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President Joe Biden and the capitalist narrative | Ticker VIEWS

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US President Joe Biden is redefining American capitalism with sweeping new legislation. Opinion piece by Bruce Wolpe

The big news last week was the near-completion of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The response to Russia-based cyber attacks on American infrastructure and businesses also made headlines.

THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE U.S PRESIDENT

President Biden met with civil rights leaders to discuss advancing the prospects of legislation to protect the most fundamental right in a democracy: the right to vote.

But in an 18-minute event in the White House on Friday, with leaders from his Cabinet and top regulatory agencies present, President Biden laid out what are perhaps the most sweeping initiatives in a century.

The changes aimed redefine the rules of the road for America’s economy by promoting competition across American business, enterprise and services.

Lower prices, and increased wages

Biden signed an Executive order outlining 72 initiatives that would, in his words, “Lower prices, to increase wages, and to take another critical step toward an economy that works for everybody.”

Biden gave marching orders to all the affected agencies of government to examine the state of commerce and consumer protection in their jurisdiction. The orders will also promote competition and benefits for working people and consumers.

Biden invoked both Roosevelt Presidents, who both established the framework of the antitrust laws in the United State and reformed American capitalism to save the country during the Great Depression.

“Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want.  And for too many Americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things that you can’t go without,” said the president.

“Let me be very clear: Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; it’s exploitation.”

Us president joe biden

The Biden initiative addresses health care such as prescription drug prices and internet access 

It will also address pricing, interstate labor mobility, transport prices and fees, bank mergers and more opportunities for small farmers.

On Big Tech, Biden gave explicit direction to the Federal Trade Commission to address competition issues in the sector.

This program breaks with past practice. Under President Obama, far-reaching economic sand policy reform was central. Especially the passage of Obamacare, Wall Street reform, and trying to enact sweeping energy and climate legislation. 

This is broader and deeper: a mandate to all the arms of the government to act now – early in this presidency – to implement policy reforms that will drive more competitiveness. 

“Fair competition is was what made America the wealthiest, most innovative nation in history.  That’s why people come here to invent things and start new businesses.”

President joe Biden

“In the competition against China and other nations of the 21st century, let’s show that American democracy and the American people can truly out-compete anyone. Because I know that just given half a chance, the American people will never, ever, ever let their country down. Imagine if we give everyone a full and fair chance. That’s what this is all about.”

Biden’s presidency is already marked by success on the pandemic and economic recovery. His programs for infrastructure, education, health care, child support are all in the balance in Congress right now. 

But these reforms to American capitalism will also define Biden’s legacy as president.

Read more by Bruce Wolpe on Ticker NEWS here.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

Tech

TICKER NEWS is available on podcast apps

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For the first time, TICKER NEWS is now available on podcast apps, allowing you to hear the latest news, plus special programs

TICKER NEWS is now available as a podcast.

You can catch up on the latest news, or programs devoted to special topics including U.S. politics and TICKER AIR.

TICKER CEO Ahron Young says:

“TICKER always puts the story first. Video is in our DNA, but we want TICKER content to be available however our audience wants to enjoy it.”

“We are putting significant resources into TICKER content to make sure we get to the heart of the stories we cover.”

TICKER AIR is one of the podcasts available from TICKER

The first podcast to air is TICKER AIR, cohosted by Ahron Young and Geoffrey Thomas from Airlineratings.com

Every day, two full world news bulletins will be available, as well as three special documentary programs.

TICKER podcasts are available daily on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Just search TICKER NEWS to subscribe.

APPLE PODCAST – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/ticker-news/id1632145760

SPOTIFY – https://open.spotify.com/show/3iidnXUXPDVWG2QMEhN0Kt?si=e2e195a8ee584fa6

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Tech

Five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now

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We’ve been waiting years to go on holiday, but wow it’s expensive to fly. Here are the five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now

Remember the good old days of competition in the travel industry? Those were the days. Now every time you look to book a flight, the prices are soaring. Even if you want to use your points.

The airline industry is complex, so a total shut down of the industry was always going to have long term effects. The long hangover from the shutdowns and lockdowns are with us.

So let’s break down the five key reasons your flight is so expensive.

“Revenge travel”

It’s not just you who wants to go overseas and change up the scenery. Everyone else is thinking the same thing.

