• Fact Check: Trump and Biden’s Final Presidential Debate

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden met for the last time before the Nov. 3 election, with a debate more orderly but just as spirited as their first face-off last month. The two candidates challenged each other on their tax plans, the environment, their business interests and the pandemic. Bloomberg News is checking the facts behind their claims:Trump Claims Biden Supports Green New DealTRUMP: “This is the craziest plan. This wasn’t done by smart people. This wasn’t done by anybody, frankly. They want to spend $100 trillion. That is their real number: $100 trillion. They want to knock down buildings and build new buildings with tiny small windows and many other things.”BIDEN: “I don’t know where he comes up with these numbers. $100 trillion -- give me a break.”THE FACTS: Biden has never offered a full-throated endorsement of the far-reaching progressive climate plan known as the Green New Deal, but he has released a climate plan that aligns with many of its environmental goals.His $2 trillion clean energy plan calls for achieving a carbon-free power sector by 2035 through renewable energy, cleaner cars and zero-emission mass transit systems. Other investments would boost sustainable home building, clean energy innovation and conservation.By contrast, the sweeping Green New Deal, as proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, and Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, would do more than remake the energy sector. It calls for a “10-year national mobilization” to shift the nation to 100% “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” but also calls for tens of billions in spending on social programs.Trump did not cite a source for his $100 trillion price estimate of the the Ocasio-Cortez plan, but analyst Brian Riedl of the conservative Manhattan Institute has tweeted that the cost of the Green New Deal could reach that high. The institute receives some funding from energy interests.Biden Claims Trump Isn’t Dealing with Climate ChangeTRUMP: “I do love the environment, but what I want is the cleanest water, the cleanest air. We have the best, lowest number in carbon emissions.... We have the best carbon emission numbers that we’ve had in 35 years under this administration.”BIDEN: “Global warming is an existential threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it. And we are told by all the leading scientists in the world, we don’t have much time. We are going to pass the point of no return in eight to 10 years. Four more years of this man eliminating all the regulations that were put in by us to clean up the climate, to limit emissions, will put us in a position where we are in real trouble.”THE FACTS: It’s true that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have declined -- some 15% since 2005, a frequently used baseline. They have dipped even further this year as coronavirus lockdowns curbed air and road travel.But the decrease has been driven mostly by market forces, as cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas has replaced coal-powered plants. And it’s come despite the Trump administration’s moves to relax rules throttling the release of greenhouse gases from power plants, automobiles and oil wells.State renewable power targets also have propelled reductions.Analysts caution against giving too much credit to the decrease since 2005, however. The Energy Information Administration has forecast that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions would climb 4.8% in 2021 as the economy recovers and brings energy demand along with it.Scientists have different projections of the “point of no return,” depending on temperature thresholds and their assumptions on mitigation measures currently in effect. The most pessimistic estimates say the planet has already reached the point of irreversible climate change. Others pin that point as late as 2045, so Biden’s estimate is on the early side of that range.Trump Claims Biden Wants to Raise TaxesTRUMP: “I am cutting taxes and he wants to raise everybody’s taxes and put new regulations on everything. If he gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you have never seen.”THE FACTS: Biden’s planned tax increases would hit those earning at least $400,000 a year. Biden has proposed higher income tax rates, limits on tax breaks and additional payroll taxes on those earning at least $400,000 as well as higher capital gains taxes on those earning $1 million or more.Economists have said that Biden’s proposals to raise corporate taxes could have slight indirect effects on middle-income earners, but that his plan won’t directly raise the tax bills of those earning below the $400,000 threshold.Biden Claims Trump Will Gut Social SecurityBIDEN: “This is the guy who, if in fact he continues to withhold the tax on Social Security, Social Security will be bankrupt by 2023 with no way to make up for it. This is the guy who has tried to cut Medicare. The idea that Donald Trump is lecturing me on Social Security and Medicare? Come on.”TRUMP: “He tried to get rid of -- he tried to hurt Social Security years ago. Years ago. Go back and look at the records.”THE FACTS: When Congress failed to renew a Covid relief package over the summer, Trump signed an executive order to allow the Treasury Department to delay — but not eliminate — collection of payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare. As written, his order would have little impact on beneficiaries.But then Trump made a series of confusing statements suggesting he wanted to eliminate the payroll taxes entirely and permanently, instead paying for the programs out of the government’s general fund.Without an increase in income taxes, Trump’s plan would effectively finance the programs through deficit spending and eliminate the trust funds that have guaranteed their solvency.So Biden is correct that the trust funds would run out of money by 2023 without new revenue, but Trump has never proposed eliminating them entirely.Biden, for his part, proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of a broader deficit-reduction plan in 1995, when he was a senator. He has since changed his position, saying that while Social Security and Medicare may need adjustments, Congress should raise taxes to pay for them.Trump Claims He Pays Millions in TaxesTRUMP: “I’m going to release my tax returns. It will show how great this country is, but more important than that, people were saying $750. I asked a week ago what I paid. They said, ‘Sir, you prepaid tens of millions of dollars.’”BIDEN: “You have not released a single solitary year of your tax returns. What are you hiding?”THE FACTS: The New York Times reported that Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and again in 2017.Business owners like Trump pay estimated taxes quarterly, essentially prepaying taxes ahead of the April 15 tax filing deadline each year. However, it’s unclear if Trump was referring to federal income taxes. Any prepaid taxes would have been reported on his tax returns from those years.Trump has declined to follow the tradition of every president since Gerald Ford in voluntarily releasing his tax returns, making his claims impossible to verify.Trump is free to release his tax returns at any time. Every president’s tax returns are automatically audited every year. Previous presidents released their returns as soon as they were filed.Trump Claims Biden Family Took Foreign MoneyTRUMP: “I don’t make money from China. You do. I don’t make money from Ukraine. You do. I don’t make money from Russia. You made $3.5 million and your son gave your -- they even had a statement that we have to give 10% to the ‘big man.’ You are the big man, I think. I don’t know, maybe not, but you are the big man, I think. What’s that all about? It’s terrible.”BIDEN: “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about -- were you talking about? China.”THE FACTS: A man named Tony Bobulinski told reporters in Nashville before the debate that Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, recruited him to be the chief executive officer of a proposed partnership between a Chinese company and the Biden family. Bobulinski said the younger Biden wanted a stake in the company for “the big man,” who he said was the former vice president.Bobulinski, who was invited by Trump to be his guest at the debate, offered no evidence and took no questions. Bloomberg News can’t verify that Bobulinski has any connection to Hunter Biden or his father.Biden has released his tax returns from 1998 through last year, when he and his wife Jill reported taxable income of $944,737 and paying 31.7% of it in taxes. The Bidens earn money in a variety of ways, including fees for speeches, royalties from books and salaries from teaching roles.Biden Claims Trump Has Secret Chinese Bank AccountBIDEN: “We learned this president does business in China, has a secret bank account in China, and he’s talking about me taking money?”TRUMP: “I have many bank accounts, and they are all over the place. I’m a businessman doing business. The bank account you are referring to was in 2013. It was closed in 2015, I believe, and then I decided, because I was going to do — I was thinking about doing a deal in China like millions of other people, and I decided I’m not going to do it. I didn’t like it, decided not to do it. I had an account open, and I closed it.”THE FACTS: A report in the New York Times this week revealed a Chinese bank account controlled by a Trump entity called Trump International Hotels Management LLC. The paper said tax records show it paid $188,561 in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015.A Trump Organization lawyer told the Times that the bank account is still open. The account isn’t listed in any of Trump’s legally required financial disclosure statements.Trump Claims the U.S. Had Great Covid ResponseTRUMP: “I have been congratulated by many countries on what we have been able to do.... It will go away. we are rounding the turn, we are rounding the corner.”BIDEN: “220,000 Americans dead.... Anybody who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of United States of America.”THE FACTS: By most measures, the U.S. pandemic response has been chaotic and the results catastrophic. The U.S. has had more than 222,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19, and more than 8.3 million cases. That’s more cases than any other nation, including India, which has a population four times that of the U.S. It is true that the U.S. hasn’t had the most deaths per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University. Its death rate is behind Peru, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Spain, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico.Missteps in handling the virus include advising the public initially not to wear masks, advising those who don’t exhibit symptoms to not get tested and continued shortages of supplies and testing backlogs. Seven months into the pandemic, the U.S. has still not streamlined its testing efforts, unlike countries praised for their virus response including South Korea and Germany.Trump Claims a Covid Vaccine Is CloseTRUMP: “We have a vaccine that is ready and it will be announced within weeks and it will be delivered.”BIDEN: “He has no clear plan and no prospect that there will be a vaccine available until the middle of next year.”THE FACTS: Vaccines typically take many years to develop, in part because they must be proven to be safe because they’re given to healthy people. But around the world, governments, pharmaceutical companies and researchers have sought to expedite that process for the coronavirus. More than 190 experimental coronavirus vaccines are in development, according to the World Health Organization, 42 of which have entered human studies.Experimental shots from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. are among the vanguard. Pfizer is looking to file an application by late November. Moderna expects interim results in November and, if positive, an emergency use authorization in December.Once a vaccine is approved, it still has to be distributed — a considerable logistical challenge. Estimates from top health officials have ranged from the end of March to the end of 2021 before most Americans would have access to it. Trump contradicted the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, saying his timeline of late spring or summer of next year was “a mistake.”(Corrects 7th paragraph to say Trump did not cite a source for his $100 trillion price estimate of the the Ocasio-Cortez plan, but analyst Brian Riedl of the conservative Manhattan Institute has tweeted that the cost of the Green New Deal could reach that high. The institute receives some funding from energy interests.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • These Are The Only Finance Stocks That Matter to Valley Forge Capital

