Category Archives: The Economy

State Insurance official’s move to shore up Obamacare…

With Congress unable to do much of anything and Trump talking about letting the whole healthcare program fall apart?

State insurance commissioners are using every tool at their disposal to keep insurers and other insurance program stakeholders  able to continue providing reasonable insurance to their citizens….

Insurance commissioners are working with providers, advocates and insurance companies to help keep the system running, but it’s an uphill climb.

Insurers are skittish and pleading for certainty from Washington. They want assurances that they will continue to receive cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments from the federal government, which total about $7 billion this year. Those payments reimburse insurers for providing discounted insurance to low-income ObamaCare enrollees.

They also want assurances that the administration will enforce the mandate requiring people to have insurance or pay a penalty.

States don’t have a lot of options, but some officials are actively trying to make sure the public is shielded as much as possible from the consequences if Trump follows through on his promise to let ObamaCare “implode.”

“In general there’s not a whole lot they can do, because states don’t have any more information about what the Trump administration is doing than insurance companies,” said Cynthia Cox of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Some states are letting plans file multiple sets of rates to account for the uncertainty. The strategy can work, Cox said, if all insurers are on the same page.

“The concern is that one company assumes the worst case scenario and adds 40 percentage points on for uncertainty, and another assumes the best case and prices significantly lower,” Cox said.

The administration has been sending mixed signals about whether it will take the dramatic step of ending payments to insurers. The CSRs have been paid on a monthly basis, but the administration has not promised that will continue….

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A failure of the Healthcare Law would saddle  states will HUGE holes in their budget’s…And tens of millions left out of healthcare coverage….

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Democrats and the Media are Trump’s ‘Enemy ‘ campaign type ad….

Donald Trump ‘s surprise success in campaigning  by attacking his opposition is being tested in running against Democrats and the Media now….

With his polling numbers on the decline and his inability to refrain from making ‘off the cuff gaffs’?

Would campaign ads help?

President Donald Trump’s campaign on Sunday released a 30-second TV spot attacking Democrats and the media as “enemies” who are “obstructing” Trump’s agenda.

“Democrats, obstructing. The media, attacking our President. Career politicians, standing in the way of success. But President Trump’s plan is working,” a narrator says in voiceover over a series of headshots.

The narrator cites employment and stock market data and touts “the strongest military in decades” as proof of Trump’s alleged success.

“The President’s enemies don’t want him to succeed,” the voiceover continues, over a collage of reporters’ faces. “But Americans are saying let President Trump do his job.”

The Trump campaign said the ad will air nationally and online but did not specify the size of the ad buy or how long it will run….

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I’m NOT gonna run the ad for free like Trump’s people got the media to do during the campaign, which saved Trump a boat load of money, eh?

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Donald Trump’s North Korea posturing is driving World Financial Markets down…

…from the NY Times…

A sell-off in global markets accelerated on Friday as tensions between the United States and North Korea escalated, driving investors toward havens.

Asian stock markets closed lower and European indexes opened sharply down, on fears that the verbal back-and-forth between Washington and Pyongyang had raised the risk of actual conflict.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 2 percent, and South Korea’s main share index also dropped. Stock markets in Britain, France and Germany were all lower by noon in London.

Investors moved their money into what they apparently deemed safer assets. The Japanese yen and Swiss franc were both stronger, and the price of gold rose for the third straight day. The yield on British and European bonds, which move inversely to the price, fell.

The jitters in the stock markets followed tougher talk from Washington and Pyongyang. President Trump said on Thursday that his warning about the United States potentially hitting North Korea with “fire and fury” may not have been tough enough, after North Korea responded by threatening to launch a missile strike at Guam, an American territory in the Pacific…..

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US Farmers aren’t happy with Trump’s foreign trade ‘go it alone’ thing….

US Farmers help feed the world….

With their President talking and possibly moving to ‘go it alone’ to get a better deal and higher prices?

They fear that other countries will step in and take their markets away leaving them standing …..

Donald Trump may be no better with this than he has with his casino businesses…

On a cloud-swept landscape dotted with grain elevators, a meat producer called Prestage Farms is building a 700,000-square-foot processing plant. The gleaming new factory is both the great hope of Wright County, which voted by a 2-1 margin for Donald Trump, and the victim of one of Trump’s first policy moves, his decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

For much of industrial America, the TPP was a suspect deal, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which some argue led to a massive offshoring of U.S. jobs to Mexico. But for the already struggling agricultural sector, the sprawling 12-nation TPP, covering 40 percent of the world’s economy, was a lifeline. It was a chance to erase punishing tariffs that restricted the United States — the onetime “breadbasket of the world” — from selling its meats, grains and dairy products to massive importers of foodstuffs such as Japan and Vietnam.

