Biden Lays Out Plan To Mandate Vaccines Or Testing For Millions Of Workers

Link: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/09/1035149651/biden-will-require-vaccines-for-federal-workers-as-part-of-a-new-covid-strategy

Excerpt:

President Biden on Thursday unveiled a series of steps to combat the newly surging pandemic, including the announcement of a forthcoming federal rule that all businesses with 100 or more employees have to ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing for the coronavirus.

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Among the other steps, Biden also announced that federal workers and contractors will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, eliminating an option laid out in July for unvaccinated employees to be regularly tested instead.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said federal workers would have about 75 days to become fully vaccinated, once Biden signed an executive order later Thursday. She said there would be limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

Some federal agencies will require proof of vaccination while others will accept attestations, Psaki said. Workers who fail to comply with the requirement will be counseled by their human resources departments, and then will face “progressive disciplinary action,” she said.

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Biden announced that 17 million health care workers at hospitals and other health care settings like dialysis clinics and home health agencies that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding will have to be vaccinated.

There will be similar requirements for teachers and staff at the Head Start early education program and other federally funded educational settings, such as schools on military bases.

Author(s): Alana Wise, Tamara Keith

Publication Date: 9 September 2021

Publication Site: NPR

Biden Could Share Vaccine Data With The World

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/biden-could-share-vaccine-data-with-the-world/

Excerpt:

Wealthy, vaccine manufacturing countries like Germany, France, and the U.S. have pledged to fully vaccinate their own populations while also sharing doses with the developing world. But it’s not clear that a sufficient number of doses currently exist for them to make good on this promise. The European Union, for example, is on track to fall far short of its goal of donating 200 million doses to non-member states by the end of the year. And as of August, COVAX, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) vaccine sharing initiative, had distributed 188 million vaccines worldwide, just 19 percent of the 1.1 billion that the WHO says are needed to end the pandemic.

The more people remain unvaccinated worldwide, the likelier it is that new variants will emerge, endangering vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

The Biden administration’s strategy for expanding worldwide vaccine access has largely relied on pushing for vaccine patent waivers through negotiations at the World Trade Organization. But those negotiations have been stymied by strong opposition from member states of the European Union, meaning that unilateral American action may be necessary to expand vaccine access on the necessary scale.

Legally, the U.S. may already have the ability to do so. The terms between Moderna and the federal government specify that the government possesses rights to the vaccine technology developed under the contract, meaning that it can unilaterally publish or share the data with anyone. Furthermore, an essential component of the Moderna vaccine was invented and patented by U.S. government researchers, meaning that the government could threaten a patent infringement suit against Moderna if the company refuses to share its vaccine know-how.

Author(s): Sam Mellins

Publication Date: 7 September 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

Nursing homes warn vaccine mandate could lead to staff shortages

Link: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/570807-nursing-homes-warn-vaccine-mandate-could-lead-to-staff-shortages

Excerpt:

The Biden administration’s vaccination requirement is putting a squeeze on nursing homes as they try to balance protecting residents and retaining low-wage staff that have been reluctant to get the shot.

Later this month, the administration will outline a policy that requires all staff working at nursing homes to be vaccinated or risk the facilities losing federal funding.

The specifics of the policy are sparse so far, but it would effectively be a mandate for an industry that relies heavily on Medicare and Medicaid funding.https://aef67baff698e02f95a8ec2b0d53753d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Only about 62 percent of nursing home and long term care facility staff are fully or partially vaccinated nationally, according to federal data compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

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“The biggest group of unvaccinated staff are certified nurse aides. They’re making close to minimum wage. They can make that, maybe even more, plus maybe even better benefits out in retail jobs, restaurant jobs. The vast majority of those employers are not imposing mandates,” Grabowski said.

Author(s): NATHANIEL WEIXEL

Publication Date: 4 September 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

America’s Delta data problem

Link: https://www.axios.com/america-coronavirus-vaccines-delta-data-ababc99b-df6b-4ddb-b4b2-341733933a27.html

Excerpt:

The big picture: The Biden administration is ultimately trying to figure out how well-protected different demographics are against the virus, and for how long. From there, they can decide who should get booster shots.