    Dev Kantesaria’s Valley Forge Capital is a long-focused equity investment firm that was founded in 2007. The fund uses a bottom-up, fundamental approach to uncover well-managed companies with strong organic growth potential that can deliver compounding value to its clients for years to come. The fund maintains a highly concentrated portfolio of high conviction ideas […]

  • The Indian doctor taking care of thousands of elephants

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    Lomiko Metals Expects Increase in Critical Minerals Demand Flake Graphite for Lomiko's Quebec PropertyVancouver, B.C., Oct. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lomiko Metals Inc. (“Lomiko”) (TSX-V: LMR, OTC: LMRMF, FSE: DH8C) announces it has received subscriptions and closed it private placement financing, and raised $750,000 through the sale of 15,000,000 units at the price of $0.05 per unit.  Each unit consisting of one common share and warrant exercisable for two years at $0.10 from the closing date. Proceeds will be for working capital.  The securities will be issued having a four-month plus one day hold period.  The issuance of the securities is subject to the final approval of the TSX.A director of the Company participated as to an aggregate of 3,000,000 Units.  The participation in the private placement by the director of the Company may be considered a "related party transaction" (the "Related Party") as defined under Multilateral Instrument 61-101 ("Ml 61-101"). The Company has determined that exemptions from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements under Ml 61-101 are available.  In particular, the Company has determined that the exemptions set out in paragraphs (a) and (b) in section 5.5 of Ml 61-101 are applicable since the aggregate consideration to be paid by the Related Party does not exceed 25% of the market capitalization of the Company and the Company is not listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but only on the TSX Venture Exchange.  In addition, regarding the minority shareholder approval exemptions, the independent directors have determined that the exemptions set out in paragraphs (l)(a) and (b) in section 5.7 of Ml 61-101 are applicable in that the aggregate consideration to be paid by the Related Party does not exceed 25% of the market capitalization of the Company, the distribution of the securities to the Related Party has a fair market value of not more than $150,000 and the Company is not listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but only on the TSX Venture Exchange.Cash finder’s fee of $29,750, 238,000 common shares, and 238,000 warrants has agreed to be paid to EMD Financial.The securities referred to in this news release have not been, nor will they be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold within the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, U.S. persons absent U.S. registration or an applicable exemption from the U.S. registration requirements. This news release does not constitute an offer for sale of securities for sale, nor a solicitation for offers to buy any securities.Promethieus ExtensionSubsequent to news releases issued by Lomiko Metals July 31st, 2019, December 3, 2019, December 13th, 2019, and August 6th, 2020, Lomiko confirmed its has entered into and extended its sale agreement of Lomiko Technologies to Promethieus Technologies as of June 20, 2019, to June 30, 2021, as a result of complications related to BREXIT and COVID 19.  Upon completion of the sale, Lomiko Metals will receive $1,236,625 and $ 193,614.32 in expenses paid on behalf of Promethieus by Lomiko Metals.  Lomiko retains a 20% interest in Promethieus Technologies Inc. which will be exchanged for 20 % equity in a new to be formed entity Promethieus Ventures N.V. (“Promethieus N.V.”).which is in the process of listing on the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange (DCSX) with the intention of raising $ 10 million USD.  As the transaction has not completed, at the upcoming November 29, 2020, Annual and Special Meeting of Lomiko shareholders, a resolution will be put forward to confirm the approval of the transaction of arms-length shareholders.For more information, review the website at www.lomiko.com, or contact A. Paul Gill at 604-729-5312 or by email at: info@lomiko.com.On Behalf of the BoardLOMIKO METALS INC. A. Paul Gill,Chief Executive Officer & Director We seek safe harbor. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.Attachment * Lomiko-flake2 (1) CONTACT: A. Paul Gill Lomiko Metals Inc. (TSX-V: LMR) 6047295312 apaulgill@lomiko.com