The decision to pull out of the trade deal has become a double hit on places like Eagle Grove. The promised bump of $10 billion in agricultural output over 15 years, based on estimates by the U.S. International Trade Commission, won’t materialize. But Trump’s decision to withdraw from the pact also cleared the way for rival exporters such as Australia, New Zealand and the European Union to negotiate even lower tariffs with importing nations, creating potentially greater competitive advantages over U.S. exports.

A POLITICO analysis found that the 11 other TPP countries are now involved in a whopping 27 separate trade negotiations with each other, other major trading powers in the region like China and massive blocs like the EU. Those efforts range from exploratory conversations to deals already signed and awaiting ratification. Seven of the most significant deals for U.S. farmers were either launched or concluded in the five months since the United States withdrew from the TPP.

“I’m scared to death,” said Ron Prestage, whose North Carolina-based family pork and poultry business made its huge investment in the plant near Eagle Grove in part to reap expected gains from the TPP. “I don’t guess I’ve gone beyond the point of no return on the new plant, but we did already start digging our wells and started moving dirt.”

He and other agricultural businesspeople and workers have reason for concern…..

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Trump Admin moves to review China’s trade practices….

I guess they don’t want China’s help with North Korea, eh?

This is probably Trump trying to leverage the Chinese into leaning on the North Korea’s….

A counter is that China HAS been aggressively trying to lock American companies out of their markets….China IS moving to step ahead of America’s leadership in world trade as Trump looks to try wring more money for American companies ….

Note….

China is America’s BIGGEST trade partner….We import almost FOUR time as much as  we export…..American’s like and buy a LOT of Chinese made products  at lower prices than they could be made in America….Trump has said he wants American manufactures to increase their market…But since Trump has gotten into office?…More American companies are moving their manufacturing operations OUT of America….

Chinese interests also have over a Trillion dollar is loans TO American interests ….That is slightly more than 25% of America’s total indebtedness….

The Trump Admin needs to be VERY careful in it’s dealings with China….

The move, which could come in the next several days, signals a shift by the administration away from its emphasis on greater cooperation between Washington and Beijing, in part because administration officials have become frustrated by China’s reluctance to confront North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The investigation will focus on alleged Chinese violations of American intellectual property, according to three people with a detailed knowledge of the administration’s plans. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were not yet public.

Any move by the Trump administration to punish China over its trade practices would raise tensions within the world’s largest trade relationship between two countries. China’s export sector still contributes heavily to its economy growth despite Beijing’s efforts to diversify its economy, and China represents a lucrative market for American automakers, technology companies like Apple, farmers and many others….

Still, China’s industrial ambitions — and growing frustration among American companies doing business there — have become harder for United States officials to ignore.

China’s policy to become a leading manufacturer by 2025 in the fields of driverless cars, medical devices, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, robotics and many other technologies has caught the attention of officials in President Trump’s administration. The policy, known as Made in China 2025, sets goals for China to be a global leader in 10 fields of industry with the help of huge infusions of state money and the protection of those industries from American competitors.

At the same time, the Chinese government has demanded that American companies cut the licensing fees that they charge for key patents and has insisted that companies set up joint ventures to do business in China.

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The Market hits record heights….The Dollar falls….

…from the NY Times….

Six months into the Trump presidency, two symbols of American financial might — the Dow and the dollar — have taken divergent paths, highlighting the complexities that investors face as the global economy hums, while Washington is enmeshed in political turmoil.

The Dow Jones industrial average on Wednesday morning passed the 22,000 milestone for the first time, an 11 percent surge for the year that is being driven of late by increasingly bullish retail investors piling into stocks. Strong corporate earnings reports, bolstered by the news on Tuesday of Apple’s higher-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, propelled the markets higher.

Over this same period, the United States dollar has lost about 10 percent of its value against a basket of six major currencies.

The near-mirror image fall in the dollar has been especially pronounced in recent weeks, stemming in part from concerns that President Trump’s political problems will hamper his ability to pass a major tax reduction or an infrastructure bill….

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House Freedom Caucus leader will work with Democrats on Budget…

With Healthcare moving to rear…..House members MUST come together to prevent a Government shutdown with no budget to fund paying the governments bills…

So it is NO surprise that the bull shit will have to stop and lawmakers of BOTH parties will have to sit down and  get back doing their jobs…..

