S.U.B. FUND UPDATE
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY RAMINIFICATIONS OF COVID AND HOW IT EFFECTS YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE A S.U.B. FUND BENEFITS
- The Good News: Both mortality rates and infections are steadily dropping across the vaccinated population in the U.S.
The Bad News: COVID and its several variants remain as deadly as ever.
- The Good News: The United States is on target to have enough doses of the anti-covid vaccines to cover 90% of the entire U.S. population by the end of July 2021. Additionally, the U.S. just contracted with the three major pharmaceutical manufactures to receive another 200 million doses later this summer.
Further, and despite fundamental weaknesses in the manufacturing of and/or distribution of their own COVID vaccine, both Canada and Mexico are on target to have the preponderance of their countrymen and countrywomen vaccinated by the end of August. Which means that North America could be mostly vaccinated by end of summer. (Yes. Mexico is part of North America. Look it up.)
The Bad News: The EU is massively behind in their vaccination efforts as are some other parts of the developed world.
Worse yet, is the fact that a full world recovery will continue to be hindered because:
- Most vaccinations that have been created thus far and those that will be created in the near future are already spoken for. Which means many countries will not receive the first of their vaccination orders until mid-2022.
- Current vaccination solutions require refrigeration to be readily available. The problem many poorer countries have is that they neither can provide consistent power for refrigeration, nor have cold storage supply chain capabilities and other infrastructure sufficient for the task of getting their population vaccinated.
- The Good News: The preponderance of us, if we are being truly honest with ourselves and put aside any political preference, have at most, been inconvenienced in a very minor way throughout this Covid pandemic.
The Bad News: Others have not been so lucky and have been totally devastated by Covid.
- The Good News: By building alliances with democratically friendly countries based on tax, (see item # 6) trade, tech and now vaccines, the U.S. is in a unique position to once again become the model country that other countries wish to emulate. Of course, this is easier said than done.
The Bad News: Vaccine nationalism. The imbalance between the countries that are vaccinated and those that are not vaccinated or those that will be quickly helped to become vaccinated by inoculated world powers, will only add to any existing social and political anxiety or tensions that currently exist.
Note what has already occurred. China and Russia have started to build relationships and alliances based on the issuance of their anti-COVID vaccines in Central and South America. India has agreed to distribute its vaccine version to some of its Southeast Asia neighbors and the U.S. just announced that it will be assisting some countries. Which ones? That has not been announced. Expect England to offer vaccination aid to the E.U.
What do all these things have in common? From a political and strategic point of view, if you are the leader of a country that is geopolitically undesirable; meaning strategically unimportant, or if you are the leader of a country that is not “resource rich,” you and your constituents will not be receiving the vaccine anytime soon.
- The Good News: The infusion of trillions into the hands of Americans over the last year has helped most Americans build up their savings and/or reduce their debt. Further, new legislation as it relates to the rebuilding of U.S. infrastructure coupled with a positive job market and an inoculated population, means that the U.S. is poised to once again be the economic juggernaut for the world.
The Bad News: Whether you like it or not, we live in an interdependent world. The old phrase that “when the U. S. sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold” appears that it will hold true into the near future. Conversely, so does the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Meaning; If the economies of other countries do not recover, who are U.S. companies selling to? Remember, a 500-million-person North American marketplace, while large, is nevertheless a lot smaller than a 7.6-billion-person worldwide marketplace. What happens to an individuals or a Pension Plan’s investment portfolio when that occurs?
- The Good News: The G-7 met last weekend and discussed establishing a universal global tax on corporations that capitalize on loopholes in regulatory systems in order to circumvent unfavorable tax regulations.
Why is this good news? Well in order to explain that you have to know what the problem is. Simply put, the vast majority of corporate wealth now exists in intangible assets that are easy to move across borders. This makes it very difficult for Governments to not only keep track of, but also to tax. It also often results in U.S. jobs moving overseas.
If such a tax is agreed upon, the four (4) trillion dollar economic / infrastructure plan presently in front of congress, could be passed quickly as there would be a clear and definitive way in which this Plan would be funded.
What’s not to like about better and safer roads and bridges, the establishment of next generation power plants, and improving the U.S.’s electronic infrastructure (think faster and cheaper broadband)? By the way, if the G-7 can come to a quick resolution on this matter, it is also quite feasible that the four (4) trillion to be expanded to a larger amount. Which in turn will keep you and your brother and sister members actively employed for many, many years.
Further, establishing a mutual agreeable global tax “floor” would also be a step in the right direction in re-establishing trust in Government. Which is something that has been steadily in decline since the Roosevelt administration. Additionally, it would also go a long way in addressing capital labor imbalances and the angst and pressures they create.
The Bad News: I can’t think of any.
- The Good News: Work is returning to the region and work has been available in nearby IBEW jurisdictions for the last few months.
The Ugly News: The easing of the eligibility requirements instituted at the beginning of the COVID pandemic have been lifted by the Board of Trustees. Effective June 1, 2021, all previous eligibility requirements needed to receive a weekly S.U.B. Fund benefit are in effect. Meaning a participant has to be receiving State unemployment benefits AND be registered on the Local 697 out-of-work list.