The daily business briefing: April 25, 2017

Trump slaps lumber tariff on Canada, Google co-founder unveils "flying car" prototype, and more

Larry Page at the Google offices
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

1. Trump hits Canada with lumber tariff up to 24 percent

President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Monday that the U.S. is imposing punitive tariffs up to 24 percent on softwood lumber imported from Canada. Canada sold the U.S. $5.8 billion worth of the lumber in 2016, mostly for home construction, but the U.S. claims in a longstanding dispute that Canada subsidizes lumber companies by giving them low royalty rates for cutting trees on state land. Ross said the Commerce Department has determined that the tariffs of 3 percent to 24 percent are necessary to counteract the subsidies. Canada called the accusation "baseless and unfounded" and said it will take legal action against the "unfair and punitive duty."

The New York Times

2. Trump plans proposal to slash corporate tax rate

President Trump plans to propose a sharp cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, White House officials said Monday. The proposal is expected to be unveiled Wednesday as part of an outline for a tax code overhaul being unveiled just before the end of Trump's first 100 days in office. Experts say such a cut would be likely to increase the national debt, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the tax cuts, which Trump has promised will be the biggest in U.S. history, would not hurt the federal government's bottom line. "The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth," Mnuchin said Monday.

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The Washington Post

3. O'Reilly says he is 'sad' he's no longer on TV

In his first podcast since being fired from Fox News last week, Bill O'Reilly said Monday that he was "sad that I'm not on television anymore," and was "very surprised" with how his departure from the cable news channel played out. On Monday night's No Spin News, O'Reilly told listeners he "can't say a lot, because there's much stuff going on right now. But I can tell you that I'm very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don't know if you're going to be surprised — but I think you're going to be shaken, as I am. There's a lot of stuff involved here." He was ousted from Fox News last Wednesday, a few weeks after The New York Times reported O'Reilly and the network paid $13 million to settle with five women who accused the host of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

USA Today

4. Hollywood script writers authorize strike if contract talks fail

Hollywood script writers have voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike, leaders of the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Writers Guild of America, West, said Monday. The unions represent 12,000 writers. Their agreement to walk out if their representatives can't reach a deal on a contract with production companies increased the likelihood of the first movie and TV series production shutdown in a decade. The current three-year contract between the unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires on May 1. A walkout could idle tens of thousands of people, including writers as well as all kinds of workers on TV and film sets.

The New York Times

5. Google co-founder's startup unveils 'flying car' prototype

Google co-founder Larry Page's aviation startup, Kitty Hawk, unveiled the prototype of its long-rumored "flying car" project, an "ultralight" multi-rotor aircraft that can lift off and land vertically. In a demonstration video posted online Monday, the Kitty Hawk Flyer takes off over a lake with a rider perched on top, looking more like a motorcycle or personal watercraft rider than a pilot. Kitty Hawk says it has Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly the aircraft, which won't require a pilot's license, in "uncongested areas." "We've all had dreams of flying effortlessly," Page said. "I'm excited that one day very soon I'll be able to climb onto my Kitty Hawk Flyer for a quick and easy personal flight."

CNN The New York Times

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.