As congressional Democrats push a $3.5 trillion social spending package, everyone is wondering: “How are we going to pay for that?” To President Joe Biden, the answer is simple: raise taxes.
Included in Biden’s proposed tax plans — erroneously named the American Families Plan — are hikes in personal income tax and capital gains tax rates. The plan would raise the top marginal income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent and reclassify long-term capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income for those with taxable income above $1 million, resulting in a top marginal tax rate of 43.4 percent, according to the Tax Foundation.
Despite the frustration (or excitement) that Americans have towards Biden’s income and wealth tax proposals in the midst of an economic recovery, Americans should be paying closer attention to his other proposals, the American Jobs Plan and the Made in America Tax Plan.
A judge ruled Friday that Apple engaged in anticompetitive conduct in its App Store, concluding a lawsuit filed by game developers alleging the tech giant was an illegal monopolist.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Friday that Apple’s policy of preventing app developers from linking to third-party payment systems within their apps was anticompetitive, forcing the iPhone maker to change its app store guidelines. However, Rogers ruled in favor of Apple on several other allegations, finding the tech giant did not illegally maintain a monopoly.
“While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct,” Rogers wrote. “Success is not illegal.”
The global chip shortage is beginning to impact consumers, driving up prices of smartphones, vehicles and personal electronics as manufacturers struggle to keep up with rising demand.
“We’re seeing 5% to 10% price increases right now,” Glen O’Donnell, vice president and research director at Forrester, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They will increase more as this issue drags on.”
Semiconductors, the internal components essential to the functioning of almost every electronic device, have been in short supply since early 2020 due to high consumer demand of mobile electronics cloud services, and other products that require computer chips, according to O’Donnell. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem by stalling semiconductor production and disrupting supply chains, with demand for consumer electronics only skyrocketing due to more people working from home.
An index measuring inflation surged at an annual rate of 4.2% last month, reaching its highest level since 1991, according to the Department of Commerce.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, which measures prices, increased 4.2% in the 12-month period between August 2020 and July 2021, according to a Department of Commerce report published Friday. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the index spiked 3.6%, the report showed.
The last time consumer prices increased this much in one year was more than three decades ago in January 1991, CNBC reported. The figure reported Friday is in line with what economists expected.
State attorneys general of 36 states and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Wednesday alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive practices in its Play Store for Android.
The complaint argues Google holds and unlawfully maintains a monopoly in the market of “Android app distribution,” using anticompetitive tactics such as blocking competitors from accessing the Play Store, discouraging the creation of competing app stores, and acquiring smaller app developers. The complaint also alleges Google charges app developers up to a 30% commission when customers purchase their products through the Google Play Store.
“Google has taken steps to close the ecosystem from competition and insert itself as the middleman between app developers and consumers,” the plaintiffs argue.
Lumber futures plunged further this week, seeing a price drop that hit 20% in a sign that the lumber market may finally reverse course from its dizzying price spike that occurred over the last few months.
The reversal was likely driven in part by a drop in homebuilding, which was down nearly 10% last month; general home repair also saw a similar decline.
Lumber manufacturers over the past several months have also been producing record levels of supply in response to the price surge.
Hospitals have begun publishing their actual costs of services, including discounted cash and negotiated rates as a result of a rule change implemented by former President Donald Trump. The rule was challenged by the American Hospital Association and others, who lost in federal district court.
An appeal to the court ruling has not yet been filed. While the association says it is calling on the new administration to adjust the rule, hospitals in the meantime must publish prices for the majority of the services and medications they provide.