Even if the House passes all its appropriations bills, it will have trouble working out differences with the Senate, which is working off a completely different set of spending figures.
Increasingly, Republicans are coming around to the view that they will have to stomach a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which maintains current funding levels, to avert a government shutdown when funding runs out at the end of September.
While a CR can postpone a shutdown, a looming deadline on the debt ceiling will give Congress less flexibility. Absent legislative action, the U.S. Treasury will run out of ways to pay its bills around mid-October. Conservatives, who hoped to attach a debt-lift to some sort of spending reforms or policy riders, are coming around to the view that they may be unsuccessful.
“We’re almost anticipating a bigger bill with a whole bunch of things put together that would maybe bring a whole lot of Democrats on board and pass with less than a majority of the majority,” Meadows said, noting ruefully that his Caucus had pushed for dealing with the issue before the August recess.
House members are fond of blaming the Senate for Congress’s inability to pass major legislation, but many in the House are also beginning to long for a return to normal order, where budgets precede spending bills and parties cooperate somewhat more frequently.
“The best way to make this place work is to always get back to regular order, passing a budget, passing appropriations bills,” said Renacci.
Even Meadows, whose group often creates stumbling blocks for easy passage of legislation, acknowledged this week that past tactics have failed to produce the desired results, and called for a new direction…..
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Sen. Bernie Sanders to intro a Single Payer Medical Insurance Bill…

He and other Democrats have been working on this for a while…

It has NO chance of passage in the GOP majority Senate and House…

But pieces of his bill could find its way into future legislation…

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that he will “absolutely” introduce legislation on single-payer healthcare now that the Senate GOP’s bill to repeal ObamaCare has failed.

“Of course we are, we’re tweaking the final points of the bill and we’re figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together,” Sanders told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.

Sanders promised to introduce a “Medicare for All” proposal once the debate over repealing ObamaCare ended. He is one of several progressive lawmakers that backs the healthcare model that has divided Democratic lawmakers.

It’s unclear exactly when he will introduce the legislation. The Senate has two weeks remaining in sessions….

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Ryan….We’ll try Tax Reform Next….

A try to Repeal the Healthcare Law appear’s gone for now….

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday signaled a pivot to tax reform, one day after the Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare collapsed in the Senate.

Ryan urged Republicans not to give up on repealing and replacing the healthcare law, but his statement — coupled with comments from President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — suggest a shift for the GOP.

“I am disappointed and frustrated, but we should not give up. I encourage the Senate to continue working toward a real solution that keeps our promise,” Ryan said in a statement….

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Bannon wants to RAISE Taxes for the Rich…Red State…

Republican Conservatives are about to get whipsawed AGAIN….

Well, it’s certainly not going to affect me, but it’s still not a very conservative stance to punish success.

At some point, Republicans are going to get tired of unelected people setting policy in this White House, won’t they?

A new report from The Intercept says White House chief Svengali strategist Steve Bannon is behind the drive to saddle the “very wealthy” with a 44 percent to marginal tax rate.

Currently, that tax rate sits at 39.6, and the plan has been to lower it, as part of a tax reform bill.

Axios previously reported that Bannon was looking to raise the top marginal rate to “something with a four in front of it,” but the 44 percent bracket for those making $5 million and above is a more fleshed out proposal. Bannon has described himself as an “economic nationalist” and has pushed a populist agenda both through his previous outlet Breitbart News and and as an adviser to Trump. That contrasts with what Bannon calls the “globalist” wing of the party, made up by people like economic adviser Gary Cohn (though both Cohn and Bannon come from Goldman Sachs).

When the broad outline of the tax hike was reported earlier, Breitbart covered it favorably. The hike on the very rich would face stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, but find favor with Democrats….

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House Speaker Ryan is moving ahead to Tax Reform…

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Trump under attack…Goes back to campaign mode…Open Thread for July 26, 2017…

Donald Trump is in a hot mess all around…

Healthcare…

Bans…

Transgender Military moves…

Russian probes…

An  Atty. General that won’t cover his back or quit…

And pile of more stuff ….

So what does the guy do?

He goes on the road for Campaign style rallies to inject some energy…

And make more promises he can’t keep…

Ok…

But after ya leave the room?

The mess is STILL there….

President Donald Trump returned to this longtime Democratic stronghold on Tuesday night, sounding almost unchanged from the candidate who campaigned here last year, as he confidently doubled down on promises he has yet to keep.

In the Covelli Centre filled with still-believing fans, Trump promised a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, which so far is stalled in a long pipeline of legislation that must come before it. He vowed he was still going to build that wall, which currently has no source of funding. He said manufacturing jobs would come roaring back to Mahoning County, advising the Ohio crowd, “Don’t sell your house. We’re going to get those values up.” Ohio’s unemployment rate increased to 5 percent in June, from 4.9 percent the previous month.

