpayers will receive their tax refunds within 21 days of filing their taxes electronically, which is good news for taxpayers because any effects from the debt ceiling fight likely won’t happen until June or later.The tax return process should carry out like normal. The IRS typically announces adjustments to tax brackets in October or November, coupled with new tax provisions. These annual updates adjust taxes to keep up with the cost of living, so depending on inflation this fall, the adjustments for 2023 could be small or significant Government employees One likely outcome for how the government will retain enough funds to keep borrowing is to suspend investments in federal pensions. The Federal Employees Retirement System is considered to be one of the best retirement plans available, reserved for the nearly two million civilian federal employees. Pension investments should be made whole once the debt ceiling crisis is resolved. “There’s a lot of federal employees, so that’s actually a lot of money,” Swanson says. Seasoned federal employees are all too familiar with the longest government shutdown in U.S. history that halted all nonessential government operations for 35 days from 2018-2019. Similar consequences were threatened last month when Congress stalled to pass a federal spending bill. The $1.7 trillion spending package Congress came up with after lengthy bipartisan discussions will fund the federal government until Sept. 30, 2023, when the fiscal year ends. At that point, Congress will need to pass a new spending bill, or the government will shut down, potentially leaving thousands of government employees on unpaid furloughs, like the more than 800,000 employees deemed nonessential in the 2019 shutdown......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 19th, 2023

25 cities and towns where it will become harder to own or manage a short-term vacation rental in 2023

Local governments across the country are floating new regulations to curb short-term rentals, citing reasons from noise disruptions to affordability. Atlanta is one of the many cities that has gotten serious about cracking down on short-term rentals.Steve Kelley / Getty Images The pandemic sparked a boom in short-term rentals, and AirDNA found listings hit a record high in 2022. Some residents and officials in hot cities say these rentals deplete housing stock or cause noise disturbances. These 25 locations across North America are looking to rein in Airbnbs and short-term rentals. Airbnbs and other short-term rental platforms became a go-to for investors during the pandemic as high home prices and rising interest rates made it unaffordable for regular homebuyers to enter the market. Investors sought to maximize their returns by renting homes to growing numbers of vacationers, travel nurses, and remote workers. But as the calendar turns to 2023, there is more competition than ever for short-term rentals which will make it more difficult for investors who are looking to capitalize on the travel boom created by the pandemic. But that hasn't stopped a number of vacation rental owners and property managers from cashing in — in both the US and Canada — which has left some of their neighbors frustrated.For many, it's paying off. Airbnb reported the average US host's income grew to over $13,800 in 2021 — an increase of 85% since 2019. By early 2022, there were a towering, industry-record 1.5 million listings available, according to the analytics site AirDNA.Locals say the mounting presence of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods can lead to a variety of issues, from mundane annoyances (noisy parties) to substantial challenges (they make it more difficult for regular people to buy homes).Cities and towns are caught in the middle, trying to balance these concerns with the revenue that vacationers bring in and the rights of property owners. From the beaches of California to the mountains of Vermont, communities are grappling with what the future of short-term rentals looks like. Some local governments, like in Honolulu, have passed regulations like banning rental stays under 90 days, while others, like in Aspen, Colorado, have proposed new taxes on owners. Some cities have simply called timeout: Chattanooga, Tennessee, paused new applications for non-owner-occupied units as it considered short-term rentals' future there. An Airbnb spokesperson said in an emailed statement that "short-term rentals have been part of the fabric of popular vacation destinations such as these for decades, and our goal is to work with communities on balanced rules that support local tourism economies, provide certainty and clarity for Hosts, and address community concerns." Airbnb also maintains a page on its site dubbed City Portal, which has resources for local governments.  Here are 25 locations in the US and Canada where residents and local politicians are fighting back against short-term rentals. They are presented in alphabetical order.Are you trying to pass regulations to limit short-term rentals? Are you a short-term rental owner who wants to talk about your experience with regulations? Email reporter Dan Latu at dlatu@insider.com. Alamosa, ColoradoThe Great Sand Dune National Park and the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains draw visitors to southern Colorado every year.Dan Ballard/Getty ImagesA four-hour drive south of Denver, Alamosa (population 10,000) is known for its proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where visitors flock to see the tallest dunes in North America. As of November, Alamosa had 24 short-term rentals registered with the city — and many more unregistered ones, the Alamosa Citizen reported.In April, the Alamosa City Council unanimously passed an ordinance and two resolutions that were seen as a compromise between the interests of short-term-rental owners and frustrated residents. Under the new regulations, short-term rentals that are available for less than 30 days can only be in certain types of dwellings, including single-family homes or one unit in a multifamily property. Renting units in multifamily buildings with more than four units is no longer allowed.Short-term-rental owners will also have to obtain a license for an initial cost of $750 and a yearly renewal fee of $300. There is now a 5% cap on the number of short-term-rental licenses that will be issued per zone, or city neighborhood.When a new short-term-rental license is issued, neighbors must be notified.The Alamosa Citizen reported that area employers were struggling to recruit workers given "a tight and increasingly expensive housing market.""It is important to bring resolution to this item so business owners can predict what will be expected of them, neighborhoods will have some protections from nuisances, there is reasonable preservation of housing units for residents," Heather Brooks, the Alamosa city manager, told the Valley Courier. Aspen, ColoradoAspen, ColoradoVisionsofAmerica/Joe SohmAspen voters approved a ballot measure in November that imposes a pair of new taxes on short-term and vacation rental properties. Ballot Issue 2A imposes a 5% tax on nightly room rates for short-term rentals with lodge-exempt permits and a 10% tax on investment properties. The measures were approved by the local city council just days after Steamboat Springs, another popular Colorado resort town about three hours north of Aspen, passed a similar ordinance imposing new taxes on vacation rentals. Aspen City Council member Rachel Richards told the Post Independent in November that the vote is a "re-affirmation that Aspen is a community, wants to be a community, and supports the community."There are 979 STRs in Aspen and they charge an average daily rate of $749, according to AirDNA. Aspen is also the most expensive city in Colorado to live in with an average home price of more than $3 million, according to Zillow. Opponents of the measure have argued that it will depress tourism in one of Colorado's best-known resort locations. In the summer of 2020, Aspen hospitality businesses saw their average daily rates increase by 29% year-over-year while their revenue per available room increased by nearly 99%, according to data from the Aspen Chamber of Commerce.Atlanta, GeorgiaHomes in Atlanta's popular Midtown neighborhood.novikat/Getty ImagesIn March 2021, Atlanta passed an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals.It requires hosts to pay a $150 annual fee for a permit — and provide a copy of the property's deed and a utility bill — to operate a rental property. The rentals are taxed at 8%, the same as hotels in Atlanta. A violation of the ordinance carries a $300 fine."I'm trying to stop the city from becoming a de facto hotel city," a city councilman, Antonio Lewis, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The bill was approved by a 13-2 council vote to crack down on party houses by making the owner of the unit responsible for violations.The law was scheduled to go into effect in April, allowing hosts to apply for permits the month prior. However, according to an analysis of city-permitting data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, roughly 10% of the city's 7,100 listings applied for permits two months after the application process opened. Less than 3% received permits.The enforcement date has since been extended to September 6, according to the local NBC affiliate 11 Alive.For now, all enforcement of the new rules will be complaint-driven and fall under the jurisdiction of the Atlanta police.Burlington, VermontChurch Street in Burlington, Vermont, is the downtown hub of the state's most populous city.DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesVermont's most populous city attracts more than just autumnal leaf-peepers, welcoming visitors year-round for its breweries, nature excursions, and cultural attractions. For the past year, the city government was locked in a debate over the growth of short-term rentals. There are now between 200 to 250 short-term rentals in the 40,000-person city, according to the VTDigger, and the major concern for officials is whether short-term rentals take away housing stock from Burlington residents. In February, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring short-term-rental owners to also live in the house as their primary residence. But the mayor vetoed the measure in March, saying it was too restrictive.In April, the City Council, with new members sworn in, voted to consider a new set of rules and passed a brand-new ordinance in June, according to the local outlet Seven Days. Short-term-rental owners must now live on the property, though there are some exceptions. Hosts will also pay an annual fee of up to $110 and a 9% tax on revenue from the rental, according to Seven Days.Chattanooga, TennesseeRiverboat cruises draw visitors to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, where the city has paused all short-term-rental applications.SeanPavonePhoto/Getty ImagesThe Chattanooga City Council has paused all applications for short-term rental that are not owner-occupied. The freeze will last the rest of 2022.The city, with a riverfront and historic battlegrounds that attract tourists, has been debating the merits of its profitable rental industry. A local station, Channel 9 News, reported that Airbnb rentals brought in tax revenue of $3.5 million for the county in 2021. But some residents are concerned about the ability of outside investors to reap rewards at the expense of Chattanooga locals. "I'm not in favor of having investors that come in out of state, out of country even, and buy 10 to 15 pieces of property. They're not invested in the community. They're not invested in Chattanooga," Donna Morgan, a local resident, told Channel 9.There are 1,120 active short-term rentals, according to analytics site AirDNA.Coeur d'Alene, IdahoCoeur d'Alene, Idaho is a resort town that is a 40-minute drive east of Spokane, Washington.Alan NickCity leaders in Coeur d'Alene, a resort town along the north edge of Idaho's Harrison Slough, are working to limit the number of short term rentals in their town.The city first passed laws concerning short term rentals in 2017, but is considering adding a slew of restrictions as the number of vacation rentals continues to grow. Coeur d'Alene's General Services/Public Works Committee could amend the law to require off-street parking, increase fees for violating the ordinance, and limit the number of permits issued annually. "We can't have a thousand people rushing to get a permit when we might not allow that many," Councilwoman Christie Wood told KREM 2 in September. According to AirDNA, there are about 790 active vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene that charge an average daily rate of around $260. However, a large chunk of the rentals may be illegal as city officials told local news station KREM in November that only 453 vacation rental properties have been authorized. The debate over vacation rentals in Coeur d'Alene comes at a time when the local housing market is shifting in favor of buyers. The average home value is down more than 6% to just under $500,000 as of November while the number of homes sold has dropped by more than 35% year-over-year, according to Redfin.Dallas, TexasDallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.Danny Lehman/ Getty ImagesLocal leaders on the Dallas City Plan Commission voted 9-4 on December 8 to recommend defining short-term rental properties as "lodging" under the city's zoning code. The move could effectively prevent the properties from existing in Dallas' single-family residential neighborhoods. The Dallas City Council still needs to approve the recommendation before any enforcement actions can take place. The body could vote on the recommendation as early as January 11, 2023. Commissioner Claire Stanard, one of the commission members who voted in favor of the proposal, told the Dallas Morning News that the proposal could help improve public safety. The commission heard several complaints from local residents about "party houses" with loud music and lots of cars during their debate. "If my granddaughter is living next to a short-term rental or between them, is that really what my son-in-law bought a house to have as his next-door neighbor," Standard said. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 5,400 short-term rentals in Dallas. The properties charge an average daily rate of $165 and they have a 60% occupancy rate. Other commissioners weren't as convinced that adding new regulations would help solve the problems that city residents are complaining about. "I don't have any faith that regulation is the sole solution to this problem," Commissioner Melissa Kingston told the Dallas Morning News. Other cities in Texas like Fort Worth and Arlington have already restricted vacation rental properties from their residential neighborhoods.Dauphin Island, AlabamaDauphin Island, Alabama sits on the Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.Barry WinikerAnother vacation destination that has imposed limitations on short term rental properties is Dauphin Island, Alabama, a small island off of the gulf coast in Pelican Bay. In August, Dauphin Island's Planning Commission finalized several STR restrictions in a rewrite of the town's zoning code. The restrictions include limiting where short term rental properties can be located on the island, restricting the number of vehicles that can be parked at a rental property, and imposing a $75 annual fee for rental property owners. The new limitations have put residents at odds with one another, according to a report by AL.com. Some claim the properties are improving the island by attracting tourists. Those who want to limit the number of short term rentals say the regulations are striking a balance between business interests and the local community. "One group will say they are renting out (their house) and the next thing you know is you have eight cars parked all over the yards," Dauphin Island City Councilman Earle Connell, who is also the local liaison for the planning commission, told AL.com in August. "To them, it's a vacation. I understand that. But these people who do that don't understand we have a community and neighborhood that is protected."There are 574 vacation rental homes in Dauphin Island, and they have a 68% occupancy rate, according to AirDNA.Dillon, ColoradoDillon, Colorado is a ski town near Breckenridge.Brad McGinleyDillon, Colorado's city council is considering how to move forward with the town's new short-term rental regulations after voters approved a slate of measures aimed at curtailing the properties in November. Currently, city council members are debating a new ordinance to increase the annual fee charged to short-term rentals from $50 to $250 and include new application questions about how the rental unit will be used, according to a report by Summit Daily.  