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Pound falls, recovers after BoE

BoE raises rates by 0.25% The Bank of England raised rates by 0.25% today. The rate hike, the fifth in a row, brings the Bank Rate to 1.25%. The markets…

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BoE raises rates by 0.25%

The Bank of England raised rates by 0.25% today. The rate hike, the fifth in a row, brings the Bank Rate to 1.25%. The markets were not all that impressed with the BoE, as there had been hopes that the Bank might flex some muscle and raise rates by 0.50%. The modest 0.25% move indicates caution (some would argue undue caution) by Bailey& Co., and the pound fell over 100 points in the European session before recovering. This follows a banner day for the currency yesterday, when the pound shot up 1.48% in response to the Federal Reserve rate hike.

It’s worth noting that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) vote was 6-3, with the three dissenting members voting for a 0.50% hike. This indicates that there is considerable support at the MPC for more aggressive action, which could mean larger rate hikes if inflation doesn’t ease. The MPC statement noted that the Bank remains “particularly alert to indications of more persistent inflationary pressures, and will if necessary act forcefully in response”.

The MPC gets high marks for flowery prose, but the end result was despite soaring inflation, members couldn’t muster more than a modest 0.25% rate increase. The BoE has essentially raised the white flag in the battle against inflation, as it has projected that inflation will top 10 per cent and has warned of a recession. The road ahead for the UK economy will be bumpy – GDP fell by 0.3% in April after a 0.1% decline in March, the first back-to-back contractions since March 2020, at the start of the Covid pandemic. The OECD has forecast that the UK economy will grow by 3.6% this year, but will stagnate in 2023, which would make it the worst-performing G-7 economy in 2023.

Federal Reserve serves 0.75% hike

There were no surprises from the Federal Reserve, which raised rates by 0.75%, to a target range of 1.50-1.75%. The Fed downgraded its US growth forecasts for 2022 and 2023, but insisted that there would be no recession. Some analysts would beg to disagree, but the financial markets were relieved, as Fed Chair Powell said he didn’t expect 0.75% rate hikes to become common. Risk sentiment jumped on the perception that the Fed rate hike will help curb inflation, and GBP/USD was sharply higher after the Fed announcement.

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GBP/USD Technical

  • GBP/USD tested support at 1.2108 earlier today. Below, there is support at 1.1916
  • There is resistance at 1.2215 and 1.2283

 

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Spread & Containment

Fatigue, headache among top lingering symptoms months after COVID

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Aug. 8, 2022) – Fatigue and headache were the most common symptoms reported by individuals an average of more than four months out from…

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (Aug. 8, 2022) – Fatigue and headache were the most common symptoms reported by individuals an average of more than four months out from having COVID-19, investigators report.

Credit: Augusta University

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Aug. 8, 2022) – Fatigue and headache were the most common symptoms reported by individuals an average of more than four months out from having COVID-19, investigators report.

Muscle aches, cough, changes in smell and taste, fever, chills and nasal congestion were next in the long line of lingering symptoms.

“Our results support the growing evidence that there are chronic neuropsychiatric symptoms following COVID-19 infections,” Medical College of Georgia investigators write in the journal ScienceDirect

“There are a lot of symptoms that we did not know early on in the pandemic what to make of them, but now it’s clear there is a long COVID syndrome and that a lot of people are affected,” says Dr. Elizabeth Rutkowski, MCG neurologist and the study’s corresponding author.

The published study reports on preliminary findings from the first visit of the first 200 patients enrolled in the COVID-19 Neurological and Molecular Prospective Cohort Study in Georgia, or CONGA, who were recruited on average about 125 days after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

CONGA was established at MCG early in the pandemic in 2020 to examine the severity and longevity of neurological problems and began enrolling participants in March 2020 with the ultimate goal of recruiting 500 over five years.

