President Joe Biden is doing what he does best: he is sniffing around Silicon Valley – and conveying to CEOs that he does not like what he smells. As a result, he reached for a White House pen, grabbed the nearest sheet of paper, and signed a new executive order that cracks down on anti-competitive activities in Big Tech and other sectors.
The E.O. consists of 72 actions and recommendations involving a dozen federal agencies. The chief purpose behind the sweeping order is to overhaul anti-trust laws and corporate consolidation in the technology, labor, and health care industries. According to a fact sheet from the Biden administration, here is what the private sector can anticipate:
- Urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “challenge prior bad mergers” that previous administrations ignored.
- Encourage the FTC to prohibit occupational licensing restrictions that “impede economic mobility.”
- Push the Federal Communications Commission to restore net neutrality rules.
- Permit hearing aids to be sold over the counter.
- Lower prescription drug prices by importing cheaper products from Canada.
Before signing the executive order, President Biden said in a statement:
“The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: Open and fair competition. That means if your companies want to win your business, they have to go out and they have got to up their game. Better prices and services, better ideas and products. The competition keeps the economy moving and it keeps it growing. A competitive economy must mean that companies do everything they can to compete for workers. The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: open and fair competition. Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation.”
For free-market proponents, the executive order is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is beneficial for entrepreneurs for the federal government to eliminate egregious occupational licensing regulations, and it is helpful to buy something as essential as hearing aids at the local pharmacy. On the other, restoring net neutrality will only hurt the American people, while reining in mergers hinders voluntary exchanges.
Digesting Food Prices at a Slower Pace
For the first time in 12 months, global food prices fell, thanks to declines in cereals, dairy, and vegetable oils, new data from the United Nations food agency highlighted. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index clocked in at 124.6 points in June, down from a revised 127.8 reading in May. Still, on an annualized basis, food prices were up 33.9% last month.
Vegetable oil prices dropped 9.8% amid production gains. Cereal prices slipped 2.6% because of higher-than-expected yields in Argentina, and greater crop conditions in the U.S. Dairy prices tumbled 1% due to a modest jump in global inventories, particularly in Europe. Consumers might not expect a reprieve from higher meat and dairy prices as they increased 2.1% and 0.9%, respectively.
Can shoppers soon find their grocery bills lower? In the U.S., tighter stocks, ballooning freight costs, rising energy prices, growing producer prices, and bearish weather conditions are all the factors contributing to higher supermarket receipts. The Biden administration recently claimed that your Fourth of July barbecue was 16 cents cheaper, but many American households will see significantly higher costs for eggs, chicken, and fish.
Russia Throws down the Hammer and Sickle
Russia has accelerated its de-dollarization push after the $600 billion National Wealth Fund (NWF) exited all of its U.S. dollar positions and slashed its British pound holdings, the Ministry of Finance confirmed. The Kremlin noted that the NWF’s ownership of the euro, Chinese yuan, and gold increased. Here is what the assets look like on the wealth fund’s balance sheet:
- Euro: 39.7%
- Yuan: 30.4%
- Gold: 20.2%
- Pound: 5%
- Yen: 4.7%
Moscow defended the asset allocation by alluding to the currencies of the nation’s leading foreign economic partners, adding that the NWF wishes to protect its investments from inflationary risks. The Russian government said in a statement:
“These conversion operations were carried out with the funds of the NWF in foreign currency placed in accounts with the Bank of Russia as of July 1, 2021, as well as with federal budget funds in foreign currency in the equivalent of 31.6 billion rubles, credited to the Fund on July 2 this year in order to form it in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.”
As Liberty Nation has reported, President Vladimir Putin has engaged in an intense de-dollarization campaign, intending to remove the greenback as the primary international reserve currency. In recent years, the ruble because the main currency of exchange at all Russian seaports, Beijing and Moscow reached a ruble-yuan currency swap agreement, and the nation’s crude oil fund keeps dumping U.S. currency. In addition, Russia has joined multiple parties in launching a crusade against the good old buck, including Iran, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela.
Suffice it to say, Russia is laying down the hammer and sickle on the Federal Reserve Note. Moscow is telling the world that it does not need the greenback. So far, global financial markets are not too concerned, with the ruble up nearly 4% against the dollar since April. Is Russia firing off salvos as part of an offensive front, or is it a defensive move as the Kremlin expects more sanctions coming its way?
Read more from Andrew Moran.
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