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Brexit Causes Foreign Crisis In Ireland

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Brexit Causes Foreign Crisis In Ireland

The prime minister of Dublin is feeling the pressure from economists. 

These economists have begun predicting lower growth for Ireland’s economy. 

Numerous companies have started to warn of the dire impact that Brexit is going to have.

Why Ireland?

Ireland is feeling the consequences from Brexit more so than any other country. 

This is due to the significant amount of trade and finance that intertwines Ireland and the United Kingdom. 

This year marked the one hundred anniversary of Ireland’s independence from Britain’s rule. 

However, Ireland remains deeply affected by the choices that their next door neighbor makes.

What is Being Said?

John Bruton, who served as the prime minister of Ireland from 1994 to 1997, stated that it was the most dangerous and the most difficult issue that Ireland has faced in the past fifty years.

Numerous exporters have warned that earnings and economic growth would fall in response to the decline of the pound. 

This is happening after the international bailout of 2010.

A banking meltdown occurred shortly after the rescue.

The 2016 European Economic Forecast shows the recent economic recovery of Ireland

It also indicates that they are not expected to return to their days of unsustainable growth. 

These numbers are found below:

1

Shares in Ireland have significantly declined. 

This is mostly because the United Kingdom is where the second most amount of Ireland’s exports go. 

The country also accounts for the biggest portion of Ireland’s services. 

The United States is the number one export destination for Ireland

On another note, Prime Minister Enda Kenny is fighting demands for reunification polls coming from nationalists in Northern Ireland. 

This is occurring as Kenny is trying to deal with losing a key ally within the European Union. 

The following chart shows the vote for whether or not Northern Ireland should be allowed to hold their referendum on whether they want to stay with the United Kingdom or join the Irish Republic.

Ireland has many reasons that would justify them in distrusting the European Union.

2

Some are saying that the Brexit vote is affecting Northern Ireland more than anywhere else. 

It is said that Northern Ireland’s biggest worry at the current time is whether or not conflict is going to come. 

Northern Ireland has remained relatively at peace since the referendum they had in 1998. 

Kenny is also dealing with members of his party trying to overthrow him. 

On top of all this, the only border between the United Kingdom and the European Union needs to be considered. 

According to Eoin Fahy, the consequences from Brexit are “mind-boggling”. 

Fahy works in the capital of Ireland at Kleinwort Benson Investors and is employed as the chief economist.

Can We Still Be Friends?

In 1973, both Britain and Ireland joined the European Economic Community. 

Ireland was attracted to join to escape the way that England was perceived by the country.

Over forty years later, these two nations are still intricately connected in the following ways:

  • Economically
  • Linguistically
  • Culturally

Ireland utilizes the Euro. 

The country does around forty-five billion dollars’ worth of trade with the United Kingdom. 

Around three hundred and eighty thousand Irish citizens that lived in the United Kingdom were allowed to take part in the vote on whether or not to leave the European Union.

Some the residents of Northern Ireland come from the United Kingdom. 

The following image shows the dynamics of the population in Northern Ireland:

3

When Ireland needed the bailout six years ago, the United Kingdom stepped up like a good neighbor and chipped in to help even though they are not part of the region that uses the Euro as their currency.

Last Wednesday, Theresa May took over as the prime minister of Britain. 

At this time, she spoke with the following leaders:

  • Enda Kenny (Ireland)
  • Angela Merkel (Germany)
  • Francois Hollande (France)

How Are the Companies Taking This?

Netwatch Systems, based in Carlow, southeast Ireland, was one of the many companies that thrived on the ties between Ireland and the United Kingdom. 

Netwatch systems is a video-surveillance company that monitors over five hundred different sites and sends a warning using live audio if an intruder is present. 

Some of the cities that they watch are Manchester, London, and Birmingham.

Netwatch came to the United Kingdom in 2007. 

Presently about one-fifth of all sales they make takes place in the United Kingdom. 

The 8 percent fall in the way the pound measures up to the Euro since the vote has deeply hurt the company.

One of the founders of the business, David Walsh, stated that everyone was shocked. 

He says that they have managed to make it through an eight recession and are now finding another knock on their door.

Plans?

How are the politicians and executives in Ireland going to react to the potential foreign-policy crises knocking at their door? 

This potential crisis eclipses both the recent bailout and the collapse of the banks. 

This possibility is what drove Kenny to begin creating a government unit back in 2015.

This unit was developed to come up with plans in case Brexit occurred. 

Proposals have involved the possibility of providing some exporters with support. 

