Category Archives: The Economy

No…Barack Obama was NOT the President during Hurricane Katrina….

I just wanted to post this after I saw something on twitter where some knucklehead was trying to blame President Obama for the slow response to the tragedy  and comparing that to Trump’s handling  Harvey….

President George W. Bush WAS in office during the storm and for more than THREE YEARS afterwards….

Apparently, there are quite a few people on social media platforms who are – unironically – comparing the way Trump handled Harvey to the way Obama handled Katrina. I guess that makes some people believe that I was being serious, too.  I’ve explained to people who questioned me that I was joking, but one person fired back, “You shouldn’t have joked – now the loonies picked it up & ran with it.”

Really? I’m the reason that they’re running with that.

We reported here at NOLA.com in 2013 the results of a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.  When a pool of Republican primary voters in Louisiana was asked, “Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?,” 29 percent answered Obama.

That was four years before I made a joke mocking such jaw-dropping ignorance….

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Trump’s corporate tax plan will add trillions to US debt….

Don’t Conservative Republicans believe in ‘balanced budget’s’?

Forget THAT….

In REALITY?

Most large American companies that Trump and Republican Speaker Ryan are trying to help tax wise?

DON NOT EVEN PAY TAXES NOW….

Giving them more breaks would cost the Government TRILLIONS of dollars in additional debt from what it has now….

Donald Trump’s plans to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% will result in a revenue loss of $3tn to $7tn for the federal government over a decade and are unlikely to create the promised boom in jobs, according to a new report from the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Trump and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, have been pushing hard for the plan. The president travels to Missouri on Wednesday to promote the plan and Ryan has taken to the road to venues including Boeing’s headquarters, where Ryan pledged to make the cuts by the end of the year.

But the Washington thinktank found that the cuts were unnecessary as well as exorbitantly costly. The study looked at 92 publicly-traded corporations that reported consistent profitability between 2008 and 2015, and found that they already benefitted from low effective tax rates, paying less than 20% of that net income to the federal government in tax.

Ryan and Trump have argued that a lower tax burden will help create more jobs, but the study argues that these companies are already paying the lower level of taxes and have not created more jobs. In fact, while the total rate of job creation among the US private sector as a whole was 6%, these 92 companies saw a 1% decline in employment. They are creating jobs at a slower rate than the economy, in spite of having precisely this “Goldilocks” tax rate.

The report follows on from another by the Institute on Tax and Economic Policy, which studied 258 consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies and found that their effective tax rate was 21.2%. In at least one year, 100 paid paid no tax at all. From 2008 until 2015, 30 companies paid an effective rate of 6.9%, and eight paid almost nothing. Those in specific industries (retailing) fared significantly worse than others (utilities), while some companies (McDonald’s) paid vastly more than their rivals. It’s fair to say that the corporate tax code is a mess….

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Texas Harvey storm will come back on land soon…Recovery will be long and slow…

…from the NY Times….

As one of the most destructive storms in the nation’s history pummeled southeast Texas for a fourth day, forecasts on Tuesday morning called for still more rain, making clear that catastrophic flooding that had turned neighborhoods into lakes was just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome.

Local, state and federal officials conceded that the scale of the crisis was so vast that they were nowhere near being able to measure it, much less fully address it.

Across a region that is home to millions of people and includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, no one has a clear idea how many people are missing, how many evacuated, how many hunkered down or were trapped in their waterlogged homes, or how many inundated houses and vehicles are beyond saving.

President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, initially considered touring San Antonio, which is outside the most hard-hit areas. But he settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

“It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said of the response effort during a meeting with officials from local, state and federal agencies in a Corpus Christi firehouse. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”

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An off ramp of Beltway 8 in Houston became a boat launch for rescuers searching for people stranded in floodwaters. CreditTamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Local officials reported 10 deaths possibly related to the storm, six of them in Harris County, which includes Houston. But the painstaking and heartbreaking work of clearing streets, going door to door, assessing damage — and finding victims — has not yet begun.

Scenes of people and pets being rescued from the roofs and upper floors of houses revived memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when early estimates vastly understated both the material devastation and the death toll, and recovery efforts lasted years.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said on Monday that he expected more than 450,000 people to apply for federal assistance.