The ordinance comes after voters approved a pair of ballot questions that levy a 5% excise tax on short-term rentals and increased the city's lodging tax from 2% to 6%. The city – which has just over 1,000 full-time residents – is located in Summit County, home to some of Colorado's favorite ski attractions such as the Breckenridge ski resort, Copper Mountain, and Grays Peak. Overall, the city estimates that the new taxes could return approximately $3 million in annual tax revenue. Dillon can collect up to $4.5 million of this specific tax before triggering a tax refund under state law, town finance director Carri McDonnell told Steamboat Pilot & Today.Voters approved the new taxes at a time when Dillon's housing market is soaring. Dillon's median home price has increased more than 30% over the last 12 months to $915,000, according to Redfin.Frisco, ColoradoFrisco, Colorado is another ski town near Breckenridge.Bloomberg CreativeFrisco, Colorado – a small town in central Colorado – capped the number of short term rental properties within its jurisdiction at 900, or 25% of the local housing stock, back in October. The new regulations also require short term rental landlords to live at their property for at least 10 months out of the year but passed on the opportunity to create a new license for short-term rentals versus traditional rental properties, according to the Summit Daily. The ordinance could also have a significant impact on tourism in Fisco, which is seen by locals as a cheap midway point between popular resort destinations like Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Frisco currently levies a 5% excise tax on short term rentals and a 2% lodging tax."There are a lot of people very unhappy — as one person had mentioned — with having the short-term rentals next to them because some people might be very careful to who they rent to and how they monitor it, but others are not," city councilmember Lisa Holenko told Summit Daily. There are currently more than 1,700 STRs in Frisco, according to AirDNA. These properties charge an average daily rate of $299 and have an average occupancy rate of about 50%.Lexington, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby horse race.iStock/Getty Images PlusPopular tourist towns like Lexington, Kentucky — which is home to the annual Kentucky Derby — are starting to crack down on vacation rentals at a time when their housing markets are growing more competitive by the day. Lexington's Special Planning and Public Safety Committee is considering requiring Airbnb and Vrbo landlords in the area to acquire a special business license and imposing an additional transient tax on the properties, according to a report by WKYT. Business owners like Heath Green, co-owner of the Kentucky Life Property Management Group, told the committee that the additional measures could decrease tourism, which is Kentucky's economic bread and butter. But the measure also comes at a time when real estate values in Lexington are outpacing the national average in terms of home price appreciation. Data from Redfin shows that Lexington's median home price has increased 14.4% over the last year up to nearly $298,000 as of November 2022. That's compared to the national average increase of just 2.6%, according to Redfin. There are more than 1,200 active vacation rentals in Lexington that charge an average daily rate of $171 and have an occupancy rate of more than 50%, according to data from AirDNA.Marco Island, FloridaMarco Island is a barrier island near Naples, Florida.Marc FreiVoters in Marco Island, Florida approved an ordinance on August 23 that created a registration program for short term rental properties and imposed several new restrictions. After months of debate, it was narrowly approved by the local city council in December. To register a property, short term rental owners must hold a liability insurance policy of at least $1 million, provide city officials with a phone number that is answered 24-hours per day, and pay a $50 registration fee. The ordinance was submitted by a group called Take Back Marco, a nonpartisan political action committee. Ed Issler, who leads Take Back Marco, told WINK that additional regulations are necessary because short term rental properties have "gotten out of control" on Marco Island. According to data from AirDNA, there are more than 2,400 short term rental properties, which charge an average daily rate of $329. Vacation rental property owners have filed a lawsuit to prevent the ordinance from going into effect. David Di Pietro, an attorney representing the property owners, told Gulfshore Business in August that the ordinance is overly restrictive. "Once this ordinance passes, until you receive the certificate from the city, which means you have to have an inspection from the fire department and the city, you can't rent until that's done," Di Pietro said. "There are over 2,000 rentals and there's nobody doing that job right now. So, we think that it's going to be a ban for an indefinite amount of time."MontréalThe nighttime skyline of downtown Montréal.Nicolas McComber/Getty ImagesIt's not just Americans who oppose the barrage of short-term rentals.Activists in Montréal, the largest city in Canada's Quebec province, are trying to curb the wave of listings in order to preserve housing for residents."In recent years, we have lost thousands of apartments in Montréal to short-term rentals," Cédric Dussault, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations of Quebec, told CBC in a May interview.Some restrictions are in place. Currently, in order to rent out a unit, the owner must obtain an establishment number and, in some cases, a classification certificate from Quebec's tourism body. Since May 2020, it is required that operators put the establishment number on any advertisement or posting to rent space. The maximum stay is also capped at 31 days.Montréal, however, has had a tough time enforcing these regulations. CBC cited data from independent watchdog group Inside Airbnb stating that 11,639 Montréal Airbnbs are unlicensed. That's about 95% of them, it estimated."The simple story is that the province put a very good set of rules in place, but has not put in any effort to make sure that anybody follows those rules," David Wachsmuth, the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, told CBC.New York City, New YorkThere may be upwards of 10,000 short-term rentals operating illegally in New York City.Alexander Spatari/Getty ImagesMayor Eric Adams has moved to require Airbnb and Vrbo hosts to register their properties with the city, provide proof that the hosts live in the units with their guests, and show that the property meets local zoning and safety guidelines. The proposal will go into effect in January and hosts who fail to comply could face between $1,000 and $5,000 in penalties. A report by NPR suggests the policy could remove as many as 10,000 short-term rentals that are operating in the city illegally. "Currently as is, this is an entirely unregulated market and the consequences have been disastrous for New Yorkers," New York State Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani said during a hearing about the proposal in early December.Data from AirDNA shows that there are more than 24,500 active short-term rentals in New York that charge an average daily rate of $234 and are about 75% occupied.Oahu, HawaiiThe famous Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu, which brings in nearly half of Hawaii's annual visitors.M Swiet Productions/Getty ImagesIn April, Honolulu's mayor, Rick Blangiardi, signed a new law requiring a minimum stay of 90 days for short-term rentals in residential areas on the island of Oahu, in an attempt to curb the sprawl of vacation rentals in the city. Hawaii News Now reported that the city estimates there are between 10,000 to 14,000 short-term rentals in Oahu."This is a historic moment," Blangiardi said at a press conference for the bill, which passed the City Council by a vote of 8-1. The new law applies to the non-resort neighborhoods of Hawaii's most popular island, Oahu, which is home to iconic attractions like Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Before the pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority recorded over 6 million visitors to Oahu in 2019, which represented nearly half of all tourism spending for the state. But local residents complain of tourists overrunning residential neighborhoods, taking away housing opportunities, and causing disturbances."Any economic benefits of opening up our residential areas to tourism are far outweighed by the negative impacts on