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Obsidian Planning

Obsidian Market Update 07/22/2023

Economic Update

What’s the PRO Act?

As we approach the August Congressional recess, the rhetoric regarding the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is, once again, heating up. An earlier version of the Act passed the House twice, but never reached the Senate floor, so in February of 2023, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (and others) reintroduced it (S 567 / H.R. 20).

In this corner: Labor!

All parties have radically different perspectives on the PRO Act. According to the AFL-CIO, the Act will help employees advocate for improvements at work, address systemic racism, help women in the workplace, and go a long way toward fixing the “broken” National Labor Relations Act of 1933.

In this corner: Business!

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Act would force employers to turn over to unions the personal information (e.g., cellphone number, home address, etc.) of employees without their consent, invalidate the right-to-work laws of 28 states, and effectively repeal the Taft-Hartley Act or 1947 by allowing unions to conduct “secondary” boycotts and picketing that target “any employer doing business with a targeted company even if those employers have no connection with the union.”

In this corner: The Economy!

Estimates of the cost to the U.S. economy of the PRO Act range from $2.3 trillion of GDP (The American Action Forum), to $57 billion overall and $33 billion to franchises (The Association of Builders and Contractors. Senator Sanders, characterizes the Act as a means of building a stronger economy, addressing income inequality in the US and “ensuring that workers get their fair share of the wealth they create.”

In this corner: The Workers!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that between 2004 and 2019, non-union workers earned almost 15% less than union workers; a figure which compares earnings “on a broad level and [does] not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.” At the same time, the Bureau reported that the number unionized wage and salary workers dropped from 10.3% in 2021 to 10.1% in 2022, a drop it attributes to a greater increase in the number of total wage and salary earners compared to the increase in union members.

All Sides Agree

Even the playing field or kill small business? The answer depends on whom you ask, yet all sides are calling the Act the most significant piece of labor law in American history. We’ve only touched on some of its provisions and, obviously, there are nuances that have consequences far beyond sound bites.

Be Informed.

If you’d like to read the Act, click here. If you’d like to make your voice heard in this debate, use this link for contact information for your Representative and this link for your Senators.


The Outdoors:

No Membership Required!

What do monthly, sign-up, class, and cancellation fees have in common? Not one applies to exercising outdoors. Whether you want to add an activity to your regular exercise routine or have fun while exercising, step outside!

In addition to all the benefits gained by exercising indoors, going outside increases exposure to sunlight which enhances the production of vitamin D. Increases in vitamin D have been linked to boosting the immune system and bone health, and reducing inflammation. Beyond the physical benefits, we love that being outdoors reduces stress, enhances relaxation and just makes us feel good.

The Conversion to Schwab Continues

If you currently receive statements from TD Ameritrade, please take a moment to read this article and a more detailed version in our July 8 newsletter.

The next step in the conversion from TD Ameritrade to Schwab happens in the next 10 days or so. Around August 1, Schwab will send you, via your preferred method of contact (email or U.S. Mail), information about how to set up your username and password on its client website. Keep in mind that the conversion of your TD Ameritrade data will not happen until Labor Day weekend. As always, we’ll keep you posted as the conversion progresses.

How we Help

Irrevocable Trusts

In last week’s issue of this newsletter, we discussed revocable trusts. Today we follow up with a quick summary of irrevocable trusts. The big difference between the two is that the person putting the assets into a revocable trust (the grantor) retains control of them. In an irrevocable trust, the assets are owned by the trust, not the grantor. And, as the name implies, an irrevocable trust cannot be terminated or changed in any way without the beneficiary’s permission or by court order.

Irrevocable trusts enjoy certain benefits that revocable trusts do not, such as reducing the value of an estate. We often help clients determine whether trusts suit their goals, so please contact us if you’d like to know more.

Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Securities are offered through Triad Advisors, member ​FINRA/SIPC.​ Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.


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