However, the government has admitted that it’s hard to prepare plans before they can see what the overall effects of Brexit are going to be.

The most obvious issue comes in the way of a border.

This border stretches three hundred and ten miles from the north and the republic. 

It also stretches around sixty miles from Dublin to Derry along the eastern coast.

Unionist Celebrations

In Belfast last week the annual Unionist celebrations took place. 

This event illustrated the delicacy of the balance that still exists in Northern Ireland. 

This balance remained in the United Kingdom following the independence of Ireland back in 1922.

During the celebration, there were some incidents that took place. 

A few skirmishes took place between different Protestant and Catholic gangs. 

A fake bomb was also thrown out of a car window and into the parade’s path. 

Political Parties?

The main parties remain split over their view of Brexit. 

The Protestant Democratic Unionist Party are for the option of leaving and the Catholic Sinn Feign fighting to stay in the Union. 

Both parties run an executive in Belfast together. 

This executive was the result of an agreement in 1998 called the Good Friday Agreement that ended years of sectarian conflict. 

The manager remains neutral in the should we stay or should we conflict.

Kenny had an idea to create a Brexit forum of only Irish. 

Days after the vote to leave took place; Northern Irish opposition forced Kenny to throw out this idea. 

This action proved to be a misstep that resulted in Kenny’s party demanding he set a timetable to step down. 

This act also exposed the political fault line that currently exists between the south and the north.

According to Lee McGowan, if Brexit is not handled properly it could reveal the tensions that have always existed between unionists and nationalists. 

Lee McGowan is employed at Queen’s University in Belfast as a senior politics lecturer.

Border Control?

Border controls have mostly disappeared due to most of Northern Ireland’s violence having ended and the wide acceptance of the European market being mostly a single entity. 

Every day, around thirty thousand people cross a frontier that was once known for gun-running back when the Irish Republican Army was running its campaign for independence from British rule.

After the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, the possibility of a solid border remains on the forefront of most Irish minds, according to Charlie Flanagan. 

Privately, however, officials seem to be less concerned that his will happen. 

They argue that reintroducing border controls would help no one.

Peter Madden is a man who travels from South to North, from his home located in Meath to his garden supply job in Dungannon, twice a week. 

Madden says that he is not worried that border control will return. 

He also says he does not feel he has to worry that there will be guys hanging out of ditches with guns once again, either.

The following image shows the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom.

 

Economic Impact?

Madden is one of many that are more focused on the implications Brexit is having on the economy. 

The pound dropping is slowly making its way throughout the economy. 

It is affecting exporters, like Netwatch, all the way to farmers, like County Clare’s Eddie Punch.

Around forty percent of food exports for Ireland make their way to the United Kingdom. 

Because of this, agriculture appears to be the most exposed area to possible tariffs and the effects of Brexit.

Punch has one hundred and eighty cattle. 

He stated that Brexit’s impact could already be felt due to beef prices being dropped by meat processors.    

Punch is the head of a representative group containing about ten thousand farmers. 

He said that the meat processors are talking up the negativity to take advantage of the situation and get the prices farmers are charging for their cattle to drop.

Punch further stated that there is always some level of gamesmanship present, but when a story like Brexit comes around, this gamesmanship takes place a hundred times more than before the story occurred. 

He says that there have been utterly ridiculous offers and that some of the meat processors have flat out refused to buy the cattle in the first place. 

There are also studies showing that Brexit will have negative impacts on the United Kingdom’s economy. 

There are further links between a reduced GDP in the United Kingdom and the reduction of demands for Irish exports. 

If demands for Irish exports decreases, then the GDP in Ireland will fall as well. 

It is expected that the following areas of the Irish economy are going to be affected by the Brexit vote:

  • Trade
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • Energy
  • Migration

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Opportunities for the Irish?

Bruton, the former prime minister, stayed up and watched the results of the Brexit vote before finally going to bed early on June 24. 

Martin Shanahan was in the air at the same time. 

Martin Shanahan, the head of IDA Ireland. 

IDA is the agency for the state that is in charge of winning investments. 

Shanahan sensed the shock and returned from New York to Dublin a day before he was supposed to.

Shanahan sent a steward to the cockpit so that they could check for the results. 

The IDA had pitched Ireland to some companies before the vote took place. 

One of which was Standard Chartered Plc. 

The IDA contacted thousands of clients within hours of receiving news of the way the majority went away. 

Shanahan said that the IDA was well prepared for the United Kingdom to vote the way they did. 

