☕️ The law won

Essential workers are looking for vaccines...
February 02, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

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Good morning. Unlike this mountain of snow, our MacBook Pro giveaway is going away soon: Today is the final day to share the Brew and get entered to win a laptop. 

As a reminder, we are raffling off four brand new computers. 1 referral = 1 raffle ticket, BUT once you get to three referrals, you'll get a Power Boost that doubles your ticket count. 3 referrals = 6 tickets, 4 = 8, and so on.

Time is ticking...get sharing now.

MARKETS

NASDAQ

13,403.39

+ 2.55%

S&P

3,773.86

+ 1.61%

DOW

30,211.91

+ 0.76%

GOLD

1,863.80

+ 0.73%

10-YR

1.078%

+ 1.50 bps

OIL

53.54

+ 2.57%

*As of market close. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks posted big gains, volatility dropped, and everyone took a deep breath. But some of last week's quirkiness spilled over—silver prices hit their highest level since 2013.
  • Covid: More Americans have received 1+ vaccine dose for the coronavirus than have tested positive, Bloomberg data show. Elsewhere, five more Italian regions relaxed restrictions put in place before Christmas, allowing residents to visit the Vatican for the first time in 88 days. And no one's quite sure why India's case numbers are plummeting

PUBLIC HEALTH

Essential Doesn't Always Mean Priority

Vaccines for essential workers

Francis Scialabba

Over the last two months, the US has administered about 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, with daily pricks now averaging 1.3+ million. Steady progress...but even as vaccinations tick up, millions of essential workers don't have clarity around when it's their turn.

The lines are blurry  

Concerns about a slow rollout prompted the Trump and Biden administrations to support expanding eligibility to all adults 65+ and frontline workers. Some states, including Texas and Florida, began vaccinating senior citizens as early as December. 

  • The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that in at least 35 states, frontline workers have been prioritized with or behind older people. That's prompted some debate about using age-based factors vs. occupational risk and underlying health concerns. 

There's a case for both. The panel that advises the CDC about vaccine priority recommended that, after healthcare personnel, frontline workers (who are more likely to contract and spread Covid) and adults 75+ (who are more likely to get serious complications and fill up ICUs) should get shots.

There's also a question of equity

Essential workers, a disproportionate number of whom are people of color and immigrants, have experienced higher rates of Covid. Preliminary results of a UCSF study found a 39% increase in deaths among food and agriculture workers (compared to 22% among workers in general). 

  • Yesterday, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched a probe into meatpacking plants operated by Tyson, Smithfield, and JBS. Almost 54,000 meatpacking employees have gotten sick, and at least 270 have died. 

Uncertainty over vaccines is yet another challenge for essential workers, many of whom are in a precarious financial position. While many grocery and retail giants recorded record profits during the pandemic, hazard pay for most grocery workers ran out months ago, even as the pandemic worsened.

Bottom line: The struggle to immunize the heroes of the pandemic highlights the logistical, political, and moral questions around distributing a limited number of life-saving vaccines.

        

GOVERNMENT

Do You Want to Build a Stimulus Proposal?

A snowman is seen on the North Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, February 1, 2021.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Maybe hot cocoa and a snow day can bridge the deepest of divides. Yesterday, a group of Republican senators snowshoed over to the White House to discuss their $618 billion counterproposal to President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill. 

There are some familiar pieces inside, including: 

  • $160 billion for vaccines, Covid testing and tracing, and PPE
  • $220 billion for direct payments of up to $1,000 to some individuals (Biden has pushed for $1,400 payments)
  • $132 billion for extra unemployment benefits through June (Biden's would run through September)
  • Additional funds for the PPP and reopening schools 

What's not: The counterproposal leaves out a $15 federal minimum wage and aid for state/local governments.

10 Republicans are behind the proposal...precisely the number Democrats may need on their side to prevent a filibuster. Democrats can pass their bill with a 51-vote majority using something called "budget reconciliation," though they'd prefer a bipartisan effort.

Big picture: Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office said the US economy is recovering faster than expected, in part because of 2020 stimulus measures. Republicans could use that argument against Biden's larger package.  

        

LAW

TFW You Had a Great 2020

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

If you're on the lookout for more pandemic winners, may we point you to Big Law. The world's highest-grossing law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, is on track to post record annual revenue of ~$5 billion for the 12 months ending in January, according to the Financial Times.

What happened: Even as the global economy sagged under the weight of shutdowns, Kirkland's three main areas of focus—private equity, restructuring, and litigation—all surged. 

  • Plus, with hyper-efficient Zoom meetings replacing four-dollar-sign client dinners, costs are way down...which means profits are way up.
  • In a Wells Fargo survey of 125 law firms, net income (revenue minus expenses) grew 25.6% annually in the first half of 2020.

Bottom line: Haunted by the 2008 financial crisis's blow to the industry, law firms quickly moved to cut pay and furlough staff when the pandemic arrived last spring. But due to the unexpected boost in business, they're back to padding wallets—firms paid junior staff bonuses of up to $100,000 at the end of 2020.

