Biden, Bezos and Inflation – WSJ

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at a climate conference in Scotland last year.


paul ellis / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

There are too many dollars chasing too few goods and services in the United States. Until the Federal Reserve implements a substantial reduction in the dollar amount, fighting inflation requires either increasing the supply of goods and services or decreasing demand. The latter is economically painful and tends to be nearly impossible for policymakers without reducing supply, but unfortunately, it seems to be the President’s preferred course of action. Joe Biden.

On Friday, the president tweeted:

Want to reduce inflation?

Make sure the wealthiest corporations pay them fairly.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has always been more rational than the newspaper he owns, reply:

The newly formed Information Board should review this tweet, or they may need to form a new Out-of-Sequence Board instead. Increasing corporate taxes is good to discuss. The taming of inflation is important to discuss. Mixing them together is just the wrong direction.

Mr. Bezos is correct that inflation is not caused by competitive corporate tax rates. In fact, a pro-growth tax policy serves as an important incentive for firms to supply more goods and services and to create deflationary innovations.

But Mr. Bezos may have given Mr Biden too much credit by dismissing the President’s tweets as unrelated misinformation. Maybe the president is not mistakenly combining the two economic concepts. The chilling possibility here is that Mr Biden understands exactly what he is talking about and that he intends to use the withholding tax to dampen economic activity in the false belief that he can reduce demand and end inflation. by disrupting business. The president should remember the 1970s but apparently not.

Annie Palmer at CNBC noted:

White House spokesman Andrew Bates responded in a statement that “it doesn’t take a huge leap to figure out why” Bezos, the world’s second-richest person, would oppose Biden’s proposal on tax increases for the super rich and corporations.

“It’s also not surprising that this tweet comes after the President met with labor organizers, including Amazon employees,” Bates said in a statement.

Bezos’ venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the White House’s goal is to stem supply by attacking business, that’s a great job. Unfortunately, even one of the critics who tried to block Mr. Biden from his inflationary spending agenda in early 2021 is endorsing Biden’s emerging policy. Former Obama and Clinton economic adviser Larry Summers


I think @JeffBezos was mostly wrong in his recent attack on Admin @JoeBiden. It is perfectly reasonable to believe, as I and @POTUS assert, that we should raise taxes to reduce demand in order to contain inflation and that the increase should be as progressive as possible.

Investors have recently been tortured by the fear that the Fed cannot reduce inflation without triggering a recession. Now coupled with the worrisome prospect that the economy slows down could be official White House policy.


How long can Putin stay in power?
At Sky News in the UK, Dominic Waghorn reports:

The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service said that the war with Russia is going very well, it will reach a turning point in mid-August and end at the end of the year … In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Major General Kyrylo Budanov also said that a coup to remove Vladimir Putin has been conducted in Russia and that the Russian leader is suffering from severe cancer …

General Budanov correctly predicted when the Russian invasion would happen when others in his government openly doubted it, and he now says he is confident in predicting its conclusion.

“The breaking point will be in the second part of August.

“Most of the active combat operations will be finished by the end of the year.

“Therefore, we will regenerate Ukraine’s power over all the territories that we have lost including Donbas and Crimea.”


Is Netflix creating more independent thinking?
Karol Markowicz wrote in the New York Post:

We have finally come to a point where Americans are fully capable of controlling and censoring speech. Someone just told the Biden administration.

Last week, Netflix released a lengthy memo detailing the company culture it hopes to foster… Netflix allows “viewers to decide what’s right for them, rather than letting Netflix censor them.” specific artists or voices.”

And if the staff doesn’t like it, there’s the door. “Depending on your role, you may need to work with titles that you consider harmful. If you find it difficult to support our breadth of content, Netflix may not be the best place for you. Netflix employees famously protested about Dave Chappelle’s comedy special last year.

The Netflix memo made the news as it is now seen as boldly advocating for free speech and open discourse. It seems very novel, allowing viewers, not 23-year-olds who specialize in gender studies in their first work, to choose what to watch.

Netflix’s statement on corporate culture and pursuit of excellence includes other interesting passages, including the following:

We model ourselves as a professional sports team, not a family. A family is about unconditional love. A dream team is about pushing yourself to be the best teammate you can be, caring deeply about your team, and knowing that you may not be on the team forever. Dream teams are about performance, not seniority or tenure. Managers must ensure that every player is great in their position, plays effectively with others and is given new opportunities to grow. That’s how we continue to win (world entertainment) championships. Unlike a sports team, as Netflix grows, so does the number of players. We work to foster players from the development league so they can become the stars of tomorrow.

To strengthen our dream team, our managers employ a “goalkeeper test” for each of them: if a team member leaves to take on a similar role at another company, would the manager try to keep them? Those who don’t pass the goalkeeping test (i.e. their manager won’t struggle to keep them) will receive a generous severance package so we can find an even better person for the position. that mindset — creating an even better dream team.

The memo goes on to describe the value of delegating decision-making power while actively managing a business, and ends with a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

If you want to build a ship,

Don’t fool people

to collect wood, divide

work and order.

Instead, teach them to desire

for the vast and endless sea.


Great and Endless Courage
Hannah Fry, Anh Do, Jeong Park, Richard Winton and Andrew Campa report in the Los Angeles Times:

Details are beginning to emerge about what happened inside a church in Laguna Woods on Sunday… After the gunman opened fire, a group of churchgoers subdued the shooter and “cut” his leg with an extension cord and took two handguns from him, authorities said. ..

Peggy Huang, a Yorba Linda city councilwoman, said her parents were members of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church congregation in Laguna Woods. She’s been texting church members all day to check on them. They told her they didn’t recognize the gunman and that they hadn’t seen him at church before. The man opened fire as churchgoers were taking pictures with the pastor from Taiwan.

After the gunshots rang out, the pastor picked up a chair and used it to hit the gunman. Then other members of the congregation grabbed him, Huang said. She added that many members of the church have military backgrounds.


James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China, and America’s Resurgence”.


Follow James Freeman on Twitter.

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