Right now the plan of action is for there to be an advertising drive underlining the advantages of Ireland within the United States and Europe. 

However, even this idea is not entirely straightforward. 

The fact is that the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union could take away one of the key advantages overseas investors were provided with when investing in Ireland. 

This is the lower corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent. 

The United Kingdom has a 15 percent rate, which has currently been mooted by the United Kingdom’s government to offset the economic consequences of the Brexit vote.

The ‘Northern Liberal Club’, as it was labeled by one official in Ireland is going greatly to feel the loss of one of its principal members.

The United Kingdom and Ireland have worked together to lead the opposition against efforts lead by the European Union to harmonize the tax laws.

Both Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Union because they wanted to be a part of something bigger, according to Bruton. 

He said that when they both joined the union, it fostered a relationship between the two nations that was built on mutual and equal respect. 

He further states now that the United Kingdom has decided to go another way, the harmonizing relationship is at risk of being lost.   

Recap

Here’s a brief Recap of what Ireland concerns:

  • Diminishing economy
  • The possibility of tighter border control
  • Unrest
  • Demand for safe dropping
  • Fewer investment opportunities

What will happen between them and the United Kingdom now?

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Business

IRS, Treasury Department and Department of Labor Give Guidance on Small Business Leave and Tax Credit

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IRS, Treasury Department and Department of Labor give guidance on small business leave and tax credit

The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) have announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.

The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

Key Takeaways

* Paid Sick Leave for Workers

* For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.

* Complete Coverage

* Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.

* Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.

* Employers face no payroll tax liability.

* Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.

* Fast Funds

* Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.

* An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided

* Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.

* Small Business Protection

* Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.

* Easing Compliance

* Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.

To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.

Background

The Act provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19 related reasons and created the refundable paid sick leave credit and the paid child care leave credit for eligible employers. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the Act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between the effective date and December 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to self-employed individuals based on similar circumstances.

Paid Leave

The Act provides that employees of eligible employers can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking a medical diagnosis. An employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, to care for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay. An employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, may in some instances receive up to an additional ten weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay.

Paid Sick Leave Credit

For an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days. For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child Care Leave Credit

In addition to the sick leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may receive a refundable child care leave credit. This credit is equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted towards the child care leave credit. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Prompt Payment for the Cost of Providing Leave

When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees’ paychecks federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employers then are required to deposit these federal taxes, along with their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, with the IRS and file quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series) with the IRS.

Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.

Examples

If an eligible employer paid $5,000 in sick leave and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in payroll taxes, including taxes withheld from all its employees, the employer could use up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes it was going to deposit for making qualified leave payments. The employer would only be required under the law to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its next regular deposit date.

If an eligible employer paid $10,000 in sick leave and was required to deposit $8,000 in taxes, the employer could use the entire $8,000 of taxes in order to make qualified leave payments and file a request for an accelerated credit for the remaining $2,000.

Equivalent child care leave and sick leave credit amounts are available to self-employed individuals under similar circumstances. These credits will be claimed on their income tax return and will reduce estimated tax payments.

Small Business Exemption

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or child care unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available on the basis of simple and clear criteria that make it available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer’s business as a going concern. Labor will provide emergency guidance and rulemaking to clearly articulate this standard.

Non-Enforcement Period

Labor will be issuing a temporary non-enforcement policy that provides a period of time for employers to come into compliance with the Act. Under this policy, Labor will not bring an enforcement action against any employer for violations of the Act so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. Labor will instead focus on compliance assistance during the 30-day period.

For More Information

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week.

© Copyright 2020, The Courier, All Rights Reserved.

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Consumers

US Consumer Spending Up Modest 0.2% in February

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US consumer spending up modest 0.2% in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their spending by a modest amount in February but the expectation is that spending will be hit hard in coming months reflecting the shutdown of the American economy by the coronavirus.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that spending edged up 0.2% in February, matching the January gain but below the 0.4% increase in December.

Personal incomes rose a solid 0.6 percent in February, matching the January gain. Those strong increases are likely to fall-off as millions of Americans lose their jobs although the Senate has passed a $2.2 trillion economic relief package that would cushion the blow by providing checks of up to $1,200 to individuals and expanding unemployment benefits.

The hope is that the relief package, which was expected to clear the House Friday, will keep the economy from falling into a deep recession because of the shutdowns. The Federal Reserve has also moved to slash its key interest rate to a record low near zero and is providing billions of dollars in support to keep credit flowing.