  • Calibration Services Market Research Report by Type, by Application, by Industry - Global Forecast to 2025 - Cumulative Impact of COVID-19

    Calibration Services Market Research Report by Type (In-House Laboratories, OEMS, and Third-Party Vendors), by Application (Electrical, Mechanical, Physical/Dimensional, and Thermodynamic), by Industry - Global Forecast to 2025 - Cumulative Impact of COVID-19New York, Oct. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report "Calibration Services Market Research Report by Type, by Application, by Industry - Global Forecast to 2025 - Cumulative Impact of COVID-19" - https://www.reportlinker.com/p05913704/?utm_source=GNW The Global Calibration Services Market is expected to grow from USD 5,029.29 Million in 2019 to USD 7,484.59 Million by the end of 2025 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.85%. Market Segmentation & Coverage: This research report categorizes the Calibration Services to forecast the revenues and analyze the trends in each of the following sub-markets: Based on Type, the Calibration Services Market studied across In-House Laboratories, OEMS, and Third-Party Vendors. Based on Application, the Calibration Services Market studied across Electrical, Mechanical, Physical/Dimensional, and Thermodynamic. Based on Industry, the Calibration Services Market studied across Aerospace & Defense, Communications, Electronic Manufacturing, and Industrial & Automotive. Based on Geography, the Calibration Services Market studied across Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East & Africa. The Americas region surveyed across Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and United States. The Asia-Pacific region surveyed across Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. The Europe, Middle East & Africa region surveyed across France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom. Company Usability Profiles: The report deeply explores the recent significant developments by the leading vendors and innovation profiles in the Global Calibration Services Market including Danaher Corporation, Endress+Hauser, GE Measurement and Control, Keysight Technologies, Inc., Micro Precision Calibration, Optical Test and Calibration Ltd, Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KG., Siemens AG, and Trescal, Inc.. FPNV Positioning Matrix: The FPNV Positioning Matrix evaluates and categorizes the vendors in the Calibration Services Market on the basis of Business Strategy (Business Growth, Industry Coverage, Financial Viability, and Channel Support) and Product Satisfaction (Value for Money, Ease of Use, Product Features, and Customer Support) that aids businesses in better decision making and understanding the competitive landscape. Competitive Strategic Window: The Competitive Strategic Window analyses the competitive landscape in terms of markets, applications, and geographies. The Competitive Strategic Window helps the vendor define an alignment or fit between their capabilities and opportunities for future growth prospects. During a forecast period, it defines the optimal or favorable fit for the vendors to adopt successive merger and acquisition strategies, geography expansion, research & development, and new product introduction strategies to execute further business expansion and growth. Cumulative Impact of COVID-19: COVID-19 is an incomparable global public health emergency that has affected almost every industry, so for and, the long-term effects projected to impact the industry growth during the forecast period. Our ongoing research amplifies our research framework to ensure the inclusion of underlaying COVID-19 issues and potential paths forward. The report is delivering insights on COVID-19 considering the changes in consumer behavior and demand, purchasing patterns, re-routing of the supply chain, dynamics of current market forces, and the significant interventions of governments. The updated study provides insights, analysis, estimations, and forecast, considering the COVID-19 impact on the market. The report provides insights on the following pointers: 1\. Market Penetration: Provides comprehensive information on the market offered by the key players 2\. Market Development: Provides in-depth information about lucrative emerging markets and analyzes the markets 3\. Market Diversification: Provides detailed information about new product launches, untapped geographies, recent developments, and investments 4\. Competitive Assessment & Intelligence: Provides an exhaustive assessment of market shares, strategies, products, and manufacturing capabilities of the leading players 5\. Product Development & Innovation: Provides intelligent insights on future technologies, R&D activities, and new product developments The report answers questions such as: 1\. What is the market size and forecast of the Global Calibration Services Market? 2\. What are the inhibiting factors and impact of COVID-19 shaping the Global Calibration Services Market during the forecast period? 3\. Which are the products/segments/applications/areas to invest in over the forecast period in the Global Calibration Services Market? 4\. What is the competitive strategic window for opportunities in the Global Calibration Services Market? 5\. What are the technology trends and regulatory frameworks in the Global Calibration Services Market? 6\. What are the modes and strategic moves considered suitable for entering the Global Calibration Services Market? Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05913704/?utm_source=GNW About Reportlinker ReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need - instantly, in one place. __________________________ CONTACT: Clare: clare@reportlinker.com US: (339)-368-6001 Intl: +1 339-368-6001

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  • The Capital Letter: Week of October 19

