Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Tuesday, 21 September 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- Shell goes green, sells land to ConocoPhillips
- New IRA taxes change financial landscape
- Air Force wants amphibious planes for Pacific
- Rental assistance likely to expand
OIL: Shell is selling an oil field worth $9.5 billion in west Texas to ConocoPhillips. The sale to ConocoPhillips will close Q4 of this year and transfer the assets currently producing 175,000 barrels of oil per day on roughly 225,000 acres. Shell’s sale means that the company will no longer have a single onshore production area in Texas. Shell will continue to produce offshore the Texas coast but has no plans to repurchase an onshore production site. (Analyst Comment: Oil and gas companies are positioning themselves to invest more capital into renewable energies amidst pressure from political figures and the public. Shell plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which means the oil giant must invest at least $100 million per year on things such as planting trees to accomplish this goal. -T.W.)
IRA: Democrats are pushing for a tax package that would prevent IRA’s from holding investments typically reserved for accredited investors. The block includes investments into private equity and hedge funds, which Democrats believe IRA holders use as a tax shelter because of the investor protection benefits of IRA accounts. If the $3.5 trillion budget plan passes, the legislation will go into effect in 2022. The plan also stipulates that IRA holders with account values of at least $10 million would be barred from contributing more funds into the account and require that these individuals take a minimum withdrawal each year. Additionally, the plan will prohibit Roth conversions, moving a traditional IRA balance into a Roth IRA for individuals making over $400,000. Roth IRAs are retirement accounts that you pay taxes on when money enters the account. You do not have to pay taxes on the withdrawals in the future, so long as they occur once you are at least 59 and a half years old. On top of this, the budget plan would include legislation that would prevent individuals from using the “mega-backdoor Roth” strategy, which currently allows individuals who are making too much money for a traditional Roth IRA to roll money from a traditional IRA into a Roth. -T.W.
DEFENSE: The Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) wants to test its amphibious MC-130J publicly. The plan is to limit construction time on Pacific island chains for runways, hangars, and maintenance facilities as the aircraft would quickly relocate after dropping off troops or materiel. Lt. Gen. Jim Slife said, “When you think about things like logistics, resupply, personnel recovery, aquatic infiltration, and exfiltration — those types of things all kind of call for an ability to operate in an amphibious fashion.” The MC-130J Commando II program is a test for other future platforms like the AC-130 gunship, which Lt. Gen Slife said is undergoing concurrent development. (AC: The Air Force is negotiating with Congress the retirement of legacy aircraft in a bid to fund the development of new platforms for a high-end conflict in the Pacific. Currently, the Air Force has about 57 Commando II aircraft scheduled for delivery by 2025. – D.M.)
RENTALS: The House Financial Services Committee reported only 11% of the $46 billion in rental assistance funding utilized. Chairwoman Waters (D-CA) blames Republican-led states for the lack of disbursement, but New York has the lowest distribution rate in the country at just .34% of funds going to renters in need. The House committee passed a series of new provisions, including a 120-day eviction prohibition with a two-year extension for potential applicants and a prohibition on requiring leasing documents from renters to apply for assistance. (AC: Removing barriers to assistance opens up the door for continued fraud, waste, and abuse of the funds. There is little accountability for grantees for documentation with multiple avenues for extending government funding for landlords and renters alike. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: The National Hurricane Center predicts Tropical Storms Peter and Rose will remain in the Atlantic without making landfall in the U.S. The tropical wave southwest of Cabo Verde has a high likelihood of organizing further this week, but its ultimate destination is to be determined.
In today’s Early Warning, Dustin covers Britain and France taking on China in the Pacific. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe