Imagining a modern world without order and structure is close to impossible and one cannot help but ask the question, ‘what keeps all this mess together?’ Among many possible answers is one that sticks out as unique and undebatable: law. Societies operate on legal systems, which intend to define and regulate social, political and economic relations between their members and the structures they create. Constitutions are taken to be central to such social construction while local laws are also frequently re-created, changed and updated to fit the needs of specific people and their relations, giving the modern day legal systems a compartmentalized structure. Professionalism is required in such a system as it becomes virtually impossible for anyone to understand and figure out every aspect of it, given the monumental amounts of information and technicality involved.
This is why there are different types of legal professionals in the world today, dealing with different types of legality. A criminal lawyer concerns themselves with legal issues that can be explained and handled through criminal law and represents their client in this regard. A personal injury lawyer deals with physical and psychological damages resulting out of incidents to seek for legal punishment and compensation, while a corporate law works with business law to represent their clients, protecting their rights and privileges within the respective legal context. Business law in today’s world is a substantial subject matter because business relations and operations play a centralized role in the way modern societies form and behave, making the healthy and productive regulation of such relations and operations a dire necessity. Without such regulation, modern societies would be haunted by issues such as corruption and illegality, which makes authority building and keeping crucial issues for all the players involved. This is also why business law is frequently subjected to changes and improvisations in virtually every society in the world, as business tolerates no mistakes or errors, especially in the field of legislation, which is a non-negotiable necessity for its secure existence and successful operations.
Not a day passes in today’s world without hearing something new that is going on in America, thanks to the newly elected 45the president of the country, Mr. Donald Trump’s ambitious and sometimes vicious new policies. Unsurprisingly, the American businesses got their share of controversy in this reality, as the Trump administration imposed new tax policies targeting American businesses as one of the first things it did for America. Matt Egan’s CNN article concentrates on this issue to state that “President Donald Trump’s tax law was sold as a transformative overhaul that would unlock an ocean of money Corporate America could spend on job-creating investments,” meaning that there are some intriguing aspect to this new legislation. The plan that was put into action last December has managed to create millions of one-time bonuses for employees of American companies, accompanied by serious wage hikes, which has initiated a “record-shattering stock buyback bonanza that enriched shareholders.” However, economists tend to agree that the healthy amounts and levels of spending have not translated into new investments as of yet, meaning that the newly legislated tax policies have not necessary contributed to economic development in the country. Although the rate of real non-residential fixed investment was measured at 6.1% for the first quarter of this year, the given ratio has been stumbling around the same level for several past quarters anyway, meaning that the given policy change did not substantiate any growth there either.
Naturally, businesses take their time to comprehend this new reality to make decisions and adapt to the new paradigm. According to Egan, it should also be noted that spending on industrial equipment such as “new tools, tractors and servers, increased by 4.7% at the beginning of 2018” which was “less than half the growth from the fourth quarter,” depicting a “slight uptick from the year before.” The author quotes Ed Yardeni, the president of investment advisory at Yardeni Research Inc., who believes that this increase has to be contributed to the state of recovery taking place, regarding the given market following a two years long period of recession based on an increase of oil prices. Similarly, The Carlyle Group’s Jason Thomas points out that the Chinese economic growth, as well as recent market developments in American domestic energy and mining businesses contributed to such a recovery and not solely the tax cuts themselves. Technically speaking, the new law has managed to create significant savings for large corporations by lowering the corporate taxes to 21% from their previous level of 35%, while also giving such companies a tax reduction for overseas profits, deducing the expenses associated with capital spending for such business ventures. On the other hand, the markets for various goods and products remain at either same levels of growth or have actually regressed, which has created confusion so far and put the Trump administration under significant political pressure as it is being accused of implementing a pointless and unproductive laws to appease the masses.
Egan then refers to Alan Auerbach, the director of Berkeley’s Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, who believes that the tax cuts did not translate into a surge in investment, presumably due to the current hostile political environment. Aurbach also pointed out that the most notable effect the legislation had so far was in regards to the stock prices at Wall Street, “with the Dow racing to an all-time high of 26,616 in late January before tumbling,” and several companies also reporting significantly high levels of earning due to lower taxes. A good example is Corporate America, which distributed high amounts of dividends and share buybacks to its shareholder as well as Apple Inc., which spent “$22.8 billion on stock buyback during the first three months of the year,” which was “more than any company in American history, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.” This situation constitutes yet another reason for criticism to the given legislation because although it is working out wonders for the highest-ranking companies and their financial standings, it did pretty much nothing for the middle or small sized businesses. Given Trump’s own position as a high-profile businessman and investor, it is understood that his administration is following his personal philosophy regarding comprehending and supporting business decisions. As the administration continues to boost growth for its highest earners, it will face significant political consequences regarding possible setbacks to stem out of dissatisfied businesses and their respective owners/employees/supporters.