    As someone with ugly memories from the autumn of 1987, I always find it difficult to type the date “October 19” without a shudder. Then again, if the person I was on that day suddenly found himself transported to October 19, 2020 or, for that matter, just about any day in 2020 since March, that October day of collapsing share prices -- and the realization that combining new-fangled “program trading” with what turned out to be illusory “portfolio insurance” wasn’t working out so well -- would look like a lost Eden.This has not been a week that has brought much joy. The stimulus waltz continues, aimlessly, and the evidence continues to mount that while we may (for now) have avoided economic catastrophe, it’s clear that recovery is not going to go nearly as far or as fast as was once hoped. The latest Beige Book seemed to indicate that the economy was growing at a “slight to modest” pace, an impression reinforced by the latest jobless claims numbers, which, at 787,000 (compared with 842,000 in the previous week), were rather better than expectations of around 860,000.But (via The Financial Times):> Even with the California recalculations we are still significantly above the 665k peak reading during the global financial crisis in 2009, so it doesn’t change the narrative of significant strains in the jobs market,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING.> > There’s still a long way to go, and anyone looking ahead ought to pay careful attention to what’s going on in Europe.The Financial Times:> Business activity in the eurozone has slid back into decline, according to a widely-watched survey, as rising coronavirus infections and tighter curbs weigh on the bloc’s economy…> > The IHS Markit flash eurozone composite purchasing managers’ index fell to 49.4 in October, its lowest level since June and down from 50.4 in the previous month. A reading below the 50 mark indicates a majority of businesses reported a contraction in activity compared with the previous month.> > The drop was driven by a contraction in services activity, which was steeper than economists had expected, although it was partly offset by resilience in manufacturing.> > Analysts said the data signalled that the eurozone’s recent economic rebound was losing steam.> > It was at least welcome to see the FT acknowledge that the problems were the result not only of the resurgence of the virus, but also the clumsy (over)reaction (“tighter curbs”) to it, even if the newspaper’s writers didn’t put it quite like that.The election draws closer, of course, and markets are beginning to adjust to the prospect of a Biden win, and a Democratic win in the Senate too.In Thursday’s Capital Note, I relayed a Reuters story that investment bankers were making a new pitch to owners of private companies: Sell your business now ahead of possible steep increases in the capital gains tax rate if the Democrats prevail. It appears to be an argument that is having some success:> The investment bankers’ pitch is geared toward individuals and families, as well as private equity firms, who control companies and can decide when to sell them. It also targets company founders, who may only sell one business in their lifetime, making it the most important transaction of their lives.> > The strategy appears to be working. Sales of privately held U.S. companies totaled a record $253 billion in the third quarter, up fivefold from the second quarter and up 51% from the third quarter of 2019, according to financial data provider Dealogic. This is despite the COVID-19 pandemic suppressing corporate valuations in some sectors.I asked whether anything like that could be echoed in the stock market. I suspect that the question answers itself. We’ll see.Meanwhile, in what will certainly turn out to been one of the more significant developments of the week, the Department of Justice commenced antitrust proceedings against Google. I wrote about this in the Capital Note on both Tuesday and Thursday, and, as you can read below, we ran several articles on this topic on Capital Matters.NR’s editors also weighed in on this case in an editorial over on the home page. The overall message was slightly more sympathetic to the litigation than I would be, but the conclusion is, in my view, key:> Is it harmful to consumers for Google to pay other companies to feature its search engine as the default? That’s a hard case to make, because it’s generally easy for those who prefer other search engines to change the default, as Google and the alternative engines are all free and switching can be achieved in a few clicks; because these lucrative arrangements help to subsidize the devices consumers use; and because most users would probably choose Google anyhow, if its runaway success over the past two decades is any guide.> > The argument to the contrary, as it stands so far, is highly speculative. It holds that consumers would be better off if they had to affirmatively choose Google, because other engines would then have more of a chance to compete, and the added competition and innovation would lead to better products and greater choice, and lower rates for those who advertise in web searches. That argument may find some sympathy in court, and it might even be true. We, like the folks behind this lawsuit, have no supernatural ability to see what would happen in that counterfactual world. But it is a poor excuse for a government crusade against one of the country’s most successful private enterprises.> > There is much more to come in this lawsuit, and in the additional lawsuits against Google that states are expected to file soon. Google is not a corporate angel, and we will not be shocked if genuinely incriminating evidence of anticompetitive conduct emerges. Further, if Google’s size and influence create problems that don’t fit the antitrust framework, that may be a case for changing other laws rather than stretching antitrust enforcement. Much of the current discontent with Google and other search and social-media companies is about their ideological biases, their internal corporate cultures, their impact on the public marketplace for free speech, and how they relate to China and other hostile foreign governments. But we should not use antitrust law as an all-purpose stalking horse for entirely separate agendas.> > This opening salvo, however, is rather underwhelming.Underwhelming, and, I’d add, destructive, even more so because it aligns the Department of Justice with the EU, which has long weaponized antitrust in its attempts to take down the American tech companies that have shown up the hopelessness of the European model in a most embarrassing way. Doubtless, the U.S. case will, one way or another, be most useful to Brussels.MAEA: Making America European Again.Who’d have thunk it?Finally, I would pay attention to the Fed’s ruminations on the increased risk and asset price bubbles created by the ultra-low interest environment that (checks notes) the Fed has done so much to create. Again, we talked about this on Thursday and it will be a subject to which we will return -- and not only when it comes to the issue of risk: The distortions created by these interest rates don’t stop there, and they won’t end happily.In the meantime, I couldn’t help noticing this story in today’s Financial Times:> Private equity firms are testing investors’ appetite for returns with new sales of payment-in-kind bonds that offer juicy interest rates but are among the riskiest deals since the Covid crisis began.> > The re-emergence of PIKs underscores how fixed-income investors are increasingly being asked to accept higher degrees of risk and more onerous terms from corporate bond issuers as soaring prices of higher-quality assets in recent months has deeply depressed yields.> > A duo of highly-indebted borrowers are seeking to raise a combined $1bn through so-called PIK toggle deals, in which issuers are allowed to defer interest payments. The structure allows companies to pay interest using more debt, leading the amount that ultimately needs to be paid at the bond’s maturity to balloon…> > The deals follow a flurry of so-called dividend recapitalisations through the loan market, where private equity owners have used borrowings to fund payouts from their portfolio companies.The time traveler from 1987 might lift an eyebrow.We opened the week on Capital Matters early, on Sunday, with Kevin Williamson discussing the iniquities of the U.S. system of global taxation. Essentially any American citizen (and, for that matter, Green Card holder) is subject to U.S. taxation wherever he or she lives. This is an accident of history, but an unfortunate one, although, to be fair, if it’s good enough for (checks notes again) Eritrea, it ought to be good enough for us. And although Eritrea is, with the U.S., the only member of this miserable club, Asmara’s regime is, in this respect, far gentler than Washington’s.It is, incidentally, a myth that North Korea also taxes the worldwide income of any of its citizens unlucky enough to be living outside the Kims’ paradise, but the mysteries of North Korean taxation (which claims to be tax-free, but isn’t) is a topic for another day.The taxation of worldwide income has, as Kevin points out, has contributed to the trickle of Americans renouncing their citizenship, something of which Uncle Sam disapproves:> Even as tiny as the number of expatriating Americans is, the U.S. government has seen fit to build a financial Berlin Wall to keep Americans in — or, at least, to punish them for leaving. Americans who renounce their citizenship face heavy taxes on certain assets. