Category Archives: ECONOMY

GREAT AGAIN! LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT IN 43 YEARS

Jobless Claims in U.S. Plunge to Lowest Weekly Tally Since 1973
www.bloomberg.com

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits plummeted to the lowest level in almost 45 years in a sign the job market will tighten further in 2018, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended Jan. 13)

Jobless claims decreased by 41k to 220k (est. 249k); lowest level since Feb. 1973, biggest drop since Dec. 2008
Continuing claims rose by 76k to 1.952m in week ended Jan. 6 (data reported with one-week lag)
Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 244,500 from the prior week’s 250,750
Key Takeaways

The drop in claims shows that companies are increasingly holding on to their employees amid a shortage of skilled labor. Businesses are struggling to find workers to fill positions, particularly in manufacturing and construction, as cited in some anecdotes for the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book released Wednesday.

The figures suggest the unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, already the lowest since 2000, could be poised to decline further. The latest week for claims includes the 12th of the month, which is the reference period for the Labor Department’s monthly employment surveys.

Caveats for the latest numbers include the fact that the week was sandwiched between two periods containing holidays, when data tend to be more volatile. In addition, more states than usual had estimated figures.

Other Details

Prior week’s reading was unrevised at 261,000 Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits rose to 1.4 percent from 1.3 percent in previous week.

Claims were estimated for Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Puerto Rico, Virginia, Wyoming, New York’s unadjusted claims fell by 26,190 to 23,171
— With assistance by Chris Middleton

COMMENTS (30)

“LIB FASCISM” – FAKE MORALITY AND GOVT GREED

Seattle attempts to impose morality with ridiculously high taxes on sugary drinks
rare.us

Seattle has decided to impose a 1.75 cent per ounce tax on all sugary beverages within the city with the hopes of raising a $15 million revenue stream that it will use for programs to help people “have better access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” as Seattle station KIRO 7 explains. The price of Gatorade Frost Variety Pack at Costco, usually $15.99, with the $10.34 tax, shot up to $26.33, leaving customers with sticker-shock.

There’s more than a few problems with the new tax scheme, which a sign right next to the Gatorade in Costco helpfully demonstrates.

As with all excise taxes, this one is easily avoided: customers can visit Costco stores in nearby Tukwila or Shoreline and skip paying the City of Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax. Customers are less likely to make extra inconvenient trips if the price changes are barely noticeable–but with such a steep price change, many residents will likely take the extra trip.

Some are saying they will switch to diet soda instead, which city officials say is “the point,” according to KIRO7. “Not necessarily to switch to diet soda, but getting consumers to go for healthier options.”

The position the tax advocates take is oddly contradictory, as  Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation summarized on Twitter:

“First they interview people at the Costco who are rightfully shocked at how high prices on soda and sports drinks are now (they are almost doubled). Then they interview a public health advocate who says ‘that’s right! We want these prices to change people’s behavior and slow sales!’ Then they talk to the consumer, ‘think you’ll change your behavior, maybe even shop somewhere else?’ And she’s like, ‘ya the Tukwila store is close enough.’ Then they ask a city council member if this will hurt local [business], who says ‘there is no data’ suggesting that. Then the SAME public health advocate says that people won’t respond to price increases, shopping elsewhere because it isn’t ‘worth their while.”

If advocates are truly concerned about public health and want people to change their behavior by consuming sugarless beverages then the tax will indeed slow sales and hurt local businesses. It has to because that’s the only way it will actually induce people to lower their calories; assuming you believe that this model works.

But the government doesn’t actually want everyone to switch away from sugary drinks or it won’t be able to collect that $15 million it’s hoping for. That’s why using the tax code to punish or reward behavior is tragically short-sighted.

Government attempts to disincentive certain behavior often have subversive effects (beyond forcing people to take longer trips or purchase sugar-free brands.) The point of these policies is to drastically reduce usage; but while the pricing cuts demand, it also fuels smuggling and black markets.

A steep soda tax opens up the way for an illegal underground trade in soda. Before you laugh, realize that’s exactly the problem that arose in Philadelphia when similar taxes were introduced. In New York, these types of sin taxes led to stratospheric taxes on cigarettes, which buoyed an underground black market in “loosie” cigarettes. Tragically, police enforcement of the tax also led to the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, who died in police custody after allegedly resisting arrest.

His action, selling loose cigarettes, was only a crime because of these types of policies. Governments, including the City of Seattle, should avoid creating similar situations.

COMMENTS (605)

HERE IT IS! THE GREAT TAX DEAL

TAX REFORM BILL RECONCILED!

Both houses of Congress have passed and negotiated the outstanding differences.

GOP slashes rates, kills Obamacare penalty!

