Weekly Digest – 2 August 2023

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Why the Federal Reserve has made everything more expensive to make things less expensive

A little bit of science and a little bit of art go into slowing down the behemoth that is the U.S. economy. It seems like a contradiction: How would increasing the cost of monthly credit payments help to bring down the price of goods and services in the economy?

Biden’s new executive order encourages companies to make inventions in the U.S.

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order while visiting Maine to encourage companies to manufacture new inventions in the United States.

Towns for sale

In recent years dozens of towns across the country, from abandoned mining settlements to desert enclaves, have been listed for sale. Correspondent Christina Ruffini reports on opportunities for someone in the market to own a town of their very own, from a 40-acre village in Maine, to a sprawling Rocky Mountain ghost town.

The fight over a bill targeting credit card fees pits payment companies against retailers

A bipartisan push in Washington to clamp down on credit card fees is pitting retailers against network payment processors — and both sides are working hard to gain the attention of consumers.

Small businesses call on Congress to approve Main Street Tax Certainty Act

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is urging Congress to pass the Main Street Tax Certainty Act. The 20% Small Business Deduction, or Section 199A, permits pass-through small businesses to deduct up to 20% of qualified business income. If not made permanent, the deduction will expire after 2025. The Main Street Tax Certainty Act is designed to make this vital tax deduction permanent, providing much-needed tax certainty for small business owners nationwide.

Believe it or not, consumer sentiment is improving

On Friday, the BEA reported that personal consumption expenditures growth accelerated in June, rising to a record annualized rate of $18.4 trillion. This matters because consumer spending is the dominant driver of the U.S. economy, with personal consumption expenditures accounting for 68% of GDP. However, consumer behavior can be complex and nuanced.  Believe it or not, consumer sentiment is improving.

Supreme Court issues order allowing work to resume on West Virginia Gas Pipe

The U.S. Supreme Court on July 27 allowed Equitrans Midstream Corp. to resume the building of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The $6.6 billion project is designed to meet growing energy demands in the South and Mid-Atlantic by transporting gas from the Marcellus and Utica fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Agencies request comment on proposed rules to strengthen capital requirements for large banks

Bank regulatory agencies requested comment on a proposal to increase the strength and resilience of the banking system. The proposal would modify large bank capital requirements to better reflect underlying risks and increase the consistency of how banks measure their risks.

Fed’s new instant payment system could be trouble for PayPal, Venmo

If FedNow becomes popular enough, it could one day make trouble for apps like PayPal and Venmo, which serve as intermediaries to make fast payments between banks. Cash apps could eventually seem so slow or unnecessary that they become obsolete. For now, peer-to-peer payments apps seem safe, though, as analysts told NBC News that FedNow is “likely to benefit consumers and small businesses the most.”

IRS ends unannounced visits to protect agents

The Internal Revenue Service is stopping most unannounced visits to taxpayers’ residences and businesses by its revenue officers after a rising number of threats has put its employees’ safety at risk.

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