Daily Briefing – 339

The Brewing Battle Over Tax Hikes

An emerging proposal from the White House and Senate Democratic leaders to pay for President Biden’s infrastructure agenda is setting the stage for a major battle in Congress that will test the support of moderates concerned about hiking taxes. To date, much of the debate in Congress has focused on how to pay for a scaled-down $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and the contours of a more expensive measure that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to pass under a budget reconciliation process allowing Democrats to sidestep a GOP filibuster.

The brewing battle over tax policy is starting to heat up as lawmakers return to Washington for a crucial work period when Democrats will begin hashing out the budget resolution that sets in motion the legislative vehicle Democrats intend to use to pass some of the party’s biggest priorities.

Read more at The Hill

Global Tax Deal Heads Down Perilous Path in Congress

The Group of 20 major economies backed the plan this weekend in Venice, Italy, following the earlier endorsement from a broader 130-country group. The plan, aimed at limiting corporate tax avoidance, would revamp longstanding international rules and is crucial to President Biden’s plans to raise corporate taxes.  It will soon faces one of its toughest tests: the U.S. Congress.

International negotiators split their work into two separate ideas, known as pillars. Pillar One would assign more taxing power to countries with large consumer markets and pull power away from low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland. Pillar Two would impose at least a 15% tax on companies’ world-wide earnings. Setting that floor makes it easier for the Biden administration to try raising taxes on U.S. companies without creating significant opportunities for companies to dodge taxes by shifting profits and addresses. Both pillars present tricky legislative challenges. They likely will move separately through Congress, but the international consensus rests on pairing them and completing both tasks.

Read more at the WSJ

Fed Survey: U.S. Consumers’ Short-Term Inflation Outlook Jumps

U.S. consumers expect the economy to continue its rapid resurgence from the COVID-19 pandemic over the next year, with forecasts for inflation, earnings, income growth and spending all increasing in June, according to a monthly survey released on Monday by the New York Federal Reserve.

One-year-ahead median inflation expectations jumped for the eighth consecutive month to 4.8% in June, up from 4.0% in May and marking a new series high since the survey was launched in 2013. At the three-year outlook, they were unchanged at 3.6%. Consumers also have increasing confidence in the jobs market. The average expectation that the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher one year from now dropped to a series low of 30.7% in June, down from 31.9% in May. The perceived odds of losing a job over the next year also fell to a series low.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

NYS Downscaling Mass Vaccination Sites

Four mass vaccination sites will cease operations as of Monday, July 19. The mass vaccination sites at The Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, Plattsburgh International Airport, SUNY Polytechnic Institute – Utica, and Jones Beach will cease operations. The State will reallocate resources on localized vaccination efforts in areas that have lower-than-average vaccination rates.

The vaccination site at the New York State Fairgrounds will relocate this Wednesday. Effective Wednesday, July 14, the New York State Fairgrounds site will relocate from the Expo Center to the Arts & Home Center

Read the press release

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – One Reported Death Saturday

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.1% of all New Yorkers – 11,731,466 (plus 10,763 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,244,707 (plus 989) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.3% of all New Yorkers – 10,764,060 are fully vaccinated (Plus 11,264)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,130,277 (plus 993) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 11th.   There was 1 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,011.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 348

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.88%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.76%

Useful Websites:

US COVID Update – Young Americans Aren’t Getting Vaccinated, Jeopardizing Covid-19 Fight

The reluctance of young adults to get vaccinated is a significant part of why the U.S. missed the Biden administration’s goal of getting 70% of the adult population a first dose by July 4, and it is impeding efforts to develop the communitywide immunity sought to move past the pandemic and fend off Delta and other variants.

Now government health authorities are dialing up efforts encouraging 18- to 29-year-olds to get vaccinated.  The outreach will have to overcome the hesitancy of many young adults who don’t see the urgency given their relatively low risk of severe cases, are spooked by confusing information on social media and generally feel invincible, public-health experts say.

Read more at the WSJ

FDA to Announce New Warning on J&J Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to put a label on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine warning that the vaccine has been linked to rare cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its nervous system, the Washington Post first reported.

The syndrome is rare, and affects only about 3,000 to 6,000 people every year. The exact cause is not known, but most cases usually start a few days or weeks following a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infection.

