Treasury reaps windfall even without Democrats’ tax increases

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/16/treasury-tax-revenue-surge-00039880

Excerpt:

Corporations too are projected to pay more, with payments predicted to grow by 6 percent, amid a projected 10 percent increase in profits.

Some companies’ tax bills are being pushed up by supply chain problems, CBO said. Normally, firms with big inventories are allowed to consider the last item they bought to be the one they just sold.

But when they dig deeply into or completely exhaust their inventories, they must recognize items bought long ago that may have cost them significantly less to purchase. Because the original price was lower, their profit looks bigger, and they owe more in taxes.

Also, provisions created as part of the 2017 tax overhaul targeting companies that stockpile profits in overseas tax havens are bringing in more revenue than forecasters anticipated.

“CBO continued to refine its treatment of income and deductions from foreign corporations and branches, including how it estimates taxes collected on global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI),” the agency said.

Author(s): Brian Faler

Publication Date: 16 Jun 2022

Publication Site: Politico

Inside Nebraska’s Surprisingly Effective Covid Strategy

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/04/22/nebraska-covid-response-pete-ricketts-00026993

Graphic:

Excerpt:

This conversation about protecting hospitals, back in the era when New Yorkers were still being encouraged to go to restaurants, well before the coasts’ contagion began closing in on the Midwest in earnest, helped define what became, by some measures, one of the most effective and balanced Covid responses in the United States. Ricketts is a mandate-shunning Republican who runs a heavily Republican and rural state with a middling vaccination rate — factors that have been linked to worse pandemic health outcomes in other states. He never ordered a statewide shutdown when 43 other governors, Democrats and Republicans, did so; he has stood against, or even supported lawsuits over, local mask requirements; he has told state agencies not to comply with federal vaccine mandates and gotten scolded by the U.S. secretary of defense for objecting to such requirements for the National Guard. And yet by the fall of last year, when POLITICO crunched the data of state pandemic responses on a combination of health, economic, social and educational factors, one state came out with the best average: Nebraska.

The state had the best economic performance of any in the pandemic up to that point, and its students, according to available data, appear to have suffered little to no learning loss. Whereas many states saw a trade-off between health and wealth in the pandemic — often corresponding to more-restrictive Democratic leadership and less-restrictive Republican leadership, respectively — Nebraska also scored above the national average for health outcomes POLITICO evaluated last year (20th of 50 states). Nebraska was the first state to accumulate a 120-day stockpile of PPE in the nationwide scramble for supplies; was a national leader in opening schools; and was among the quickest getting federal aid to small businesses. As of now, its cumulative pandemic death toll per capita is near the lowest of all 50 states, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This, however, is grading on a hideous curve in a country that hasn’t managed the pandemic well in general: More than 4,000 Nebraskans have lost their lives to Covid. Lawler of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, who helped design the state’s early Covid response but has since grown critical of Nebraska’s approach, notes that South Korea has 14 times lower per capita Covid mortality than Nebraska. “Nobody,” he told me via text, “should be patting themselves on the back for doing 14 [times] worse.”

Author(s): Kathy Gilsinan

Publication Date: 22 April 2022

Publication Site: Politico

The Fed’s Doomsday Prophet Has a Dire Warning About Where We’re Headed

Link:https://www.politico.com/amp/news/magazine/2021/12/28/inflation-interest-rates-thomas-hoenig-federal-reserve-526177

Excerpt:

In May of 2020, Hoenig published a paper that spelled out his grim verdict on the age of easy money, from 2010 until now. He compared two periods of economic growth: The period between 1992 and 2000 and the one between 2010 and 2018. These periods were comparable because they were both long periods of economic stability after a recession, he argued. The biggest difference was the Federal Reserve’s extraordinary experiments in money printing during the latter period, during which time productivity, earnings and growth were weak. During the 1990s, labor productivity increased at an annual average rate of 2.3 percent, about twice as much as during the age of easy money. Real median weekly earnings for wage and salary employees rose by 0.7 percent on average annually during the 1990s, compared to only 0.26 percent during the 2010s. Average real gross domestic product growth — a measure of the overall economy — rose an average of 3.8 percent annually during the 1990s, but by only 2.3 percent during the recent decade.

The only part of the economy that seemed to benefit under quantitative easing and zero-percent interest rates was the market for assets. The stock market more than doubled in value during the 2010s. Even after the crash of 2020, the markets continued their stellar growth and returns. Corporate debt was another super-hot market, stoked by the Fed, rising from about $6 trillion in 2010 to a record $10 trillion at the end of 2019.

Author(s): Christopher Leonard

Publication Date: 28 Dec 2021

Publication Site: Politico

Another bill emerges to let New Jersey politicians back into the state pension system

Link:https://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2021/12/08/another-bill-emerges-to-let-new-jersey-politicians-back-into-the-state-pension-system-1398618

Excerpt:

There’s a new effort underway in Trenton to reopen New Jersey’s pension system to politicians.

