Millennial Review – Daily Review July 27th

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MR Daily Review

July 27th

1. Taking another step toward a looming recession, the Fed raises interest rates another .75 to 2.25% total.

Today the FOMC met and voted to raise interest rates 75 basis points or .75% to 2.25% total. This move comes after months of fear mongering regarding inflation and a similar move of 1.50% just months ago. The FOMC doesn’t meet in August but without clear indicators that inflation is waning it seems clear the Fed will pursue even more interest rate hikes when they meet once again in September. Jerome Powell has made it clear he wants to respond to inflation just as Paul Volcker did. Jerome Powell also stated he feels the labor market is cooling down and that the United States is not in a recession yet. The thing is, if Powell continues on the course he laid out we certainly will be headed for a recession.

2. In rare reversal, Manchin agrees to climate and tax package. 

Joe Manchin has agreed to $433 billion in new spending, mostly focused on green energy infrastructure. That spending is coupled with a few other provisions, mainly allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, in a bid to drop drug prices for millions of Americans. There were also significant changes to the tax code aimed at raising $739 billion over the next decade. These bills are still paltry compared to what needs to be done and in some ways presenting them as triumphant successes plays into the politics that Manchin and company have created. It is however the only chance Democrats have at securing any legislative victories before the midterms so it’s worth noting that they actually are going to pass a reconciliation bill instead of just squandering their opportunity entirely. Again it’s still not enough, but it would have been laughably sad if they didn’t pass at least this.

3. U.S. offers prisoner swap arrangement to free Brittney Griner.

The Biden administration has faced justified criticism for dragging their feet on securing Brittney Griner’s release from Russian detention. It finally seems they’ve taken a concrete step (maybe) in that direction by offering a prisoner swap involving a Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, serving a 25 year sentence for conspiracy to murder and selling arms to terrorists. The Kremlin has made efforts to secure Bout’s release in the past and have been vocal about contesting his charges since he was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and convicted in New York in 2011. The move was announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the offer also included an ex marine and military contractor accused of espionage, Paul Whelan. It’s one of the most significant moves to secure Griner’s release coming from the Biden administration but according to Russian law it can’t go forward until there is an official verdict in her case. Griner returns to court next week.

4. Lufthansa strike in Germany grounds flights, railway workers in U.K. agree to strike in mid-August.

German airline workers with Lufthansa are on strike, canceling over 1,000 flights and grounding 130,000 would be passengers. The union Ver.di wants a wage increase of 9.5% for Lufthansa staff and a minimum increase of monthly wages of 350 (368) euros per month. Like workers everywhere Ver.di claims Lufthansa workers are pushed to the limit and unwilling to meet current demands without more pay. The shut down comes at peak travel season and has already made itself known. Likewise railway workers in the U.K. shut down rail during peak travel season and have agreed to do so once again starting August 13th in order to secure better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Workers everywhere need unions and it’s great to see worker action abroad that American workers can certainly learn from.

5. Black life expectancy lower today in U.S. counties where slavery was most prevalent.

According to a study out of the University of Texas, “Black life expectancy is proportionally lower in southern U.S. counties where slavery was denser in 1860, finds a new study. The same study found that white life expectancy remains proportionally higher in those same counties.” The study “Slave Past, Modern Lives: An Analysis of the Legacy of Slavery and Contemporary Life Expectancy in the American South,” by Robert Reece shows that a wide variety of institutional factors have cemented lower Black life expectancy in counties where slavery and structures of white supremacy were most fierce. To quote Reece, “This research points to the role of history in shaping public health outcomes,” he said. “As we try to weather a pandemic and root out the causes of health inequities, it is important that we consider all of the factors involved. Research like this shows that people are suffering for factors out of their control, which begs a strong policy intervention. And, as conversations surrounding racial reparations for black American descendants of chattel slavery, research like this demonstrates the ongoing harm inflicted on people from that institution, which also demands a strong policy intervention.”

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