        

SPONSORED BY PAYCOM

"Audit" Doesn't Have to Mean "Headache"

Paycom

According to Deloitte's 2021 Human Capital Trends report, only 11% of businesses said they could produce info on their workforce in real time

For the other 89%? Safe to say audit time equals aspirin time.

But that mad audit scramble to gather employee info and docs doesn't have to be a thing. Your HR and payroll pros should be able to quickly send along reports at the drop of a hat—and with Paycom, they can.

Paycom helps you easily generate and review customizable reports across workforce data whenever you want to. From employer tax filings to cost-effective benefits admin and training completions, Paycom will handle all the complicated stuff that would normally give you a headache.

Cover all your payroll and HR reporting needs with one single software: Paycom.

INVESTING

Robinhood to Its Investors

Man saying "gimme"

Giphy

Robinhood has been busy fortifying its finances in case Reddit traders decide to go sicko mode once more. The trading platform announced yesterday that it had raised another $2.4 billion from existing investors, and it's reportedly considering adding an additional $1 billion of debt in the coming days. 

  • Mind-blowing stat of the day: Robinhood has raised more money since Thursday ($3.4 billion in total) than it has in the previous eight years of its existence. 

Robinhood wants to make sure it has enough collateral on hand to cover its obligations to third-party partners that settle trades...which have been through the roof. On Friday, revenue-generating trades on the platform were 4x greater than last summer's average, according to the FT.

So doesn't that mean Robinhood is doing...well?

Yes, and no. Despite the massive backlash across Twitter and Reddit, Robinhood is currently No. 1 on Apple's free app charts and was downloaded more than 600,000 times on Friday alone. But with great popularity comes great scrutiny; CEO Vlad Tenev is expected to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 18 about his company's role in the GameStop saga. 

        

AVIATION

Private Jets Go Public

Private jet

Getty Images

Wheels Up, the so-called "Uber for private aviation," is going public via SPAC in a deal that values it at $2 billion. 

  • After the deal is completed, sometime in Q2, Wheels Up will become the first publicly traded standalone private jet company. 

Zoom out: Running a private jet company is a lot less luxurious than flying in one; demand is inconsistent and maintaining a fleet of airplanes is expensive. But Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter thinks the interest is there, and the industry just isn't meeting it. "90% of the people who can afford to fly have not flown private jets," he told CNBC. 

The pandemic hasn't hurt

While the broader commercial airline industry remains as fragile as a Biscoff cookie, data from Elite Traveler shows business flights (which the report classifies as any flights that aren't commercial or cargo) are back to 85%–90% of their 2019 levels.

Bottom line: Travelers' desire for on-demand, convenient, and, most importantly, sanitary flying conditions could be the wind beneath Wheels Up's wings. But its trading debut will be a good barometer to see if investors think the pandemic bump = long-term adoption.

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Ford will use Google's Android operating system to power infotainment systems in its cars starting in 2023. 
  • SpaceX will fly four tourists into space later this year in what it calls the "world's first all-civilian mission." 
  • Tech fundraising news: Databricks, a data analysis and AI company, raised $1 billion at a $28 billion valuation. And UiPath, a robotic process automation company, raised $750 million at a valuation of $35 billion.
  • Nike unveiled its first "hands-free" shoe.
  • Coming to a TV near you: the GameStop movie and a Wakanda spinoff series from Ryan Coogler on Disney+.

GIVEAWAY

MacBook Giveaway Strategy 101

Spiderman going over Morning Brew's referral program

Toby Howell

It's actually quite simple: Click on the link below to access your unique referral code, then spread it far and wide; the far-er and wider you share, the better chance you have of winning a new computer.

Here are more details. 

What: Morning Brew is giving away four MacBook Pros (the new ones, with the fancy M1 chips) to readers who share the Brew.

When: The giveaway ends tonight.

How you can enter: When you get your friends or coworkers to sign up for the Brew, you'll get entered into the raffle. 1 ticket = 1 referral. BUT, you want to try as hard as possible to hit a minimum of three referrals. At that point, you'll get a Power Boost and your raffle tickets will double.

  • 2 referrals = 2 tickets, 3 referrals = 6 tickets, 4 = 8, 100 = 200, and so on.

Got it? Start sharing now

*Some disclaimers: Your current referral count does not matter in the context of the giveaway, and we only ship to the US.

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Groundhog Day: If you wake up tomorrow and it's still February 2, here's some time loop entertainment to help you figure out what's going on (P.S. We're sorry that you didn't get a new Brew.).

  • Movies: Palm Springs, Happy Death Day, Edge of Tomorrow
  • TV: Russian Doll, The Good Place
  • Books: Life After Life, Timequake
  • Video games: Majora's Mask, The Sexy Brutale, Oxenfree

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GAMES

Reader-Submitted Trivia

Here's a Super Bowl-related question from Brew reader Will: What six NFL teams do not have a city in their name?

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ANSWER

Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yeah...as we learned the hard way a few months ago, Tampa Bay isn't the name of the city—it's just Tampa. 

              

Written by Alex Hickey, Neal Freyman, and Toby Howell

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