Financial Daily Dose 9.20.2021 | Top Story: Chinese Crackdown on Debt-Laden Companies Roils Global Markets

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Robins Kaplan LLP

Fascinating new wrinkle on the corporate debt crisis washing over China in recent years, with reports that “troubled Chinese property giant Evergrande” sought to “strong-arm” its own employees earlier this year to lend the company money in order to “keep their bonuses.” A wild concept in its own right, and then, “this month, Evergrande suddenly stopped paying back the loans, which had been packaged as high-interest investments” - NYTimes and Bloomberg and WSJ and MarketWatch

Most administrations come into the White House with grand promises to end the revolving door that sees government officials head back and forth between public and private service, often to the great benefit of the latter. Few have really done so. Here’s why meaningful reform really matters (to the tune of billions of dollars in tax breaks) - NYTimes

A “rebounding economy and investors’ demand for any extra yield” is helping power the junk-bond market to its best year in more than a decade - WSJ

Meanwhile, Bloomberg gives us this warning about coming economic headwinds largely unrelated to any Fed tapering and more tied to the already-fading economic support the government’s been pumping into consumers’ and businesses’ pockets over the past 18 months - Bloomberg

Also, car rentals’ wild journey as shorthand for the entire U.S. economy. Trust us. It works - NYTimes

Apple finds itself this fall in the midst of a relatively new position—at least a position publicly known. On Friday, CEO Tim Cook “answered questions form workers in an all-staff meeting for the first time since the public surfacing of employee concerns over topics ranging from pay equality to whether the company should assert itself more on political matters like Texas’ restrictive abortion law.” On top of that, in the past month, some 500 current and former Apple employees have “submitted accounts of verbal abuse, sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination at work” to an employee-activist group calling itself #AppleToo - NYTimes

Speaking of the workers, Nabisco’s bakers are back on the job in five states after a strike that began in August over what they called “unreasonable contract concessions” that parent company Mondelez had demanded - NYTimes and WSJ

Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung wrapped her testimony on Friday to close out an eventful first week in the Elizabeth Holmes criminal fraud trial in San Jose. Here are the highlights - NYTimes and WSJ and Law360

Tesla’s recent push to issue a “major upgrade of its driver-assistance software” that would allow drivers to request “an enhanced version of what Tesla calls its ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’” is rubbing many at the National Transportation Safety Board the wrong way, especially as the Board continues to probe what it views “as safety deficiencies in the company’s technology” - WSJ and Bloomberg

TikTok maker ByteDance has introduced “youth mode,” which caps screen time to 40 minutes per day on the Chinese version of the app, Douyin. The move appears to be a direct response to Beijing’s recent crackdown on entertainment and celebrity worship in the country - WSJ

Streetwise on the curious case of U.S. inflation, which can’t find a lane and stick to it these days - WSJ

The rise of streaming was meant to be the end of TV as we know it. Well, maybe so for the networks, and yet a decade or so in, Americans remain as obsessed with the glowing box (or phone or tablet screen) as ever—a devotion that “affects Americans’ style choices, our interior design, our vacation plans and cuisine routines” - WSJ

Stay safe, and get vaxxed,

MDR

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