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “The rules are complicated, but, in general, an exit tax is calculated for individuals with a net worth of more than $2 million as if they sold all of their assets the day before expatriating.” That tax currently runs as high as 37 percent.Kevin’s analogy is well-chosen. The idea of an exit tax has an antecedent in Weimar Germany’s Reichsfluchtsteuer, a tax originally introduced to stem capital flight by the wealthy in 1931, a rough year for the German economy. But it was later taken up by the Nazis as a way to expropriate the assets of those they were driving out of the country. Germany’s next totalitarian regime -- the communist one in East Germany -- did not follow suit, but in some ways it used a variant of the concept to justify, yes, the Berlin Wall and the rest of its murderous frontier-cage.Officially, the wall was the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart (Antifaschistischer Schutzwall), but the real reason for it was two-fold. Firstly, East Germany’s economy was being harmed by the way that so many East Germans were leaving through the still relatively open Berlin that existed prior to the wall. Secondly (as an East German academic explained to me in 1979): The state had “invested” so much in its citizens it had a right to insist that they repaid the investment before leaving. As a practical matter, that meant pensioners might be allowed to leave, people of working age, not so much.This is not the sort of company, however tangentially, that the U.S. should be keeping. Yet it does. And as Kevin pointed out, it may well get worse:> Behind the prim, schoolmarmish demeanor of Senator Elizabeth Warren lurks one of the champion authoritarians in current American political life. Senator Warren has proposed increasing the penalty on those who renounce their U.S. citizenship, in part because she has proposed the imposition of a 2-percent annual tax on the savings of wealthy Americans and knows that such a measure would encourage many of those subject to it to consider relocating abroad. There are any number of places in this world where wealthy people can live comfortably.> > Washington has long been entranced by the idea that fat cats are somehow getting over on the taxman: The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has made it all but impossible for many Americans to obtain ordinary banking services abroad, because our class-warrior politicians believe that private citizens are squirrelling away gazillions of dollars in numbered Swiss bank accounts. (The impregnably private Swiss bank account is mostly a myth.) Washington would, given a chance, subject Americans to a financial panopticon. And the power of financial surveillance is easily abused: Keep in mind that as attorney general in California, Kamala Harris attempted to extort conservative activist groups into disclosing their donors to her office, a transparent act of political intimidation and coercion. The federal courts stopped her — if you are wondering why Republicans fight so hard for judges, there is your answer…> > There probably won’t be an exodus of Americans any time in the near future. And the current high number of expatriations may be a blip. But still there is something to be learned from that blip and from Washington’s reflexively heavy-handed attitude toward it. Even if it never amounts to much, the fact that the U.S. government would try to fence us in with financial coercion is dispiriting and grotesque, and it ought to be unbearable.> > So, if anybody is listening: Mr. President, tear down this wall.The shocking thing is that he has not done so already.Redistributionism is not confined to the Left, and, although it runs through the tax regimes favored by both Democrats and (to a lesser extent, to be sure) Republicans, there are some on the Right who want to take it up a notch.Mike Watson, writing on Monday:> If making American workplace relations more like those in the social-democratic countries of continental Europe sounds like something out of the political program of Senators Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), that’s because it is. But a faction on the American right, typified by Oren Cass of American Compass, also wants to increase the power of Big Labor to “represent” more unwilling workers by importing European models of workplace relations. While conservatives should ensure that Americans have a voice in their workplaces, the plan of the redistributionist Right to give more power to Richard Trumka, Mary Kay Henry, and other national union bosses will hurt, not help, workers who are more open than ever to supporting conservatism.> > [A] “redistributionist right” would just be the Left with a different social policy. While arrangements to improve the immediate work conditions of workers should be explored, one cannot simply transplant German social-legal institutions such as works councils into the American context. The American political system is far less consensus-driven, far more acrimonious, and much more beholden to partisan special interests than the German one. Switzerland isn’t Germany, but observing the difference in outcomes between government-by-plebiscite in the Swiss system and government-by-plebiscite in California should counsel caution.> > In 1946, the country saw what Big Labor, let free of all restraints, could do to the national economy and social life, and it swung to the right in revulsion. It would be a blunder for the Right to import European models and let unions coerce the workforce as they did when back then.But as Kevin had already reminded us, the redistributionist Left hasn’t gone away. John Tilman described how it had been busy in Illinois (something we have already discussed here).Tilman:> Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker campaigned on a promise to undo our state’s longstanding flat tax protection and has put $56.5 million from his own pocket into his “fair tax” campaign. An amendment before voters on November 3 would allow state lawmakers to add as many state income tax brackets as they wish. Indeed, some in the administration are already signaling that they are interested in starting to tax retirement income.> > While all taxpayers are at risk once Illinois state lawmakers can divide taxpayers without facing pushback from constituents, the insidious part is the progressive tax would kick small businesses and our economy as we struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Economists roundly warn against adding taxes during a recession. In Illinois, small businesses are responsible for 3 out of every 5 net jobs created. Small-business owners have also suffered the most during the economic fallout from COVID-19.> > State lawmakers already passed initial progressive rates in case they win voters’ approval. The hit to over 100,000 small businesses in Illinois will be up to a 47 percent tax increase.> > And that’s just the damage so far.> > No one in Illinois really believes the same legislators who haven’t balanced a budget in 20 years and ran up a $140 billion pension deficit are going to stop at rates that “tax the rich” yet only give the state’s poorest enough of a break for a fast-food meal. More than half of progressive-tax states hit the middle class with the same top rates paid by millionaires, and there’s every indication that will happen in financial basket-case Illinois.> > When small businesses face a tax hike, they’re left with less money to spend on new locations, new workers, new equipment, and improved employee training. It also means less for current workers’ raises.> > It’s already hard to make a business succeed here in Illinois, especially if you’re a small start-up without the resources of a big corporation. The progressive tax would make it even harder.> > I, meanwhile, returned to the topic of Arizona’s proposed tax hike, something I had previously discussed last week:> > As an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal points out, the new top tax rate would “move the state to the 10th highest income-tax rate in the country, from 11th lowest today, according to the Tax Foundation. Arizona would move closer to California (13.3% top rate) than Nevada (no income tax).”> > One angle to the debate is what effect the tax increase will have on the numbers of people moving in and out of the state, a number, of course, which will have a significant bearing on future tax revenues.Spoiler: not good.And redistributionism is not confined to the states.Kevin Williamson, again:> Joe Biden’s tax plan is based on a deathless economic myth: that taxes are actually paid in economic terms by those upon whom they legally fall. The obviousness of this nonsense is clear enough if you put the proposition into plain English: “Don’t you worry, now, we’re not going to raise taxes on you, Bubba — we’re just going to raise taxes on your employer, your customers, your vendors and business partners, the people who make and sell the things you buy and use, your bank, your Internet provider, the companies that build houses and commercial buildings, your landlord, gasoline distributors, all the companies your retirement account is invested in — oh, you won’t be affected at all!”You can guess where Kevin is going, but please pay attention to this:> If Republicans have demonstrated nothing else in this century, it is that the United States cannot eliminate the federal budget deficit, or even stabilize it, under our current tax system. And Republicans who also want to shrink the tax base by reducing or eliminating taxes on favored constituencies make the same error as progressives. For Republicans, that’s a political error, too: Ronald Reagan used to brag about all the low-income and middle-income Americans who were effectively taken off the income-tax rolls on his watch, but that created a problem for his political heirs, who still try to run on federal income-tax cuts in a country in which half of the people pay little or no federal income tax. Republican tax cuts end up being “tax cuts for the rich” because almost any substantial income-tax cuts in the current system would disproportionately benefit high-income Americans, who pay almost all of the federal income taxes.> > A broader tax base makes it possible to raise more revenue, and it also helps to stabilize revenue.To me, this is an argument for a major shift from direct to indirect taxes, something I have long advocated with absolutely no success, but which has at least generated some interest in the past:National Review Blogger Wildly Wrong on the VAT.Oh.Then again, to quote Oscar Wilde:> “There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”Twitter may not agree.Kevin then throws in some statistics:> The relationship between top tax rates and actual tax revenue is far from straightforward. In 2019, with a top tax rate of 37 percent, the U.S. government collected about 16.3 percent of GDP in taxes, while in 1951 — with a top tax rate at a sobriety-inducing 91 percent — the U.S. government collected only 15.8 percent of GDP in taxes. