Apple has decided to move into yet another market, having conquered the cellular telephone industry wholesale, carving out 92% of all smartphone profits. Now they’re moving into the streaming music sector, where they intend to offer customers access to 30 million songs for $9.99 per month. Family accounts are $14.99.
But one person in the government, author turned Senator Al Franken, thinks that Apple getting involved in streaming music could potentially be bad for consumers. The Democrat from Minnesota is calling for a deeper investigation, saying in a recent letter to the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission:
I am writing to encourage you to examine Apple’s current dealings with app developers to determine whether the company is engaging in anticompetitive behavior in the music streaming market. […] While I am encouraged to see increased competition in this market, I am concerned about certain business practices that have the potential to limit choices and raise prices for consumers.
[…] In the case of music streaming services, Apple’s licensing agreements have prevented companies from using their apps to inform users that lower prices are available through their own websites, to advertise the availability of promotional discounts, or to complete a transaction directly with a consumer within their app. These types of restrictions seem to offer no competitive benefit and may actually undermine the competitive process, to the detriment of consumers, who may end up paying substantially more than the current market price point.
It is yet to be determined if the Attorney General or the FTC will get up the nerve or need to launch an investigation into Apple. Whether or not Apple is anti-competitive would depend largely on precedents of law.
Companies are free to act within certain limits under the law, and the investigation would have to center on whether any such laws were broken. Apple’s streaming music service has been in the market for a while now, and it doesn’t seem to have a loud chorus of complaints. The company is also offering free three-month trials to App Store users.
Featured image from Gil C / Shutterstock.
House Pushes Forward With Trump Tax Plan Amid Dissent
The U.S. House of Representatives is pushing hard to move President Trump’s tax proposal through the legislative process, even as growing dissent rattles confidence in the landmark bill.
An analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation concluded Tuesday that tax cuts for lower- and middle-income Americans would fade over the next decade at a faster rate than those for high earners. The analysis found that four out of every five tax filers earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would receive tax relief from the bill in 2019. However, by 2027, that figure would drop to 60%.
Meanwhile, those earning more than $1 million would also see their tax savings fade, albeit at a slower rate than the smaller income brackets. In 2019, about three-quarters of those earning $1 million-plus will get tax relief, a figure that drops to two-thirds in 2027.
The conclusion could spark another round of debate as the Trump administration seeks to push forward on tax reform this year. The tax plan has faced attack from both sides of the political divide, with high-tax state Republicans criticizing individual deductions for state and local taxes.
The reform bill, which promises to reduce the number of tax brackets, cut the corporate tax rate and implement a one-time repatriation fee, has been described as the most ambitious since the Reagan administration. Through Reagan’s tax reform, the U.S. economy managed to grow by an average of 3.4% annually until the beginning of the Obama administration. And that includes three recessions between the two presidents.
To his credit, President Jimmy Carer before him implemented the biggest regulatory overhaul in postwar history.
Republicans have good reason to raise questions about Trump’s tax reform, especially those in high-tax states such as California. Already faced with a difficult re-election next year, California’s GOP Representative Darrell Issa said he wouldn’t endorse changes that “may make it the tremendous burden felt by California taxpayers even worse.”
Republican Ed Gillespie of Virginia was defeated in state elections on Tuesday, a clear sign that the GOP-controlled Congress is under attack. South Carolina is seen as an important barometer of the Democrats’ chances of winning in crucial swing states ahead of next year’s midterms.
Democrat Ralph Northam will be the next governor of Virgina, various news outlets reported late Tuesday.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Libertarian Speaks: Ron Paul Says U.S. Government Should Not Intervene in Cryptocurrency
The U.S. government has no place intervening in cryptocurrency, according to former U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul.
In an interview with Kitco on Oct. 27, Paul said the government should “stay out” of bitcoin if people want to use it. The former Congressman acknowledged that he didn’t know much about cryptocurrency, but that he was “amazed” by the market’s growth.
“I take some very strong political positions on competing currencies,” Paul said, when asked if he was a believer of cryptocurrency. “And if you can come up with a competing currency, and there is no fraud, I think it should be.”
Although a lot has been said about bitcoin’s black market roots, Paul says government involvement shouldn’t be a given. That message has been lost on several nations, which have grown uneasy about the growth and widespread adoption of cryptocurrency. Major economies like China, South Korea and Russia have already stepped in to halt the expansion of crypto-assets. However, most policymakers appear to be open to regulating cryptocurrency insofar as its criminal elements can be controlled.