Eighty percent of the first 200 participants reported neurological symptoms with fatigue, the most common symptom, reported by 68.5%, and headache close behind at 66.5%. Just over half reported changes in smell (54.5%) and taste (54%) and nearly half the participants (47%) met the criteria for mild cognitive impairment, with 30% demonstrating impaired vocabulary and 32% having impaired working memory.

Twenty-one percent reported confusion, and hypertension was the most common medical condition reported by participants in addition to their bout with COVID-19.

No participants reported having a stroke, weakness or inability to control muscles involved with speaking, and coordination problems were some of the less frequently reported symptoms.

Twenty-five percent met the criteria for depression, and diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea and a history of depression were associated with those who met the criteria. Anemia and a history of depression were associated with the 18% who met the objective criteria for anxiety.

While the findings to date are not surprising and are consistent with what other investigators are finding, Rutkowski says the fact that symptoms reported by participants often didn’t match what objective testing indicated, was surprising. And, it was bidirectional.

For example, the majority of participants reported taste and smell changes, but objective testing of both these senses did not always line up with what they reported. In fact, a higher percentage of those who did not report the changes actually had evidence of impaired function based on objective measures, the investigators write. While the reasons are not certain, part of the discrepancy may be a change in the quality of their taste and smell rather than pure impaired ability, Rutkowski says.

“They eat a chicken sandwich and it tastes like smoke or candles or some weird other thing but our taste strips are trying to depict specific tastes like salty and sweet,” Rutkowski says. Others, for example, may rely on these senses more, even when they are preparing the food, and may be apt to notice even a slight change, she says.

Either way, their data and others suggest a persistent loss of taste and smell following COVID-19, Rutkowski and her colleagues write.

Many earlier reports have been based on these kinds of self-reports, and the discrepancies they are finding indicate that approach may not reflect objective dysfunction, the investigators write.

On the other hand, cognitive testing may overestimate impairment in disadvantaged populations, they report.

The first enrollees were largely female, 35.5% were male. They were an average of 44.6 years old, nearly 40% were Black and 7% had been hospitalized because of COVID-19. Black participants were generally disproportionately affected, the investigators say.

Seventy-five percent of Black participants and 23.4% of white participants met criteria for mild cognitive impairment. The findings likely indicate that cognitive tests assess different ethnic groups differently. And, socioeconomic, psychosocial (issues like family problems, depression and sexual abuse) and physical health factors generally may disproportionately affect Black individuals, the investigators write. It also could mean that cognitive testing may overestimate clinical impairment in disadvantaged populations, they write.

Black and Hispanic individuals are considered twice as likely to be hospitalized by COVID-19 and ethnic and racial minorities are more likely to live in areas with higher rates of infection. Genetics also is a likely factor for their increased risk for increased impact from COVID, much like being at higher risk for hypertension and heart disease early and more severely in life.

A focus of CONGA is to try to better understand how increased risk and effects from COVID-19 impact Blacks, who comprise about 33% of the state’s population.

A reason fatigue appears to be such a major factor among those who had COVID-19 is potentially because of levels of inflammation, the body’s natural response to an infection, remain elevated in some individuals. For example, blood samples taken at the initial visit and again on follow up showed some inflammatory markers were up and stayed up in some individuals.

These findings and others indicate that even though the antibodies to the virus itself may wain, persistent inflammation is contributing to some of the symptoms like fatigue, she says. She notes patients with conditions like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, both considered autoimmune conditions that consequently also have high levels of inflammation, also include fatigue as a top symptom.

“They have body fatigue where they feel short of breath, they go to get the dishes done and they are feeling palpitations, they immediately have to sit down and they feel muscle soreness like they just ran a mile or more,” Rutkowski says.

“There is probably some degree of neurologic fatigue as well because patients also have brain fog, they say it hurts to think, to read even a single email and that their brain is just wiped out,” she says. Some studies have even shown shrinkage of brain volume as a result of even mild to moderate disease. 

These multisystem, ongoing concerns are why some health care facilities have established long COVID clinics where physicians with expertise in the myriad of problems they are experiencing gather to see each patient.

