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A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington

A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington

Economic news
“This is the defining event of our time, and 100 years from now, this is what they’re going to remember us for,” he said.The committee’s two earliest iterations, in the 1950s and again in the 1970s, called for an arms buildup to counter the Soviets. The second iteration, formed over a luncheon table at Washington’s Metropolitan Club in 1976, issued documents warning against Soviet expansionism, with titles like “Is America Becoming Number 2?”The group reached the height of its influence during the Reagan administration, in which dozens of its members eventually held posts, including as the national security adviser and C.I.A. director. But as the Soviet threat faded, so did the committee.The group was briefly active again starting in 2004, this time to warn against the threat...
The Week in Business: A Suddenly Vulnerable Netflix

The Week in Business: A Suddenly Vulnerable Netflix

Economic news
Want this column in your inbox? Sign up here.It has been a hot week, with no relief in sight. If you’ve spent it assembling a wall of fans and air-conditioners, you may have missed some business and tech news. Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. (And here are some great no-cook dinners to help you beat the heat.)What’s Up? (July 14-20)Stranger ThingsNetflix lost more than 10 percent of its stock market value after the company said it had lost 126,000 subscribers in the United States last quarter — its first-ever such decline. The service also reported weak growth in overseas markets. The slide comes as competitors like Disney, AT&T and NBCUniversal are starting streaming services and, in some cases, taking their own hugely popular shows with them, like “Friends” and “...
Eugene Scalia, Trump’s Labor Pick, Has Fought for Corporate Clients

Eugene Scalia, Trump’s Labor Pick, Has Fought for Corporate Clients

Economic news
Arguing for SeaWorld Before a Future Supreme Court JusticeIn 2010, a killer whale attacked and killed a SeaWorld trainer named Dawn Brancheau. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the Labor Department, investigated and concluded that SeaWorld either knew or should have known that the whale posed a threat to humans and should have taken steps to protect trainers.The government’s argument prevailed before an administrative law judge, and then again in federal court, where Mr. Scalia’s firm represented SeaWorld. When the company appealed to a federal court in Washington, Mr. Scalia argued on its behalf.Mr. Scalia and his team maintained that Congress had never intended for the safety administration to regulate an occupation like training and performing ...
Fact-Checking Trump’s Tweet About Too-High Interest Rates

Fact-Checking Trump’s Tweet About Too-High Interest Rates

Economic news
President Trump has made a regular habit of criticizing the Federal Reserve, and on Friday he tweeted that the central bank’s “faulty” decision-making was causing Americans to pay higher interest rates than other nations.The Federal Reserve is supposed to keep the economy growing at a steady pace. Mr. Trump nominated its chair, Jerome H. Powell, and three of its other four sitting governors, but those leaders are confirmed by the Senate and operate independently of the White House. And Mr. Trump has no tie to the 12 Fed district bank presidents, who are selected by regional representatives. The Fed is insulated from politics by design so that it can make good long-term decisions rather than responding to election cycles. The lack of control seems to rub at the president. He regularly...
The Economy Looks Solid, but the Fed Plans to Cut Rates Anyway. Here’s Why.

The Economy Looks Solid, but the Fed Plans to Cut Rates Anyway. Here’s Why.

Economic news
This will be no ordinary interest rate cut.The Federal Reserve is planning to cut rates at its policy meeting at the end of the month even though the United States economy, by most available evidence, is doing perfectly fine.It appears, based on a close reading of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s own words, to be something deeper than just a tactical response to the latest economic data. It is instead an effort to apply the lessons of the last decade of sluggish global growth and low inflation to Fed policy. It is about accepting a new normal.And it is an acknowledgment that applying old rules of thumb from the pre-2008 world — under which it would make sense for the Fed to be raising rates right now, not cutting them — could be dangerous to a fragile world economy.Moreover, it is a rare ac...
Tuition-Free College Could Cost Less Than You Think

Tuition-Free College Could Cost Less Than You Think

Economic news
Paying for college seems out of reach for many Americans, so the idea of free college has broad appeal. Several Democratic presidential candidates and members of Congress have endorsed it.But free college isn’t really free — someone has to pay for it. Eliminating tuition at all public colleges and universities would cost at least $79 billion a year, according to the most recent Department of Education data, and taxpayers would need to foot the bill.That is a lot of money, but it is a smart and humane investment, and could be more affordable than you think.Here’s how the math works.While college tuition is high at many private schools, median in-state tuition at four-year public universities was only $8,738 in the 2017-18 academic year.Still, that was an increase of about $1,100, or 1...
Foreign-Owned Banks’ Results Could Sweeten Further Under Tax Law

Foreign-Owned Banks’ Results Could Sweeten Further Under Tax Law

Economic news
The BEAT is meant to curb a practice known as “earnings stripping,” in which multinationals avoid American taxes by shifting profits to other branches of the company operating in lower-tax countries overseas — often in the form of interest payments.It is a sort of minimum tax, forcing companies that send their profits offshore to pay at least some American tax on them.But in its December regulations, which provided nearly 46,000 words of details on how the provision applies to companies, Treasury essentially said certain interest payments made by foreign-owned banks are not subject to the calculations that determine that minimum tax. The move alarmed some former congressional aides who were involved in the tax effort. They said the exemption ran afoul of lawmakers’ intent in passin...
Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job

Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job

Economic news
President Trump said he would name Eugene Scalia as his next secretary of labor, tapping the son of the former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia for a position with vast responsibility over the American work force.The appointment is likely to be contested by Democrats and labor unions because Mr. Scalia has a long record of representing employers like Walmart and questioning regulations intended to help workers. He was a former top lawyer for the Labor Department in the George W. Bush administration and is currently a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.In a post on Twitter, Mr. Trump said Mr. Scalia “has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected.”If confirmed, Mr. Scalia will replace Alexander Acosta, who was distru...
Is Huawei a Security Threat? Vietnam Isn’t Taking Any Chances

Is Huawei a Security Threat? Vietnam Isn’t Taking Any Chances

Economic news
HANOI, Vietnam — The battle for technological dominance between the United States and China is splitting the world in two, though not always along the lines you might expect. American allies such as Britain and Germany have signaled that they are unlikely to back Washington’s effort to stop countries from working with the Chinese technology giant Huawei, which American officials call a Trojan Horse for Beijing’s cyberspies. Australia has barred the firm from building its next-generation 5G cellphone networks, even though its economy depends on China’s appetite for natural resources. South Korea and the Philippines have not, despite past frictions with China. And then there is Vietnam. At first glance, this fast-developing nation might seem to be a natural customer for Huawei. Its e...
Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

Economic news
Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs and conservative activists regularly flew first class to Saipan, an island just north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. They slept at the beachfront Hyatt Regency, and dined on fresh Japanese cuisine.The junkets in the late 1990s were organized by Patrick Pizzella. The Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States, had hired him to ensure that Congress did not impose federal minimum wage and immigration laws in a place where some workers earned less than $1 an hour.Mr. Pizzella, a genial lobbyist and government official who has spent years advocating the interests of businesses, is set to become the top Trump administration official protecting workers’ rights when he takes over as acting labor secretary this week. He will fil...