Libertarians like Ron Paul are very weary of government involvement in all aspects of life. It should therefore come as no surprise that bitcoin and its altcoin competitors have received strong buy-in from the libertarian, free market community. While the United States has a strong libertarian presence across key segments of its society, this has largely failed to translate into meaningful political reform.
Bitcoin’s market capitalization climbed back above $100 billion over the weekend, with the sum of all coins valued at around $179 billion. Cryptocurrency is by far the fastest growing asset class of 2017, dwarfing stocks, crude oil and other traditional financial assets.
“I am amazed,” Paul said, ” at all the capitalization on these cryptocurrencies. It’s a huge amount of money.”
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Draft of U.S. Tax Bill Coming Within Days, According to GOP Lawmaker
It won’t be long now before congressional Republicans table their first draft bill to reform the U.S. tax code, according to House conservative Mark Meadows. GOP lawmakers are under the gun to meet President Trump’s ambitious goal of delivering a major tax overhaul by the end of 2017.
Draft Bill Coming in Less Than Ten Days
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says the House Ways and Means Committee has promised to release a preliminary tax bill about seven days after this Thursday’s vote on a budget resolution. Based on that timeline, the tax bill should be published on or before Nov. 3, according to Bloomberg.
Last week, Republicans stuck together to pass a 2018 budget plan that many say is the preamble to tax reform. The budget resolution was approved by a 51-49 vote. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone GOP member to vote against the measure.
Before giving the final approval, lawmakers must go through another voting process that will begin Thursday and run into Friday morning.
The new plan, which was first unveiled by the White House this past spring, is pursuing drastic changes to the tax regime. This includes reducing the number of tax brackets, slashing the corporate tax rate and instilling a one-time repatriation tax to encourage multinationals to bring offshore profits back home.
President Trump and fellow Republicans face numerous challenges implementing the most ambitious tax reform of a generation. This includes balancing promises of major overhaul against a self-imposed $1.5 trillion limit on the size of those cuts over the decade.
Analysts say that President Trump has considerable leeway to influence the proposal, but that the ultimate penning of the bill is a legislative process. This means it will be Congress, not the president, that will put the final details together.
Tax overhaul was a cornerstone of Trump’s election campaign. Combined with deregulation of key industries and massive infrastructure spending, tax breaks are expected to boost economic growth and make the U.S. more resilient to cyclical downturns.
That’s exactly what happened under the Reagan tax cut more than three decades ago. Although often maligned today, the Reagan tax plan laid the foundation for 25 years of strong, noninflationary growth. The U.S. economy grew an average of 3.4% annually between Reagan and Obama despite three recessions. To be sure, President Carter also helped lay the foundation by leading the biggest deregulatory effort in the postwar era.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
- Technical Analysis: Volatility on the Rise Again...
- Crypto Market Reaches Historic Milestone as Ether...
- Trade Recommendation: Syscoin
- Trade Recommendation: Ride the Next Rally of Bitco...
- Trade Recommendation: Bitcoin
- Ripple Spikes 50% as Bitcoin Lifts Smaller Altcoin...
- A Career in Crypto: How to Work in the World’s Fas...
- Trade Recommendation: XMR/BTC Pair Throwback December 14, 2017
- Trade Recommendation: FCT/BTC Bullish Reversal December 14, 2017
- Can a New Generation of Regulated Token Sales Save ICOs? December 14, 2017
- Trade Recommendation: NZDJPY December 14, 2017
- Trade Recommendation: Bitcoin December 14, 2017
- Asian Market Update – Thursday: Ethereum Extends Rally; Asian Stocks down After US Rates Hike December 14, 2017
- Daily Analysis: Dollar Falls, Gold Jumps after Yellen’s Final Move December 14, 2017
- Crypto Market Reaches Historic Milestone as Ether, Ripple Surge December 14, 2017
- Technical Analysis: Volatility on the Rise Again, as Ripple and Ethereum Hit Targets December 13, 2017
- Federal Reserve Hikes Interest Rates for Third Time This Year, Keep 2018 Policy Outlook Unchanged December 13, 2017
A part of CCN
Analysis5 days ago
Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Look Out Below?
Recommendations6 days ago
Trade Recommendation: Litecoin
Analysis1 week ago
$100 Litecoin Looks Poised for Greater Upside
Cryptocurrencies4 days ago
Trade Recommendation: Zcash
Cryptocurrencies2 days ago
Trade Recommendation: Bitcoin Cash
Cryptocurrencies6 days ago
Trade Recommendation: Stellar
Cryptocurrencies6 days ago
Trade Recommendation: Ethereum Classic
Analysis3 days ago
Technical Analysis: Litecoin Continues Surge as Bitcoin Tests Highs