CONGA participants who reported more symptoms and problems tended to have depression and anxiety.

Problems like these as well as mild cognitive impairment and even impaired vocabulary may also reflect the long-term isolation COVID-19 produced for many individuals, Rutkowski says.

“You are not doing what you would normally do, like hanging out with your friends, the things that bring most people joy,” Rutkowski says. “On top of that, you may be dealing with physical ailments, lost friends and family members and loss of your job.”

For CONGA, participants self-report symptoms and answer questions about their general state of health like whether they smoked, drank alcohol, exercised, and any known preexisting medical conditions. But they also receive an extensive neurological exam that looks at fundamentals like mental status, reflexes and motor function. They also take established tests to assess cognitive function with results being age adjusted. They also do at-home extensive testing where they are asked to identify odors and the ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty, brothy or no taste. They also have blood analysis done to look for indicators of lingering infection like those inflammatory markers and oxidative stress.

Neuropsychiatric symptoms are observed in the acute phase of infection, but there is a need for accurate characterization of how symptoms evolve over time, the investigators write.

And particularly for some individuals, symptoms definitely linger. Even some previously high-functioning individuals, who normally worked 80 hours a week and exercised daily, may find themselves only able to function about an hour a day and be in the bed the remainder, Rutkowski says.

The investigators are searching for answers to why and how, and while Rutkowski says she cannot yet answer all their questions, she can tell them with certainty that they are not alone or “crazy.”  

One of the best things everyone can do moving forward is to remain diligent about avoiding infection, including getting vaccinated or boosted to help protect your brain and body from long COVID symptoms and help protect others from infection, Rutkowski says. There is evidence that the more times you are infected, the higher the risk of ongoing problems.

Rutkowski notes that their study findings may be somewhat biased toward high percentages of ongoing symptoms because the study likely is attracting a high percentage of individuals with concerns about ongoing problems.

SARS-CoV-2 is thought to have first infected people in late 2019 and is a member of the larger group of coronaviruses, which have been a source of upper respiratory tract infections, like the common cold, in people for years.

At least part of the reason SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have such a wide-ranging impact is that the virus is known to attach to angiotensin-converting enzyme-2, or ACE2, which is pervasive in the body. ACE2 has a key role in functions like regulating blood pressure and inflammation. It’s found on neurons, cells lining the nose, mouth, lungs and blood vessels, as well as the heart, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. The virus attaches directly to the ACE2 receptor on the surface of cells, which functions much like a door to let the virus inside.

Experience and study since COVID-19 started both indicate immediate neurological impact can include loss of taste and smell, brain infection, headaches and, less commonly, seizures, stroke and damage or death of nerves. As time has passed, there is increasing evidence that problems like loss of taste and smell, can become chronic, as well as problems like brain fog, extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety and insomnia, the investigators write. Persistent conditions including these and others are now referenced as “long Covid.”

The research was supported by funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and philanthropic support from the TR Reddy Family Fund.

Read the full study.


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Government

TDR’s U.S. Stock Market Preview For The Week Of August 8, 2022

A weekly stock market preview and the data that will impact the tape. Sunday Evening Futures Open – Stock Market Preview Weekend News And Developments…

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A weekly stock market preview and the data that will impact the tape.

Sunday Evening Futures Open – Stock Market Preview

Weekend News And Developments

Berkshire Hathaway dramatically slowed new investment in the second quarter after setting a blistering pace at the start of the year, as the US stock market sell-off pushed the insurance-to-railroad conglomerate to a $43.8bn loss.

China’s southern island province of Hainan started mass Covid-19 testing on Sunday, locking down more parts of the province of over 10 million residents, as authorities scramble to contain multiple Omicron-driven outbreaks, including the worst in capital Sanya, often called “China’s Hawaii”.

Cuba: 17 missing, 121 injured as fire rages in oil tank farm in Matanzas City

Equity positioning for both discretionary and systematic investors remains in the 12th percentile of its range since January 2010, according to Deutsche Bank published last week.