our neighborhoods and local residents," Oahu resident Thomas Cestare said at a City Council hearing, according to Hawaii News Now.A group of short-term-rental owners sued the city in June, seeking an exemption for 30- to 90-day rentals that existed pre-ordinance, according to Courthouse News Service. In the suit, the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance said thousands of owners previously operating legally would be "irreparably harmed" by the new 90-day minimum. In September, the alliance asked for an injunction ahead of the ordinance's planned effective date, October 23, according to Courthouse News Service. The presiding judge deferred the decision, but Courthouse reported the parties asked to meet with the judge before the deadline.Palm Springs, CaliforniaPalm Springs is known for its many golf courses and beautiful weather during the winter months.Robin Smith/Getty ImagesPalm Springs, California, a small town that borders Mt. San Jacinto State Park in the southern part of the state, recently adopted an ordinance to limit the number of short term rentals in its jurisdiction to 20% of homes in residential neighborhoods, KESQ reported in November. The new ordinance also reduced the number of days that a landlord can rent out their vacation rental property from 36 to 26. All existing permits plus the 300 applications the city received before October 17 will be grandfathered in, according to the report. There are more than 4,100 active vacation rentals in the city, according to data from AirDNA. The properties charge an average daily rate of $500 and are about 63% occupied, the data shows. For comparison, there are just 489 homes listed for sale in Palm Springs, according to Redfin, and the market commands a median home price of $605,000, a 14.4% increase when compared to November 2021. Zillow shows there are just 109 homes for rent in the city as well.Palo Alto, CaliforniaPalo Alto is the home of major tech companies HP, VMware, SAP Labs, and others.ShutterstockOne of California's wealthiest cities is planning to limit the number of short-term rental properties in its jurisdiction as it struggles to add new housing units. Palo Alto's city council voted 5-2 on December 12 to explore creating new regulations on vacation rentals. The council is exploring regulations that range from requiring the properties to be owner-occupied to banning rentals of fewer than 30 days, Palo Alto Online reported.  Data from AirDNA shows that there are 610 short-term rentals in Palo Alto, which attract an average daily rate of $277 and have a 77% occupancy rate. For comparison, Zillow's website shows there are just 179 available rental listings in Palo Alto. "We have more units available through Airbnb through short-term rentals than we do as far as just available rental units in the city," Palo Alto councilmember Greer Stone told Palo Alto Online. "That's a concern. Presumably, every short-term rental unit on the market is potentially a housing unit that someone can be in long-term or permanently."Other council members noted that limiting short-term rentals in the area could greatly restrict the ability of families who come to town to visit relatives who are being treated at nearby Stanford Hospital. "If we remove this option, we're really going to be limiting the people who live here and the people who have a pretty legitimate need to come here," said councilwoman Alison Cormack. Park Township, MichiganThe shoreline of Lake Michigan.iStock/Getty Images PlusStarting October 1, 2023, local officials in Park Township, Michigan — which is located about 30 miles due west of Grand Rapids — will start enforcing a town rule that prohibits short-term rental properties in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance has been on the books since 1974, the town's board of trustees noted as they voted unanimously on the plan during their November meeting. The ordinance still allows short-term rentals in commercial zones just like hotels and motels. During the meeting, the trustees offered a range of reasons why they support the ordinance, from keeping the peace to preserving the character of the resort town's residential neighborhoods. Data from AirDNA shows that there are 141 active vacation rental properties in Park Township compared to the 119 homes listed for sale and the 22 homes for rent that are listed on Zillow.Portland, MaineSunset over Portland, Maine.Mark BibikowState legislators in Portland, Maine are considering adding new restrictions on short-term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo after voters defeated a ballot initiative that sought to restrict how the properties can operate. The initiative was submitted by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a political organization, and approved by the local city council over the summer. It seeks to prohibit corporate owners of rental properties from owning short term rentals, prohibits evictions for the purpose of converting a property to a short term rental, and increases penalties for properties that don't comply with the law. Voters defeated the initiative by a 55% to 45% margin. Business owners and some employees formed a political action group called "Enough is Enough" to oppose the initiative, claiming that the Democratic Socialists are manipulating the city's citizen initiated referendum process. "My biggest issue is, trying to govern the city through referendum I think is a bad idea," said Nick Mavodone, a former city council member and the chairman of the Enough is Enough campaign. "One thing I know is there are a lot of unintended consequences with everything that comes before an elected body, no matter how simple it seems." Now, lawmakers on the Joint Select Committee on Housing are poised to consider new regulations for short-term rentals when the legislature reconvenes in January 2023, according to the Portland Press Herald. According to data from AirDNA, there are 766 short term rental properties in Portland and they have an occupancy rate of 74%. These properties are also charging an average daily rate of nearly $280, which is less than other popular destinations in Maine such as Bar Harbor.Red Hook, New YorkThe Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge in New York's Hudson Valley.OlegAlbinsky/Getty ImagesRed Hook, a small town about two hours north of New York City in the bucolic Hudson Valley region, unanimously passed short-term-rental regulations at the end of 2021.The new local laws limit the number of days a property can be rented out, establish rules for what type of renting is allowed, and require permits for hosting.In districts that are heavily residential, only one-bedroom rentals are permitted and are limited to 120 days per year. In less densely residential areas, units with multiple bedrooms are allowed to be rented. They are not capped by a day limit. No matter its size, the rule says, the home must be the primary residence of the host.To give a sense of the number of short-term rentals in the broader area, a search for available Airbnbs for a weekend in June in and around Red Hook, NY, led to more than 300 listings.Some Red Hook residents have voiced concerns about their town becoming overrun by weekenders and as a site for party houses. "With nearly four years of committee and community discussion, input and changes, we hope we've been able to strike a balance between encouraging short-term rentals and protecting residential neighborhoods from conversion," Robert McKeon, the Red Hook town supervisor, told the Poughkeepsie Journal. Santa Rosa, CaliforniaSanta Rosa, California is a town 55 miles north of San Francisco.Matt DutcherThe Santa Rosa City Council voted on August 10 to limit the number of STRs in its jurisdiction to 198. There are currently 581 short term rental properties in Santa Rosa, according to AirDNA, which means that nearly two-thirds of property owners won't be able to continue renting their homes. The new limitations have also pitted neighbor against neighbor in the town that sits 55 miles north of San  Francisco. "My problem is I moved into a residential neighborhood and now I live next to a hotel," resident Bernadette Burrell told the city council in August when they voted on the new cap.The new cap on short term rentals comes as cities across California move to place restrictions on these properties. Other cities include Lake Tahoe in California's popular wine country, Temecula, and Riverside. Property owners say the new cap is just another example of city officials "harassing" them and trying to "solve a problem that doesn't exist," according to a report by CBS News. Rental owners like Gary Lentz told CBS that they try to work collaboratively with neighbors who complain about noise and other issues with their properties. Still, Lentz feels the scrutiny against his business is unjustifiable. "It's almost unenforceable what these people are trying to do," Lentz said.Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida is on the Gulf of Mexico.krblokhin/Getty ImagesThe beachy city of Sarasota has become a hotbed for short-term-rental stays — especially in the early spring months.With 4,923 active listings, AirDNA listed Sarasota as the No. 3 destination in the country for spring travel in 2022, based nights booked for March and April, behind Orlando and Phoenix. That's notable, considering Sarasota's population of 54,842 is a fraction of Orlando's 307,573 residents and Phoenix's 1,608,139 residents.The city passed vacation-rental regulations in May 2021. Sarasota now requires a seven-day minimum for stays, and a 10-person maximum for single-family-home stays.  Some residents — like Caitlyn Marriott, who lives in nearby Venice — believe that isn't enough and are advocating for further regulations."The county and some small towns tried to initiate some local ordinances to try to put a curb on the effects that it would have on neighbors, but not so much the community as a whole," Marriott said.Starting June 1, 2022, hosts are required to have a certificate of registration, which costs $250, from the city in order to rent out property for less than 30 days. Registration is not required for owner-occupied vacation rentals, condos, and rentals that exceed 30 days, according to the city.Steamboat Springs, ColoradoMountains rise behind a street in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.Shutterstock/Rachele A. MorlanSteamboat Springs, an idyllic ski town in northwest Colorado, passed an ordinance in June that created a 9% tax on short-term rental properties to fund affordable housing developments. The law was passed as wealthy out-of-towners continue to make up a majority of buyers in Colorado's resort towns. In 2020, nearly two-thirds of homebuyers in Routt County — where Steamboat Springs is located — hailed from other counties and took home an average salary of approximately $150,000, according to a survey by the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. For comparison, more than 60% of Routt County's workforce earns less than $150,000 per year, the survey found. Meanwhile, the average home sales price in the county has jumped to nearly $2 million, a 33.7% increase since June 2021, according to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR). "There is not a day goes by that I don't hear from someone ... that they have to move" because they can't afford rent, Heather Sloop, Steamboat Springs' city council president, told KUNC, an NPR affiliate station in northern Colorado. "It's crushing our community."An economic impact study commissioned by Airbnb in May shows that there are more than 6,800 short-term rentals listed in Routt County compared to the county's total housing inventory of 16,800 units. Short-term rental and second-property owners pushed back against the ordinance, saying it could effectively tax them out of the town.  "New people became involved with the politics and the ski resorts and everything, and their goal was to make it a winter and summer destination," Sara Gambino, a local real estate broker, told Steamboat Pilot & Today. "So, they're kind of going back on all the work that went into making the county the destination that it is."Tybee Island, GeorgiaTybee Island is barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean about a 30-minute drive from downtown Savannah, Georgia.Jeff Foster/500px/Getty ImagesTybee Island, Georgia, which sits about 20 miles southeast of Savannah along the South Carolina border, passed an ordinance in October that prohibits vacation and short-term rental properties from its residential neighborhoods. The move comes about 16 months after the local city council initially instituted a moratorium on short term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo in August 2021, citing numerous complaints from local residents. "I've seen my neighborhood change from all permanent residents to over half vacation rentals now," Anna Butler, a Tybee resident since 1994, told Savannah Now in August. "I support the extension of the moratorium so that the new ordinance can be worked out in a fair and equitable manner."However, not everyone agrees with the ordinance. Tybee Alliance, a local coalition of business leaders, is suing Tybee Island to overturn the ordinance. "We believe that the city disregarded their own city charter and state law in passing the ordinance by ignoring the basic rules by which a city government is required to provide written notice and written text of a law before they pass it so that the public can review, comment and provide feedback to their elected leaders," Dusty Church, a member of Tybee Alliance, told local news station WTOC in December. According to data from AirDNA, there are about 1,500 active short-term rentals on the island today. That's compared to the island's total population of about 3,000 full-time residents, according to census data.Weehawken, New JerseyAcross the river from New York City, short-term stays have been banned altogether in Weekhawken, NJ.TC Franco/Getty ImagesWeehawken, New Jersey, sitting on the Hudson River waterfront directly across from Manhattan, banned all short-term rentals in the 15,000-person town at the very end of 2022.The new law went into effect immediately, impacting stays that ranged from $80 to $400 per night on the Airbnb site. Mayor Richard Turner told the Hudson Reporter that town officials will "examine all the ordinances" other New Jersey communities passed and could one day bring back short-term rentals with stricter regulations. But for now, he believes a ban was necessary. "Right now we're going to ban them because it really is starting to get out of control," Turner told the Reporter. Affordable housing was a top motivation, the mayor explained. "We are losing affordable apartments to Airbnb and we decided to take some action because we have several buildings that are getting carried away with it," he told the Hudson Reporter. Penalties for owners breaking the ban start with $1,000 for the first infraction and jump to $2,000 and the possibility of jail time for a third infraction.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 18th, 2023

Ron DeSantis" "Freedom Blueprint" for Florida is taking shape, and it"s widely viewed as paving the way for a 2024 presidential run

The governor has been rolling out new proposals nearly every week, including on prescription drugs, taxes, and foreign real estate investments. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves after being sworn in for his second term during an inauguration ceremony at the Old Capitol, Tuesday, January 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida.Lynne Sladky/AP Photo DeSantis will be laying out his second-term 'Freedom Blueprint' in the weeks ahead. It's widely viewed as a policy blueprint for the presidency.  He has already made some of his intentions clear, on areas from Disney to anti-China policy.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rocketed to Republican stardom thanks to his high-profile battles with the Biden administration, the millions he raised from donors, and his policies in Florida. Today, he's the only Republican who polls close to former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2024 nomination race for the White House. After handily winning reelection in November, his work in Florida isn't finished. The next few months of proposing and implementing his agenda are widely viewed in political circles as representative of the issues DeSantis plans to run on if he seeks the GOP nomination."I think you have seen that over the last four years when we say we are going to get something done, we get it done," DeSantis said during a press conference on January 12.DeSantis, 44, has an enviable perch for a presidential run in his role as Florida's chief executive, one that includes a supportive GOP supermajority in the legislature that's likely to be deferential to his agenda.More specifics about what the governor has called his "Freedom Blueprint" are expected in the weeks ahead, including when DeSantis delivers his State of the State address ahead of Florida's legislative session that begins in March. In that speech, he'll formally ask state lawmakers for changes to policy and the budget. From cutting taxes to new policies on schools, here's what DeSantis has said so far about what Floridians should expect this year. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.Banning vaccine and mask mandatesDeSantis wants the Florida legislature to permanently ban COVID vaccine and mask mandates. In 2021, the governor used his executive order power to block facilities from requiring people to show proof of vaccination. That same year, the legislature sent DeSantis a bill to prohibit workplaces, K-12 schools, and public colleges from requiring masks or COVID-19 shots. The governor faced criticism at the time, even from some fellow Republicans, who said they thought that individual counties should be free to decide the best public health measures for their residents.It's not clear how much of a difference a new, permanent Florida law would make. Today, many judges have struck down vaccine mandates, and the Supreme Court in 2021 struck down President Joe Biden's vaccinate-or-test mandate for large workplaces.Still, there's some legal wiggle room. On January 17, the Department of Justice asked an appeals panel to reverse a court ruling that said the federal government couldn't mandate masks on public transportation. DeSantis wants to go even further in 2022 by blocking companies from asking potential workers about their vaccination status, or from asking current employees about it and firing them if they refuse to comply, he announced January 17. "You can't fire people based on this personal decision," he said. The new law DeSantis proposed would also allow doctors to speak openly about situations in which they disagree with the medical and scientific consensus — such as questioning the safety of vaccines for children — without worrying about losing their jobs or licenses.Cutting sales taxes on numerous items DeSantis proposed $1.1 billion in cuts for his second term. The state has wiggle room on spending because it finished the most recent fiscal year, in June, with a $22 billion surplus.DeSantis will ask the Florida legislature to permanently lift the state's 6% sales tax on baby necessities including on cribs, strollers, clothing, shoes, wipes, and diapers. He also wants the state to nix the sales tax on medical equipment and on medicines for pets. Other tax cuts would be temporary, including lifting the sales tax for a year on children's books, athletic equipment, and toys, as well as a proposal to suspend the sales tax on pet food and on household items that cost $25 or less. The latter would include items such as laundry detergent, paper towels, and toilet paper.  DeSantis billed his proposal as an inflation-fighting measure to provide relief on items such as high grocery prices.But some analysts, such as Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center, have warned that tax breaks could actually worsen inflation because people will spend and consume more at a time when supplies are limited. Florida is facing an affordability crisis in part due to the influx of out-of-staters with higher incomes who moved there. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a joint session of a legislative session, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida.Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoBanning China from buying Florida farmland and residencesDeSantis is poised to ask state lawmakers to ban China from buying farmland and residences in Florida, the governor confirmed in January. "We don't want to have holdings by hostile nations," the Governor said. "And so if you look at the Chinese Communist Party, they've been very active throughout the Western Hemisphere in gobbling up land and investing in different things." DeSantis said the actual structure of the policy was still being discussed so that his team could devise how to determine whether the Chinese government was behind a real estate investment.While foreign policy generally tends to be a small part of a governor's role, such actions on China could add to DeSantis' foreign policy portfolio. Cracking down on teachers' unions DeSantis wants to make it harder for teachers to enroll and stay in Unions. Under a plan rolled out in December, teachers who work in Florida would have to send a check to their unions every month rather than automatically deduct the dues from their paychecks.Teachers' unions have been one of the governor's top foes, particularly starting in the fall of 2020 after they resisted his push to reopen schools during the pandemic, and after DeSantis banned mask mandates in the classroom.DeSantis also plans to raise teacher pay by record amounts, though he hasn't specified by how much or whether it will extend to teachers with more experience. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks before then-President Donald Trump signs executive orders on prescription drug prices in the South Court Auditorium at the White House on July 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed a series of four executive orders aimed at lowering prices that for prescription drugs in the United States.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIncreasing transparency on prescription drug prices The governor released a detailed proposal in January to lower prescription drug prices, with actions that mostly focus on price transparency.It would require pharmacy middlemen — known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers — to disclose more aspects of their businesses, such as complaints they've received, and would obligate prescription drug companies to disclose their price increases publicly, and explain the reasons for these increase. DeSantis made his announcement one day after the Biden administration released key dates for a new program that will for the first time let Medicare negotiate prices of some of the most expensive medicines. The method is used in countries with similar economies, who pay far less for their medicines than Americans do. Loosening gun restrictions DeSantis wants lawmakers to pass legislation that would change Florida law so that gun owners could carry a gun in public without a concealed weapons permit.Under current law, Floridians don't have to have a permit to buy or own a gun, but firearm owners must have the permit when they're in public. The legislation, were it to pass, would come just a few years after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got married at Disney World in 2009.Joe Raedle/Getty Images and AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC ImagesFinalizing changes to Disney's tax district DeSantis signed a bill into law last year stripping Walt Disney World of its self-governing status, but it won't take effect until June of this year and parts of the bill still need to be resolved so that Orlando, Florida, residents don't see tax hikes. DeSantis is pushing for a measure that would replace Disney's special self-governing power with a governor-appointed, state-run board, Fox News first reported. It would also have Disney pay $700 million dollars toward its debt.Areas of uncertainty remain DeSantis is expected to continue to chip away at abortion rights. He signed a bill into law last year that makes it illegal to have an abortion after 15 weeks into a pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest.So far, he has sidestepped questions about going further, saying only that he would "expand pro-life protections." The threat of abortion bans proved to be a major liability for Republicans during the 2022 midterms. DeSantis is also expected to build off his Parental Rights in Education Act, the controversial legislation that critics call "Don't Say Gay." The law bans teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms through third grade, though it has nebulous language that could apply to higher grades. DeSantis has made it clear he intends to go futher, but hasn't delivered specifics yet. "We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups," he said on his January 3 inauguration.Editor's note: A previous version of this story published January 13, 2022. It has been updated on January 17, 2022, with new information about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' agenda. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 17th, 2023

DeSantis" "Freedom Blueprint" for Florida is taking shape, and it"s widely viewed as paving the way for a 2024 presidential run

