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Lawmakers cranked up the A/C and got down to business this week before departing for their August break. On Tuesday, after months of bipartisan negotiation, the Senate finally passed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. A day later, on a straight party vote, Democrats in the chamber pushed through a blueprint for what could become America’s largest ever spending package. President Biden was also busy, pre-vacation. After extending the federal eviction ban last week, his Administration followed up by prolonging the student loan repayments pause through early 2022. What does this all mean for your wallet? Read on to find out, plus the latest on Social Security benefit increases, NFT taxes and more. 

Capital Bills On Capitol Hill 

The Senate finally passed Biden’s massive infrastructure bill on Tuesday morning, but the package now faces a showdown in the House before it can land on the president’s desk. (And if it does, Bill Gates promises to donate $1.5 billion toward the climate crisis.) While the infrastructure bill pledges $110 billion for roads, bridges and other transportation projects—plus a splashy investment in public transit—it could also strip struggling small businesses of much-needed employee retention credits as the Covid-19 Delta variant surges. Meanwhile, the Senate’s Democrats also approved the blueprint for a $3.5 trillion budget plan embracing universal preschool, tuition-free community college, a new federal health program and more. 

Forbearance Forever 

As a heatwave envelops the U.S. and consumer confidence cools off, student loans are once again having a moment in the sun. Biden just issued an executive order to extend federal student loan forbearance until the end of January 2022—here’s what the relief means for your education debt. More change could be on the horizon: the Department of Education recently announced a public hearing schedule for a negotiated rulemaking process “to rewrite regulations” governing key federal student loan programs. In the wake of two major student loan servicers calling it quits, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is warning of drawn-out uncertainty ahead for the 10 million-plus borrowers affected. And a bit of credit card news: holders of the PayPal

-owned Venmo card are now eligible to convert cash back rewards into cryptocurrency (for free).

Private Equity Perils

Major stock indices leapt to new highs after the Senate greenlit the Infrastructure package Tuesday, while renewed bitcoin optimism pushed the combined value of the world’s cryptocurrencies to $2 trillion Wednesday afternoon for the first time in nearly three months. A new climate report released Monday, described by the U.N.’s secretary general as a “code red for humanity,” could spur a spike in sustainable investing. Lastly, Forbes’ latest magazine investigation illuminates the hollow promises and fat fees turned private equity into a lousy investment for brokers’ high net worth clients.

The Demise Of Death Taxes

As an expansion of federal estate taxes looms, Iowa has become the latest state to ditch its so-called death tax (a.k.a. inheritance tax), leaving just five states with an inheritance tax and 11 states with an estate tax. Most Gen-Z’ers are just barely entering adulthood, but they should still understand and prepare for estate taxes. Buzzy non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could prove an IRS cash cow, creating multiple taxation events for both NFT creators and traders. Though Senate Democrats’ recently approved $3.5 trillion budget framework calls for higher taxes on the rich, it could also give the wealthy a break via relief from the current $10,000 SALT deduction cap—so if you live in a high income tax state, deferring September 15th state income tax payments until January 2022 might pay off.

Do The Golden Years Still Glitter? 

To the detriment of older workers and the overall economy, ageism remains rampant in the workplace. A sobering new report underlines the hypocrisy of some hiring managers who hesitate to hire workers over age 45 despite the findings that 87% of these employees meet or exceed the performance of colleagues a decade younger. Congressional Democrats are proposing more funding for nursing homes in exchange for significant staffing reform. Great news for retirees collecting Social Security: benefits are poised to increase an estimated 6.1% in 2022, the largest upward adjustment since 1983. 

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