Fisker Inc. (NYSE:FSR) unveils a process for qualifying US-based reservation holders of the Fisker Ocean all-electric SUV to retain access to the existing federal tax credit. The current $7,500 tax credit would be unavailable should Congress pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and President Biden signs the legislation into law.

Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown has called for an emergency budget before the UK hits a “financial timebomb” this autumn. Mr. Brown said millions would be pushed “over the edge” if the government does not address the cost of living crisis.

Israel said Sunday it killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in a crowded Gaza refugee camp, the second such targeted attack since launching its high-stakes military offensive against the militant group just before the weekend. The Iran-backed militant group has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, raising the risk of the cross-border fighting turning into a full-fledged war.

NexJ Systems (TSX: NXJ) announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2022.

Rhine river hit by drought conditions, hampers German cargo shipping. According to reports, transport prices have shot up as drought and hot weather have affected water levels in the river Rhine in Germany leading cargo vessels to reduce loads during transportation.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had detected 66 Chinese air force planes and 14 Chinese warships conducting activities in and around the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, Reuters reports. Thursday’s drills involved the live firing of 11 missiles.

Unifor: 1,800 members from across the country arrive in Toronto this weekend before Monday’s start to the union’s 4th Constitutional Convention, where delegates will elect a new National President and vote on key priorities and initiatives. Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. 

U.S. rate futures have priced in a 69% chance of a 75 bps hike at its September meeting, up from about 41% before the payrolls data. Futures traders have also factored in a fed funds rate of 3.57% by the end of the year.

What The Analysts Are Saying…

Anybody that jumped on the ‘Fed is going to pivot next year and start cutting rates’ is going to have to get off at the next station, because that’s not in the cards. It is clearly a situation where the economy is not screeching or heading into a recession here and now.” — Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial

“It is not a market bottom, things are not going to go up consistently from here because we are going to be buying low tech products for a while, so everyone has something to make up as COVID demand = pre-COVID​, there are fewer units for this. Reality check – unlike ‘Big Tech’, consumer discretionary related companies are offering more cautious guidance.”Morgan Stanley analyst commentary on a potential market bottom

The fact of the matter is this (Aug. 5 nonfarm payroll report) gives the Fed additional room to continue to tighten, even if it raises the probability of pushing the economy into recession. It’s not going to be an easy task to continue to tighten without negative repercussions for the consumer and the economy”. — Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors

“We are surprised to not see investors start to chase upside calls in fear of underperforming the market. People are just watching.” — Matthew Tym, head of equity derivatives trading at Cantor Fitzgerald

What We’re Watching

Psychedelic Sector Gaining Momentum: What started out as bottoming action after a protracted multi-quarter decline has now morphed into a tangible bullish impulse. We believe Netflix new docuseries How To Change Your Mind has played an important roll in the creation of critical mass awareness for the sector—and a rebound in broad market risk assets hasn’t hurt. At the tip of the spear for this sentiment shift is COMPASS Pathways plc (CMPS), which has risen 62.64% since  the docuseries debuted on July 12. Price on the benchmark Horizons Psychedelic Stock Index ETF has now breached the 20-day MA/EMA.

We are watching to see if investor sentiment shifts into laggard names such as Cybin Inc. and MindMed, which has continued to fall following a proposed 15-1 reverse stock split initiative announced this year. Many Tier-2/3 names still 90%+ off their highs…

Revive Therapeutics (RVV:CSE, RVVTF:OTC): This has been on our radar for the last couple of weeks, and remains on our watch list. The company has already confirmed that their statistician is in possession of 210 unblinded patient data for its Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate Bucillamine to treat COVID-19. The company is currently attempting to revise endpoint data from a hospitalization/death focus to a symptoms focus. If they are to achieve this, it will mark a material event in the course of the trial.

YTD performance (+33.09%), Revive Therapeutics (RVVTF); Red line = 7day EMA

We believe an endpoint decision, either positive or negative, is imminent and will have cause a material price action event.

