Good morning. Here’s your Situational Awareness for Wednesday, 08 September 2021. You can receive this briefing by email by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- Situational Awareness
- New methane use-tax expected
- USDA grants PPE funds
- BlackRock & China team up
- Extended House ethics investigations
- Resin is the new semiconductor
GAS: A group of 27 natural gas and utility associations sent a letter to Congressional leadership concerning new methane use-taxes. The budget reconciliation legislation includes new fees and taxes designed to curb methane emissions to reduce global warming. The letter said, “Congress has not robustly or transparently evaluated the impacts of a methane fee. The methane fee proposal has not been the subject of a Congressional hearing and therefore has not been appropriately analyzed or debated among lawmakers.” The organizations claim natural gas prices could increase by at least 17% for primarily low-income households and energy blend changes will reduce grid reliability. (AC: The targeting of fossil fuels by policymakers continues to upend domestic energy prices and dwindling supply risks a loss of influence in export markets. – D.M.)
AGRICULTURE: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) established a $700 million aid program to distribute grants to workers in the farm and meat industries affected by the coronavirus. The aid program specifies that affected workers and those who were exposed are eligible for grants up to $600, largely to make up for costs associated with purchasing protective equipment paid for by the workers. The grants are set to be distributed by nonprofit groups that fill out an application to work with the government. The USDA has plans to announce a second $700 million aid program which will send money to food vendors affected by the pandemic. – T.W.
BLACKROCK & CHINA: BlackRock Inc. raises $1 billion for a Chinese mutual fund run by a foreign firm. The move from BlackRock comes as investors and asset managers look to provide an avenue for investment from Chinese individuals through a United States based investment firm. BlackRock is the first foreign firm allowed to sell mutual fund shares to Chinese individuals, with other firms looking to follow suit. BlackRock’s decision has drawn criticism, especially during a time where the U.S. and China continue to dispute trade, territory, and tech restrictions. George Soros called BlackRock’s investment a “tragic mistake” that will “likely lose money for BlackRock’s clients and more important, will damage the national security interests of the U.S. and other democracies.” – T.W.
ETHICS: Three Republicans and one Democrat are facing campaign finance and insider trading ethics violations. Rep. Mooney (R-WV), Rep. Malinowski (D-NJ), Rep. Kelly (R-PA), and Rep. Hagedorn (R-MN). All four have key committee assignments, which indicates pressure campaigns from Democrat and K street leadership as lobbyist clients “seek to be aggressive.” Next week’s return for the House marks the beginning of debt, infrastructure, and tax increases for corporations. (AC: The extended ethics investigations are for relatively small dollar amounts, meaning the intent could be to pressure the Reps into committee compliance as the results are not scheduled for release until mid-October. – D.M.)
PLASTICS: Reduced resin production in Texas and Louisiana continues to drive consumer prices higher. More than 60% of manufacturers are reporting shortages as last winter’s storms and Hurricane Ida disrupted raw material suppliers. Sudeep Suman, a director at AlixPartners said, “Disruption cycles are replacing economic cycles. Disruption is the new normal. Resin is the new semiconductor.” (AC: Compliance with food and safety regulations prevents the reuse of many recycled plastics. Ongoing pandemic related production changes and synthetic caffeine shortages are also contributing to the decline in consumer availability of some grocery items. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: The National Hurricane Center predicts areas of heavy rainfall will be possible across portions of the Florida panhandle and southern Georgia through Thursday, with localized flooding possible. Hurricane Larry is currently projected to cause life-threatening ocean swells for the East Coast throughout the week, but no landfall is expected in the U.S.
In today’s Early Warning, Dustin examines Capitol bills too big to fail and Max details the Far Left’s activity mid-week. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe