Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of March 8, 2021.
New stimulus check, with new limits. The Senate passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion aid bill this weekend. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the package on Tuesday, sending it to the president to sign into law. President Biden reached a resolution with the Senate last week to lower the income limits for the next round of stimulus checks included in the bill. If the Senate passes the stimulus, individuals earning up to $75,000, single parents earning up to $112,500, and married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive a $1,400 direct payment. The payments would phase out and completely stop for individuals making $80,000, $120,000 for single parents, and $160,000 for married couples. Biden’s initial proposal would have allowed payments for individuals earning up to $100,000, single parents making up to $150,000, and married couples earning up to $200,000.
- The takeaway: Biden reportedly agreed to these income limits to appease moderates in the Senate, which is divided 50-50 along partisan lines, in hopes of passing the massive stimulus package. In addition to direct payments to Americans, the bill would provide resources for struggling small businesses, vaccine distribution, unemployed Americans, and more.
Check back with Stash Learn for a full story on the new economic package later today.
Google backtracks on tracking. Google announced last week that it will no longer sell ads based on how users move between multiple websites, in response to increased calls for consumer privacy and regulation. The announcement follows an earlier one from Google that it would remove third-party cookies, a widely used technology that allows advertisers to track user’s movements to several websites. Advertisers have used this tracking information to target users with their ads.
- The takeaway: Google’s decision could have big implications for the digital advertising industry since Google makes up 52% of the $292 billion spent on such advertising. Increasingly, big tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook, have clashed with legislators over the way they collect and use people’s information. While the move could mean increased privacy protection for consumers, it could also change the way advertisers, which rely heavily on tracking, have operated online.
Stores push back in Texas. Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to lift a mask mandate and other Covid-19 restrictions in Texas, companies including Macy’s, Kroger, Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, CVS, and Toyota said that they would continue to require masks and social distancing. In addition to ending the statewide mask requirement that had been in place in Texas, Governor Abbott said that businesses would be allowed to open at 100% capacity on March 10, 2021. Smaller businesses such as gyms and restaurants have welcomed the move.
- The takeaway: Although the rollout of three different approved Covid-19 vaccines has offered hope for the reopening of businesses and the return to normalcy, the Center for Disease Control continues to recommend that people wear masks to protect themselves and others from transmitting Covid-19 in public.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.