Consumer Price Index, August 10: Consumer inflation expectations for July are released by the New York Fed, while the University of Michigan’s preliminary survey of consumers for August is on tap. Taken together, these should give investors a better picture of how consumers are feeling about current economic conditions. 

As of June, it’s running at 9.1% on an annual basis. Investors, economists and consumers will be watching to see if price increases are easing as everything from gasoline to food is elevated.

Given the mixed signals on the overall state of the economy (i.e. indications of recession vs. this week’s strong nonfarm payrolls number), CPI will be in-focus by market participants. Scotiabank expects 8.9% y/y (9.1% prior) and 0.4% m/m for headline CPI; ex-food-and-energy: 6.1% y/y led by a 0.6% m/m gain.

Pot stocks earnings continue, with several Tier-1/Teri-2 names reporting including Curaleaf Holdings, Trulieve Cannabis, Marimed Inc., Cronos Group, TerrAscend Corp. and more. Last Wednesday, Green Thumb Industries allayed fears somewhat that this earnings season would be a write-off, producing solid numbers which beat expectations on several key metrics. An additional strong report or two will go a long way to help improve sentiment for a sector that’s been decimated over the past six quarters.

U.S. Economic Calendar

TIME (ET)REPORTPERIODMEDIAN FORECASTPREVIOUS
Monday, August 8
11:00 AMNY Fed 3-year inflation expectationsJuly3.60%
Tuesday, Aug. 9
6:00 AMNFIB small-business indexJuly89.589.5
8:30 AMProductivityQ2-4.30%-7.30%
8:30 AMUnit labor costsQ29.30%12.60%
Wednesday, August 10
8:30 AMConsumer price indexJuly0.30%1.30%
8:30 AMCore CPIJuly0.60%0.70%
8:30 AMCPI (year-over-year)July-8.70%9.10%
8:30 AMCore CPI (year-over-year)July6.10%5.90%
10:00 AMWholesale inventories (revision)June1.90%1.70%
2:00 PMFederal budget (compared with year earlier)July-$302 billion
Thursday, August 11
8:30 AMInitial jobless claimsAug. 6265,000260,000
8:30 AMContinuing jobless claimsJuly 301.42 million
8:30 AMProducer price indexJuly0.20%1.10%
Friday, Aug. 12
8:30 AMImport price indexJuly-0.80%0.20%
10:00 AMUMich consumer sentiment index (preliminary)Aug.5352
10:00 AMUMich 5-year inflation expectations (preliminary)Aug.2.90%

Meme Of The Week

Key Earnings (US Markets)

