Category Archives: The Economy

Illinois hasn’t had a balanced budget for Years….

I mean it’s coming up on THREE Years….

After two years without a budget, many people who depend on state services — public university students, drug addicts, troubled teenagers, the elderly — have already felt the repercussions.

But perhaps the most peculiar part of this endless budget standoff has been the opposite: Life has gone on uninterrupted for many residents. Because of court orders and other stopgap measures, state workers were paid. Schools opened. Prisons functioned. Roads were built. After a while, some people seemed to grow inured to the risks and consequences of a budget deadlock.

“This impasse has been very cleverly designed to minimize the immediate obvious impact on middle-class families that don’t have a need for state-funded social services,” said Andrea Durbin, the chief executive of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, an association for providers of youth and family services.

“The people who get impacted are the people who are sick, who need the support from the state to be safe and healthy and get back on their feet and become self-sufficient, or to live their final days in dignity,” Ms. Durbin said.

If a deal is not reached, officials and advocates here say, the crisis will soon be felt by all. Susana A. Mendoza, the state comptroller, says the unpaid bills top $15 billion and has warned leaders that she foresees “unmanageable financial strains” starting in July.

“Everything’s in danger right now,”….

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Republicans Voters seem to getting used to Trump?

Another piece on what Democrat Chuck Schumer and others have come to realize…

That attacking JUST Donald Trump for being who he is isn’t gonna get Democrats wins in the House races they need to retake the House…

Democrats need quickly move themselves to where they can capture votes  in the districts that left them ….Not bolster up they ones they already have….

What if Republican voters who don’t particularly like President Donald Trump are also able to compartmentalize their votes? What if they dislike Democrats more than they do the president? What if, rather than being punished for Trump’s unpopularity, local candidates are rewarded for their moderation? This would be a disaster for Democrats. And Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia’s Sixth District shows that it might be possible.

Now, had Jon Ossoff come out ahead of Karen Handel, the coverage would have painted this as a game-changing moment: a referendum on conservatism itself, a harbinger of a coming liberal wave, and a rejection of Trump’s disastrous presidency. It would have illustrated that Democrats had figured out how to flip those suburban and affluent Republicans who aren’t crazy about the president.

Perhaps some of that will still play out during the midterms, because one race (or even four) doesn’t tell us everything we need to know. Every district is unique. Still, there are definitely ominous signs for Democrats….

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Senate Bill would cut Medicaid by 35%….CBO

What would all the Republican Governors that want to expand their coverage do?

What would happen to ALL those people who lost their healthcare coverage?

The federal government would spend 35 percent less on Medicaid in two decades if the Senate Obamacare repeal bill becomes law, according to a CBO analysis requested by Democrats critical of the legislation.

The drop-off stems from stricter limits Republicans want to enact beginning in 2025 to control the entitlement’s growth. Under the Senate bill, federal Medicaid outlays would be 26 percent less in 2026 compared to current law. The gap widens to 35 percent in 2036.

The CBO earlier this week estimated the draft Republican repeal bill would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $772 billion between 2017 and 2026. But some Senate Democrats asked for a separate analysis, contending the 10-year estimate doesn’t fully capture the effects of the legislation, because stricter spending limits would take effect toward the end of that window. The latest projection doesn’t contain dollar figures for future cuts. The CBO hedged its estimates, saying there’s considerable uncertainty predicting spending beyond the coming decade.

“This analysis makes clear that the massive cuts to Medicaid are only going to get worse,”….

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Some Senate Democrats favor helping GOPer’s…Some don’t…

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Schumer is willing to help and get input into the Senate replacement Healthcare Bill…

The Sanders supporters want  Do NOT….They favor just being against the whole thing…

Democrats do NOT have input right now and their votes are NOT actually needed for Majority Leader to get passage…

But McConnell could end up turning the Schumer for help….

The divisions and infighting plaguing the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are contagious — the Democrats face a rift of their own on health care.

Once-unified Democrats are splintering into competing factions over how to best move forward, with progressive lawmakers and activists aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., telling NBC News Wednesday they see the problems in the GOP as an opportunity to double down on their preferred health care reforms, like single-payer health insurance. They have shown little to no interest in negotiating with Republicans.

On the other hand, several Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have said they have in mind a variety of modest changes to Obamacare that they’d love to sit down and discuss with Republicans. Schumer even invited President Donald Trump to a bipartisan meeting with all senators.

That difference in how to approach improving the health care system has created a stark split in messaging within the Democratic party — a divide the White House has rushed to exploit….