But while the administration waits for more information, telling the public only that boosters aren’t necessary right now, drug companies and other countries are filling the data and communication void.

“Just think we live in a country which is incapable of telling us the percent vaccinated or unvaccinated who require hospitalization for covid. No less any more data about them. Or track breakthrough infections. Thanks @CDCgov,” tweeted Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research.

Author(s): Caitlin Owens

Publication Date: 9 August 2021

Publication Site: Axios

Biden Budget Boosts Health Subsidies, Broadens Net Investment Income Tax

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/06/01/biden-budget-boosts-health-subsidies-broadens-net-investment-income-tax/

Excerpt:

The current, emergency health insurance premium tax credit subsidy levels would become permanent.

Either the net investment income tax or self-employment tax would apply to all individual income over $400,000.

The definition of net investment would expand.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 1 June 2021

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Return of the IRS Scandal

Link: https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/return-of-the-irs-scandal-11623191964

Excerpt:

 Less than half a year into the Biden Presidency, the Internal Revenue Service is already at the center of an abuse-of-power scandal. That news broke Tuesday when ProPublica, a website whose journalism promotes progressive causes, published information from what it said are 15 years of the tax returns of Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and other rich Americans.

Leaking such information is a crime, since under federal law tax returns are confidential. ProPublica says it received the files from “an anonymous source” and doesn’t know who provided them, how they were obtained, or what the source’s motives are.

Allow us to fill in that last blank. The story arrives amid the Biden Administration’s effort to pass the largest tax increase as a share of the economy since 1968. The main Democratic argument for a tax hike is that the rich should pay their “fair share.” The ProPublica story is a long argument that somehow the rich don’t pay enough. The timing here is no coincidence, comrade.

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This still leaves the real scandal, which is that someone leaked confidential IRS information about individuals to serve a political agenda. This is the same tax agency that pursued a vendetta against conservative nonprofit groups during the Obama Administration. Remember Lois Lerner?

This is also the same IRS that Democrats now want to infuse with $80 billion more to chase a fanciful amount of uncollected taxes. As part of this effort, Mr. Biden wants the IRS to collect “gross inflows and outflows on all business and personal accounts from financial institutions.” Why? So the information can be leaked to ProPublica?

Author(s): Editorial board of WSJ

Publication Date: 8 June 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Biden’s Tax On Large Capital Gains At Death Will Catch A Few With Annual Incomes Of Less than $400,000

Link: https://www.thewealthadvisor.com/article/bidens-tax-large-capital-gains-death-will-catch-few-annual-incomes-less-400000

Excerpt:

For a relatively small number of decedents, this plan could run headlong into Biden’s promise to not raise taxes on those with incomes below $400,000. Of course, the vast majority of decedents will have unrealized gains of far less than $1 million. Indeed, most will leave entire estates far below that threshold. Among people over 70, about 83 percent live in a household with total net worth of less than $1 million.

But some people with large unrealized gains will have been living on relatively low incomes. Imagine someone who is retired and living on Social Security, a modest pension, and some savings. But they still are holding that Microsoft stock they bought in 1987.  

Author(s): Howard Gleckman

Publication Date: 31 May 2021

Publication Site: The Wealth Advisor

Prediction: Biden’s Answer To The Medicare Trust Fund Insolvency Is Hidden In His Budget Proposal

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2021/06/01/prediction-bidens-answer-to-the-medicare-trust-fund-insolvency-is-hidden-in-his-budget-proposal/

Excerpt:

According to the most recent report, from 2020, the Medicare HI (Hospital Insurance, or Part A) Trust Fund is projected to be emptied in the year 2026. That’s well before the Social Security Trust Fund’s projected insolvency in 2034, and when that happens, Medicare will only be able to pay 90% of Part A benefits, dropping down to 80% in 2038.

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When it comes down to it, I’ll suggest to readers that they don’t really believe that it matters. And with the Biden administration’s 2022 budget proposal comes a fairly strong indication that this is their point of view as well, that they expect, when the Trust Fund well comes dry, to simply tap general federal revenues for the necessary funds, in exactly the same manner as is done for Parts B (doctors) and D (drugs).

