The Business of Business and the Wuhan Virus

Another precinct is passing in its results.

After scrambling to hoard cash in the spring, some large US companies that halted their dividend payments are reversing their decision, a sign that their leaders believe the worst of the crisis is behind them.

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics:

The resumption of corporate dividend payments is an encouraging sign that executives believe that the pandemic will soon be behind us.

And

[Kohl’s r]evenue fell 14%, compared with a 23% drop in the previous quarter. Kohl’s said it would resume its dividend in the first half of 2021.

Tax Breaks

In particular, child tax credits and their proposed expansion, but the principle below applies across the board.

…pair the expansion of the child tax credit with extensions of expiring business-tax provisions, some of which have Democratic support.

Pairing in order to get the credit passed, one being a bell for the other’s whistle.  Refundable credits, too, so those who don’t pay much, if any, income tax can get their own taste. Here’s Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s offer on the credit:

Another Reason

…why neither the People’s Republic of China nor the World Health Organization can be trusted.

Opposition from the Chinese government is preventing participants in a World Health Organization meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic from learning directly about one of the world’s biggest coronavirus success stories.
Taiwan hasn’t recorded a locally transmitted coronavirus infection in about seven months but has been blocked from participating in a virtual gathering this week [last week as this is posted] of the WHO’s 194-member World Health Assembly because of objections from Beijing, which considers the self-ruled island part of its territory.

Foreign Takeovers of Domestic Companies

Great Britain is concerned with

strik[ing] a middle ground between welcoming foreign investment and protecting strategic industries from takeover, particularly amid concerns around acquisitions by Chinese state-backed companies.

Thus,

Under…proposed rules, investors would have to notify the government about transactions involving 17 sectors including nuclear, artificial intelligence, transport, energy, and defense.

That would seem to make a foreign investment law unnecessarily byzantine, and require revisiting at some aperiodic intervals.  After all, what’s not strategic today might turn out strategic tomorrow. This is illustrated by the timing of this proposal.

Joe Biden’s Agenda

Assuming the unofficial results of the election become official. Here’s the nutshell:

Tax hikes for the rich, broadened health care coverage, and student loan forgiveness were some of the projects on candidate Biden’s to-do list.

City Pensions

They’re in trouble. You knew that, though, as city budgets have long favored spending more than revenue, especially spending on public union pensions and other retirement benefits, and so debts piled up—and continue to amass.

One particular arena where that’s having potentially deleterious effect is in pensions with benefits like paid (or mostly paid) health plans.

Cities and states can’t afford to keep the same medical benefits they promised government retirees.
For all 50 states combined, revenue declines for 2020 and 2021 could reach 13% cumulatively, according to Moody’s Analytics projections, while the average cost of an employer health-care plan for an individual increased 4% in 2020 to $7,470, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation nonprofit.

A Couple of Economic Charts

Via Carpe Diem.

Here is one that illustrates one aspect of the alleged earnings disparity, which in turn is a component of wealth inequality:

Notice when this subset of the gender gap began to close and to be eliminated—the Trump administration.

Here’s one on the subject of atmospheric CO2 emissions, especially pertinent in light of our official withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord Wednesday.

This was accomplished through ordinary free market economics and the application of technology within that market. Restrictions on our economy in order to meet artificial outcomes are unnecessary—and that’s the case regardless of the legitimacy of CO2 emissions concerns. Keep in mind, too, that the People’s Republic of China has voluntary limits that don’t even begin for another decade.

Defunding by Another Name

Shoplifting has been decriminalized in California. Store management teams that take it on themselves to grab shoplifters can be sued for the effrontery of protecting store property.

Police stopped apprehending shoplifters because it wasn’t worth their time as thieves were released.

It’s broader than that.

Some large retailers including Goodwill, Walmart and Bloomingdale’s sought to punish shoplifters by requiring them to take a class in “life skills” to avoid a criminal complaint. The San Francisco city attorney then sued the educational company that provided the classes for extortion and false imprisonment.

Some Employment Numbers

…in our energy-related industries.  A letter in last Wednesday’s The Wall Street Journal‘s Letters section laid some out for Louisiana.

…the oil-and-gas industry supports 260,000 jobs in the state, and each industry job generates 3.4 Louisiana jobs in other sectors

That work out to an aggregation of 884,000 jobs in Louisiana alone.

The National Association of State Energy Officials estimates for 4Q2018 that the Traditional Energy sectors (a broader look at our energy industry than just oil-and-gas) employed 2.4 million Americans. Using (albeit naively) Louisiana’s multiplier of 3.4 jobs in other sectors generated by the energy industry, that works out to 8.2 million jobs. That’s 5% of our then-employed Americans.

Some Biden-Related Concerns

…as outlined in Just the News.

There are at least three instances where there is now public evidence that Joe Biden met with foreigners his son was courting for business.
The first occurred in 2011 when Obama White House entry logs show several Chinese businessmen involved with Hunter Biden checked in to meet the vice president.
The second occurred in 2013, when Hunter Biden rode aboard Air Force II with his father and then introduced the vice president in Beijing to a Chinese businessman that was helping him start an investment fund.
The third, alleged in an email purportedly recovered from Hunter Biden’s old laptop, indicates Hunter Biden arranged for an official from Burisma to meet his father in April 2015. …the Biden campaign now acknowledges the encounter may have happened though insists it was fleeting.