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Are the tax cuts for the rich in the Senate Healthcare Bill in jeopardy?

Some in the Media and on the Democratic side have called the Senate Healthcare Bill proposal a tax cut bill in disguise….

We now have whispers of some GOP Senator’s thinking about dropping the cuts…

Several Senate Republicans began to question Wednesday whether their health-care bill should repeal a tax on high-income Americans imposed by Obamacare when the legislation would scale back subsidies for the poor.

Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Rounds of South Dakota both criticized the draft bill released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for repealing a surtax on net investment income imposed under Obamacare.

Susan Collins

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I do not see a justification for doing away with the 3.8 percent tax on investment income, because that is not something that increases the cost of health care,” Collins said. “So I distinguish between those tax increases that were part of Obamacare that increase premiums and the cost of health care versus those that do not.”

A third Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, expressed discomfort with the idea of cutting taxes on the rich while transferring burdens on the poor.

Scaling back the tax cuts could provide a path to winning over key moderate senators who have recoiled at the soaring premiums and deductibles for millions of low-income people as scored by the CBO, and the estimated 22 million fewer people who would have insurance in a decade. Meanwhile, conservatives have pushed to wipe out all of the taxes, though senators like Ted Cruz have not insisted every tax cut remain as part of an overall deal. Conservatives have been focused more on cutting regulations to lower premiums…..

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Graphic comparison of House/Senate Healthcare Bill’s…

Helpful comparison chart

Montel Williams/USA Today, self-styled Reagan conservative:

For seven years, House Speaker Paul Ryan and congressional Republicans told us they had “a better way.” Many voters took them at their word. We’re finding now, however, that Republicans had no replacement plan, instead cobbling one together last minute. Most likely, congressional Republicans believed they’d never have to actually repeal Obamacare. I’m betting many of them are praying that enough colleagues oppose the bill so that it simply dies, allowing them to blame Democratic obstruction.

At the end of the day, I don’t want another tax cut at the expense of another father not being able to get his daughter the lifesaving care I was able to provide my daughter. No father should have to choose between back-breaking debt and his child’s life. That is the inevitable result of the Senate proposal.

Republicans need to own the fact they’ve created a monster by lying to the base for the last seven years. They need to come clean. The truth is that they don’t really think this is a good bill. They are afraid of their own voters, to whom they gave a bad idea as a battle cry…..

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Trump’s Russian Connection isn’t an issue to most Americans…

While the media spends headlines about Trump & Co’s entanglements with the Russians?

Most Americans could care less….

Actually?

Trump could probably sit down in a bar with Putin and most Americans could STILL care less…

Democratic leaders have figured out in the loss of the last 5 special House elections that attacking Trump HIMSELF does virtually nothing…

Americans Democrats and Republicans KNOW their President doesn’t stick to the facts, they know he gets few things actually done…

But Trump political strength seems to be the he rants against the status quo that most of us feel in dealing with our everyday lives in a country of 300 million plus, that has a LOT of ways to get in our paychecks….

Democrats tend to talk about the ideology of helping those who need government help….Trump has money and continues to make money off BEING President….

Middle Class people and Rich ones LIKE that…

Remember all those stories we did here and out in the media about how the demographics of America was changing?

Well, they ARE….

Trump and Republican efforts to close the door on the changes won’t stop them…

And voters of the above classes won’t change things either….

 

Democrats will have to do things the ‘old fashion way’ as the commercial used to say…

‘They will have to EARN IT’…

That means reaching for the hearts and minds of the Middle Class voters that left Hillary Clinton last year, and had started leaving Barack Obama 8 years ago…

And THAT means the economy and yea….’feel your pain’ stuff for people who actually vote…Not just have the time to protest…

“We can’t just talk about Russia because people back in Ohio aren’t really talking that much about Russia, about Putin, about Michael Flynn,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told MSNBC Thursday. “They’re trying to figure out how they’re going to make the mortgage payment, how they’re going to pay for their kids to go to college, what their energy bill looks like.

“And if we don’t talk more about their interest than we do about how we’re so angry with Donald Trump and everything that’s going on,” he added, “then we’re never going to be able to win elections.”

Ryan is among the small group of Democrats who are sounding calls for a changing of the guard atop the party’s leadership hierarchy following Tuesday’s special election defeat in Georgia — the Democrats’ fourth loss since Trump took office. But Ryan is hardly alone in urging party leaders to hone their 2018 message.

Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) has been paying particularly close attention to voters’ concerns because he’s running for governor in 2018. The Russia-Trump investigation, he said, isn’t on their radar.

“I did a 22-county tour. … Nobody’s focusing on that,” Walz said. “That’s not to say that they don’t think Russia and those things are important, [but] it’s certainly not top on their minds.”

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) delivered a similar message, saying his constituents are most concerned with two things: dysfunction in Washington and the Republicans’ plans to repeal ObamaCare. The controversies surrounding Trump, he said, don’t tally.

“We should be focused relentlessly on economic improvement [and] we should stay away from just piling on the criticism of Trump, whether it’s about Russia, whether it’s about Comey. Because that has its own independent dynamic, it’s going to happen on its own without us piling on,“ Welch said. …

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That also means that the party does NOT go running to the left on everything….

In the end?

Donald Trump is either gonna tweet himself out of a job?

Or….

Robert Mueller will pull the legs out from under him so that his party members in Congress abandon him…

But the Russian brake is coming from his OWN party members and Mueller with help from the Intelligence Community that he dissed without realizing that THEY where watching ALL the things he and buddies had be hiding from the public….

Payback, eh?

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Media reports of Republican Senator’s trouble with Healthcare Bill doesn’t mean the bill will not pass….

As with the House Bill?

In the end?

Most GOP Senator’s will bite the bullet and vote FOR passage even if it screws MILLIONS ….

This while Democrats stand by on the sidelines….

Within a few hours of the release of the Senate legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and overhaul Medicaid, four conservatives came out against the bill, putting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) two votes short of what he will need to pass it.

But this is not, by any means, the death knell for the bill, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and it might not be even a major obstacle.

A key phrase in the statement from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ron Johnson (R-WI)  criticizing bill is that they are not ready to vote for it but “are open to negotiation.”  And there’s plenty of reason to believe McConnell left himself some wiggle room, even in the expedited timeline he has set to vote on the bill next week, to win their votes.

Anyone who watched the House dynamics around the passage of their version of a Obamacare repeal bill will remember this old song and dance well. A tantrum by the conservatives there led to the bill being pulled farther to the right. When some House GOP moderates then revolted, some money was thrown at their problems with the bill —namely its rollback of Obamacare protections for pre-existing conditions—and House GOP leadership got enough moderate Republicans back on board to assure its narrow passage.

If anything, McConnell has set up a scenario that is a cleaner and quicker version of this kabuki theatre.

Conservatives aren’t saying yet what exactly they want changed about the bill in exchange from their support, other than that the current bill fails “to repeal Obamacare and lower … healthcare costs.”…..

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Trump jobs promises go up in smoke….Layoffs increase…

During his first victory laps after he moved into America’s White House Donald Trump went around showcasing how he had muscled corporations into saving American jobs…..

That was typical Trump…..

Style and NO SUBSTANCE…..

Companies are continuing to lay people off….

“As your president, I’m going to do everything I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and to put our great people back to work,” Trump said at the time. “It has to be much easier for manufacturers in our country, and much harder [for them] to leave.”

Boeing is the second business that Trump has visited to later announce lay offs.

The Carrier plant in Indianapolis, which Trump convinced to stay open late last year, will lay off more than 600 employees beginning next month….

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Canada’s Trump Strategy: Go Around Him…

Dealing with Trump….

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s strategy for managing Mr. Trump is unlike anything tried by another ally. And he has largely succeeded where even experienced leaders like Angela Merkel of Germany have fallen short.

More than perhaps any other country, Canada relies on the United States, which accounts for 70 percent of its trade. Its sizable manufacturing industry is tightly integrated with American production, meaning even a slight hardening of the border or prolonged trade negotiations could put its economy at risk.

Laid in the first days after Mr. Trump’s election win, the plan even enlists Brian Mulroney, a former Conservative prime minister and political nemesis of Mr. Trudeau’s father, who had also been prime minister. Mr. Mulroney knows Mr. Trump and his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, from social circuits in southern Florida, where all three keep vacation homes.

Mr. Mulroney’s former chief of staff and ambassador to Washington, Derek Burney, said they urged Mr. Trudeau’s government to “cultivate access, but not just within the White House. To work the American system as never before.”

By organizing a grass-roots network of American officials, lawmakers and businesses, Canada is hoping to contain Mr. Trump’s protectionistand nationalist impulses. Though emphasizing the benefits of harmony, the Canadians are not above flexing muscle, with a provincial government at one point quietly threatening trade restrictions against New York State.