DateCompanySymbolEarnings estimate
Monday, August 83D SystemsDDD$0.00 per share
BarrickGOLD$0.22
BioNTechBNTX$7.08
EnergizerENR$0.76
News Corp.NWSA$0.08
NovavaxNVAX$5.18
Palantir TechnologiesPLTR$0.03
Take-Two Interactive SoftwareTTWO$0.86
Tyson FoodsTSN$1.97
UpstartUPST$0.08
Tuesday, Aug. 9Akamai TechnologiesAKAM$1.31
AramarkARMK$0.24
Bausch HealthBHC$0.91
Carlyle GroupCG$1.07
CoindeskCOIN-$2.68
Cronos GroupCRON-$0.07
EbixEBIX$0.58
EmersonEMR$1.29
GlobalFoundriesGFS$0.45
Grocery OutletGO$0.24
H & R BlockHRB$1.24
Hilton Grand VacationsHGV$0.88
Hyatt HotelsH$0.03
IAC/InterActiveCorpIAC-$2.35
iRobotIRBT-$1.55
Maxar TechnologiesMAXR$0.12
Norwegian Cruise LineNCLH-$0.83
Plug PowerPLUG-$0.20
Rackspace TechnologyRXT$0.16
Ralph LaurenRL$1.71
RobloxRBLX-$0.26
Spirit AirlinesSAVE-$0.46
Super Micro ComputerSMCI$2.35
SyscoSYY$1.11
The Trade DeskTTD$0.20
TTEC HoldingsTTEC$0.85
Unity SoftwareU-$0.21
Warner Music GroupWMG$0.20
World Wrestling EntertainmentWWE$0.55
Wynn ResortsWYNN-$0.97
Wednesday, August 10AppLovinAPP$0.50
CoherentCOHR$2.13
CoupangCPNG-$0.10
CyberArk SoftwareCYBR$0.01
Dutch BrosBROS$0.07
Fox Corp.FOXA$0.77
Franco-NevadaFNV$0.98
Jack in the BoxJACK$1.42
Manulife FinancialMFC$0.76
MatterportMTTR-$0.14
Pan Am SilverPAAS$0.14
Red Robin GourmetRRGB-$0.16
SonosSONO$0.21
TraegerCOOK$0.04
Wendy’sWEN$0.22
Wolverine World WideWWW$0.65
Thursday, August 11AerCapAER$1.42
BaiduBIDU$10.92
Brookfield Asset ManagementBAM$0.69
Canada GooseGOOS$2.98
Cardinal HealthCAH$1.18
Dillard’sDDS$2.88
Flower FoodsFLO$0.27
IlluminaILMN$0.64
LegalZoomLZ$0.02
Melco Resorts & EntertainmentMLCO-$0.44
NioNIO-$1.36
PoshmarkPOSH-$0.25
Rivian AutomotiveRIVN-$1.63
Ryan Specialty GroupRYAN$0.35
Six FlagsSIX$1.04
Solo BrandsSOLO$0.28
ToastTOST-$0.12
Utz BrandsUTZ$0.12
Warby ParkerWRBY-$0.02
W&T OffshoreWTI$0.37
Wheaton Precious MetalsWPM$0.32
Friday, Aug. 12Broadridge FinancialBR$2.65
Honest CompanyHNST$-$0.09
Spectrum BrandsSPB$1.42

FDA Calendar

None

Source: CNN Business – TDR’s stock market preview sentiment indicator

Past Week What’s Hot… and What’s Not

Source: TradingView – TDR’ stock market preview what’s hot this past week

Top 12 High Short Interest Stocks

TickerCompanyExchangeShortIntFloatShares O/SIndustry
BBBYBed Bath & Beyond Inc.Nasdaq46.38%61.57M79.96MRetail (Specialty Non-Apparel)
ICPTIntercept Pharmaceuticals IncNasdaq43.76%23.62M29.71MBiotechnology & Medical Research
MSTRMicroStrategy IncNasdaq39.29%9.32M9.33MSoftware & Programming
BYNDBeyond Meat IncNasdaq37.91%56.79M63.54MFood Processing
SWTXSpringWorks Therapeutics IncNasdaq37.51%31.64M49.41MBiotechnology & Medical Research
BIGBig Lots, Inc.NYSE37.37%26.49M28.92MRetailers – Discount Stores
EVGOEvgo IncNasdaq35.65%67.76M69.00MUtilities – Electric
UPSTUpstart Holdings IncNasdaq35.60%72.32M84.77MConsumer Lending
BGFVBig 5 Sporting Goods CorpNasdaq34.65%20.85M22.33MRetailers – Miscellaneous Specialty
SRGSeritage Growth PropertiesNYSE34.38%23.58M43.68MReal Estate Operations
NKLANikola CorporationNasdaq32.77%265.95M421.14MAuto & Truck Manufacturers
BLNKBlink Charging CoNasdaq32.54%33.98M50.20MUtilities – Electric

Tags: stock market preview, stock market preview August 8, 2022.

The post TDR’s U.S. Stock Market Preview For The Week Of August 8, 2022 appeared first on The Dales Report.