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, when top tax rates were very high compared to where they are now, the U.S. government collected an average of 17.1 percent of GDP in tax revenue, very similar to the 16.8 percent of GDP collected on average since 2000 and a bit less than the 18 percent average of the 1990s. The Democrats’ faith that raising taxes on the rich would make a lot more money available for college subsidies or infrastructure or free false teeth or whatever is not necessarily supported by experience.But redistributionism is also a part of the program those who advocate a “third way” (a notion with a far less attractive history than its friendly-sounding name might suggest). And some of the most active proponents of a “third way” are the technocrats of the World Economic Forum (“Davos”), busy peddling “stakeholder capitalism” (a peculiarly malevolent idea now being promoted by America’s managerial class) and, of course, redistributionism.Richard Morrison was not impressed: > Do neoliberal policy priorities such as low taxes and limited government really need to be ushered out the door? [The WEF’s] Schwab claims that free-market fundamentalism has “triggered a deregulatory race to the bottom,” which suggests that the major economies of the world are operating under some kind of laissez-faire anarchy. This will come as puzzling news to scholars of government regulation.> > The same could be said of tax receipts, which Schwab claims have been the subject of “ruinous” competition between international taxing authorities. Putting aside the implied assumption that we should all want higher tax rates and collections, taxation in the United States in no way reflects the big-government bias of critics such as Schwab. For decades we have been informed that heartless austerity measures have starved essential government services of necessary revenue. But whatever is wrong with such services, it’s not a lack of total revenue.> > Taxpayers are going to expect a reasonable order of priorities when their money is spent, and the same is true of profit-seeking investors. The global regulatory cartel that technocrats such as Schwab envision — a system of supranational policymaking that insulates politicians and CEOs from the demands and expectations of their most important constituents — is exactly the course of action that will end the “neoliberal revolution,” and with it, the prosperity that it creates.On a different topic, Casey Mulligan compared the trade policy records of Presidents Reagan and Trump, overturning some oversimplifications as he did so:> Despite the additional complexity, the overall conclusions remain. President Trump is the tariff man that he says he is, while President Reagan was a quota man. President Reagan did not always practice the free trade that he preached. As Reagan CEA member William Niskanen put it, the Reagan administration “was on both sides of [trade issues], articulating a policy of free trade and implementing an extensive set of new import quotas.” Another Reagan CEA economist Steve Hanke added “the share of American imports covered by some sort of trade restriction soared under ‘free-trader’ Reagan, moving from only 8 percent in 1975 to 21 percent by 1984.” The Trump administration also has key elements of protectionism, but unlike Reagan has so far mostly avoided protecting domestic producers in ways that profit foreign companies.Kevin Hassett examined what policies could follow in the wake of a Biden victory in the event that it is accompanied by victory in Senate and House:> Congress passes sweeping policy changes with little care for the preferences of the executive branch, cognizant of the idea that Biden would be extremely unlikely to veto the Democrats’ own bills. And what type of legislation might they pursue? Exactly the proposals that were negotiated as part of a détente with Bernie Sanders and AOC as part of the “Unity Platform,” proposals that to this day are described in impressive detail on the Biden website.> > Motivated by this, my coauthors and I spent the past few months doing a deep dive into the economic-policy proposals of the Biden campaign. Despite his reluctance to dwell too much on policy in public, Biden’s platform is perhaps more detailed and carefully spelled out then the platforms of any of the candidates mentioned above. He proposes large changes in the tax code, an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, profoundly transformative energy policies, and a tidal wave of new regulations. Sifting through the proposals, our paper quantified what could be quantified and incorporated the policies into a commonly used macroeconomic model.It doesn’t make the most cheerful reading.Kevin will be going into more detail on this in a series of articles on Capital Matters next week.Also, please note that we will also be holding a virtual event on Monday, October 26, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. et. Description: Andrew Stuttaford, National Review Capital Matters editor and Kevin Hassett, National Review Capital Matters senior adviser, will be discussing Kevin’s study published by the Hoover Institution, “An Analysis of Vice President Biden’s Economic Agenda: The Long Run Impacts of Its Regulation, Taxes, and Spending.”RSVP: Email Jason Wise at jason@nrinstitute.org.Casey Mulligan took a look at how Paul Krugman’s forecasts have played out this year:> Professor Paul Krugman “has a good understanding of the essentials of international trade (the basis for his Nobel Prize Award) and explains them well,” I wrote in December in my new book about President Trump and his economic team. But I added that Krugman “is wrong about most [other] economic subjects . . . [and] helpful for predicting mistakes that would be made by the President’s opponents.” Now is a good time to assess whether the data still support such a harsh evaluation, with special attention to schooling, the economic recovery, and taxation.Pull up a chair.No week can pass on Capital Matters without a critical examination of “socially responsible” investing (SRI). We’d touched before on the role that proxy advisory firms play in advancing the SRI agenda and now Benjamin Zycher took on this wrongly neglected topic:> In 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission promulgated a regulation that has engendered an outcome unintended and perverse: a duopoly of two firms enjoying a position as the most powerful arbiters of corporate governance in America. Those firms, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis (GL), provide proxy-advisory recommendations to investors and asset managers on how they should vote their shares in the many companies that they own. The two account for 97 percent of the market for proxy-advisory services. They have become de facto regulators of America’s public companies. Because of subsequent staff interventions and interpretations, the 2003 regulation evolved from a simple requirement that investment funds provide transparency involving potential conflicts into an SEC policy that was interpreted to mean in effect that funds must vote on all proxy issues, that the funds could avoid liability by retaining proxy advisers, and that the proxy advisers would bear liability only in extreme cases.> > The “extreme cases” limitation on the potential liability of proxy advisers means that in practice they are unconstrained by considerations of fiduciary responsibility. So the policy or political preferences of the proxy advisers (or their staffs) carry substantial weight in terms of decisions on proxy proposals concerning executive compensation and corporate policies on a range of social and environmental questions.This is not a good thing.Jon Hartley welcomed some proposed changes to the rules governing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two entities that did not cover themselves in glory during the run-up to the financial crisis.> At the outset of Trump Administration, when Mark Calabria became the new FHFA director, Fannie and Freddie had the ability to own $1,000 in assets for every dollar of equity on their balance sheets (only holding $6 billion in equity with $6 trillion of liabilities), implying a 0.1 percent capital ratio. By comparison, private U.S. banks have been required to meet an 8 percent capital ratio — and that’s before Dodd-Frank’s additional capital buffers. One could argue that the risk for Fannie and Freddie is further exacerbated by their undiversified sector risk (all of $6 trillion of their assets are in the mortgage space), notwithstanding the fact that they’re no longer invested in the risky off-label mortgages as they were before the financial crisis.> > Fortunately the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), which since 2008 has overseen GSEs, recently proposed a new rule that requires a capital ratio of 8 percent for GSEs, as well as a minimum leverage ratio of 2.5 percent and additional buffers.> > Unsurprisingly, there are many opponents to the Fannie and Freddie capital rule in the mortgage-finance industry, whose members stand to have their profitability potentially crimped by the move. Scores of trade groups, including The American Bankers Association, the Center for Responsible Lending, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Housing Policy Council, and the National Association of Realtors, are all seeking to delay the new rule with the hope of a different policy from a potential Biden administration. These are all organizations that benefit in different ways from the lower mortgage rates that GSE guarantees provide.> > Thankfully, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) — after being set up ten years ago — is acknowledging for the first time that Fannie and Freddie pose risks to the stability of the financial system, lending additional support to the capital rule from the rest of the regulatory community. In effect, the FSOC will label Fannie and Freddie systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), something which they’ve done in the past for non-bank private institutions such as AIG and Prudential (designations which FSOC has since rescinded).