“We don’t have the luxury that the Germans have of an ocean between us,” Mr. Burney said. “And we don’t have a Plan B.”….

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House Budget plan cuts Social Programs while increasing Defense Spending…

In typical Republicans fashion…..

The reward Defense contractors at the expense of those need the money to live…..

The House Budget Committee is planning to unveil a long-awaited budget resolution next week calling for a spending boost to the Pentagon alongside cuts to domestic programs, despite lingering disputes within the GOP conference.

House budget writers reached a tentative agreement this afternoon to move ahead with a resolution that would set spending levels at $511 billion for domestic programs and $621 billion for defense, two lawmakers confirmed. Compared to current law, that would amount to a $72 billion boost for defense and a $4 billion cut for domestic spending.

The budget resolution would also instruct GOP committees to cut $150 billion from mandatory programs over a decade. Those cuts, while not specified in the budget, would be intended to target anti-poverty programs, like food stamps and disability insurance, according to members.

“We’d like to mark up next week, next Wednesday,” senior member Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said, acknowledging the committee still has “a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross.”

The mandatory spending cuts — which, unlike the rest of the budget proposal, would actually become law — have been among the most controversial pieces of this year’s GOP budget. The cuts would be included as reconciliation instructions, alongside tax reform, which means the legislation could dodge the Senate’s filibuster…..

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Trump wants Immigrants to wait 5 Years for Welfare Benefits…

Trump turns to his tried and tested idea of knocking those who cannot pay their way…

It WILLplay well to his base and counter a Bernei Sanders policy of Robin Hood …Taking from the rich and middle class to help the poor….

And he renews attacks on immigration to America…Illegal or even Legal…

(Does this mean those immigrants would NOT have to pay welfare taxes?)

His proposal is probably NOT legal and would never see the light of day…But he’s put it out in the media….Sounds like Trump is back in campaign mode?

“I believe the time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday. “And we’ll be putting in legislation to that effect very shortly.”

Trump campaigned on promises of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and signed an executive order shortly after taking office in January that has led to increases in deportations across the country, according to immigrant advocates. However, he has also targeted refugees and other legal immigrants, proposing to reduce the number who enter the country and establish new standards that would weed out people without high skills or much education.

“We want to get our people off of welfare and back to work,” Trump said. “We also want to preserve our safety net for struggling Americans who truly need help. We want to help them. But others don’t treat us fairly.”….

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Ford to build new Focus in China…Not US…Not Mexico…

It seems that China is in….

And…

Mexico is out?

And America STILL will lose to other countries with bigger markets and cheeper labor….Even Trump cannot stop that…

Ford Motor said on Tuesday that it would build its next-generation small car for American consumers in China rather than Mexico, where the automaker canceled plans for a new factory this year.

The shift of production of the Ford Focus to China was among a number of manufacturing moves announced by the company, and one of the first strategic steps taken by its new chief executive, Jim Hackett.

Ford said it would begin making the Focus in China for global markets in 2019, after production ends at its current location in Michigan.

The company was building a $1.6 billion assembly plant for the next Focus model in Mexico, but it ran into stiff opposition from President Trump and then canceled the project.

Ford, the nation’s second-largest automaker behind General Motors, also said on Tuesday that it would invest $900 million in a Kentucky plant to produce new versions of its Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicles. The company said the investment would preserve 1,000 jobs at the plant.

G.M. also imports cars from China to the United States market, notably the Buick Envision, a compact crossover. But Ford’s commitment to the Focus represents a far greater volume of production….

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The Senate Healthcare Bill would hurt MORE people than the House one…Open Thread for June 15, 2017

Media reports on the Senate stealth healthcare bill write up points to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doing about the same thing as Speaker Ryan….

Crafting a bill that will hurt millions of Americans JUST to be able to say their party did SOMETHING….

Any change to the Affordable Healthcare Law, slang named Obamacare is viewed as INCREASING UN POPULAR to the American public ACROSS the board….

Why?

Congressional Republicans and President Trump seem hell-bent on pushing through a bill to replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. “Duh,” you say, “the Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare since literallythe day it was passed.”

But here’s where things get interesting. We tend to assume political parties want to get their policy goals adopted, but also to stay in power. Republicans won control of Congress in 2010 in part because Democrats pushed through a health care bill that the plurality of voters did not approve of, according to several major polls from that time. The Republicans are doing the same thing now, only their health care bill is significantly more unpopular than the ACA was in 2010.