State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union) introduced legislation Monday that would allow politicians who held pensionable public jobs before they were elected to a public office to re-enroll in the system from which they‘ve been barred for almost 14 years.

The bill, introduced in the midst of the lame duck session, would partially reverse a pension reform law enacted during former Gov. Jon Corzine’s administration. Under that law, officials elected after July 1, 2007, were not enrolled in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), but shifted instead to a less-generous retirement plan similar to a 401(k).

Author(s): MATT FRIEDMAN

Publication Date: 8 Dec 2021

Publication Site: Politico

Biden’s Covid vaccine push crashes into reality

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/07/biden-covid-vaccine-push-498479

Excerpt:

After falling short of its goal of administering at least one dose of the vaccine to 70 percent of adults by July 4th (it reached 67 percent) the White House is now turning its attention to the toughest populations in the country. That includes places like barber shops in Englewood, which are part of the “Shots at the Shops” effort by the White House. It’s also sending “surge teams” to some of the lowest vaccinated spots in the country, enlisting trusted messengers like church leaders to go door-to-door. And they’ll add mobile vaccination units at places like music festivals, sporting events or neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.

…..

It’s all in an effort to target the stubbornly resistant, or hard-to-reach populations as fear grows that the virus could reemerge thanks to the highly contagious Delta variant.

Much of the coverage of those populations has focused on Trump supporters who have resisted vaccination as a matter of political identity. And data show that vaccination rates do tend to overlap with partisan leanings. But there are other hard-to-reach communities, including young people, Black and minority groups that traditionally vote Democratic.

Author(s): Natasha Korecki

Publication Date: 7 July 2021

Publication Site: Politico

China admits its vaccines aren’t very good

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/11/china-covid-vaccines-480802

Excerpt:

In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 11 April 2021

Publication Site: Politico

The big hole in America’s plan to fight Covid-19 variants

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/07/covid-variants-drug-manufacturing-479902

Excerpt:

Vaccine makers like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson coped with intense global demand for their original shots by manufacturing millions of doses while the vaccines were still in clinical trials. But that is not an option now, because the companies are still racing to fulfill orders for their existing Covid-19 vaccines — and some, including Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, are struggling with major production setbacks. Pumping out second-generation shots would require factories to switch over manufacturing lines now used for the first wave of vaccines, and in some cases fire up new production processes.

The potential manufacturing gap is the latest challenge to President Joe Biden’s promise to bring the pandemic to a close. South Africa has already rejected AstraZeneca’s vaccine because an early trial showed it wasn’t effective against the B.1.351 strain that dominates there and has now reached the United States. Another variant spreading in America — P.1, first found in Brazil — has raised similar concerns about its ability to evade some of the vaccines now in use globally. Biden administration officials are working overtime to understand how the variants’ spread could alter vaccination strategies. But the lack of manufacturing capacity is limiting America’s options.

Author(s): SARAH OWERMOHLE

Publication Date: 7 April 2021

Publication Site: Politico

Facebook political ad ban blocks pro-vaccine messages

Link: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/21/facebook-ad-pro-vaccine-ban-470304?mc_cid=ca5c411eb5&mc_eid=983bcf5922

Excerpt:

Facebook’s efforts to police online ads for vaccine misinformation are unintentionally blocking messages from cities, health care providers and community and faith-based groups promoting Covid shots.

Paid-for messages from at least 110 groups aimed at raising awareness of how the vaccines work or where to get inoculated were flagged and sent to Facebook’s register of political messages, a POLITICO review of barred ads dating from last September shows.

….

Facebook acknowledged that it’s misidentified some ads and said it was restoring two — from the Centers for Disease Control and the Forsyth County, N.C. department of public health — to the ad rotation.

Author(s): DARIUS TAHIR

Publication Date: 21 February 2021

Publication Site: Politico

Coverup claims engulf Cuomo as scandal over nursing home deaths grows

Link: https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/02/12/coverup-claims-engulf-cuomo-as-scandal-over-nursing-home-deaths-grows-1363353

Excerpt:

The administration’s handling of nursing homes is now a full-blown scandal — a stunning reversal for Cuomo, whose early handling of the pandemic and high-profile daily press briefings earned him soaring approval ratings, an Emmy and a book deal.

Now, many fellow Democrats want to write an epilogue.

As Cuomo headed to Washington Friday to meet with President Joe Biden on pandemic response, at least 14 Democrats from the left flank of the state Legislature called for a repeal of the governor’s emergency powers — enacted nearly 11 months ago — that have given him nearly unilateral authority during the pandemic. And momentum appears to be growing in the Legislature to exert more oversight.

Author(s): SHANNON YOUNG and ANNA GRONEWOLD

Publication Date: 12 February 2021

Publication Site: Politico