Post 1

Biden’s Administration Proposing Tax Increase (Links to an external site.)

While the 3rd coronavirus stimulus check just becomes available through direct deposit, Biden said he plans to raise taxes on those who earn 400,000 and large corporations. The details of his plan include increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, restoring the top individual income tax rate to 39.6 percent (currently 37%), and taxing the investment income of millionaires at the top income tax rate, etc. There is a short video included in the link.

1) Do you think this potential increase in tax results from the hundreds of billions of stimulus checks issued by the government?

2) Do you think it is fair for those who earned over 400,00? They did not get any stimulus check but would have to use more money to help those who already received money from the government.

3) Many have claimed that the stimulus check has caused inflation and price increase in gas stations, grocery stores, etc. Do you notice any price increase? If yes, do you think that results from the stimulus checks issued?

Post 2 (Links to an external site.)

This past week, the Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell held a Federal Reserve press conference to discuss the future outlook of the economy in the US. He noted the Fed will not be raising interest rates in the short term until the economy recovers from the pandemic. Officials seem much more positive about recovery since the last conference – we also saw stocks rise quite a bit and the yield on the 10 year t-notes fall after Powell’s speech. Though the outlook still remains quite uncertain, they are a bit more optimistic with predicting inflation, US GDP and employment to rise due to the Covid vaccination and stimulus roll outs. Powell stated that the Fed will not rely on optimism alone and will need to see actual progress and data in order to raise rates.

  • Are there any key points in Powell’s press conference that were particularly interesting to you?
  • Still with so much uncertainty, are you more optimistic or pessimistic about the economy this year?
  • In terms of markets, do you think that stocks are going to rise because the Fed is more optimistic or think it could continue being volatile because of the remaining uncertainty?

Post 3

Toshiba: Japan activists on board for change (Links to an external site.)

The article is based in Japan where “active” investors managed to change the long-held tradition of simply going along with the actions and decisions of the company management.

The largest investor in Toshiba – Effissimo – managed to defeat the Japanese electronics group.

Under Japanese corporate law, investors can remove members from a company’s board. But until now, going against Japanese company management has been a costly losing battle for frustrated investors. Shareholder activism has won approval just four times in Japanese corporate history. Overseas activists have a negative reputation for attacking companies unnecessarily.

Do any of you know any other such instance where a big company, such as like Toshiba, was defeated and challenged due to an active shareholder?

Can continuous intervention by the shareholders impact a company negatively as well? In what ways?

What could be the various advantages that a company could gain if the shareholders had a stronger voice?

What steps could be taken to encourage the shareholders to have active participation?

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