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This single sentence makes it clear that’s not the case: the only premiums paid by Medicare recipients are partial-cost payments for Parts B and D. For Part B, this is 25% of the cost for most retirees; for those with income above $85,000/$170,000 single/married, premiums are higher, reaching as much as 85% of the total cost for the highest earners. For Part D, the premium is set to cover 25.5% of the standard drug benefit, plus any extra costs charged by particular private providers for enhanced benefit levels, and an extra flat charge for higher earners. The remaining cost, 75% of Part B and 74.5% of Part D, is funded by the federal government through its general revenues.

Author(s): Elizabeth Bauer

Publication Date: 1 June 2021

Publication Site: Forbes

Ask the Experts Ep.12: Biden’s infrastructure plan and America’s largest cities

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Watch a recording of Truth in Accounting’s virtual event with special guest Steve Malanga, senior editor at City Journal. In this episode, we discussed the financial troubles of America’s largest cities and the effects of Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Author(s): Bill Bergman, Sheila Weinberg, Steve Malanga

Publication Date: 14 May 2021

Publication Site: Truth in Accounting at YouTube

States, cities to receive first chunk of $350 billion in aid this week from COVID stimulus passed in March

Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/05/10/local-governments-receive-billions-covid-stimulus-plan-may-11/5019387001/

Excerpt:

State, city and county governments this week will receive their first infusion of direct aid from $350 billion in emergency funds approved in the American Rescue Plan, two months after President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 relief package into law. 

The Biden administration launched an online portal Monday that will allow local and state governments to access their share of funds from the Treasury Department. The amount allocated for each state and municipality was determined by unemployment data.

Most will receive money in two tranches – one this year, the second in 12 months – but states that have seen their unemployment rates increase by 2% or more since February will receive funds in a single payment. Payments will begin within days. Money must be spent by the end of 2024.

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The Treasury Department also provided long-awaited guidelines on how funds can be used. State governments and territories are prohibited from using funds to offset tax cuts that were enacted after March 3, limitations that have already prompted the Republican attorney general from Ohio to sue the Biden administration. In addition, recipients cannot use funds to make a deposit to a pension fund or pad reserves.

Author(s): Joey Garrison

Publication Date: 10 May 2021

Publication Site: USA Today

Illinois fires first salvo in lobbying effort to revise ARP guidance

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202105131555SM______BNDBUYER_00000179-66e7-df04-a57d-f6f7664e0001_110.1

Excerpt:

Illinois? borrowing through the Federal Reserve?s Municipal Liquidity Facility provided a lifeline for critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the state should be allowed to use its incoming federal coronavirus relief money to pay it off, Comptroller Susana Mendoza tells the federal government.

The state?s $3.8 billion of short-term borrowing, including $3.2 billion through the Federal Reserve?s Municipal Liquidity Facility ?was essential for the continued performance of government services during the most fiscally challenging times for the state?s cash flow during the pandemic, all directly related to the COVID-19 crisis,? Mendoza wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

?We want to promptly repay federal taxpayers for the crucial help they provided us during the pandemic,? wrote Mendoza, the elected constitutional officer who manages state debt, pension, and bill payments. The state?s updated American Relief Plan share is $8.1 billion.

Mendoza fired off the letter Wednesday, two days after the release of a 151-page guidance on how states, local governments, and tribes can spend their shares of the $350 billion Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund that?s built into the American Rescue Plan.

The guidance imposes a sweeping ban on using funds to cover principal and interest repayment, even when the borrowing was directly related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Author(s): Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 13 May 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income News

Households including most U.S. children to get monthly stimulus payment

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/households-including-most-us-children-get-monthly-stimulus-payment-2021-05-17

Excerpt:

A poverty-fighting measure included in the COVID-19 relief bill passed this year will deliver monthly payments to households including 88% of children in the United States, starting in July, Biden administration officials said on Monday.

The Democratic-backed American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, expanded a tax credit available to most parents.

Those people will get up to $3,000 per child, or $3,600 for each child under the age of 6, in 2021, subject to income restrictions. The benefit will reach 39 million households, many automatically and by direct deposit every month, starting on July 15.

Publication Date: 17 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters