Good morning, everyone.
We've got a cool and sunny fall day ahead of us here in Nashville. Below, we talk about how sidewalks ain't what they used to be, the second special session wherein lawmakers discuss Covid-19 policy in schools, and catch you up on the big spending packages floating around D.C. That, and much more, will you find below.
Thanks for reading.
SIDEWALKS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE
Sidewalks are pretty simple things. You throw down some concrete, and people walk on them. Sometimes, people will ride bikes, or worse, an electric scooter, but mostly, sidewalks are for walking. Generally, sidewalks are a good thing and simple to execute. You choose a location, get permission, get some money, grab some materials, and start digging and pouring. Yet ask the folks over at Walk Bike Nashville about sidewalks, and they'll say something like:
[The city's sidewalk plan] has to look at the intersections of climate adaption and mitigation, equity, pedestrian safety, access to food, access to healthy living and lifestyles and public transit while also emphasizing safety.
There's a ton of "my job is really important" energy in that statement. When confronted with such language, ask yourself how the world would function were the person talking not in said job, then listen accordingly.
Much like basic questions around gender that the Woke mind virus provokes to no one's benefit, the Sidewalk Question dares to ask, "What is a sidewalk, actually?" Presumably, only the super bureaucrats on the Metro Council and Walk Bike Nashville have license to speak on such high falutin issues like these. Careful, fellow citizen, this is an issue that only the experts are capable of handling. Do you have a Ph.D. in Sidewalk Intersectionality Studies? Didn't think so.
The city is in the process of collecting comments on a new WalknBike plan through November 5th.
The new plan should be published in January.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SESSION
Convening at 4pm today, the Tennessee legislature will be settling into their second special session of the fall. Though the news in circulation indicates that the itinerary is set to consider all things Covid-19, its true focus is on mandates and individual rights.
On the Agenda
- Employee vaccination (especially regarding the Biden administration’s call to enforce mandatory vaccinations in businesses larger than 100 employees).
- Child vaccinations without parental consent.
- Mandated child vaccination for Covid-19.
- Unemployment benefits for employees fired due to failure to adhere to vaccine mandates.
- Partisan elections of school board members.
- Monoclonal antibody treatment redistribution.
The floor is open to a lot of topics revolving around the swift overtake of institutional power linked to Covid-19. We anticipate hearing about the labeling of parents advocating for their children at School Board meetings as domestic terrorists, executive overreach, and school masking as well.
Following the anticipation of the Ford special session, public servants were asked about this second special session. Some legislators regarded it as absolutely crucial while others expressed they viewed the second session as political theater and a waste of taxpayer money. A piece released by the Tennessean followed suit with the latter sentiment and framed the session as an attempt by lawmakers to stifle health officials, schools, and business owners. Telling.
- Nashville Mayor John Cooper proposes $20M purchase of state land, once passed over for $11.3M (Tennessean)
- Midtown-area medical office building listed for $3.75M (Post)
- Amazon tower lands five retail tenants (Post)
- Hillsboro Village office property sells for $7M (Post)
UPDATES FROM THE HILL
It's been a while since we've checked in on Biden's signature spending packages up on the hill. Since we last talked, the Infrascstructure Bill continues to hang in the balance as a bartering chip of sorts while Democrats work out the particulars of Biden's $3.5T End All Pain and Suffering Bill that's been slashed to a $1.75T End Some Pain and Suffering Bill to meet the demands of, mostly, Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin who stand like colusses against the battering waves of unhinged government spending. Meanwhile, Republicans sit on the sidelines flinging feces at any idea, effectively removing themselves from influencing the bills at all.
Lawmakers hope that something will get passed before Joe Biden shows up at the COP26 Climate conference in Glasgow at the end of this week. That seems unlikely.
Legislators seek alternative ways to enforce emissions goals. Manchin, who stands at the bottleneck, demands that any policy not punish producers for not meeting clean energy goals. As a result, Democratic lawmakers have conceived of a scheme in which grants and incentives encourage clean energy use without penalties for those who don't.
On Paid Leave
A paid leave program, initially designed to last 12 weeks but later cut to four weeks, is in danger of falling out of the bill, according to aides familiar with the talks.
On Community College
Lawmakers had also indicated the package would likely not include two years of tuition-free community college but would retain universal prekindergarten. Interestingly enough, Tennessee already offers its residents free college through its Tennessee Promise program.
On Child Tax Credits
The Child Tax Credit program — awarding families $2,000 per child under age 17 — arose as part of the $1.9T coronavirus relief bill passed earlier this year and has been struck from the butchered package now floating through the chambers. Democrat lawmakers had hoped to make the tax credit permanent or extend it for another year and then make it permanent when no one was watching.
Who Pays For It?
The highly controversial idea thrust forth by Janet Yellen suggested that taxing the rich's unrealized gains would drive a significant portion of the revenue. Figures for how much the tax would raise over 10 years range from between $250 billion and upward of $500 billion. Under that plan, Musk and Bezos would each pay $50 billion and $44 billion respectively over the first five years.
In lieu of the "new tax" which few expect to wiggle its way though the Supreme Court, lawmakers ponder:
- A 3% “surtax” on millionaires earning more than $5 million per year
- Raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21%
- Increasing the top individualrate to 39.6% from 37%.
- Increasing the top capital-gains rate to 28.8% from 23.8%
Additionally, lawmakers are also considering a 15% tax on the income of roughly 200 of the largest American companies, an initiative that Krysten Sinema has voiced support for despite her opposition nearly all of the aforementioned rate hikes.
Joe Manchin has come out against the draconian measures to monitor all transactions in accounts with inflows and outflows greater than $10,000. Democrats sell the idea as something that would only effect the much maligned "1%", but the initiative would fall most heavily on lower and middle class households. It is perhaps the most damning of the tax initiatives which invites government agencies deeper and deeper into citizen's lives.
Othe Things of Interest
- Bill Hagerty Calls Out Sanders for Backing Reconciliation Bill Despite Big Tech Immigration Carve Out (NRO)
- The Billionaire Tax: The Worst Tax Idea Ever? (Musings on Markets)
- Elon Musk on taxing unrealized gains (@elonmusk)
- The MAGA Case for the Infrastructure Deal (American Mind)
- The Democrat who could bring down Biden: Kyrsten Sinema embodies the end of performative radicalism (Unherd)
☔️ CLIMATE FAUX PAS
- Animal rights protesters scale government building to demand UK switches to vegan diets (Telegraph) These activists are so unimposing that scaling the side of a building inspires fear in no one. Not even the government officials they threaten.
- Plant-Based Food Companies Face Critics: Environmental Advocates (NYT) Some analysts say they cannot determine if plant-based foods are more sustainable than meat because the companies are not transparent about their emissions. Hint: they aren't.
- A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy (PETA) *Hits joint* "Humans aren't, like, that different from rats if really think about it, man."
- 45% of Americans Don’t Believe Humans Cause Climate Change (Vice) Climate Change is a failed rebranding of "Global Warming". The only thing the climate consistently does is change regardless of what humans do.
- Fed Prepares to Taper Stimulus Amid More Doubts on Inflation (WSJ)
- We don't even expect the GOP to do work anymore (MSNBC)
- Will Xi Jinping show at COP26? Probably not (Reuters)
THINGS TO DO
The Frist Art Museum has an exhibit celebrating ascendant Art Deco art from the 1920s and 1930s running until January.
🔪 REVIEW: HALLOWEEN KILLS
Thoughts and news concerning everyone's favorite viral pandemic.
- Key FDA Panel Backs Pfizer COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 (NRO)
- Business groups ask White House to delay Biden Covid vaccine mandate until after the holidays (CNBC)
- Biden imposes new international travel vaccine rules, lifts existing restrictions (Reuters)
- NIH Removes Language on ‘Gain-of-Function’ From Website Amid Criticism Over Funding Chinese Research (Epoch Times)
- Austria considers Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated ONLY that would confine people without jabs to their homes except for 'authorised' reasons (Daily Mail)
Around the Web
☞ Cities and Ambition Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.
☠︎ The Whiteness of Wokeness There is a racial divide on radical politics— but it’s not what you think
✪ The Human Voice (1921) This silent educational film from Bray Studios is all about that “marvellous sound producing instrument, the voice box”.
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Insulate Britain protester glues his face to the road to stop himself from being removed
- Kyrsten Sinema Shredded for Wearing a Jean Jacket to Preside Over the Senate: ‘Does She Think This Is a F–ing Rodeo?’
- George Soros and Reid Hoffman backing new effort to battle disinformation called Good Information Inc.
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Words of Wisdom
“When I am asked what I worry about in the market, the answer usually is 'nothing', because everyone else in the market seems to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying, and so all of the relevant worries seem to be covered. My worries won’t have any impact except to detract from something much more useful, which is trying to make good long-term investment decisions.”
Bill Miller, 3Q 2021 Market Letter
Additional Words of Wisdom
"Ain't no sense worrying about things you got no control over, 'cause if you got no control over them, ain't no sense worrying. And ain't no sense worrying about things you got control over, 'cause if you got control over them, ain't no sense worrying."