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Inflation comes roaring back...
September 14, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Cometeer

Good morning. New Hampshire, Delaware, and Rhode Island wrapped up the summer's primary season yesterday. But the political TV ad onslaught is just getting started: We're 54 days out from the midterms, which will decide control of the House, Senate, and governors' mansions, as well as many other state and local issues.

Are you registered to vote? If not, you can do that right here.

Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Max Knoblauch, Holly Van Leuven

MARKETS

Nasdaq

11,633.57

S&P

3,932.69

Dow

31,104.97

10-Year

3.418%

Bitcoin

$20,315.39

Meta

$153.13

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 10:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks crumbled like a Nutri-Grain bar following a hotter-than-expected inflation report, because it all but confirms a massive interest rate hike by the Fed next week. As is typical when investors get spooked by looming rate hikes, tech got whacked the hardest: Every single stock in the Nasdaq 100 fell yesterday—the first time that's happened since March 2020.

ECONOMY

Inflation will not go gentle into that good night

Breaking Bad GIF of Walter White saying Breaking Bad/AMC via Giphy

The August inflation report was more disappointing than NFL kickers on Sunday, teeing up another gigantic interest rate hike from the Fed next week.

Consumer prices in August increased 0.1% from the previous month and 8.3% compared to a year ago—more than anticipated. Economists had expected inflation to continue its downward trend from July, when prices didn't increase at all, but apparently we can't have nice things.

So what happened?

The popular theory was that plummeting fuel prices would push costs down across the economy. And gas prices have plummeted—they fell 10.6% in August, and as of Tuesday they've dropped for 91 consecutive days. Some of you may have even glimpsed a $2 figure when filling up.

But the deflationary fumes wafting from gas stations have not spread to other sectors. Core CPI, which removes volatile food and gas prices, jumped 0.6% last month, driven by price increases in rents, new cars, medical care, and other areas. Food prices also spiked in August.

The Fed is on deck

August's hot inflation data bolsters the central bank's plan to hike rates by 0.75 percentage point at its meeting next week. While that may seem like a tiny number, it will spur a considerable increase in borrowing costs for individuals and businesses. (Remember, the European Central Bank had never hiked rates by 0.75% until it did last week.)

But Fed Chair Jerome Powell, whose job description is to get inflation to 2%, sees no other option than to continue jacking up three-pointers. In his much-hyped Jackson Hole speech last month, Powell said that even though sustained interest rate increases will bring "some pain" to Americans, letting inflation rip for longer would be even worse. Due to inflation's stubbornness, the chances of Powell bringing the pain likely increased yesterday.—NF

        

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

Peiter "Mudge" Zatko testifying on Capitol Hill Tom Williams/Getty Images

The Twitter whistleblower testified on Capitol Hill. Speaking at a Senate hearing, former Twitter security boss Peiter "Mudge" Zatko alleged that the company prioritized "profits over security" and that its security team was told at least one Chinese spy was working at the firm (Mudge thinks that other foreign agents infiltrated Twitter's workforce as well). While this drama was unfolding in DC, Twitter shareholders officially approved Elon Musk's $44 billion purchase of the company that he now wants take-backs on.

GOP proposes national abortion restrictions. A group of Republican lawmakers led by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy—with a few exceptions. Graham said this proposal is intended to serve as a Republican counterweight on the issue as Democrats attempt to protect abortion rights post-Roe. Democrats accused these Republicans of hypocrisy by introducing a national bill when they've previously argued that abortion should be left up to the states.

The Phoenix Suns owner was suspended. The NBA has suspended Robert Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million following an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct. According to the probe, Sarver "repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others," frequently made sex-related comments at work, and interacted inappropriately with employees, both men and women. Sarver, a real estate developer, also owns the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

LAW

Sexual assualt victim's DNA used against her

A DNA helix with magnifying glasses Francis Scialabba

In 2016, a rape victim allowed the San Francisco Police Department to collect her DNA. Five years later, that same DNA was used to arrest her for an unrelated property crime, and now she's suing the city of San Francisco.

"This is government overreach of the highest order, using the most unique and personal thing we have—our genetic code—without our knowledge to try and connect us to crime," the plaintiff's attorney said. That alleged breach of privacy could discourage sexual assualt victims from coming forward in the future, advocates claimed.

All charges against the woman, who is identified only as Jane Doe, were dropped by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin earlier this year. But a DA spokesperson told NPR that what had happened "was standard." Under current California law, local forensics labs are allowed to collect, analyze, and store DNA without oversight from the state or other regulatory authorities.