Read more at The Hill

How Leaders are Managing Their Own Mental Health

A survey by Verizon Media and the mental health nonprofit Made of Millions sheds new light on the emotional impact the pandemic has had on management. Fully 66% of bosses polled said they suffered from burnout over the past year, while 76% felt overwhelmed managing their people. While most (86%) acknowledged that depression and grief have become more pervasive in the workplace overall, nearly one-third (28%) reported suffering from mental health issues themselves. Just 58% of managers described their state of mental wellbeing as “healthy,” and fewer than half of those (49%) who run a small business did.

The upshot: management found itself largely ill-prepared to help workers navigate the global health crisis, as bosses strained to juggle their own wellbeing with ensuring the wellness of their people and keeping business on track during one of the most challenging times in modern history.

Read more at Digiday

Vaccine and Politics – Taiwan Tech Companies Buy 10m Covid Vaccine Doses in Deal that Sidesteps China

Major Taiwanese tech companies have inked a deal to buy 10m vaccine doses for Taiwan, sidestepping months of complicated geopolitical wrangling between Beijing and Taipei.  The US$350m purchase from BioNTech, is split between TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, and Foxconn, one of the world’s largest contract electronics makers, and its charity foundation. The two companies will donate the vaccines to Taiwan’s central epidemic command center for distribution.

The convoluted deal, formalized on Sunday, closes the loop on a saga which tied China’s long-held but rejected claim over Taiwan to the island’s desperate need for vaccines, and allows Taiwan to procure the China-linked vaccines without the government having to deal directly with China.

Read more at the Guardian

ITIF: Reflections on President Biden’s Executive Order on Competition

Few would oppose the president’s stated goals of lowering prices, raising wages, and increasing convenience for Americans. But his executive order is not the way to achieve them.  With this order, the administration is implementing an agenda progressives call “predistribution”—the idea that “the best path forward is to deal with the underlying market forces that cause inequality in the first place.”

In other words, this is not an agenda to foster competition in order to spur growth and innovation; it is an agenda to drive redistribution of a fixed pie. The problem is that the order not only rests on the faulty assumptions that “corporate consolidation has been accelerating” and that corporate profits are the well that redistribution policies can mine, but also on the belief that growth is not needed. The real challenge to workers and consumers in the U.S. economy is not too little competition, but too little productivity growth. Rather than a redistribution agenda grounded on false premises, the administration would better serve American workers and consumers by implementing a robust growth agenda designed to ensure that average workers thrive.

Read more at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Retail Cargo Sees Double-Digit Increases Over 2020 Even with Disruptions

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.33 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which final numbers are available. That was up 8.6% from April and up 52.2% from a year earlier. The number set a new record for the most containers imported during a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002, topping the previous record of 2.27 million TEU set this March. 

Ports have not reported June numbers yet, but Global Port Tracker projected the month at 2.15 million TEU, which would be up 33.8% from the same time last year. That would bring the first half of 2021 to 12.8 million TEU, up 35.6% from the same period last year.

Read more at Material Handling and Logistics

Three Ways Organizations Can Support Mental Wellbeing for their Employees

To maintain the health and performance of their workers, employers need to rethink how they perceive and promote wellbeing across the organization. Whereas benefits like corporate-sponsored gym memberships and healthy lunches have been a draw in the past, companies also now need to invest in tools, practices, and programs that support their colleagues’ health and wellbeing. 

A National Institute for Health Care Management survey found that 51% of respondents reported more mental health challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting an increased need for workplace mental wellness benefits. Employers can support mental well-being by fostering a caring, stigma-free culture; adding stress-relief tools and resources; and offering educational programs to improve understanding of mental health concerns.

Read more at Benefits Pro

Machine Tool Orders Surge in May

Machine tool orders rose in May both on a monthly and year-over-year basis, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.  Orders totaled $448.1 million in May, McLean, Va.-based AMT said in a monthly report. That was up 11 percent from an adjusted $404.1 million the month before and almost double from $224.7 million in May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the economy during the year-earlier period.

COVID-19 hit the U.S. economy starting in March 2020. Later in the year, demand rebounded for some products such as motor vehicles. A recovery has been slower in industries such as aerospace. For the first five months of 2021, orders totaled $2.02 billion, a 50 percent gain from the same period in 2020.  

Read more at SME