In today’s episode they’re trying to put big Donny in a cage, Fox and Dominion each angel for pretrial wins, Sysco has an ongoing issue with its litigation funder, and column Tuesday where I regale you with the similarities between Donald Trump’s baby bonus proposal and Hungary’s tax policy.
Former US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as New York prosecutors consider charges over a hush money payment to a porn star, and called on his supporters to protest. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office has been investigating a $130,000 hush payment Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen made to porn actor Stormy Daniels, and sources have said his office has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment. A spokesperson for Bragg's office declined to comment. Trump's statement that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday is based on news reports that Bragg's office is going to be meeting with law enforcement to prepare for a possible indictment. Trump denied the affair happened and called the investigation by Bragg, a Democrat, a witch hunt. Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, to try to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat.
Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems and Fox Corporation are set to present their arguments before Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis, as they seek pretrial wins in the $1.6 billion defamation case filed by Dominion against Fox News in 2021. Dominion accuses Fox of ruining its reputation by airing false claims by former President Donald Trump and his lawyers that the Denver-based company's voting machines were used to rig the 2020 election results against Trump and in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. Fox argues that their coverage of the election-rigging claims was newsworthy and constitutionally protected by the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. Dominion has provided evidence to prove Fox executives and news staff knew the election-rigging claims were false but aired them anyway in pursuit of ratings. Fox, in response, accuses Dominion of cherry-picking from internal communications and deposition testimony to paint a misleading picture, and that Dominion's $1.6 billion damages claim is disproportionate to the company's actual value. The judge is expected to hear arguments on several issues, including whether the claims that Fox News aired were defamatory, protected as newsworthy reporting and commentary, and whether Fox is responsible for Dominion's claimed damages. If the judge finds Fox liable for defamation, the trial would concern only how much it must pay Dominion in damages.
In the ongoing litigation funding cautionary tale, litigation funder Burford Capital is accused by Sysco Corp of blocking it from hiring new lawyers in price-fixing lawsuits, after providing the food distributor with $140m to pursue the suits. Burford is also attempting to scupper settlements in at least two of the lawsuits, according to Sysco. The funder has prevented Sysco from getting new lawyers and from signing off on a new fee arrangement for replacement lawyers, the company claims. Burford has denied the accusations, with its chief information officer calling Sysco’s account of the situation “disingenuous” and “inaccurate”. Burford has also denied interfering with the independent judgment of its counsel.
UBS Group AG has acquired Credit Suisse Group AG for $3.2 billion, in a deal that was aided by four of the biggest law firms in the US. Davis Polk & Wardwell and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer represented UBS in the deal, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Sullivan & Cromwell advised Credit Suisse, along with Swiss law firm Homburger. The acquisition was government-brokered, with Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, agreeing to purchase the 160-year-old Credit Suisse to avoid its failure. The acquisition follows Davis Polk representing 11 banks who deposited $30 billion in First Republic, aimed at stemming the financial panic in the banking sector since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Sullivan & Cromwell also advised New York Community Bancorp on its purchase of Signature Bank.
Heyy, would you look at that – it’s Column Tuesday! In what is definitely the biggest Trump news today, I draw parallels between Donald Trump’s “baby bonus” proposal and Hungary’s despotic Viktor Orban.
Specifically, Former US President Donald Trump suggested at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March that his platform would include support for baby boomers and baby bonuses for a new baby boom. This policy could take the form of a refundable tax credit or some type of child tax credit expansion. The most common way governments provide financial assistance or incentives for procreation is through tax credits. Trump's proposal is similar to Hungary's Viktor Orbán's plan, which announced a cancellation of income tax for new mothers under 30 in 2019, with the cancellation being permanent for the mothers' entire income-earning life. However, the policy has had a minimal impact on increasing live births, with only 3,500 more live births in Hungary's population of 9.71 million, about 0.0361% increase in live births.
If the US population of 332 million were to have a similar impact, it would result in an increase of approximately 120,000 live births per year, assuming a one-time bonus had the same effect as a permanent income tax exemption in Hungary. To incentivize childbirth, it raises the question of who qualifies for the tax credit. For example, if the policy is only for the birth parents, it could be problematic from a social welfare perspective, as it incentivizes childbirth but not child-rearing. Furthermore, the credit would likely be non-refundable, cutting out lower-income filers who are in greater need of support.
The alternative would be to restore the expanded child tax credit, which helped cut child poverty when it was passed in 2021. However, the Republican majority in the House is unlikely to send a restored child tax credit to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature. Ensuring a stable population requires a more comprehensive approach than simply providing "baby bonuses." If there is truly bipartisan support for providing for families that are raising children, the US has an existing, proven system that works.