President Trump on Dec. 13. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

91 Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income taxes on their U.S. income last year, according to a report released Monday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Why it matters: Some of the companies that paid no federal income tax last year still made billions of dollars — and they include some of the country's biggest names, like Amazon, Chevron, Halliburton and IBM.

The big picture: The 379 profitable members of the Fortune 500 paid an effective federal tax rate of 11.3% last year — almost half of the 21% corporate rate established under President Trump's 2017 tax revamp.

  • That effective rate was the lowest since the organization began publishing its corporate tax studies in 1984.
  • Large companies were able to pay lower rates through a combination of deductions, tax breaks and other loopholes.
  • Had those companies paid the statutory 21% rate on their profits, they would have collectively owed the federal government an additional $73.9 billion.

The state of play: Despite strong economic growth, the federal deficit is soaring. In the first 11 months of fiscal year 2019, it exceeded $1 trillion and has already hit $342 billion for the first two months of 2020's fiscal year.

  • The lower corporate tax rate isn't the sole driver of the deficit, but it certainly contributes. Corporate tax revenue dropped from about $297 billion in 2017 to $204 billion in 2018.

Go deeper: Tax cuts could be a curse for U.S. companies

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Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.