Economists have said all these efforts will not be enough to keep the country out of a downturn, but they could help promote a stronger and quicker rebound once the virus is contained.

A key inflation measure was up 1.8% for the 12 months ending in February, according to the latest data, below the Fed’s 2% target. The absence of inflation worries has allowed the central bank to focus on supporting economic growth.

Consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity but surveys are already showing the virus is having a big impact on the biggest driver of the economy. Coresight, a data research firm, found that almost half of U.S. consumers — 47% — are now extremely concerned about the outbreak, up 10 percentage points in just one week.

“With high-frequency data showing a collapse in economic activity over the past couple of weeks, overall consumer spending is likely to have plummeted in March,” said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Hunter said he was expecting around a 40% decline in consumer spending in the April-June quarter.

Many economists believe that a recession has already begun although they are forecasting it could be a short one, lasting only two quarters, if the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus are successful.

The Trump administration is hoping to get the new programs in the $2.2 trillion relief package up and running quickly. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday he wanted to get a program to supply small businesses with bank loans operational in a week and IRS payments of up to $1,200 per individual being sent to households in three weeks.

Asked in an interview on Fox Business Network about the record 3.3 million applications for unemployment benefits reported on Thursday, Mnuchin said, “These numbers matter because people are losing their jobs.” But he said the government programs in the rescue bill should either get people back to work or supply financial support until they can find new jobs.

The 1.8% 12-month rise in the inflation gauge tied to consumer spending has been below the Fed’s 2% target for more than a year and now is expected to fall even lower with the drop-off in economic activity and a big fall in energy prices.

The spending report said that the personal saving rate rose in February to 8.2% of after-tax income, the highest level in 11 months and up from 7.9% in January.

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Economy

Stocks Close Higher Again, Cap Best 3-Day Run Since 1931

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Stocks Close Higher Again, Cap Best 3-Day Run Since 1931

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 1,300 points on Thursday to close the day up 6.4%, continuing its record run and tallying its biggest three-day gain since 1931.

The Dow has climbed more than 20% in the past three days and the S&P 500 is also up more than 20% since Monday’s close as well.

Stocks got a double shot of good news on Thursday, as the Senate passed the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill that will help the country recover from the devastation caused by the coronavirus.

The House of Representatives will try to get the bill passed today, although it will require a voice vote, since most of the representatives have left Washington amid the outbreak. House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill will be passed “with strong bipartisan support.”

If the bill passes as expected, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin hopes to get the stimulus checks into the hands of Americans within three weeks.

“We’re determined to get money in people’s pockets immediately,” Mnuchin said.

Also helping push stocks higher were comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who hinted that there’s more the Fed can do if called upon to help the economy recover.

Appearing in the Today show, Powell said “We still have policy room in other dimensions to support the economy. We’re trying to create a bridge from a very strong economy to another place of economic strength.”

He added, “When it comes to this lending, we’re not going to run out of ammunition, that doesn’t happen.”

Some investors, however, aren’t convinced that the rally is sustainable.

Ken Berman, a strategist at Gorilla Trades says “Even though equities were squeezed higher into the close, credit markets continue to diverge substantially. You could almost smell the burning shorts on Wall Street [Thursday], but as credit spreads remain wide, one has to wonder how much ‘real’ buying is behind this week moves, besides the bailout-induced short-covering.”

And Gregory Faranello, the head of US rates trading at AmeriVet Securities, adds “This is going to be an economic fallout. We’re seeing in two weeks what we would normally see maybe in a year and a half or two years.”

Much of the doubt surrounding the market’s ability to sustain a rally comes from the abysmal weekly jobless claims report yesterday.

Despite a record number, the market, at least temporarily, shrugged off the historically bad number.

The reason?

It wasn’t as bad as expected.

The Labor Department reported that jobless benefit claims had soared to 3.28 million last week, marking the worst week ever by a very large margin.

The previous record was 695,000 set in October 1982 during the recession.

Yesterday’s report more than quadrupled that number, yet the market still surged higher because it wasn’t as bad as the 4 million claims that some expected, including Citibank.

Even with a record number of jobless claims yesterday and expectations for things to get much worse in the second quarter, the stock market shrugged off the bad news.

There’s a reason for that, according to Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

“The markets and the economy don’t run in parallel. The market’s running way ahead of the economy. The markets don’t care about what’s happening today, the market cares about what’s happening six months from now.”

Time will tell if the stock market can continue to be optimistic about the future if the reported numbers keep deteriorating and millions of Americans become unemployed.

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