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Government

Senate Passes $740 Billion Tax, Climate Package — Will Go To House Next

Senate Passes $740 Billion Tax, Climate Package — Will Go To House Next

Update (1532ET): After much wrangling, the Democrats finally passed…

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Senate Passes $740 Billion Tax, Climate Package -- Will Go To House Next

Update (1532ET): After much wrangling, the Democrats finally passed their sweeping economic package through the Senate on Sunday.

The estimated $740 billion "Inflation Reduction Act" - far less ambitious than their original $3.5 trillion vision - next heads to the House, where its passage is a foregone conclusion. According to Axios, a vote could come as early as Friday before it heads to President Biden's desk.

The package includes provisions to address climate change, pharmaceutical costs, and a supercharged IRS.

"It’s been a long, tough and winding road, but at last, at last we have arrived," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). "The Senate is making history. I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative measures of the 21st century."

As the Washington Post notes, "Senators engaged in a round-the-clock marathon of voting that began Saturday and stretched late into Sunday afternoon. Democrats swatted down some three dozen Republican amendments designed to torpedo the legislation. Confronting unanimous GOP opposition, Democratic unity in the 50-50 chamber held, keeping the party on track for a morale-boosting victory three months from elections when congressional control is at stake."

And as Axios reports,

The Senate returned to the Capitol Saturday afternoon, and began voting late Saturday night and into Sunday on a series of amendments — part of the process known as "vote-a-rama."

  • Senate Republicans offered dozens of amendments aimed at minimizing the bill, including stripping out funding for the Internal Revenue Service and eliminating COVID-19-related school mandates.
  • Democrats held firm in their unity, with the help of Harris, of preserving the core elements of the package and voting down each GOP amendment.

.  .  .

The bill includes:

  • $370 billion for climate change - the largest investment in clean energy and emissions cuts the Senate has ever passed.
  • Allows the federal health secretary to negotiate the prices of certain expensive drugs for Medicare.
  • Three-year extension on healthcare subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.
  • 15% minimum tax on corporations making $1 billion or more in income. The provision offers more than $300 billion in revenue.
  • IRS tax enforcement.
  • 1% excise tax on stock buybacks.

Drilling down on the climate portion - Axios' Andrew Freedman writes:

  • This includes tax incentives to manufacture and purchase electric vehicles, generate more wind and solar electricity and support fledgling technology such as direct air capture and hydrogen production. 
  • Independent analyses show the bill, combined with other ongoing emissions reductions, would cut as much as 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, short of the White House's 50% reduction target. However, if enacted into law, it would reestablish U.S. credibility in international climate talks, which had been flagging due in part to congressional gridlock. 
  • As part of Democrats' concessions to Sen. Manchin, the bill also contains provisions calling for offshore oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska, and a commitment to take up a separate measure to ease the permitting of new energy projects. 

*  *  *

Senate Democrats late on Aug. 6 advanced a mammoth spending bill on climate and energy, health care, and taxes, after overcoming unanimous Republican opposition in the evenly divided chamber.

The procedural vote to advance the Democratic bill - which authorizes over $400 billion in new spending - was 51–50 after Vice President Kamala Harris arrived at the Capitol to cast a vote, breaking the deadlock in the Senate over the measure that Democrats say would reform the tax code, lower the cost of prescription drugs, invest in energy and climate change programs, all while lowering the federal deficit.

The vote means that senators will have 20 hours to debate on the measure, followed by a vote-a-rama, a marathon open-ended series of amendment votes that has no time limit. After that, the bill will head to a final vote. The measure is anticipated to pass the chamber as early as this weekend.

The House, where Democrats have a majority, could give the legislation final approval on Aug. 12, when lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington.

The vote came after the Senate parliamentarian - the chamber’s nonpartisan rules arbiter - gave a thumbs-up to most of the Democrats’ revised 755-page bill.

But Democrats had to drop a significant part of their plan for lowering prescription drug prices, Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough said.

The provision would have essentially forced companies not to raise prices higher than inflation. MacDonough said Democrats violated Senate budget rules with language in the bill imposing hefty penalties on drugmakers who raise their prices beyond inflation in the private insurance market.

