The Week in Business: Here Comes the Stimulus Cash

Good Morning. Millions of Americans will receive their stimulus payments every minute as the American bailout plan is in place. Here’s what you need to know in the business and technical news for the week ahead. – Charlotte Cowles

President Biden put his highly competitive whopper of a stimulus package into law on Thursday. The bill calls for qualified Americans with direct payments of up to $ 1,400 who can expect to see direct deposits into their bank accounts as early as this weekend (like today). It will also extend unemployment benefits, help sick businesses like airlines, provide funding to speed up vaccinations and reopen schools, and give most parents a tax credit of up to $ 300 per child per month. The president has launched a week-long campaign to publicize the benefits of the package, which is popular with voters from both parties, despite not receiving Republican support in Congress.

An international group of hackers has claimed they breached 150,000 surveillance cameras in hospitals, businesses, police stations, prisons and schools across the United States by accessing a wealth of camera data collected by Silicon Valley startup Verkada. Tesla is among the companies whose internal footage may have been compromised. One of the hackers said he was motivated by “a lot of curiosity, the struggle for freedom of information and against intellectual property, a large dose of anti-capitalism, a touch of anarchism – and it’s just too much fun not to. ”

Last week, new jobless claims fell again, approaching their lowest levels since the pandemic began. It’s a promising sign that the economy is seriously recovering after months of uneven improvements, but there is still a long way to go – unemployment is still incredibly high by historical standards. The stock market had a great week now. The S&P 500 hit a record high on Thursday as investors stalled on the prospect of new stimulus stimulus to boost the economy.

You’re wondering what it takes to have a serious vacation this summer – the kind of flying through multiple time zones, crossing at least one boundary, and really forgetting to read your email because real life is so far away seems to be? Well, vaccination records might be the answer. This Wednesday, the European Union Commission will announce its proposal for specific documents that will allow vaccinated people to travel more freely. The United States, China, and the United Kingdom are considering similar measures. The rules are intended to help the ailing travel and tourism industry and at the same time curb the transmission of viruses.

Frequently asked questions about the new stimulus package

How high are the business stimulus payments in the bill and who is entitled?

The stimulus payments would be $ 1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $ 1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $ 75,000 or less. For householders, the adjusted gross income should be $ 112,500 or less, and for married couples filing together, that number should be $ 150,000 or less. To be eligible for a payment, an individual must have a social security number. Continue reading.

What Would the Relief Bill do for Health Insurance?

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become much cheaper. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, COBRA generally lets someone who loses a job purchase coverage through their previous employer. But it’s expensive: under normal circumstances, a person must pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the full COBRA premium from April 1 to September 30. An individual who qualified for new employer-based health insurance elsewhere before September 30th would lose their eligibility for free coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would also be ineligible. Continue reading

What would the child and dependent care tax credit bill change?

This loan, which helps working families offset the cost of looking after children under the age of 13 and other dependents, would be significantly extended for a single year. More people would be eligible and many recipients would get a longer break. The bill would also fully refund the balance, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill were zero. “This will be helpful for people on the lower end of the income spectrum,” said Mark Luscombe, chief federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Continue reading.

What changes to the student loan are included in the invoice?

There would be a big one for people who are already in debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on debt relief if you qualify for loan origination or cancellation – for example, if you’ve been on an income-based repayment plan for the required number of years, if your school cheated on you, or if Congress or the President whisper $ 10,000 debt gone for a large number of people. This would be the case for debts canceled between January 1, 2021 and the end of 2025. Read more.

What would the bill do to help people with housing?

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility benefits to people who are struggling and at risk of being evicted from their homes. About $ 27 billion would be used for emergency rentals. The vast majority of these would replenish what is known as the Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by CARES law and distributed through state, local, and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. This is on top of the $ 25 billion provided by the aid package passed in December. In order to receive financial support that could be used for rent, utilities and other housing costs, households would have to meet various conditions. Household income cannot exceed 80 percent of area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or residential instability, and individuals would be at risk due to the pandemic. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, assistance could be granted for up to 18 months. Lower-income families who have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for support. Continue reading.

President Biden has vowed to take a tough stance on China but also to take a more strategic approach than the Trump administration, which has grappled with questionable results in a month-long trade war with Beijing. This week two top members of Mr. Biden’s team, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, will meet their Chinese counterparts in Alaska. It will be the first high-level face-to-face contact between the two countries since taking office and is expected to set the tone for future relations.

When the economy recovers and people start commuting, traveling and buying things again, oil prices are expected to rise – and rise and rise. Typically, in this case, the energy industry pumps more oil out of the ground to meet consumer demand. But not this time. Fuel companies were reluctant to increase their supply as many continued to be terrified by the devastating effects of the pandemic on oil markets over the past year. (Oil prices even went negative last April when traders had to pay buyers to remove barrels from their hands.) That’s a far cry from the $ 4 a gallon some states might see this summer, if the demand continues.

The Manhattan mansion owned by Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who died in prison after being accused of sex trafficking, sold for $ 51 million. The proceeds go to a fund that reimburses victims of abuse. On Wall Street, the stock value of gaming site Roblox soared on its first day of public trading, a sign of how indispensable video games have become in the pandemic economy. And a Chinese bowl bought for $ 35 at a Connecticut yard sale turned out to be a rare artifact from the Ming Dynasty and is expected to fetch up to $ 500,000 at auction this week.

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