The governor has been rolling out new proposals nearly every week, including on prescription drugs, taxes, and foreign real estate investments. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves after being sworn in for his second term during an inauguration ceremony at the Old Capitol, Tuesday, January 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida.Lynne Sladky/AP Photo DeSantis will be laying out his second-term 'Freedom Blueprint' in the weeks ahead. It's widely viewed as a blueprint for the  He has already made some of his intentions clear, on areas from Disney to anti-China policy.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rocketed to Republican stardom thanks to his high-profile battles with the Biden administration, the millions he raised from donors, and his policies in Florida. Today, he's the only Republican that polls close to former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2024 nomination race for the White House. After handily winning reelection in November, his work in Florida isn't finished. The next few months of proposing and implementing his agenda are widely viewed in political circles as representative of the issues DeSantis plans to run on if he seeks the GOP nomination."I think you have seen that over the last four years when we say we are going to get something done we get it done," DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.DeSantis, 44, has an enviable perch for a presidential run in his role as Florida's chief executive, one that includes a supportive GOP supermajority in the legislature that's likely to be deferential to his agenda.More specifics about what the governor has called his "Freedom Blueprint" are expected in the weeks ahead, including when DeSantis delivers his State of the State address ahead of Florida's legislative session that begins in March. In that speech, he'll formally ask state lawmakers for changes to policy and the budget. From cutting taxes to new policies on schools, here's what DeSantis has said so far about what Floridians should expect this year. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.Cutting sales taxes on numerous items DeSantis proposed $1.1 billion in cuts for his second term. The state has wiggle room on spending because it finished the most recent fiscal year, in June, with a $22 billion surplus.DeSantis will ask the Florida legislature to permanently lift the state's 6% sales tax on baby necessities including on cribs, strollers, clothing, shoes, wipes, and diapers. He also wants the state to nix the sales tax on medical equipment and on medicines for pets. Other tax cuts would be temporary, including lifting the sales tax for a year on children's books, athletic equipment, and toys, as well as a proposal to suspend the sales tax on pet food and on household items that cost $25 or less. The latter would include items such as laundry detergent, paper towels, and toilet paper.  DeSantis billed his proposal as an inflation-fighting measure to provide relief on items such as high grocery prices.But some analysts, such as Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center, have warned that tax breaks could actually worsen inflation because people will spend and consume more at a time when supplies are limited. Florida is facing an affordability crisis in part due to the influx of out-of-staters with higher incomes who moved there. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a joint session of a legislative session, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida.Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoBanning China from buying Florida farmland and residencesDeSantis is poised to ask state lawmakers to ban China from buying farmland and residences in Florida, the governor confirmed in January. "We don't want to have holdings by hostile nations," the Governor said. "And so if you look at the Chinese Communist Party, they've been very active throughout the Western Hemisphere in gobbling up land and investing in different things." DeSantis said the actual structure of the policy was still being discussed so that his team could devise how to determine whether the Chinese government was behind a real estate investment.While foreign policy generally tends to be a small part of a governor's role, such actions on China could add to DeSantis' foreign policy portfolio. Cracking down on teacher's unions DeSantis wants to make it harder for teachers to enroll and stay in Unions. Under a plan rolled out in December, teachers who work in Florida would have to send a check to their unions every month rather than automatically deduct the dues from their paychecks.Teachers' unions have been one of the governor's top foes, particularly starting in the fall of 2020 after they resisted his push to reopen schools during the pandemic, and after DeSantis banned mask mandates in the classroom.DeSantis also plans to raise teacher pay by record amounts, though he hasn't specified by how much or whether it will extend to teachers with more experience. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks before then-President Donald Trump signs executive orders on prescription drug prices in the South Court Auditorium at the White House on July 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed a series of four executive orders aimed at lowering prices that for prescription drugs in the United States.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIncreasing transparency on prescription drug prices The governor released a detailed proposal in January to lower prescription drug prices, with actions that mostly focus on price transparency.It would require pharmacy middlemen — known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers — to disclose more aspects of their businesses, such as complaints they've received, and would obligate prescription drug companies to disclose their price increases publicly, and explain the reasons for these increase. DeSantis made his announcement one day after the Biden administration released key dates for a new program that will for the first time let Medicare negotiate prices of some of the most expensive medicines. The method is used in countries with similar economies, who pay far less for their medicines than Americans do. Loosening gun restrictions DeSantis wants lawmakers to pass legislation that would change Florida law so that gun owners could carry a gun in public without a concealed weapons permit.Under current law, Floridians don't have to have a permit to buy or own a gun, but firearm owners must have the permit when they're in public. The legislation, were it to pass, would come just a few years after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got married at Disney World in 2009.Joe Raedle/Getty Images and AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC ImagesFinalizing changes to Disney's tax district DeSantis signed a bill into law last year stripping Walt Disney World of its self-governing status, but it won't take effect until June of this year and parts of the bill still need to be resolved so that Orlando, Florida, residents don't see tax hikes. DeSantis is pushing for a measure that would replace Disney's special self-governing power with a governor-appointed, state-run board, Fox News first reported. It would also have Disney pay $700 million dollars toward its debt.Areas of uncertainty remain DeSantis is expected to continue to chip away at abortion rights. He signed a bill into law last year that makes it illegal to have an abortion after 15 weeks into a pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest.So far, he has sidestepped questions about going further, saying only that he would "expand pro-life protections." The threat of abortion bans proved to be a major liability for Republicans during the 2022 midterms. DeSantis is also expected to build off his Parental Rights in Education Act, the controversial legislation that critics call "Don't Say Gay." The law bans teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms through third grade, though it has nebulous language that could apply to higher grades. DeSantis has made it clear he intends to go futher, but hasn't delivered specifics yet. "We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups," he said on his January 3 inauguration.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 14th, 2023

Could the US avoid a recession in 2023? The case is gathering major steam.