As Mimi Nguyen Ly details at The Epoch Times, while the bill’s final costs are still being determined, it includes about $370 billion on energy and climate programs over the next 10 years, and about $64 billion to extend subsidies for Affordable Care Act program for federal subsidies of health insurance for three years through 2025.

It also seeks generate about $700 billion in new revenue over the next 10 years, which would leave roughly $300 billion in deficit reduction over the coming decade, which would represent just a tiny proportion of the next 10 year’s projected $16 trillion in budget shortfalls.

A large portion of the $700 billion—an estimated $313 billion—is expected to be generated by increasing the corporate minimum tax to 15 percent, while the remaining amounts include $288 billion in prescription drug pricing reform and $124 billion in Internal Revenue Service tax enforcement.

According to the current version of the bill, the new 15 percent minimum tax would be imposed on some corporations that earn over $1 billion annually but pay far less than the current 21 percent corporate tax. Companies buying back their own stock would be taxed 1 percent for those transactions, swapped in after Sinema refused to support higher taxes on private equity firm executives and hedge fund managers. The IRS budget would be increased to strengthen its tax collections.

The White House said in a statement of administrative policy on Aug. 6 that it “strongly supports passage” of the bill.

“This legislation would lower health care, prescription drug, and energy costs, invest in energy security, and make our tax code fairer—all while fighting inflation and reducing the deficit,” the statement reads.

“This historic legislation would help tackle today’s most pressing economic challenges, make our economy stronger for decades to come, and position the United States to be the world’s leader in clean energy.”

Republicans say the legislation is simply an alternate, dwindled version to the Democrat’s earlier Build Back Better bill—a multitrillion-dollar social spending package that was a major agenda of President Joe Biden—that Democrats have now dubbed the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats “are misreading the American people’s outrage as a mandate for yet another reckless taxing and spending spree.” He said Democrats “have already robbed American families once through inflation and now their solution is to rob American families yet a second time.”

“There is no working family in America whose top priorities are doubling the size of the IRS and giving rich people money to buy $80,000 electric cars,” McConnell said in a separate statement on Twitter.

“Americans want Washington to address inflation, crime, and the border—not another reckless liberal taxing and spending spree.”

Democrats have said the measure would “address record inflation by paying down our national debt, lowering energy costs, and lowering healthcare costs,” but Republicans have criticized the measure as having no potential other than to make matters worse, nicknaming the legislation “Build Back Broke,” in part because the bill would fulfill many parts of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

“The time is now to move forward with a big, bold package for the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“This historic bill will reduce inflation, lower costs, fight climate change. It’s time to move this nation forward.”

But not every Democrat is buying what Chuck is selling...

As John Solomon reports at JustTheNews.com, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the former presidential candidate and proud socialist, on Saturday attacked President Joe Biden‘s Inflation Reduction Act for failing to live up to its name, after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office declared it would have a minimal impact on surging prices.

“I want to take a moment to say a few words about the so-called Inflation Reduction Act that we are debating this evening," Sanders said just after voting with Democrats to advance the bill to debate on the Senate floor.

"I say so-called because according to the CBO and other economic organizations that have studied this bill, it will in fact have a minimal impact on inflation."

CBO declared this week that the $740 billion piece of legislation would only affect inflation by 0.1% in either direction.

"I don't find myself saying this very often. But on that point, I agree with Bernie," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told Insider.

Overall, economic analysts are divided on the measure, with some having predicted that the bill will worsen inflation and lead to stagnation in growth.

As Will Cain explained in an excellent monologue reality check, "look at the name of the bill, whatever it is, you can be sure the legislation will do the opposite."

Finally, as Goldman details in a new notes, the net fiscal impact of these policies continues to look very modest, likely less than 0.1% of GDP for the next several years...

While the final outcome may still yet differ in details, the fiscal impact is likely to be similar.

Tyler Durden Sun, 08/07/2022 - 15:32

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