  • That's not how it works at the federal level: Sexual assualt victims' DNA cannot be legally uploaded to the FBI-operated national DNA database, the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Looking ahead…this case has spurred action at the local and state level. San Francisco enacted an ordinance earlier this year that prohibits sexual assualt victims' DNA from being used in unrelated crime investigations. And California lawmakers approved a similar bill last month that's waiting on a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom.—JW

        

WEALTH

What if we told you the king was rich?

King Charles III WPA Pool/Getty Images

Like many jobs, becoming the head of the British monarchy (as King Charles III has done) comes with a handful of perks. There's the lavish housing, the access to exclusive events, and, of course, the massive swaths of land and wealth beyond comprehension.

While royal wills are not made public and the royal family's total wealth is a closely guarded secret, Charles has inherited the majority of a portfolio of assets worth around $28 billion in value, per the NYT. And due to a 1993 agreement with the British government, all of that is exempt from inheritance tax (for the rest of the UK, inheritance tax is 40% for estates worth more than $377,000). So what exactly has King Charles inherited? Let's take a look.

  • The late queen's private portfolio, valued at $949 million.
  • The Crown Estate, a ~$19 billion collection of assets including shopping malls and wind farms overseen by a board of directors.
  • The royal family's private (and secretive) fortune, which includes Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

So begins the reign of the investor king: In his decades as heir to the throne, King Charles took great interest in his portfolio, the Duchy of Cornwall, and grew its value by about 50% in the last 10 years. With its vacation rentals, London office buildings, and controversial offshore investments, the duchy has been passed on to his would-be successor, Prince William.—MK

        

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Chart showing the change in child poverty US Census Bureau

Stat: The number of US children living in poverty reached its lowest level on record last year, according to a Census Bureau report released yesterday. 5.2% of kids lived in poverty in 2021, a drop of nearly half from the 9.7% share in 2020. This dramatic improvement in economic welfare is largely attributable to the trillions of dollars in government stimulus distributed during the pandemic, the Census said.

Quote: "There's nothing fun to do."

In a viral news clip, the people of Stow, Massachusetts, described their bleak existence without a Dunkin' location in town. As one dejected Stow resident grumbled, you have to travel more than a mile and a half to get to the closest Dunkin' the next town over.

Read: The central California town where McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Carl's Jr. test market their newest creations. (SFGate)

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Amtrak suspended some of its long-distance routes ahead of a potential strike by freight rail workers. The White House is frantically pushing for a resolution.
  • The latest US intelligence about Ukraine's rapid advances: "The Russians are in trouble."
  • An Australian man was killed by a wild kangaroo in the first reported fatal kangaroo attack in the country since 1936. Authorities believe he was keeping the animal as a pet.
  • Everything Nintendo announced at its Nintendo Direct event yesterday.

BREW'S BETS

Online life after death: Here's what happens to famous people's Wikipedia pages after they die.

The 3.5-star rule: This guy explains how to find the best authentic Chinese restaurants.

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GAMES

The puzzle section

Picdoku: Take that cross-country drive you keep postponing in today's state flag Picdoku. Play it here.

For the gram

The Brew's copy editor Holly Van Leuven, who lovingly corrects our errors in each newsletter, plucked four sentences from recent newsletter drafts that contain errors. Put on your copyeditor glasses and see if you can spot the flubs that Holly caught.

  1. US News sends a yearly survey to college administrators asking them to rate other school's "academic quality."
  2. In addition to the UK, King Charles III is the head of state of 14 other countries.
  3. During his speeches hyping up bitcoin, Bukele said making it legal tender would help "unbanked" Salvadoreans gain access to the security of digital banking.
  4. The case—a shoe-in for Hulu's next ripped-from-the-headlines original that everyone at work except you is watching—is seen as a cautionary tale.

Sweet Chick CEO explains the key to a successful business

Sweet Chick CEO explains the key to a successful business

Want to start a business but have no idea where to begin? We've been asking founders and CEOs for their top tips. Watch here.

Check out more from the Brew:

On Imposters, singer Michelle Williams explained how she got herself out of a long, undiagnosed depression following her time in Destiny's Child. Listen here.

🎟 Marketing Brew presents the can't-miss event for every modern marketer: The Brief. You'll learn a ton from a powerhouse panel of speakers representing the world's most recognized brands. Claim your tickets.

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ANSWER

1. "Schools" is plural and possessive, so the apostrophe should come after the "s," not before it.

2. This sentence suffered from a misplaced modifier. It should be switched to: "In addition to the UK, 14 other countries have King Charles III as their head of state."

3. Citizens of El Salvador are referred to as "Salvadorans," not "Salvadoreans."

4. Because Max's brilliant jokes shine brighter than the sun, you have to squint hard to see that the idiom should be "shoo-in" rather than "shoe-in."

         

Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Jamie Wilde

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