FCC Repeals Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
FCC to repeal net neutrality protections; GOP strikes deal on tax cuts; Federal reserve lifts interest rates; Retail sales jump over forecasts.
- FCC to repeal net neutrality protections. The FCC will vote today on repealing so called “net neutrality,” a practice that prevents internet service providers from discriminating based on the source of web traffic. The commission is expected to vote on party lines, repealing the Obama-era rule. Critics of repeal say net neutrality protects consumers, innovation and free speech, while its proponents argue that service providers should be able to strike deals with certain content providers to deliver better services. Protests from tech companies with lots of internet content, like Reddit, Tumblr, and Kickstarter have urged lawmakers to fight against repeal, and polling indicates the public strongly supports net neutrality. Pai’s proposal, if the commission votes in favor of repeal, will likely face legal challenges in the coming months. [The Hill]
- GOP strikes deal on tax cuts. After both the house and Senate passed their respective tax bills, the two chambers met in conference to hammer out a final copy. It appears those two groups have reached a compromise, as Speaker Paul Ryan announced to his colleagues Wednesday afternoon. Senate negotiators managed to keep two key tax breaks in the bill: the deduction on student loan interest and the deduction on grad school tuition waivers. The bill decreased the top tax rate to 37% and the top corporate rate to 21%. The bill would also cap the mortgage deduction at 750,000, another compromise. The bill keeps a key provision chipping away at Obamacare by repealing the individual mandate, and allows people to deduct only up to $10,000 in state and local taxes. The GOP is rushing to complete their tax bill and notch a legislative win before the Christmas holiday. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- Federal reserve lifts interest rates. Months of strong economic data have prompted the federal reserve to once again increase interest rates. The rate increase was the third of its kind this year, and was widely expected to occur. The federal funds rate will now hover between 1.25% to 1.5%, under the leadership of outgoing chair Janet Yellen. [CNN]
- Retail sales jump over forecasts. US retail sales for the month of November beat analyst forecasts, indicating strong consumer demand, according to the US Department of Commerce. Sales climbed 0.8%, beating the 0.3% estimated gain, as well as last month’s 0.5% growth rate. Consumer spending appears strong, supported by solid hiring, as well as rising stock prices and property values, all of which paint a picture of rising wealth and economic security. Sales in the control group rose at a 3-month annualized pace of 6.6%, the most in over three years. Underlying these trends is the increasing popularity of e-commerce. While brick and mortar traffic was down, online sales continue to grow rapidly. [Bloomberg]