And as the northern hemisphere enjoys its first lockdown free summer in years, everyone is clamouring to use all that saved up cash, topped up with government assistance, to spend on flights.

The simple supply versus demand philosophy means it’s become an airline’s dream to push up prices while often pushing down the value of the ticket. How bad are those airline meals at the moment?

Big planes are grounded

Remember the good old 747 and A380s? Well you’re doing well to find a 747 in the skies these days. The last remaining airlines that were operating them used the cover of COVID to either reduce their fleet of the ageing Queen of the Skies, or retire them altogether.

Then there’s the A380, which is integral to huge airline flees like Emirates.

They were first to go into storage in the desert in 2020 as the pandemic hit. Airlines noticed its often cheaper to fly two 787s on the same route as an A380. So they are begrudgingly bringing the super jumbo back, but only once all their 787s are back in service first.

Don’t you just long for the days of extra space on a plane?

Rocketing fuel prices

In some cases, spot prices for aviation fuel has soared to 80 per cent! Airlines usually rely on hedging fuel prices (as in locking the price in in advance). But not many carriers in Asia do that, meaning they are at risk of fluctuating oil prices.

Airlines have a simple strategy for dealing with rising fuel prices – passing the cost on to consumers. Some passengers flying out of Asia are finding that a flight to London in economy is now $5000, five times the price.

The war in Ukraine hasn’t helped matters either, with Russian oil now missing from the global supply chain. That’s pushing up the cost of resources everywhere, and there’s no sign that’s about to end.

Lack of staff

Airline staff get COVID too, and in some (hilarious) cases, front line staff are returning to stop working from home!

Airlines have rules in place regarding how many flight attendants and pilots need to be on board an aircraft. And with so many different types of planes in service, some flight attendants can only work on certain aircraft types.

That severely limits the capability of airlines to quickly man aircraft in an emergency. And one cancellation snowballs into a travel nightmare.

Airports are struggling too. Lack of maintenance at baggage carousels and airport equipment means some airports are relying on just one vehicle to help every plane back out of a gate.

Remember when the pandemic hit and airlines sacked thousands of workers? The airlines didn’t think they would need them all back so quickly, and highly skilled pilots went on to find other, perhaps more stable jobs.

Accountants taking over

Airlines are big businesses with gigantic overheads. Think of the cost of a plane, which often reaches over $300 million.

Then add the cost of airports, fuel and staff.

Qantas had a debt bomb of $6.5 billion at the height of the pandemic, and while governments have been throwing money at airlines to stay in business, they still are a business.

Airlines need to make a profit, they need to return value to shareholders, and they need to pay down debt to stay financial. Not to mention cashflow.

So regardless of the airport queue, or the soggy sandwich you’re eating in business class, think of the balding accountants praying for good news.

And keep your eye out for some bargains. It’s not all doom and gloom. Some airlines are even allowing you to burn your points on upgrades. So why fly economy?

And if you can hang on a few months longer, you might enjoy cheaper fares. But no promises.

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Media

Disney vs Netflix – who will win the streaming revenue raise?

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Netflix and Disney shares fall as the streaming companies fight to stay on top of their game

Investors to evaluate Walt Disney’s shift from cable television to subscription service as the company’s shares fall by 31 percent.

This comes after Netflix announced its first ever decrease in subscribers last month. The company reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter while predicting more losses ahead.

Netflix’s decision to suspend its services in Russia also led to a loss of 700,000 subscribers. It’s shares have also fallen by a staggering 71 percent this year, a bigger loss than its competitor Disney.

While Netflix struggles with its subscriber count, FactSet Estimates predicts Disney+ to have attracted 5.3 million new subscribers through march leading to a total of about 135.1 million subscribers.

Disney also predicts it will have amassed more than 230 million subscribers by September 2024.

Netflix is reportedly considering adding an advertisement-based subscription option by the end of the year as the company looks at how to stay competitive in the increasingly saturated streaming market.

In a previous statement, Netflix’s chief executive said they were looking to introduce advertisements in a year or two but a leaked internal note to the employees has revealed the company is introducing it as early as October 2022.

The note also says Netflix will begin cracking down on password sharing by monetizing it.

All of this has resulted in Netflix being sued by shareholders who argue they have been mislead about the state of the company and future prospects.

Rijul Baath contributed to this report

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