Business week: a milestone in space tourism

On Wednesday, a SpaceX rocket carrying four Americans took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Orbital spaceflight was the first to carry only passengers who were not professional astronauts, a milestone for the space tourism industry. In addition to SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, Blue Origin by Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic by Richard Branson plan to offer commercial space flights. But the latest flight was different from the short escapades Mr Bezos and Mr Branson took to space in July. The crew circled the planet for three days.

House Democrats on Monday released a plan to finance President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion proposal to strengthen the social safety net – or at least part of it. The proposed tax measures could bring in as much as $ 2.9 trillion over 10 years, but stop before the more aggressive measures previously proposed by Mr. Biden and the Senate Democrats. Included in the plan: an increase in the maximum tax rate for married couples with taxable income over $ 450,000 and single people earning over $ 400,000, to 39.6% from 37%; an increase in the maximum rate of capital gains to 25% instead of 20%; a new 3% surtax for Americans with adjusted gross income over $ 5 million; and a graduated rate structure that would raise taxes for large businesses and lower them for small businesses. Progressive senators criticized the plan to target income rather than wealth. The approach targets the very rich rather than those with vast fortunes.

Apple introduced new versions of its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch on Tuesday. Its prices for these products have mostly stayed the same, as have most of the devices themselves. The company hopes that by adding features and making small design improvements, customers will continue to purchase its products. The new iPhones have brighter screens, longer battery life, and more powerful cameras and computer processors, but largely perform like last year’s models. The Apple Watch has a larger display area and changes to make it more durable, and the iPad line has received a bigger update. So far, the strategy is working: iPhone sales have exploded during the pandemic.

Last month, President Biden announced a plan to offer a third injection of the Covid-19 vaccine to most Americans as of September 20. But the plan is evolving as scientists wonder if booster shots are needed. The administration has already delayed plans to offer boosters to Moderna vaccine recipients after regulators said they needed more time to decide on the appropriate dosage for the third shot. Advisors from the Food and Drug Administration, the agency responsible for authorizing vaccines, unanimously recommended a Pfizer vaccine booster for Pfizer vaccinees aged 65 or older or at high risk of Covid-19 on Friday. severe. Earlier on Friday, the advisory committee voted against a broader recommendation that the booster should be available to people 16 and older. Although the FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisers, it generally does. The agency is expected to make a decision in the coming days.

The Federal Reserve is meeting this week to discuss monetary policy, and that meeting could be important. Many economists expect the Fed to reveal details of how and when it plans to start cutting its bond buying program, one of several policies it has created to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic. John C. Williams, chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, hinted this month that the central bank could start the process before the end of the year, even if the labor market is growing slowly. The Fed will also release new economic projections, which will show how much and how quickly it expects high inflation to subside.

After a series of records, the stock market seemed more indecisive this month. That’s understandable, given the big questions that are expected to be answered in the coming weeks, including whether the Fed will begin to withdraw economic support, whether Congress will increase the federal borrowing limit before a potential default, and the final details. of the infrastructure spending program. – and how it will be funded.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has called on the Fed to dismantle Wells Fargo. Walmart will begin testing a stand-alone delivery service with Ford Motor. Americans spend $ 40 billion a year on bird watching. And the 73rd Annual Emmy Awards for Best TV Shows airs this Sunday on CBS.

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