Since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in America, earnings have soared, stock markets have hit records and consumers lucky enough not to have been fired during lockdowns and the recession managed to pile up $2.7 trillion in cash. But after decades of being ignored, the strained job market has enabled blue-collar workers to seek better fortunes as well. Marginalized for decades, organized labor suddenly has some leverage in negotiating wages and benefits. At the other end of the spectrum, America’s 0.1 percent are evaluating how best to give fortunes to their heirs while avoiding billions of dollars in taxes. The White House meanwhile is hunting for taxes, floating ideas like a wealth or stock buyback levy. It’s part of an effort to fund President Joe Biden’s economic agenda while appeasing two increasingly embattled centrists standing in his way.
Evidence is building that a third shot could help stem transmission of Covid-19 and avert hospitalizations and deaths, but it looks like this winter will still be a tough one for the northern hemisphere. At the same time, much of the world has yet to see a first dose. And the pressure is building on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is already under fire for being slow to shutter the economy when the pandemic began.