Businesses in rural towns are starving for equal access to capital that has benefited urban areas for decades. Scarcity of capital for small businesses has accelerated the crisis described in “Rural America Is the New ‘Inner City’” (page one, May 27) by stunting the growth of young businesses. Traditionally, a rural business owner or enterprising farmer who needed assistance to purchase farm or manufacturing equipment or even warehouse space would go to the community bank or farm credit office and acquire a loan. Today there are far fewer community banks, and those remaining lenders have higher credit and liquidity standards. Federal lending standards have made loans cost-prohibitive for many entrepreneurs. Furthermore, big banks have decreased their loan volumes to small businesses, creating a widening lending gap.
Rural America has endured poor socioeconomic conditions for over a century. Fifty years ago the President’s National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty published “The People Left Behind.” In the report, it noted some 14 million rural residents were classified as being in poverty—slightly over 25% of all rural residents. In contrast, central cities were estimated to have 10 million people in poverty—about 17% of central-city residents. The idea that local government, churches and community groups provided a viable social safety net is great theory not supported with facts. At best, these pick up a percentage of people in need. Life can be great growing up on a farm or living in a rural community away from horns and traffic and people. But there are costs. Services are always less available, the most important being health care.
Dale L. Stansbury
Los Gatos, Calif.
Trump Seeks $3.6 Trillion in Cuts to Reshape Government
President Donald Trump would dramatically reduce the U.S. government’s role in society with $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years in a budget plan that shrinks the safety net for the poor, recent college graduates and farmers.
Trump’s proposal, to be released Tuesday, claims to balance the budget within a decade. But it relies on a tax plan for which the administration has provided precious little detail, the elimination of programs backed by many Republican lawmakers, and heavy use of accounting gimmicks.
Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal has already been declared dead on arrival by many of his Republican allies in Congress. The plan would slash Medicaid payments, increase monthly student loan payments and cut food stamps and agricultural subsidies, each backed by powerful constituencies. The administration is unbowed.
“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. “We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off those programs and back in charge of their own lives.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has already said he expects the Republican-led Congress to largely ignore the proposal, saying in an interview last week with Bloomberg News that early versions reflected priorities that “aren’t necessarily ours.”
The president’s proposal would fulfill his campaign promise of leaving Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare untouched while increasing national security spending. He’s also proposing severe cuts to foreign aid and tighter eligibility for tax cuts that benefit the working poor. He also seeks cuts in food stamps and disability insurance.
Read more: Trump Budget Has Little on Drug Prices Despite Tough Talk
The plan calls for some new domestic spending, including $25 billion over 10 years for nationwide paid parental leave — a cause championed by First Daughter Ivanka Trump — and an expansion of the Pell Grant program for low-income students. The Department of Homeland Security’s budget would increase $3 billion versus the final full year of President Barack Obama’s term, while the Pentagon’s budget would see a $6 billion increase over that same time.
The sheer ambition of the president’s plan, which would cut domestic agencies by 10 percent in 2018 and by 40 percent in 2027, make the budget even less likely to gain traction on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers regularly flout the annual blueprint offered by the executive branch. But lawmakers are also likely to view some of the administration’s accounting gimmicks with extreme skepticism.
The budget predicts a sweeping tax overhaul package that would strengthen economic growth while providing few details of how the tax code would change. The one thing the administration has said is people and businesses will pay less; the budget asserts the amount of revenue collected won’t drop.
Neither of the White House’s assertions — that Trump’s tax plan would be both revenue neutral and fuel budget coffers by $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion through economic growth — are realistic, said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
She called the administration’s projections of three percent annual growth “really not possible — they have impossible assumptions of no changes in revenue and tax cuts.” She added that to see three or four percent growth “is nearly unprecedented. You’d need productivity growth at a level you’ve never seen.”
The scant detail in Trump’s tax proposal was likely to hinder tax reform, she said. “They rolled out all the goodies but none of the offsets that would be necessary,” MacGuineas said. “I’m not a fan of surprises, and you have to set realistic expectations, because there are real trade-offs and choices.”
Congress needs a “responsible guide” to finish appropriations this fall with some essential Democratic votes to avert a government shutdown, Terry Haines, managing director of Evercore ISI, wrote in a note to clients. Haines said Congress is likely to continue the stable spending pattern over the last four years with small increases for defense and domestic programs.
The independent Tax Policy Center estimated that Trump’s campaign tax plan would add $7.2 trillion to the deficit. Economic growth spurred by Trump’s tax and regulation policy would add more than $2 trillion in tax revenue, according to the budget documents.
The budget also makes use of several other classic accounting gimmicks. It assumes that the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East will cause future Congresses to allocate $593 billion in extra war funding that won’t be needed and then claims to save that amount by not spending it.
The Trump budget also assumes a $35 billion savings from changes to financial services industry regulations and a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law’s orderly liquidation authority, under which financial regulators are empowered to untangle and wind down the biggest banks in a crisis. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected savings of $14.5 billion over a decade from eliminating the authority.
Trump has promised a wall on the southern U.S. border that Mexico will eventually pay for, and the budget includes $2.6 billion in 2018 – $1.6 billion for “new and replacement border wall’’ in certain locations and about $1 billion for other items including aircraft, equipment and surveillance technology to deter illegal activity. Trump estimates the wall will cost $8 billion to $12 billion, but most experts say it will likely be more expensive.
While Trump is proposing to increase the defense budget, the push for more high-priced weapons will wait another year.
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The Trump budget requests 70 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35s and 14 Boeing Co. F/A-18E/F fighters — the same quantities anticipated by Obama’s administration for fiscal 2018. Similarly, the administration is requesting eight new Navy ships, the number proposed by Obama. With Trump pledging to increase the Navy fleet to 350 ships from 275 that can be deployed today, the Navy has said it will need to request 12 new vessels in fiscal 2018 to start the acceleration.
But while defense spending is set to see a boost, social safety net programs are in the president’s crosshairs. Medicaid cuts of $610 billion would come alongside $250 billion savings — partly fueled by limiting expanded Medicaid — from repealing Obamacare. Food stamps would be cut by $193 billion.
Federal workers would see much less generous retirement benefits under the budget. Eliminating cost-of-living adjustments for retirees would save $42 billion while increasing required employee retirement contributions would save $72 billion. And the budget would save $72 billion through cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance.
The administration has pitched its changes to student loan programs as beneficial to students. The budget would create a single repayment plan that would cap monthly payments at 12.5 percent of discretionary income, an increase from the 10 percent cap under some existing payment plans. But students would only need to repay their loans for 15 years, rather than 20, with the remainder wiped out by the federal government. That change would cut the federal subsidy by $76 billion.
Why does the United States of America get criticized for wanting to control its own immigration?
The citizens of the United States are the legitimate stakeholders of their Republic; the citizens own the country. What we decide to do within the bounds and confines of our US Constitution and our country is our own business. Our Constitution says we have the sovereign right to protect and defend our nation, and that includes securing our borders.
The Southern Border
I find it odd that virtually no scrutiny nor blame is ever placed on the governments Latin America – from the US-Mexico frontier south. I shall take the liberty and cut through the thicket so there is little chance here for you to misunderstand me: The Latin American countries that experience substantial exodus are corrupt and incompetent.
I have been to Mexico dozens of times; I have never seen a starving Mexican! Starvation simply does not exist in Mexico. Mexico has an abundance of every resource imaginable, including its hardworking and industrious people. I have never seen a beggar there either. So why are there 12 million Mexican nationals in the US?
The two ton elephant in the room everyone ignores; why is a significant portion of their citizens in the US? Incidentally, I am using Mexico because it is the only country along the entire length of our southern border.
Mexicans do themselves a great disfavor by not openly and loudly criticizing their own government; one reason I theorize is latinos inextricably associate their country with its government. They love their country, as they should, so they feel compelled not to criticize the government. Oh, but they complain a lot about the US Government, how it doesn’t give them a fair shake and let them work here etc. Isn’t that weird?
Trump Budget Proposes Killing All Funding for PBS, NPR and National Endowment for the Arts
President Donald Trump made good on a long-time conservative goal in his first proposed budget Thursday morning, targeting the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities for complete elimination.
Trump’s budget would zero out the $445 million budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a relatively small source of funding for programming and broadcast operations on public TV stations and NPR radio stations nationwide, per the Washington Post.
The budget would also eliminate the budgets for both national endowments, which stood at $148 million each in 2016, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums. Additional cuts would affect two tourist mainstays in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.
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Combined, the four arts organizations account for less than 0.02 percent of the U.S. government’s $4.6 trillion budget.
In 2016, the NEA allocated $47 million to 50 states and five jurisdictions, funding that that helped to leverage $368 million from state governments to support arts organizations via more than 24,000 grants, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. In 2015, funding for the NEA was almost one-third what the U.S. budget allocated for military bands.
Republicans have long put the NEA and the CPB in their budget crosshairs. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan attempted to shut down the NEA, but backed down from the plans after a task force including actor and Reagan friend Charlton Heston advised against it. Reagan did, however, make major cuts to the NEA’s budget.
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In December, Trump’s staff suggested that the incoming president would consider appointing Sylvester Stallone to head the NEA, though Stallone later declined.
The NEA and the NEH — which supports museums, archives, libraries, and universities — were created in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson. “An advanced civilization must not limit its efforts to science and technology alone, but must give full value and support to the other great branches of scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future,” according to the congressional act.
Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is unlikely to cripple either PBS or NPR. NPR received less than 1 percent of its revenue from the CPB, and PBS less than 7 percent, according to data from 2014 reported in the Washington Post.
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The CPB has relatively low overhead and paid out 99.3 percent of its $445 million appropriation in 2014 in grants, more than 90 percent of which went not to the national networks but to local affiliates in less populated cities like Lawton, Okla., and Texarkana, Tex.
10 Women Who Have Left Fox News Shows, From Megyn Kelly to Laurie Dhue (Photos) 1 of 12
The Roger Ailes scandal has cast even some old departures in a new light
Fox News has enhanced the careers of numerous women who have served as hosts. All were hired by Roger Ailes, the former network boss who exited in August amid a sexual harassment scandal.
President Trump’s First 30 Days
It is beyond absurd and utterly ludicrous that some fanatical Liberal reporters would asked “when does the outgoing president’s [economic] policies stop influencing the economy?” One only needs to go back quite recently, back to when the jobs market reacted positively to the the outcome of the Presidential Election and see the rapid turn-around not seen during outgoing President Obama’s eight years in office.
It is indeed ludicrous to suggest the economic turn-around during the outgoing president’s final two months is a culmination of eight years of “positive market animal spirit” – all the while ignoring the incoming president-elect’s positive message to the business community. Even hair-brained Nancy Pelosi was NOT HAPPY that the new jobs created were not government jobs. Thank you Nancy Pelosi for illustrating this. Private sector jobs are not “real, meaningful jobs” as defined by the Left. Might I also say that the Left shall remain unhappy until every American Citizen, and every single Illegal Alien is on the Federal Government payroll.
Sixty-three percent of Americans either held a job or actively looked for one in February, the highest participation rate in ten months.
The number Americans not in the labor force continued to drop, to 94,190,000 in February, 176,000 fewer than in January and well below the record of 95,102,000 set in December 2016.