Felix Salmon
Felix Salmon
Chief financial correspondent, Axios. Host, Slate Money. Follow @felixbot for my story feed.Source
New York City, NY
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Half of the pandemic's unemployment money may have been stolen

Half of the pandemic's unemployment money may have been stolen

Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year, some experts say. Why it matters: Unemployment fraud during the pandemic could easily reach $400 billion, according to some estimates, and the bulk of the money likely ended in the hands of foreign crime syndicates — making this not just theft, but a matter of national security. Catch up quick: When the pandemic hit, states weren't prepared for the unprecedented wave of unemployment claims they were about to face. They all knew fraud was inevitable, but decided getting...

June 10, 2021
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Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.1. The Constitution:2. The billionaires:3. Americans:The bottom line: A wealth tax, or even...

October 28, 2021
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U.S. economy added eye-popping 916,000 jobs in March, crushing expectations

U.S. economy added eye-popping 916,000 jobs in March, crushing expectations

President Biden at his first Cabinet meeting yesterday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe U.S. economy added a whopping 916,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6% from 6.2%, on Friday.Why it matters: The blowout job gains show how vaccines and the economic reopening are juicing the battered labor market. Economists had been expecting an increase of 675,000.The big picture: March's jobs report marked the biggest hiring spree since last summer.Plus: Job gains in both January and February were even higher (+156,000) than previously reported.Details: The leisure and...

April 2, 2021
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Trust in media hits new crisis low

Trust in media hits new crisis low

Trust in traditional media has declined to an all-time low, and many news professionals are determined to do something about it. Why it matters: Faith in society's central institutions, especially in government and the media, is the glue that holds society together. That glue was visibly dissolving a decade ago, and has now, for many millions of Americans, disappeared entirely. By the numbers: For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman's annual trust barometer shared exclusively with Axios. Trust in social...

January 21, 2021
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Trust in media hits new crisis low

Trust in media hits new crisis low

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Star Tribune via Getty ImagesTrust in traditional media has declined to an all-time low, and many news professionals are determined to do something about it. Why it matters: Faith in society's central institutions, especially in government and the media, is the glue that holds society together. That glue was a decade ago, and has now, for many millions of Americans, disappeared entirely. By the numbers: For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman's annual shared...

January 21, 2021
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Spanish banker BBVA to exit U.S. market, sell holdings to PNC

Spanish banker BBVA to exit U.S. market, sell holdings to PNC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosSpanish banking giant BBVA has decided to exit the U.S. market. It remains the owner of BBVA Bancomer, the largest bank in Mexico.Why it matters: In the 2000s, BBVA went on something of a spending spree in Texas and other border states, buying up a series of banks culminating in the $9.6 billion of Compass Bancshares in 2007. Among the casualties of BBVA's strategic retreat from the U.S.: Tuyyo, an innovative mobile app that allowed Mexicans in the U.S. to send money back to their families for free. The bottom line: The net flow of migrants from Mexico to the...

November 20, 2020
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Steven Mnuchin acts to hobble the Fed's coronavirus powers

Steven Mnuchin acts to hobble the Fed's coronavirus powers

Photo: Toni L. Sandys/Pool/Getty ImagesTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was one of the of the coronavirus crisis, working hand-in-glove with Fed chair Jay Powell to give the central bank all the ammunition it needed to fight the virus and the associated economic recession. Now, he's trying to .Why it matters: If he's successful, Mnuchin will effectively disarm the Fed, creating a lot more economic downside once President-elect Biden takes office.How it works: Mnuchin's predecessor Hank Paulson once explained, "If you’ve got a bazooka, and people know you’ve got it, you may not have to take...

November 20, 2020
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New China-anchored trade bloc shows the waning influence of the U.S.

New China-anchored trade bloc shows the waning influence of the U.S.

The largest free trade area in the world over the weekend — and the U.S. was not even invited. Why it matters: For the first time in living memory, the hegemon at the center of a major global free trade agreement is not the U.S. The big picture: President-elect to seek a broad multilateral alliance to pressure China on everything from trade to human rights once he becomes president. But China is making broad multilateral alliances of its own. Flashback: The that the U.S. should be the anchor of a Pacific Rim trade agreement, the TPP, that pointedly excluded China. The bottom line: Big new...

November 16, 2020
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Netflix to move $100 million in cash into Black community banks

Netflix to move $100 million in cash into Black community banks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosNetflix has pledged to allocate about 2% of the $5 billion it holds in cash — some $100 million — to "financial institutions and organizations that directly support Black communities in the United States," the company announced today.Why it matters: U.S. corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars of cash, which is earning them effectively no interest. Aaron Mitchell, a recruiter at Netflix, had the idea that some of that cash could be deposited at Black-owned banks, where it would be reinvested into Black communities.The catch: As part of this pledge,...

June 30, 2020
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When Uber left Austin

When Uber left Austin

Uber has its food delivery business in India to rival Zomato in an all-stock deal that gives Uber a 9.99% stake in the combined business. Why it matters: Uber is under growing pressure from investors to figure out a path to profitability and cut loose anything that won't help it reach that goal. Cargo, a New York-based startup that sells snack boxes and other amenities to ride-hail passengers, has laid off around two dozen employees and will pivot to car-top advertising, the company confirms to Axios.Why it matters: A growing number of startups are under pressure to build sustainable...

February 14, 2020
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