The Boston Globe - 31.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

AUGUST 31, 2019 9



Index of publicly traded companies in Massachusetts

Major US stock indexes ended little changed Friday after a
listless day of trading ahead of the Labor Day holiday week-
end capped a solid week of gains for the market. A late-af-
ternoon flurry of buying gave the S&P 500 its third straight
gain. The benchmark index also snapped a string of four
consecutive weekly losses. Even so, the market closed out
August with its second monthly decline this year, after May.
‘‘Going into a holiday weekend you just have three days
here where you’re not going to be able to reposition, so peo-
ple are probably taking some profits and squaring their
books ahead of the weekend,’’ said Sameer Samana, senior
global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Insti-


Stocks quiet heading into holiday

DOW JONES industrial average

NASDAQ Composite index

S&P 500 index

Globe 25 index


By Jeff Stein
White House is still considering
a plan to bypass Congress to en-
act a tax cut on capital gains,
according to a senior adminis-
tration official, although Presi-
dent Trump appeared to rule
the idea out last week and ex-
pressed concern that it could be
perceived as ‘‘elitist.’’
On Friday, Trump tweeted
about the proposal to unilater-
ally index capital gains to infla-
tion, responding to an op-ed
backing the idea with the com-
ment. He asked: ‘‘An idea liked
by many?’’
A White House spokesman
declined a request for clarifica-
tion on the meaning of the pres-
ident’s tweet. Trump also
retweeted an op-ed, authored
by Senator Ted Cruz, Republi-
can of Texas, and anti-tax advo-
cate Grover Norquist, pushing
the administration to back the
plan to index capital gains to in-

The comments add to the
confusion surrounding the
Trump administration’s posi-
tion on the capital gains pro-
posal and his tax plans more
generally. Last week, Trump ap-
peared to confirm that indexing
capital gains to inflation could
be done without the approval of
Congress, telling reporters:
‘‘Many people like indexing,
and it could be done very sim-
ply. It could be done directly by
But the next day, Trump ap-
peared to back down, telling re-
porters: ‘‘I’ve studied indexing
for a long time and I think it
as somewhat elitist. I don’t
want to do that... I think in-
dexing is really probably better
for the upper-income groups.’’
The capital gains tax cut
would let investors who are sell-
ing assets, like a stock or a
home, use the inflation-adjust-
ed value of their initial pur-
chase when making the sale.
The higher initial price would

reduce the taxable income from
their sale of the asset, reducing
the amount they pay in taxes.
The Trump administration
is looking to bolster the econo-
my amid fears of a slowdown
from the trade war with China.
But a number of economists
have argued the capital gains
tax cut would do little to stimu-
late new spending or generate
additional growth, because it
primarily would cut the
amount that rich people pay in
taxes. Tax cuts for the poor or
middle class tend to have great-
er stimulative effects, because
those groups spend the money,
boosting economic activity.
A report by the Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities, a
left-leaning think tank, found
that 86 percent of the benefits
of indexing capital gains to in-
flation would flow to the richest
1 percent of Americans.
Last week, Trump also said
he was considering a payroll tax
cut — which would help more
middle class workers — and

then opposed the idea the next
day. And then later in the week
he promised a big middle class
tax cut if Republicans retook
the House of Representatives
next year, but he hasn’t ex-
plained how he would do it.
The push from the presi-
dent’s allies may revive the cap-
ital gains proposal. The plan
has been backed by Larry Kud-
low, the president’s top eco-
nomic adviser, and Russell
Vought, acting director of the
White House Office of Manage-
ment and Budget.
It is also not clear whether
the administration has the legal
authority to pull off such a ma-
neuver on its own. In 1992, dur-
ing George H.W. Bush’s admin-
istration, the Department of
Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel
said in a memo that ‘‘Treasury
does not have legal authority to
index capital gains for inflation
by means of regulation.’’
It is also unclear what kinds
of assets would be subject to the

White House officials still mulling tax cut

Google will pay $150 million
to $200 million to settle a com-
plaint with the Federal Trade
Commission over how it treats
information from children on
its YouTube video site, accord-
ing to a published report Fri-
The FTC has reportedly
been investigating YouTube
for violating a law designed to
protect kids online. Politico
said the FTC voted, 3-2, to ap-
prove the fine to settle the
case. The report said the mat-
ter now goes to the Justice De-
partment for review.

Federal law typically re-
quires parental consent before
online services can collect in-
formation about children un-
der 13.
The FTC’s investigation in-
to YouTube reportedly looked
into how YouTube collects da-
ta to serve personalized ads.
The company says the service
is intended for people ages 13
and older, but it also has many
popular kids-focused video
The FTC and Google de-
clined to comment.
YouTube has a separate app
for kids, and it launched a
website version of YouTube

Kids this week. The site asks
kids to get parental consent to
start viewing and offers a sim-
ple math problem as a way to
gauge whether the person un-
locking the website is really
an adult. YouTube says it
doesn’t target ads to individu-
als’ interests on its kids ser-
The FTC’s scrutiny of You-
Tube comes as Google and
other big tech companies are
under the microscope for the
way they sell and store cus-
tomers’ personal information.
Facebook recently agreed to
pay $5 billion to settle privacy

But the settlement against
YouTube may not go far
enough for many children’s
privacy advocates. The Center
for Digital Democracy, a priva-
cy advocacy group, said the re-
ported amount against You-
Tube is ‘‘woefully low.’’
Senator Ed Markey, a Mas-
sachusetts Democrat who
helped write the children’s pri-
vacy law, said he was disap-
‘‘Once again, this FTC ap-
pears to have let a powerful
company off the hook with a
nominal fine for violating us-
ers’ privacy online,’’ he said in
a statement.

Google will pay $150m over YouTube violations

DETROIT — The US Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency
is making Volkswagen Group
correct fuel economy labels for
about 98,000 gasoline-pow-
ered vehicles.
The revisions of about one
mile per gallon cover VWs as
well as affiliated brands Audi,
Porsche, and Bentley. All are
from the 2013 through 2017
model years.
The EPA said Friday that it
investigated the gas vehicles
after finding that VW cheated
on diesel emissions in 2015.
The agency and the Califor-
nia Air Resources Board found
that transmission software on
the gas vehicles made them
shift differently during govern-
ment lab tests on treadmills so
they got better mileage and
polluted less than when they
were on the road.
The software was on about
1 million vehicles, but only
98,000 were found to have
lower mileage than stated on
EPA window stickers, accord-
ing to an EPA statement.
VW Group said it also set-
tled lawsuits by owners and
will reimburse them for over-
stated mileage. Under the set-
tlement, valued at $96.5 mil-
lion, owners will get payments
ranging from $5.40 to $24.
for each month that they have
owned or leased the vehicles.
Owners will be notified
about their rights and options
under the settlement, and
eventually they will have to
submit a claim to be compen-
sated, VW said in a statement.
The settlement still needs to
be approved by a judge.
Models included in the
mileage revisions can be found
In September 2015, the
EPA discovered that VW had
installed software on nearly
600,000 diesel vehicles that
turned pollution controls on
during government tests and
shut them off while the vehi-
cles were on the road.

EPA tells VW to

correct 98,

mileage labels

Aaron Hernandez & Football Inc.

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