In other news, retail sales dropped sharply in July compared to June as congressional action ceased.
Retail sales for the month rose by 1.2%, less than the 2.3% expected by economists polled by Dow Jones and considerably lower than the 8.4% rise in consumer spending in June. Electronics and appliance sales surged more than 22% and spending on clothing and on bars and restaurants jumped roughly 5% each.
This more than 7 percent drop in July occurred while the pandemic unemployment program was giving people $600 per week. That's gone now.
Meanwhile, Trump's Department of Justice claims Yale University discriminates against Asian and -- *checks notes* -- white people?
The department said it was prepared to file a lawsuit against Yale if the school, in New Haven, Connecticut, did not take “remedial measures.”
A Yale spokeswoman said the university “categorically denies” the allegations but has cooperated fully with the investigation.
Yale is 43 percent white, 15 percent Asian, 10 percent Hispanic, and only 6 percent black according to their own statistics, so who exactly is being discriminated against here? It's probably not white people.
Finally, the Small Business Administration's system for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness is open, but businesses are being advised not to use it yet because of general confusion as the rules are still changing.
Even though the forgiveness window is open, small businesses are sitting on the sidelines, accountants said. That's because the SBA continues to issue guidance in the form of frequently asked questions.
For instance, on Aug. 11, the agency clarified that employers' payments toward vision and dental benefits are considered "group health-care benefits" and are deemed payroll costs eligible for forgiveness.
Professionals are also still waiting for Congress to address a burning issue on the mind of many PPP applicants: Will expenses covered by these forgivable loans be deductible on tax returns?
"My advice on all of these clients is that you don't want to be the first to rush into the forgiveness process," said Ann Kummer, CPA and partner at Kirshon & Co. in Poughkeepsie, New York.
"Things will probably continue to change," she said. "Do you really want to be the guinea pig?"
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— Jordan (@JM_Ashby) August 14, 2020
Have a good weekend!