The world’s second-wealthiest man is worth about $75 billion, but he isn’t worried about the government taking a bite out of his estate after he’s gone. In fact, Buffett thinks the estate tax, which applies to just a few thousand estates a year, is a reasonable way to allocate resources, especially in a society in which the rich have gotten much richer over the last few decades. Buffett’s main concern is the emergence of “dynastic wealth” that “goes totally against what built this country, what this country stands for.” In an interview Tuesday, Buffett criticized the latest GOP proposal to get rid of the estate tax: "If they pass the bill they're talking about, I could leave $75 billion to a bunch of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And if I left it to 35 of them, they'd each have a couple billion dollars ... Is that a great way to allocate resources in the United States?” (CNBC)
A record percentage of small business owners say they are raising pay for their workers, according to the latest monthly jobs report from the National Federation of Independent Business, based on a survey of 10,000 of the group’s members. A seasonally adjusted net 35 percent of small businesses say they are increasing compensation. “They are increasing compensation at record levels and are continuing to hire,” NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said in a statement accompanying the report. “Post tax reform, concerns about taxes and regulations are taking a backseat to their worries over filling open positions and finding qualified candidates.”
The U.S. is officially running short on 202 drugs, including some medical staples like epinephrine, morphine and saline solution. “The medications most vulnerable to running short have a few things in common: They are generic, high-volume, and low-margin for their makers—not the cutting-edge specialty drugs that pad pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines,” Fortune’s Erika Fry reports. “Companies have little incentive to make the workhorse drugs we use most.” And much of the problem — “The situation is an emergency waiting to be a disaster,” one pharmacist says — can be tied to one company: Pfizer. Read the full story here.
More Americans say they are living comfortably or at least “doing okay” financially, according to the Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017. At the same time, four in 10 adults say that, if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, they would not be able to cover it or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money. That represents an improvement from 2013, when half of all adults said they would have trouble handling such an expense, but suggests that many Americans are still close to the edge when it comes to their personal finances.
The Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction reports that Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday introduced The Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act (H.R. 5861). “The bill would rename the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and target benefits to the lowest-income households. Although the House GOP leadership promised to include an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit as part of an upcoming welfare reform bill, this measure does not appear to include any EITC provisions.” The committee will mark up the bill on Wednesday.