Your Evening Briefing
(Bloomberg) -- Numerous people were killed at a Florida high school when a gunman opened fire on its campus Wednesday. The suspect, an 18-year-old former student, is now in custody. One student's texts to her mom underscored what American high schoolers today must deal with. "We're on code red. I'm fine," she said. "Mom, I'm so scared." She was able to escape unhurt. —Sam Schulz
How Jeff Bezos made Amazon a Washington lobbying juggernaut. Amazon has quietly become one of Washington’s most influential companies. Data compiled by Bloomberg show the e-commerce giant lobbied more agencies than any of its rivals, and beefed up spending far faster. With the mounting public backlash against tech companies, Amazon is fighting to be seen as a job creator, not a job killer. But the company's insatiable quest to sell everything from entertainment to groceries forces it to wrestle with a growing list of issues, including transportation, shipping, immigration and taxes.
A major loophole in the GOP’s tax overhaul has sent hedge funds rushing back to Delaware. The rewrite of the carried-interest rule, which requires hedge funds to hold investments for three years to get the lower capital gains rate, gave them an easy out: Since it exempted corporations and didn’t specify regular corporations, hedge fund managers started creating shell companies left and right. The frenzy may be short-lived: On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRS would close the loophole.
This could make or break Tesla’s master plan. The company has made something no one else has: a relatively affordable electric car, the Model 3, that hundreds of thousands of people want. The only problem? It can’t make enough of them. We built a tool to estimate how many it has actually manufactured. If Tesla doesn't figure out soon how to ramp up production, rivals could step in to establish the high-volume market for a $35,000 electric car. Tesla still hasn't struck a deal to build a factory in China, fumbling a chance to capitalize on the country’s hard sell for electric cars.
Consumer prices jumped higher than expected last month, partly fueled by the biggest jump in apparel costs in nearly three decades. The new data sparked fears of an inflation pickup, with investors worried the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates faster than anticipated, but ultimately probably won't mean much pain for the economy. Consumption may slow, but it will likely be buttressed by wage growth, a tight labor market and tax cuts. Still, the markets are nervous; a decade of unprecedented stimulus from the Fed is being yanked, and nothing is certain.
Advertisers may be leaving TV for good. Networks are finally succumbing to the forces that have weakened other media businesses. TV ad sales in the U.S. last year had the steepest drop outside of the recession in at least 20 years, while the number of people paying for live TV is falling. And NBC’s Olympics audience has dropped by 6 percent since the last winter games, which the network actually considers good news.
It’s a bleak time for labor, except at the airport. Thousands of low-wage workers have won union recognition in recent years, largely because cities can impose some labor-related rules in airports, citing travelers’ safety. But spare a thought for Scott Pruitt’s safety when he flies, too, won’t you? The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is defending his pricey flights on taxpayers’ dime, saying he has to fly first class because he’s had “interaction that's not been the best” with other passengers.
How the super-rich say “I love you.” Nearly 400 years ago, an emperor built the Taj Mahal for love. These days, the ultra wealthy are displaying their affection with epic, hyper-personalized vacations: A private viewing of the Sistine Chapel! A tasting menu with violins and fireworks on the Amalfi Coast! A proposal in the Tower of London! (We guess that sounds romantic to somebody.)
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