Intelligence

SCOTUS, or why last week lasted a hundred years

Reporter: Vested staff

This week’s Vested Suggested features stories that the team at Vested is reading and thinking about to begin the week.

SCOTUS expands: The Senate on Saturday confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The appointment is noteworthy for what it means for business and finance. Per CNBC, Kavanaugh believes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional. He is known to side with the interests of employers on matters involving labor. And, as SCOTUSblog wrote, he “has largely, but not always, attempted to rein in Obama-era EPA regulations.”

Read the room: Kavanaugh’s appointment is also noteworthy for giving the conservative movement its first reliable SCOTUS majority in a generation, which it has thirstily pursued in order to advance its policy agenda through the judiciary. Kavanaugh’s testimony last week displayed a level of partisanship that more than 2,400 law professors said is disqualifying, and the expected consequences when it comes to matters of equal rights and social welfare are dire for those that rely on the protections.

These beliefs will have lasting consequences. While businesses that endorse deregulation generally can expect that preference to reverberate through the economy soon enough, it is fair to question whether the payoff will be in line with the costs. Kavanaugh’s confirmation has set the nation’s mood, and it isn’t pretty.

Deals: In more optimistic news, chatter about the Saudi Aramco IPO, which began in earnest in 2016, and then lagged earlier this year, is back to being positive again. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman now says the deal will happen by 2021, and that he believes the company is worth $2 trillion. London and New York City are still thought to be competing for the listing.

Shopping around: We support absolute honesty and straightforwardness at all times. That said, an analysis from The Telegraph (UK) found that motorists can get a cheaper rate on their car insurance by “tweaking” their job title. Use this information as you wish.

A study has found: It is a myth that female investors tolerate risk less than do men. In reality, they don’t play it safe.

“In a sampling of 5 million users over the last five years, women fell pretty evenly across the risk spectrum, Riskalyze found in data provided exclusively to Bloomberg. Only 37 percent of women have a below-average tolerance for risk, 25 percent have an average tolerance, and 38 percent have an above-average tolerance,” wrote Rebecca Greenfield in Bloomberg Businessweek.

“It seems especially small-minded to believe that the genders think completely differently,” said Carol Fabbri, an adviser in Denver with Fair Advisors. “I believe experiences with money shape people’s risk aversion, not their hormones.”

Flight risk: States that single out millionaires for special taxes that go beyond the tax code’s usual progressivity “always lose,” wrote our chief economist, Milton Ezrati.

“The very wealthy, after all, have much greater mobility than the average citizen. They often own homes in several locations and, without even giving up their residence in the high-tax jurisdiction, can easily change their official residence simply by suffering the minor inconvenience of rearranging their comings and goings. Such exoduses can leave the states with millionaires’ taxes worse off financially than before they reached for this seemingly easy revenue source.”

This is phenomenally bad policy, regardless of one’s ideological inclinations.

Deep thoughts: Two prominent stories out of the U.K.– one that reported on two deaths from allergic reactions at food retailer Pret a Manger, the other on the rise of “fast fashion” in an Instagram era — share a similar stance on personal responsibility. People should have strong ethics when it comes to personal responsibility. But what should those people expect from companies?