Inflation is falling, hiring is still robust, and all of that means that a looming downturn may never actually come this year. A "Now Hiring" sign is displayed on a shopfront on August 5, 2022 in New York City.John Smith/VIEWpress/Getty Images Inflation slowed in December, a good sign for the economy and cash-strapped consumers. While inflation is still high, a downward trajectory is good news for the Federal Reserve. Moderating inflation and a strong labor market may mean that no recession will come in 2023. The US economy just proved it's making strides in combating sky-high inflation — and it means a recession this year could be avoided after all.The Consumer Price Index, one measure of inflation, rose 6.5% year-over-year in December, which marked a big drop from the November reading of 7.1%. December is the sixth month in a row showing a decline in that figure, suggesting inflation has been cooling."Inflation is on its back heels," Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics' chief economist, told Insider. That "broadly moderating" inflation should take pressure off the Fed for future rate hikes, he said — "and significantly raises the odds that the economy can navigate through without a recession in 2023."Throughout 2022, the big question as Americans continued to battle high prices was whether the Federal Reserve would push the economy into an economic downturn. To slow economic growth and bring inflation down, the Fed hiked interest rates seven times during 2022, and its aggressive tactics had some economists and lawmakers concerned that the tightening could lead to job losses, and an eventual recession.At the same time, the US labor market has looked at the possibility of a recession and essentially shrugged. Workers still feel comfortable leaving their jobs at near-record rates, and the layoff rate is still near the record low. The US added 223,000 payrolls in December, well above the 200,000 jobs forecast by economists Bloomberg surveyed — and the unemployment rate came down to 3.5%, below the 3.7% forecast. Although the US saw higher gains in the first few months of 2022, the job growth in December still shows the labor market is hot. Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed Hiring Lab, told Insider last Friday after the employment report that "the data that we have through the end of 2022 makes me feel more optimistic about 2023."Data out Thursday also showed jobless claims declined, another indicator that mass layoffs have yet to emerge. Seasonally adjusted initial claims declined from 206,000 to 205,000 for the week ending January 7. And Thursday's report stated that continuing unemployment claims for the week ending December 31 also fell to 1,634,000 from the previous week's 1,697,000.Labor Secretary Marty Walsh previously told Insider that BLS's report on December payrolls "contradicts all those conversations" about a recession.Slowing inflation as measured by the CPI, robust nonfarm payroll gains, and other positive data points together may mean the US can avoid a recession.Sinem Buber, lead economist at ZipRecruiter, said in a statement on Thursday that the latest CPI release "combined with recent labor market indicators, increases the likelihood of a soft landing," referring to the commonly-used phrase describing a return to low inflation while maintaining a strong labor market and overall economy. "Today's inflation numbers are good news, good news about our economy," President Joe Biden said during Thursday remarks. "We have more work to do, but we're on the right track. We're seeing bright spots across the country where great things are happening."Inflation going down and employment going up are good signs — but it still all depends on the FedGoldman Sachs economists David Mericle and Alec Phillips also aren't so sure a recession is coming. Mericle and Phillips wrote in a January 5 article that the firm estimated the probability of a recession this year is 35% due to its "optimistic view on whether a recession is necessary to tame inflation.""We think that a continued period of below-potential growth can gradually rebalance supply and demand in the labor market and dampen wage and price pressures with a much more limited increase in the unemployment rate than historical relationships would suggest," Mericle said.Of course, economic activity is reliant on the decisions the Fed will continue to make over the course of the year. In December, the nation's central bank raised interest rates 50 basis points, which marked a slowdown from its prior 75 basis point increases as CPI readings delivered promising results. While December's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes noted that the Fed is not considering cutting interest rates this year, it's likely it could respond favorably to Thursday's CPI rating and continue to lower the pace of increases. Goldman's Mericle and Phillips expect the FOMC to announce 25 basis point hikes at their first three meetings of the year in February, March, and May — and then keep the rates level for the rest of 2023. Zandi concurred on February and March hikes, but said it'll be a "a real debate whether they need to go anymore after that.""My own view is that they don't need to," he said.While Fed Chair Jerome Powell previously said "it's not knowable" whether there will be a recession this year, if the economy continues to deliver promising results, achieving the Fed's ultimate goal of a soft-landing — fighting inflation while avoiding a recession — just might be in the cards.Regardless, the labor market will continue to cool, and the unemployment rate will still rise — which will be uncomfortable, Zandi said, but not a recession."It's gonna be a tough year," Zandi said, "but I think odds are increasingly likely that we can make our way through this year without a full blown outright economic downturn."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 12th, 2023

A top Republican says Biden"s proposals to make monthly student-loan payments cheaper are a "backdoor" for his "radical free college agenda"

Rep. Virginia Foxx took aim at the Department of Education's new regulations, which would make income-driven repayment plan payments cheaper. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., listens to the opening testimony during a House Rules Committee meeting on "Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, November 2, 2015.Al Drago/CQ Roll Call The Biden administration announced new regulations to improve income-driven repayment plans. Republicans are already pushing back, saying the new regulations further burden taxpayers. Broad forgiveness is still in limbo, and headed to the Supreme Court on February 28. As student loan relief hangs in court limbo, the Biden administration is moving ahead on making monthly payments cheaper for some borrowers — and it's already attracted ire from the right.On Tuesday, the Education Department officially released its new regulations for income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. The changes are meant to make payments cheaper, and "create faster pathways to forgiveness," according to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.But Rep. Virginia Foxx, who now chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee, said that the announcement is "a repeat of the same playbook that got us into this college affordability crises in the first place." Foxx has been an outspoken opponent of Biden's broad student loan forgiveness and other pandemic-era debt-relief measures."Because President Biden couldn't get his radical free college agenda through Congress, he has resorted to doing it through the backdoor by executive fiat," Foxx said in a statement. "Expansions of already generous repayment options, institutional shame lists, and other failed policies of the past won't lower the cost of college for students and families. It does, however, turn the federal loan program into an untargeted grant with complete disregard for the taxpayers that fund it."Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton also took to Twitter to criticize the plan, saying that Biden's "proposed changes encourage students to take out as much debt as possible because the taxpayers pick up the tab. This is the opposite of the message we should be sending young Americans."—Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 10, 2023 Under IDR, borrowers are meant to make monthly payments based on their incomes, with eventual loan forgiveness after at least 20 years of payments. But, as Insider reported, those plans currently have deep flaws, prompting the push for refreshed regulations. The National Consumer Law Center found that just 32 borrowers ever have qualified for full forgiveness under IDR.The new proposed regulations to IDR plans that Biden announced on Tuesday would cut monthly payments for undergraduates in half and give borrowers in default a chance to access the repayment plans, among other things. The reforms will enter a 30-day public comment period, and senior administration officials told reporters on Monday that the Education Department plans to implement them by mid-2023.Amid GOP criticism, Democratic lawmakers have lauded the reforms."The Biden administration's proposed rules for higher education are big structural changes to lower costs for working people and hold colleges accountable," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "These plans will significantly cut monthly loan payments and it's part of a real transformation of the student loan system."As administration officials noted, it plans to implement not only those changes to IDR, but also Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt this year — which is headed to the Supreme Court on February 28.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 10th, 2023