An important aspect of business law today is the issue of resignation as wrong or unlawful practices in this field might lead to serious legal problems for the employees. Matt Gingell’s report for The Independent outlines the proper legal strategies to employ when quitting one’s job to ensure safety and justice as the author states that “the key thing is to assess your options, have a strategy, and [not] do anything rash.” There are various reasons for wanting to quit one’s job according to Gingell, such as problems with the employer, ignorance in the workplace, harassment by a manager or unfair evaluation of performance by the administration. In such case scenarios, the trust element is usually lost between the employee and the organization, leading the employee to make mistakes with respect to which steps to follow next. Most legal problems emerge when employees do not follow the routine and behave out of frustration at this level of things because they cannot keep up with the pressures anymore, thinking that an immediate resignation will solve all the associated problems, which unfortunately does not seem to be the case at all. Quick and unwise decisions create further complications which the employers and their organizations capitalize on to refrain from following legal procedures which have been designed to protect the rights of the employees.
The author refers to how important it is to raise a grievance, meaning that employees who have found themselves in such a situation need to raise an official complaint to resolve the emergent issues of conflict. Since all companies have different procedures and regulations of such nature, it is important that such employees follow company guidelines and not make crucial mistakes in the process. Gingell then states that “in some cases it may be appropriate to make an informal complaint before lodging a formal grievance” because this way the employee might alert the manager before a serious damage is dealt to their professional business relationship. By giving the administration time to investigate and respond, the employee ensures that they cannot resort to unexpected and undesired strategies to hinder possible legal procedures. In addition, when such an informal complaint is issued before a formal one, it becomes possible that during the pursuing official complaint stage, the employee might be awarded with higher compensation if a period of communication took place between the two parties. In other words, the business law of today has a tendency to punish ‘crybabies,’ who directly resort to legal procedures without sparing time or effort to negotiate with their companies.
Gingell then points out that negotiations lead to off-the-record deals because most employers do not wish to involve legal procedures to begin with, fearing that they might lead to higher expenditures in time, resource and capital, not to mention the possibility of defamation. In another way, such deal-seeking behavior makes it possible for the given parties to “enter into a settlement agreement,” where it is also quite important for such employees to “obtain legal advice before entering into such an agreement” as such advice “allows [them] to assess [their] options carefully, and obtain information.” In some cases, there are different legal procedures applicable to different cases of disagreement, which means that it is virtually impossible for a regular employee to know about such procedures without professional guidance. The author adds that one of the most common problems employees observe after falling out with their organizations is the issue of negative references and therefore it is important to agree upon a mutually satisfying recommendation before quitting the job. If the proper legal steps are taken, employers are deterred from giving biased negative recommendations for their past employees to limit their future capabilities in the workforce. Fearing legal setbacks, such employers become legally bound to provide the agreed upon recommendation to the future employers as long as the given legal procedure was completed. Additionally, in the case that a restriction exists in the employment contract that prevents an employee from being hired at a competitor firm for a specific period of time, such a restriction can also be waived through legal means.
Conclusively, Gingell states that in the case that an employee suspects unfair treatment at the workplace, they can “consider bringing a claim for constructive unfair dismissal” upon a quick resignation based on “a fundamental breach of contract by [their] employer” such as “a breach of trust, or another [related] major breach.” The author also points out that these types of claims are not necessarily easy to prove in a court and therefore it is equally important to obtain legal advice before resignation and follow the proper legal procedure to minimize the risks of future legal confrontation. In either case scenario, the author emphasizes the fact that the best advice is the one that is obtained at the earliest opportunity. Every employee should know that they “need to have had at least two years’ service” and that they are also “required to follow the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (Acas) early conciliation process prior to lodging the claim.” In terms of the actual procedure itself, Gingel points out that such employees have the obligation to pay the requisite fee to the employment tribunal within three months beginning with the date of termination while specific laws might be applying to specific cases, meaning that the local laws should also be researched into and respected during the process.
