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‘It’s a Roller-Coaster Ride’: Global Chip Shortage Is Making Industries Sweat

Dan Rozycki, the president of a small engineering firm, worries about what a global semiconductor shortage could mean for curing concrete.Mr. Rozycki’s company, Transtec Group in Austin, Texas, sells small sensors that are placed where concrete is poured at building, highway and bridge construction sites. The gadgets take temperature readings and wirelessly send data so workers with computers can ensure the material is hardening properly.Like many other things in the modern world, from computers and cars to cash registers and kitchen appliances, the sensors require a couple of common, inexpensive semiconductors that have suddenly become a very …

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Biden Takes On Sagging Safety Net With Plan to Fix Long-Term Care

President Biden’s $400 billion proposal to improve long-term care for older adults and those with disabilities was received as either a long overdue expansion of the social safety net or an example of misguided government overreach.Republicans ridiculed including elder care in a program dedicated to infrastructure. Others derided it as a gift to the Service Employees International Union, which wants to organize care workers. It was also faulted for omitting child care.For Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a coalition of advocacy groups working to strengthen the long-term care system, it was an answer to years of …

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The Biden Administration Is Quietly Keeping Tabs on Inflation

“We think the likeliest outlook over the next several months is for inflation to rise modestly,” two officials at Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, Jared Bernstein and Ernie Tedeschi, wrote on Monday in a blog post outlining some of the administration’s thinking. “We will, however, carefully monitor both actual price changes and inflation expectations for any signs of unexpected price pressures that might arise as America leaves the pandemic behind and enters the next economic expansion.”Some Republicans call that posture dangerous. Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of his party’s campaign arm for the 2022 …

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Biden Details $1.52 Trillion Spending Proposal to Fund Discretionary Priorities

WASHINGTON — President Biden outlined a vast expansion of federal spending on Friday, calling for a 16 percent increase in domestic programs as he tries to harness the government’s power to reverse what officials called a decade of underinvestment in the nation’s most pressing issues.The proposed $1.52 trillion in spending on discretionary programs would significantly bolster education, health research and fighting climate change. It comes on top of Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package and a separate plan to spend $2.3 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure.Mr. Biden’s first spending proposal to Congress showcases his belief that expanding, not …

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Jobs Report March 2021: Gain of 916,000 as Recovery Sped Up

But retailers, manufacturers and transportation companies added jobs as well, which Ms. Swonk said showed that the recovery was being driven by more than just the reopening of shuttered businesses. Government aid has given Americans money to spend, and the confidence to spend it.Businesses, too, appear to be growing more confident. Many of the jobs added in January and February were temporary positions, but in March, temporary staffing levels were essentially flat, indicating companies were filling permanent positions instead.Amy Glaser, senior vice president at the staffing firm Adecco, said that in recent weeks, a growing share of her …

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The Biden Boom

Democrats are all agog that Biden was able to pass more stimulus dollars than Barack Obama. What will make a sustainable difference, though, is whether the Biden stimulus doesn’t just rescue the poor but also propels the private sector to start new companies and create more good jobs that improve productivity and sustainably boost living standards, so that we’re not just redividing the pie, but rather growing the pie.

Opinion Debate
What should the Biden administration prioritize?

Nicholas Kristof, Opinion columnist, writes that “Biden’s proposal to establish a national pre-K and child care system would be a …

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Britain Holds On to a Colony in Africa, With America’s Help

The cause is a little-known group of 55 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean known as the Chagos Archipelago. For 150 years they were part of the British colony of Mauritius. Then, in 1965, at the instigation of President Lyndon Johnson, Britain decided to separate the islands from Mauritius and, at just the time that the world was agreeing the era of colonialism was over, created a new colony, called the British Indian Ocean Territory. One of the islands, Diego Garcia, was leased to the United States for a military base.Mauritius got its independence in 1968, but without Chagos. The entire …

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That Spotty Wi-Fi? There’s $100 Billion to Fix It.

WASHINGTON — Kimberly Vasquez, a high school senior in Baltimore, faced a tough problem when the pandemic began. She had no fast internet service in her home, but all her classes were online.Marigold Lewi, a sophomore at the same school, was regularly booted off Zoom classes because of her slow home connection.Ms. Lewi spent a lot of time explaining Zoom absences to teachers. Ms. Vasquez sat outside local libraries to use their internet access and at times used her phone. The two of them helped push a successful public campaign for better and free service to low-income families in …

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Biden Tax Plan Charts New Path to Economic Growth

President Biden’s ambitious plan to increase corporate taxes does more than just reverse much of the overhaul pushed through by his predecessor. It also offers a profoundly different vision of how to make the United States more competitive and how to foot the bill.When President Donald J. Trump and a Republican Congress rewrote the tax code in 2017, most of the benefits went to the wealthiest Americans, with lower rates on businesses and on profits from investments. The guiding principle, proponents argued, was that cutting taxes on corporations and investors would encourage businesses to expand, creating more jobs and …

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Biden’s Push for Electric Cars: $174 Billion, 10 Years and a Bit of Luck

But production is only one piece of the puzzle. The transition away from gas-powered vehicles rests on convincing consumers of the benefits of electric vehicles. That hasn’t been easy because the cars have higher sticker prices even though researchers say that they cost less to own. Electricity is cheaper on a per mile basis than gasoline, and E.V.s require less routine maintenance — there is no oil to change — than combustion-engine cars.The single biggest cost of an electric car comes from the battery, which can run about $15,000 for a midsize sedan. That cost has been dropping and …

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