> > While it’s unclear that Fannie and Freddie will leave conservatorship anytime soon, a tighter capital framework would certainly be a precondition to becoming fully private entities….> > Regardless of whether they exit conservatorship, the new capital framework is a welcome step to protecting taxpayers from incurring further losses.Arthur Herman argued for aid to the semiconductor sector on strategic grounds (yes, that means China):> Beijing’s push to become totally self-sufficient in semiconductors and to command the heights of the microchip industry is part and parcel of its larger push for global hegemony. If China succeeds, and our manufacturing capacity and market share continues to shrink, we could face a situation in which U.S. tech companies have to rely on a chip supply chain that is shaky at best, and an actual threat to national security at worst.> > No matter who sits in the White House on January 21, Americans are realizing that our economic and national security future depends not only on how the technology we rely on is made, but where it’s made. Much of that secure and prosperous future will depend on the health and safety of our microchip industry. As the Latin phrase has it: sine qua non— without it nothing. Without a strong semiconductor sector, the future will look very bleak indeed.Our international economic disaster guru, Steve Hanke, cast a bleak eye over PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company:> PDVSA’s decreased output is not due to dwindling oil reserves, but instead due to a reduction in its depletion rate. The depletion rate — the rate at which oil companies are depleting their proven reserves — provides the key to understanding the economics of an oil company and the value of its reserves.> > Venezuela’s depletion rate has been falling rapidly since 2007. In 2019, it sat at 0.121 percent per year, indicating that it would take 569.41 years for PDVSA to tap half of its reserves.> > This has noteworthy economic implications. Because of positive time preference and discounting, the value of a barrel of oil produced today is higher than the value of a barrel of oil produced in the future, provided the price of oil remains the same. Given Venezuela’s incredibly low depletion rate, its reserves are essentially worthless because they are left in the ground for too long.> > To put Venezuela’s depletion rate into perspective, consider Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil companies. At the end of 2019, Exxon’s depletion rate was 6.53 percent per year —comparable to that realized by most major oil companies. That rate implies that it would take 10.25 years for Exxon’s oil reserves to be halfway depleted. That is 559.16 years earlier than when PDVSA would deplete half of its reserves. If we discount at 10 percent, the median value of Exxon’s reserves is worth 37.65 percent of their wellhead value (the value that the producer would receive if the oil was sold at the wellhead and not distributed further downstream) — not zero, as is the case for PDVSA.> > Thanks to Venezuela’s embrace of socialism and Chavismo, PDVSA has probably destroyed more economic value than any institution in world history. This brings back memories of President George W. Bush’s infamous remark that “this sucker could go down.” It’s no surprise that the clergy are preparing to administer PDVSA’s last rites.And then Steve gazed over at Lebanon. He didn’t like what he saw:> Lebanon has just named Saad Hariri its new prime minister — the same Saad Hariri who resigned from the Lebanese PM post almost exactly one year ago. And, he is enamored with the so-called French plan to bring Lebanon’s economy back to life. But there is one major item in the French plan that is a killer — the immediate imposition of capital controls.> > Capital controls as a panacea for economic ills are nothing new. Their pedigree can be traced back to Plato, the father of statism. Inspired by Lycurgus, the tyrant of Sparta, Plato embraced the idea of an inconvertible currency as a means to preserve the autonomy of the state from outside interference…> > The imposition of capital controls leads to an instantaneous reduction in the wealth of the country because all assets decline in value. Full convertibility is the only guarantee that protects people’s rights to what belongs to them. Even if governments are not compelled by arguments on the grounds of freedom, the prospect of seeing every asset in the country suddenly lose value as a result of capital controls should give policymakers pause.> > In the case of Lebanon, a country whose lifeblood has been the importation of capital, capital controls would be a killer. They would repel the large and important international Lebanese expatriate community. Indeed, the French capital-controls mandate for Lebanon should be pronounced dead upon arrival.And, oh yes, the Google case.Mike Watson looked at the EU angle, already mentioned above:> The Europeans have envied the American tech industry for decades. In 2000, the European Council released with much fanfare a plan to “become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” and to fend off American juggernauts such as Microsoft. The plan failed so miserably that proponents of European-style industrial policy should think twice about bringing these methods to the United States. American companies continue to lead the world in most important emerging information-based technologies. This time around, even the Netherlands, which historically has supported free markets more consistently than many of its neighbors, together with France recommended more coercive forms of protectionism now that subsidies and planning have failed.> > The tech industry deserves plenty of skepticism, but it is also important for the American economy. Although social distancing and stay-at-home orders have become more controversial as the pandemic has dragged on, these options are only available because of important technological advances. Before the advent of Internet services such as video conferencing, cloud computing, and email, sending millions of workers home was unthinkable. In earlier pandemics, the choices available were to stop working entirely and face a complete loss of income or to stay at the workplace and risk succumbing to the disease. Many workers now can perform adequately at home, which has cushioned the economic fallout of the earlier measures to slow coronavirus’s spread. The tech industry is largely responsible for the U.S. economy’s new resilience to threats such as pandemics, which is just one reason why the EU wants its own champions in these areas.And Ryan Young took aim at the government’s case:> On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an antitrust complaint against Google — the highest-profile antitrust lawsuit since the 1998-2002 Microsoft case. The 64-page complaint argues that Google is “unlawfully maintaining monopolies” in search and advertising markets. But politics, not the law, is what is really driving this case.> > Many Republicans are upset about perceived anti-conservative bias in the tech industry. That explains the Google suit’s timing — and the likelihood of a similar suit against Facebook before the end of 2020.> > While the DOJ and most state attorneys general have been investigating Google for some time, many DOJ lawyers did not believe they had yet built up a solid case, and opposed Barr’s rushed pre-election timing. The New York Times reported in September that some staffers refused to sign onto the complaint. Some even left the case over their objections.> > From the contents of the complaint, it is clear why. One of its listed grievances is that Google has become a verb. By this logic, as lawyer Cathy Gellis notes, Kleenexes, Band-Aids, and Popsicles have a potentially unlawful edge in their markets. The complaint’s more serious arguments fall equally short.Pull up another chair.And writing just before the case was announced, Wayne Crews and Jessica Melugin waded into the debate over social media censorship, advancing the shocking view that private property should be respected:> Some on the left and some on the right, including many in Congress as well as the president, regard social media as a public forum and, by ignoring the reality that these are spaces created by private companies, effectively ignore the property rights that ought to go with that. The fact that the Internet is an inexhaustible resource appears to have passed them by. The judiciary, too, has magnified this problem. According to the Second Court of Appeals in mid-2019, President Trump cannot block users on Twitter. It ruled that it was a violation of the First Amendment for him to do so. As the Wall Street Journal  pointed out at the time, “under the Second Circuit’s ruling, politicians would have to choose between abandoning social media — which would limit their ability to communicate with voters — and tolerating harassment and lies. The decision also opens a potential legal avenue by which regulators and federal courts could become the speech arbiters for online platforms.”> > “Everybody” hates Big Tech now. That ought to mean that the time is right for alternatives. If anything, the underlying functionality of the Internet has reached even higher levels than in the pre-Google and pre-Facebook era. The potential to offer users new ways of doing things on new platforms has not gone away and may even have been enhanced. All politicians have to do is preserve the property rights that incentivize entrepreneurs to innovate, and stay out of the way.Well, yes.Finally, we produced the Capital Note (our “daily” — well, Monday-Thursday, anyway).  Apart from the Google case, topics covered included some questions about China’s current economic recovery, oil industry consolidation, the vulnerability of the Chinese real estate market, clouds over (US) commercial real estate, clouds in space, food hoarding, money as a memory device, China’s 19th Party Congress, vaccine diplomacy, insider trading from home, the Fed’s worries about what ultra-low interest rates might mean, the Biden liquidation, automation, a unicorn stumbles, and a case study in regulatory bungling.To sign up for the Capital Letter, follow this link.