And even as he is actively splitting his own party and his own movement by publicly denigrating his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, Trump made a rousing call that “America must be united.”….

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GOP House looking to cut Federal employee benefits and job protections…

Not something to votes from Federal employees for Republicans, eh?

House Republicans greeted current and future federal employees with two controversial body blows in recent days — one amounts to a pay cut and the other would allow new feds to be fired for “no cause at all.”

The House Budget Committee approved a spending plan that would save the government $163.5 billion over 10 years by taking that amount from federal employees. They would pay that in the form of “greater contributions to their own defined benefit retirement plans,” according to the panel’s budget document.

Republicans call their plan “Building a Better America.”  But the Americans now working to build a better country through their federal jobs would be called on to sacrifice again, as they have repeatedly over the years.

“Since 2010, these employees have already lost $182 billion in pay and benefits,” Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a letter to the committee. Those losses occurred through measures including a partial three-year pay freeze and previous retirement hits under the Obama administration.

Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) offered legislation on Monday to repeal the previous retirement cuts. Don’t expect his bill to pass, not with this Congress…..

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Donald Trump 6 month Report Card….

Image result for trump

Donald J. Trump has been office for 6 months 

Below is a summary of his actions 

…twitter…..

Today, hits the 6-month mark of his presidency. Some milestone markers:

image…cnn.com
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‘Repeal Only’ Senate Bill would take 32 Million off Insurance….CBO

Numbers like this mean that the Real Only option just ain’t gonna go anywhere …..

A revived bill that would dismantle large parts of Obamacare without an immediate replacement would leave 32 million more people uninsured and double premiums over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report Wednesday.

The legislation — an update of the repeal measure nearly all GOP senators voted for in 2015 — is on track to reach the Senate floor early next week, where it likely would fail.

Republican leaders pledged to put the bill to a vote after their initial effort to repeal and replace Obamacare fell apart in stunning fashion, though a number of holdout lawmakers are meeting later tonight to try to salvage the effort.

If that fails, CBO’s analysis offers a stark look at the GOP’s remaining option for following through on their seven-year vow to repeal Obamacare.

The nonpartisan scorekeeper’s report projects that 17 million people would lose insurance in the first year after a partial repeal that includes ending Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and repealing most of the taxes tied to the law. Premiums would jump 25 percent over that same period as insurers grapple with the effective elimination of Obamacare’s requirement that everyone purchase coverage….

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Two more Republican Senators come out against the Healthcare Bill…

If GOP Senator’s Moran (R-Kan) and Lee (R-Utah) stick to their call, joining Senator’s Collins (R-Maine) and Paul (R-Ky) ?….

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is probably not gonna even ask for a vote to HAVE a vote.?

The result would be a GRAND Failure of Republicans to do something they have rode on for EIGHT years…

The Democrats are NOT part of this….

Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas declared Monday night they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, for now killing a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

The announcement by the senators, both Republicans, leaves their leaders two votes short of the necessary tally to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Two other Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, had already said they would not support a procedural step to begin debate.

“There are serious problems with Obamacare, and my goal remains what it has been for a long time: to repeal and replace it,” Mr. Moran said in a statement. “This closed-door process unfortunately has yielded the” Senate repeal bill, which he asserted, “failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address health care’s rising costs.”

In his own statement, Mr. Lee said of the bill, “In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

By jumping together, Mr. Moran and Mr. Lee ensured no one would be the definitive “no” vote.

With four solid votes against the bill, Republican leaders were faced with two options: Try to go back and rewrite the bill in a way that could secure 50 Republican votes, a seeming impossibility at this point, or do as Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, promised and team with Democrats to draft a narrower, bipartisan measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge….

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Trump’s ‘Made in America’ while his family relies on oversea’s manufacturing….

The Washington Post takes a look at Trump Inc. usage of oversea’s companies labor while trying to sell America’s on his campaign push to buy American…

“This week the Trump administration will honor the amazing American workers and companies who have products that are made in America,” Helen Aguirre Ferré, the White House’s director of media affairs, told reporters at a briefing here Sunday. She said the United States sets “the world standard for quality and craftsmanship.”

For Trump, highlighting U.S.-made products is inconsistent with his practices as a businessman. For years, the Trump Organization has outsourced much of its product manufacturing, relying on a global network of factories in a dozen countries — including Bangladesh, China and Mexico — to make its clothing, home decor pieces and other items.

Similarly, the clothing line of Ivanka Trump, the president’s older daughter and a senior White House adviser, relies exclusively on foreign factories employing low-wage workers in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, according to a recent Washington Post investigation…..

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