$1.9 Trillion Package Approved by Senate: President Biden’s relief package proposal for $1.9 trillion was approved by the senate this past Friday. Granted, this budget is a non-binding thing (i.e. it isn’t law), so this is largely a symbolic move. Biden’s relief plan calls for gradually enacting a $15/hour minimum wage, aid to schools, and a round of $1,400 direct checks to individuals.
Tax Man’s Coming: New trading apps like Robinhood have been summoning first-time investors to their platforms, allowing them to trade freely in taxable accounts, turning the investors on to day-trading habits. However, many of these traders are beginning to encounter halting data for what seemed like a frictionless experience: their 1099 form. Such platforms don’t permit trading in exempt accounts like Roth IRAs and 401ks (where sales aren’t taxable), so now that the new year has rolled in these new investors are receiving dozens and dozens pages laying out the expenses of their maneuvers. Robert Green, a CPA with Green, Neuschwander & Manning, a firm specializing in tax issues for frequent traders, says, “I worry that losses are coming soon, and these people need to know the rules. Lots of traders owe more than a third of their gains in taxes each year, but it can take years to benefit from losses,” says Mr. Green.
What was that GameStop thing all about? You have likely heard about the sharp, dramatic rise of GameStop’s stock (enough to prompt trading platforms to freeze trades of the stock) paired with the onset shock for the many big investors who had shorted the stock. Many have asked, “What exactly happened?” or “What is this short squeeze thing I hear about?” The New York Times put out a helpful little explanation. Click here if you’d like an explanation of what happened.
Recovery Tracker Rises Further: Our US Recovery Tracker turned higher in the week ended Jan. 22, posting a strong 2.0ppt advance to 79.0. Gains in health conditions, which saw the most rapid weekly improvement, and strengthened demand more than offset weakness in mobility and production. Employment held steady. Regional recoveries recorded a synchronized upturn, the first since early December, with 45 states’ recovery trackers rising. Recoveries in the large states gained modestly, and California strengthened as health conditions began to improve.
Labor Recovery a Mixed Bag for January: The US labor market managed to add 49,000 jobs in January, breaking from the pattern of job-decline we saw in December. This good news mainly comes from the business and professional service sector, while many other sectors (such as retail, hospitality, health care) continue to experience a poor month. Though it is important to note that even in the best of years, there are a significant number of seasonal job losses in the months of January. Indeed, the seasonal adjustment for January anticipates a typical job loss of roughly 3 million based on the average over the past three years.
Jewish Man Leaves his Fortune to French Village: Beautiful stories always emerge from a constellation of little, practical details. One such story stuck out to us because it was only possible because an affluent man made sure his financial affairs were in order: An Austrian Jew has left his fortune to a French village that hid his family from Nazi persecution. After escaping an internment camp, and arriving in the French village, the Schwam family was hidden in a school for the duration of the war. This was to avoid being sent to a death camp by the Vichy regime —the French fascist government that collaborated with the Nazis. When he died in December last year, Eric Schwam, who was 90-years-old, bequeathed a substantial sum to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon—a small town of about 2,500 people in the south of France. While the exact amount has not been disclosed, the town’s mayor said it was “a large amount.” Schwam’s sizeable donation will go towards funding scholarships and youth initiatives in the village.
The Blue Jet: As for some randomly interesting information, the International Space Station caught this image of lightning bursting up through layers of Earth’s atmosphere. Weather phenomenon of this kind have been a subject of study for some time, but it takes a vantage point like the one given by the space station to really see one.