“We’re going to be here for several years helping you guys recover,” he said. “The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery housing missions the nation has ever seen.”

For the time being, efforts are focused on the most basic elements of keeping people alive — plucking stranded survivors from the flood, providing shelter, food and water, and restoring electricity to hundreds of thousands of people who were left without power…

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President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, initially considered touring San Antonio, which is outside the most hard-hit areas. But he settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

“It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said of the response effort during a meeting with officials from local, state and federal agencies in a Corpus Christi firehouse. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”….

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Hurricane Harvey will leave behind a bill in the Billions….

Think storms  Katrina and Sandy…..

Image result for hurricane harvey

The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey will cost tens of billions of dollars and take years to overcome, experts said.

Harvey descended on the southeastern Texas coastline, overwhelming Houston, a metropolis of 4.5 million people, and leaving an unprecedented swath of devastation. Ten people were reported dead with the death toll expected to rise.

The damage comes at a time when the area’s economy, driven by the shipping, chemical and oil sectors, is booming.

With a gross state product of $1.7 trillion annually, Texas has the second largest economy in United States. If it were its own country, it would place 10th – ahead of South Korea and Canada.

Houston and the Gulf Coast region of Texas accounted for 2.9% of the entire U.S. gross domestic product in 2015.

The Gulf Coast has the third most valuable insured coastal property vulnerable to hurricanes in the country behind New York and Florida.

“If you’re talking about lost wages, property damage and rebuilding costs, it’s going to be really bad,” said Michael Carroll, an economist with the University of North Texas….

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image…money.cnn.com

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Our best wishes for the people of Texas…Open Thread for 8/27/17

As the rain continues and the flooding gets worst?

We hope the best for their safety down there…

We hope that the politicians can come together and proved those assets needle for search and rescue and support service for those made homeless and stuck on roof tops of houses and cars….

Amen…

…twitter….

“This is the worst because it’s not stopping”: the extraordinary Houston floods

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A Government Shutdown Is A Bad Idea…

Erick Erickson’s blog features a Conservative arguing against his parties adopted leaders call for a  ‘Wall’ money or a Government shutdown…
By   @ Resurgent

 

There are some issues that conservatives of good conscience can disagree on and remain well within core conservative principles. One of these is the issue of shutting down the government. As President Trump and congressional Republicans consider shutting down the government over funding for the “big, beautiful wall,” they should avoid falling into what is Democrat trap.

The core problem for Republicans is a lack of votes. Although Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress, the margins are slim and they lack the 60 votes required to end a Democrat filibuster. As a legislative strategy, a government shutdown does nothing to resolve this problem.

The only way for Republicans to pass a bill funding the wall – or anything else for that matter – is to make Democrats and moderate Republicans change their votes. The way to do that is to sweeten the pot. To give Democrats something they want in exchange for something that Republicans want.

A shutdown would do the opposite. It would be a combative policy that would further alienate Democrats and give them no incentive at all to vote for the Republican bill. In fact, a government shutdown would play directly into the hands of Democrats who want nothing more than for the Trump Administration to fail….

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Trump Labor Department Moves to Undo Obama Overtime Rule

By  @ Insurance Journal/Reuters…..| July 27, 2017

The Trump administration on Tuesday pushed forward with its bid to undo an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to 4.2 million workers and said it was considering treating workers differently based on location and industry.

The rule, which was supposed to take effect in December 2016 but was blocked by a federal judge, is a top target for business groups that say it would force employers to convert many salaried employees into hourly worker.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday called for public comments on the rule, which is the first step in revoking or revising it.

The rule would have doubled to $47,000 the maximum salary a worker can earn and still be eligible for mandatory overtime pay under federal wage law. A group of 21 states and business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenged the rule in a lawsuit filed last year.

The Labor Department appealed the judge’s decision temporarily blocking the rule to a New Orleans-based U.S. appeals court weeks before President Donald Trump took office in January.

Earlier this month, the department defended its power to base overtime eligibility on workers’ salaries in a brief submitted to the court. But the agency made clear that it did not agree with the threshold set by the Obama administration.

On Tuesday, the department said in light of the pending appeal, it decided to issue a request for comments rather than skip immediately to rescinding or revising the rule….

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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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