So why are Republicans so determined to pass a bill that they already seem to know is not popular and could hurt them in next year’s elections? It’s almost impossible to determine exactly what drives a politician’s actions, particularly because sometimes the reasons they give publicly are not their only or primary motives. So while we can’t prove anything, we can still identify four likely reasons that Republicans are pushing so hard on health care….

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Note….

Trump just mentioned that he thought the House Bill was ‘mean’……

….

The latest: Even though Republicans had raised expectations that they were finishing a draft bill, it turns out that GOP leaders actually submitted multiple policy options to the budget office — partly explaining why senators won’t say much about their bill, let alone release a draft of it.

Both the bill and its CBO score will be public eventually, and there’s nothing inherently scandalous about trying to run the traps on a piece of legislation before bringing it to the floor.

The problem: What happens next? How long will the bill be publicly available before a vote? Will policy experts have time to digest it, and will voters have time to process that analysis? Will there be a real, good-faith opportunity for senators to offer amendments? GOP leaders have already short-circuited an awful lot of the process by not holding hearings or committee markups.

Working with CBO now will likely help Senate Republicans avoid the kind of bad-news bombshells the House experienced — but it’s making that July 4 timetable look less and less realistic.

Who could lose from state health benefit limits

Data: CAP analysis, 2015 American Community Survey, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2017 Willis Towers Watson Survey; Table: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The Senate health care bill is expected to allow states to relax the Affordable Care Act rules only on benefits, not on pricing as the House bill does. But that change could impact people far beyond those states, according to a new analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress — because it could lead to a return of annual and lifetime benefit limits, and not just in the states with the waivers….

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Trump or Not?…The US Economy is up slightly

The Hill does a story that should make Trump & Co. Happy….

The economy is emerging as a bright spot for President Trump as he struggles to move his congressional agenda amid a series of controversies.

The S&P 500 is up more than 12 percent since Election Day, unemployment has reached a 16-year low and economic growth in the coming year is expected to reach 2.3 percent, more robust growth than the 1.6 percent it grew in 2016.

Trump sought to play up his handling of the economy again on Friday at an event to end a week meant to highlight his efforts on legislation to fund new infrastructure projects across the country.

“We are here to think big, to act boldly, and to rise above the petty partisan squabbling of Washington, D.C. We are here to take action. It’s time to start building in our country, with American workers and with American iron and aluminum and steel,” Trump said in a speech at the Department of Transportation.

Trump has often gotten in his own way when it comes to publicizing his handling of the economy.

This was supposed to be the administration’s “infrastructure week,” but it was almost entirely overshadowed by the appearance by fired FBI Director James Comey at the Senate Intelligence Committee….

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Puerto Rico votes…97% of the vote is for Statehood….

Only a quarter of the Commonwealth voted to become America’s 51st State….

A Republican President and majority US Congress means there is little chance of any movement on their wishes and a  Lot of the island’s population does NOT want lose its semi-independence ….

Puerto Rico is having serious debt problems that the American Government is trying to stay away from…

Puerto Rico has been a United States territory since 1898, when the island was acquired from Spain after the Spanish-American War. Sunday’s nonbinding referendum was the fifth time during Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States that Puerto Ricans voted on their future. They have generally chosen from statehood, independence and remaining a territory.

But the process is usually marred, with ballot language phrased to favor the party in office. In 1998, “none of the above” was the top winner. In 2012, 61 percent of counted votes went to statehood — and half a million ballots were left blank.

But this time, the vote came a few weeks after Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy in the face of $74 billion in debt and $49 billion in pension obligations it cannot pay. More than 150 public schools are being closed as a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans head for the mainland and those who remain brace for huge cuts to public services. Decisions are now in the hands of a bankruptcy judge.

Voters said that Puerto Rico needed the United States now more than ever.

“If there’s an earthquake in Puerto Rico, who is going to send the help? The Americans! This is their land!” said Gladys Martínez Cruz, 73, a retired tax clerk in San Juan’s Barrio Obrero neighborhood. “We need someone who is going to support us, send us money. There’s a lot of hunger in Puerto Rico, even with the help we get.”

Many Puerto Ricans, like Ms. Martínez, live off food stamps, public housing vouchers or other federal programs and worry that a change in political status could affect that aid. A huge publicity campaign warned voters that their citizenship could be at risk.

“I want my children and grandchildren to keep their American citizenship,” said Maira Rentas, a cardiac nurse in San Juan. “Little by little, with whatever votes we get, we have to try to become a state.”

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