Finance is a crucial element in today’s business and the United States is a playground for legal battles over financial issues, given the country’s controversial yet equally dominant Federal Reserve system. Binyamin Appelbaum for The New York Times has worded an article titled “Federal Reserve Is Sued, Accused of Limiting Competition,” referring to a recent case involving, James McAndrews, a former employee who is “suing the Fed for blocking his plan to create a new kind of bank.” Mr. McAndrews has claimed that the Fed is “putting the interests of big Wall Street banks ahead of their large customers,” as evidenced with his own banking investment. While being a typical claim, the issue is actually a largely debated one with the Federal Reserve system being accused of protecting the rights and privileges of the large corporations and their financial partners over those of the regular people. Such criticism is leading many to speculate that the system is designed to create debt, poverty and slavery as its preset and built-in mechanisms. Accusing the bank’s chairman, Jerome H. Powell, the lawsuit claims that the bank’s administration took legal measure to prevent the establishment and obstruct the operations of a new bank, TNB USA, by denying permission for the bank to open an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which was “a necessary precursor for TNB USA to open its doors.” The Fed’s officials have publically stated that they are aware of the case and are currently reviewing it with no further comments made to the public.
TNB USA’s premise was that the bank would not be making any loans but instead, “it would put all of its customer deposits into an account at the New York Fed,” seeking to capitalize on a legal space the Fed created in 2015 following a monetary policy implemented by the institution in 2008. Prior to the financial crisis of the same year, the Fed would seek to slow down economic growth by recalling all the money in the financial system, whereas after the crisis and the pursuant policy changes, the organization now “seeks to immobilize money by paying banks to maintain deposits at the Federal Reserve.” The interest rate to be applied to such deposits is 1.95%, while the institution has been known to lower the interest rate for the money obtained from customers such as large-scale investors, to around 1.75%. In this system, the Federal Reserve maintains its dominant position to be able to offer low interest for its capital, which it creates out of its own secretive banking procedures, while pressuring the secondary banks and crediting institutions to increase their interest rates, which in turn decreases their competitiveness in the game. Mr. McAndrews seems to be interested in challenging the status quo because he believes that it is important to pay low interests “ so that all of the rent doesn’t get soaked up by the banks,”” which he believes is “what’s happening right now.” After working at the New York Fed for six years between 2010 and 2016, Mr. McAndrews obtained his own banking charter from Connecticut in 2017 but was denied an account at the New York Fed to continue with his own private banking affairs.
The 2008 financial crisis embarked a new era in banking, in the sense that it became a lot harder and unusual to establish new banks, with the total number of chartered banks being only seven between the years of 2013 and 2017. Prior to the crisis, this number was around 750, showing how volatile and discriminatory the practices became following the global incident. Although Mr. McAndrews kept a close relationship with the Federal Reserve officials over the years, he believes that it was the “specific direction of the Board’s Chairman” that blocked his application and lead to its dismissal. The officials are currently not providing explanations for their decision while the general conception is that projects such as TNB USA are considered to be ‘narrow banks,’ meaning that they offer more problems and complications than solutions, making support for their operations a risky business for the Fed. However, the opponents of this view state that such banks are actually good for the banking business, providing institutional investors with “safe parking spaces where they can easily access their money,” through banking procedures such as “short-term ‘commercial paper’ lending to corporations.” In many such cases, where investors seek funding for projects, they tend to get lost in the procedural difficulties and especially during times of crisis, large corporations such as the Fed and its associates simply refuse to offer any credit at all, pushing the market and its financially constricted competitors into further trouble.
Appelbaum then quotes John Cochrane, an economist at Stanford University with his words published in a blog post discussing Mr. McAndrews’ plans, on how the Fed should “encourage narrow banks and give others a gold star for using them rather than shadier short-term assets in the first place.” According to Mr. Cochrane, if the institution seeks to acts as a stabilizing force against financial crises and their adverse effects on the American economy, it should show initiative to place itself at a more centralized and authoritative position. According to his critics however, narrow banks such as TNC USA have the potential to destabilize the entire financial system by discouraging depositors from keeping their money in commercial banks to lead them to riskier options. As the Federal Reserve itself is also criticized and pressurized politically, regarding its disproportionate profits that the bank is making from interest payments totaling $25.8 billion in 2017, the financial markets are currently caught in a state of stranglehold. The Federal Reserve is not holding back however, continuing with its policies of increasing interest rates that it pays on deposits, while “reducing the volume of deposits by gradually draining money from the system.” Mr. McAndrews continues his criticism by stating that “the Fed is already in the business he is seeking to enter” as the organization not only takes money from unrelated financial companies, but it also “pays interest on deposits from foreign central banks and on deposits from financial utilities” such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In such a case scenario, according to Mr. McAndrews, the bank can decrease its interest rates paid on deposits from its accounts to completely block his business options. Either way, the ex-Fed employee and new banking entrepreneur simply accuses the bank and its policies for reducing competitiveness in the market and therefore damaging the already inconsistent business environment through legal games.