TOGETHER WITH

Spiro

TGIF. My son turns 10 this weekend. We’re planning a virtual Zoom birthday party. Those are two things I never thought I’d say.

In Case You Missed It. President Trump canceled The Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. Turns out there’s a pandemic.

Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 4,032,430 — Total deaths: 144,167 — Total recoveries:  1,233,269

On Thursday, Florida hit a record in both COVID-19 deaths and new infections.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • GOP announces the economic stimulus is delayed
  • Big businesses may save us
  • We’re all moving to Barbados, seriously

INTEREST RATES


CONFIRMING LOAN
Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.17% 0.01% 3.25% 0.02%
15 year 2.79% 0.06% 2.93% 0.07%

The Lead: Stimulus Plan Delayed

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We thought for a hot second that Senate Republicans had a relief bill at the ready on Thursday. They told us as much during a press conference.

Shame on us for believing them.

Well, now we can all think again. The party is divided yet again over differences in demands over unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to families in need.

The delay puts an even tighter time frame on an already crunched bill. The current bill will expire on July 31 and congress is set for a summer break the first week of August. It’s now or never, dudes!

Muddying the water

The Trump administration is also involved in the mix, holding firm on certain aspects of the bill such as the location of a new FBI building. In a pandemic relief bill? There are no words for the nonsensical nature of this piece.

Republicans also want to slash Social Security as part of the bill. This is not surprising. Republicans don’t think the country can afford Social Security and they are not wrong. But sneaking things they want into a bill that has nothing to do with that is dirty politics. Maybe they’re hoping that they can do this song and dance for long enough that by the time they have something in writing no one will even read it?

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Why was my credit card just canceled? 

credit: aol.com

Had your credit card canceled or spending limits slashed? You’re not alone. Credit card companies have been canceling cards or slashing limits without notice to consumers since mid-May.

This is no doubt related to the pandemic given that these companies do not want to carry the debt for consumers who cannot pay their monthly payments. But can they do this? Yes, they can. By law, they do not have to inform you as the cardholder in advance of these changes. They can just do it and so they have. Millennials who make at least $75,000 per year were the largest group affected.

Prior to the pandemic, credit card balances were at a 7-year high. Currently, the nation’s credit card debt stands at $1.1 trillion. Clearly now is not the time to run up that debt and banks do not want to implode by carrying the debt without repayment.

A good practice is to call your credit card company regularly to request lower balances – they can and do lower these rates from time to time! – and ask about your current spending power. If you cannot pay, let them know first before the deadline passes. The companies can raise your interest rates or trigger an interest rate on a no-interest introductory rate card if you miss a payment. Now is the time to be talking to your creditors and know where you stand before they yank the rug out from under you.

News By The Numbers

credit: tesla

1.1 Billion. That’s how much Tesla will spend on a new Cyber Truck plant in Austin, Texas. Tesla said the decision came down to Texas and Oklahoma. Score one for Texas.

75. That’s how many sound effects MLB will borrow from Sony’s baseball videogames. They’re planning to pipe in the fake sounds during live broadcasts to give it a more natural feeling. Sounds natural to me.

26. That’s how many feet COVID-19 can spread if the conditions are right. If the air is cold and stale, according to scientists, the particles can travel further than previously thought. Remind me to avoid the basement of that haunted house up the street.

Big Business Leads By Example

giphy.gif credit: nbc san diego

Big retailers are not going to wait it out for the mask debate to be debated politically. They are saying, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Mask, No Service. Period.

Retailers such as Costco, Starbucks, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Panera Bread have all made the same requirement: No one crosses our threshold without a mask.

You can debate the use of a mask all you want but this is America and businesses will be sued if they are shown to be negligent towards the health of their employees and customers. That is reason alone to mandate extra protection. Now add to that the fact that experts maintain that a mask does in fact protect us communally and it seems like a no-brainer.

Do you have the liberty as an American to not wear a mask? For now, yes you do. Do you have the right to enter a privately-owned company without a mask and violate their rules? No, you don’t.  You don’t have the right to shop in Costco without shoes or a shirt. That is their policy and you have to follow it or else go find bulk toilet paper on the black market. Thank goodness some companies are not waiting out the politics. There are adults in the room after all.

Vietnam is Pho Real

credit: infrastructure investor

Vietnam is being held up as a COVID success story, with 0 deaths thus far. Experts are attributing this to the government’s fast response, high rate of testing and contact tracing, and strict quarantine.

The first COVID case in Vietnam was in January and the government jumped into action testing 800 people for every confirmed case and taking decisive action on the positive results.

They also participated in wide-spread campaigns to remind citizens to distance, wear a mask, and wash their hands, going as far as to send nation-wide text messages and add spoken reminder messages to ring tones so that when you called a friend, a nice lady reminded you to wear a mask.

This all sounds very cooperative and utopic but there were civil rights groups that spoke out against extreme lockdown requirements and social shaming of famous people who seemed non-compliant. And businesses that rely on tourism are hurting in Vietnam just like everywhere else. The country is trying to convince tourists that it is a safe place to visit but is mostly courting tourists from Asia because, like Europe, American tourists are not the most desirable in the world right now sadly.

Let’s All Move to Barbados

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If you’ve got to work from home due to a pandemic, maybe you can make that home a lot more exciting and move to Barbados? The Caribbean country is offering a year-long visa to anyone who wants to work remotely from the islands.

Don’t have experience applying for a foreign work visa? No problem! You can skip the immigration office and apply online for $2,000 per person or $3,000 per family.

The program, called the Barbados Welcome Stamp, allows temporary residents to skip the tax office too! No income tax will be required of anyone with this type of visa in the country.

Worried about the WiFi? The Chairman of Tourism, Sunil Chatrani assures us that “the working environment in Barbados definitely enables you to get things done [because the island has] the fastest fiber internet and mobile services in the Caribbean.” He also claims great health care and school system.

We are starting to think that if you’re a remote worker, you’d be crazy not to at least consider this!

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