  • Facebook, Twitter Chiefs to Testify Before Senate on Nov. 17

    (Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officers of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have agreed to testify on Nov. 17 before a Senate panel looking into restrictions their companies put an on article about the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.The Judiciary Committee on Thursday authorized subpoenas for both Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Twitter’s chief, Jack Dorsey. The committee announced on Friday evening that they would appear voluntarily.Senate Republicans and the Trump administration have been heightening pressure on the companies and other technology giants over allegations that they are biased against conservatives. At the same time, there is a growing willingness by members of both parties to confront the powerful technology companies and bring them to heel.Dorsey and Zuckerberg, who have been called to Washington to explain their content policies, are also due to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee next Wednesday, along with Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai. The questions will focus on their liability protections for user content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.President Donald Trump and other conservatives claim the law enables the companies to silence their views and content.Facebook confirmed that Zuckerberg would appear, but declined further comment. Twitter said that Dorsey would testify virtually and also declined to elaborate.Senate Republicans demanded to question the CEOs after their companies moved to limit the spread of a New York Post article on Biden’s son Hunter and what the Post said were his exchanges with a Ukrainian executive. The article said emails purportedly from Hunter Biden, and provided by allies of the president, show he introduced an executive at a Ukrainian energy company to his father when he was vice president.The paper claimed the communication contradicts Joe Biden’s assertion that he hadn’t spoken to his son about his business dealings. The emails didn’t say definitively whether Joe Biden actually met the executive. The Biden campaign said the former vice president’s schedules show that no such meeting took place.The details of the Post article haven’t been independently confirmed by Bloomberg News.The Judiciary hearing would mark the third congressional appearance in 2020 for Zuckerberg, after next week’s Commerce Committee testimony and a July hearing on antitrust before a House subcommittee.Zuckerberg and other technology executives face growing hostility not just on Capitol Hill, but in the Trump administration and among state attorneys general.Amid Republican complaints regarding the Post article, the Federal Communications Commission said last week that it would review the liability shield for Facebook and Twitter.And on Tuesday, the Justice Department, in the most significant antitrust case against an American company in two decades, sued Alphabet-owned Google, kicking off what promises to be a volley of legal actions against the search giant for allegedly abusing its market power.Google, which controls about 90% of the online search market in the U.S., is the “unchallenged gateway” to the internet and engaged in a variety of anticompetitive practices to maintain and extend its monopoly, the government said in a complaint filed Tuesday in Washington.Google called the government’s case “deeply flawed” and said it would actually hurt consumers because it would “artificially prop up” lower-quality search options and raise phone prices.(Updates throughout)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ROSEN, A TOP RANKED LAW FIRM, Continues to Investigate Securities Claims Against JPMorgan Chase & Co. - JPM

    Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, continues to investigate potential securities claims on behalf of shareholders of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) resulting from allegations that JPMorgan may have issued materially misleading business information to the investing public.

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(ARA) - Succeeding in college is about more than being smart. It's about how students manage time, themselves, and their studies, according to Dr. Bob Neuman, former dean of academic development at...

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(ARA) - Tax season is in full swing. Taxpayers receiving a refund tend to file earlier in the year, while those who owe Uncle Sam often wait until closer to the filing deadline. Whether you file now...

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(ARA) - The presents have been opened and the gift wrap has been thrown away, and the holiday shopping season has come to a close. A time-honored tradition to be sure, but also one that was hopefully...

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