  • Lawmakers released the full text of the Republican leadership-backed tax cut Friday evening.
  • The Senate is expected to vote Monday and House is expected to vote Tuesday.
  • Top income tax rate drops to 37 per cent from 39.6.
  • Corporate tax rate slashed to 21 per cent from 35 per cent.
  • Estates worth up to $11.2 million shielded from federal taxes.
  • State and local tax deduction capped at $10,000 as in House bill.
  • New York and California lawmakers railed against the elimination of SALT.
  • Latest Senate version reduces taxes $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
  • Doubling of child tax credit and increase in standard deduction.
  • White House says bill simplifies ‘rigged and burdensome tax code’

Republicans released their long-awaited tax overhaul bill late Friday afternoon, drawing months of negotiations to a close and setting up a pair of final votes on Monday and Tuesday.

>President Donald Trump has promised to deliver tax relief as a Christmas present. He ran on a pledge of making it happen and the Republican Party is betting that voters flush with newfound money will reward them at the polls.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates seven new tax brackets, including a 37 per cent rate – down from 39.6 per cent – for top-end wage earners.

The new rates start at 10 percent,  to 12, 22, 24, 32, 35 and 37 per cent.

The bill also lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent, the largest such reduction in U.S. history.

President Donald Trump has promised Americans a tax cut as a Christmas present and he’s betting that his base will support him even though the tax plan itself doesn’t poll well

DEATH TO OBAMACARE – Democrats are upset at a feature of the bill that repeals the Obamacare ‘individual mandate’ penalty, a tax paid by Americans who don’t buy medical insurance. This liberation from the extremely unpopular Democrat fascist imposition forced upon healthy younger taxpayers was nothing but a pyramid scheme to subsidize deadbeats and leeches – it was simply another Democrat “vote-buying scheme. “

The new tax formula changes the income levels where the tax rates would kick in, raising the top tier by about $30,000 so only those earning $500,000 or more would be in the top bracket.

A change to the deductibility of mortgage interest will limit it to the first $750,000 of new home loans.

And Americans who inherit property won’t have to pay estate taxes on the first $11.2 million. That’s double the current exemption.

Some tax breaks that were written out of early versions of the bill are back in.

Those include a deduction for medical expenses and an exemption for graduate school tuition waivers. Americans paying off student loans will still be able to deduct the interest.

A promised $10,000 deduction for income and property taxes paid to states, counties and cities is also included – a compromise that attracted the support of lawmakers from high-tax states like New York and California.

The bill includes an expanded child tax credit, a move calculated to win the support of last-minute holdout Marco Rubio,. a Florida Republican senator.

It also eliminates the tax penalty placed on Americans who don’t buy medical insurance required by Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has cautioned that this may lead to more Americans not buying insurance policies, which could then contribute to premium-hikes for those who do.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio became a ‘yes’ vote when lawmakers sweetened the pot for working families who claim a child tax credit

Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker surprised Washington on Friday by abandoning his opposition to the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax reform bill

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (center right, in blue) called the bill ‘awful’ and ‘one of the most irresponsible I’ve seen’

The White House said in a statement that ‘[b]y lowering tax rates, simplifying the rigged and burdensome tax code, and repealing the failed tax on lower- and middle-income households known as the Obamacare individual mandate, this legislation will grow our economy, raise wages, and promote economic competitiveness.’

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said that ‘China is already worried about this tax bill, because they know it will make America more competitive and spur greater investment here in America. This legislation will bring real relief to the middle class by taking money out of Washington’s pocket and putting it into theirs.’

Democrats were predictably sour on the legislation; it will surely result in major cuts to their out-of-control wasteful spending.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the bill ‘awful’ and ‘one of the most irresponsible I’ve seen.’ She has never encountered a tax cut she would support because her husband Richard Bloom enriched their own bank accounts by exploitation of government waste.  It is reported that their net worth exceeds 100 million now, since their early endeavors as slum-lords in San Francisco.

‘In addition to driving up the deficit, it will increase health care premiums in the individual market by 10 percent each year, leave 13 million more Americans without health insurance and threaten to destroy a pristine section of the Alaskan wilderness.

‘I’m surprised anyone can call this a tax reform bill with a straight face,’ she said. ‘This is nothing more than a huge tax cut for big corporations and the rich, paid for by the middle class.’

Under the plan, however, Americans claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing will have the benefit of a deduction that’s nearly doubled.

Republicans say that will result in millions of Americans filing a single-page tax return.

The final per-child tax credit will give families making up to $400,000 a year a $2,000 benefit per child.

WHAT’S IN THE FINAL TAX BILL?

  • Top income tax bracket has dropped to 37 per cent from 39.6 per cent
  • Other brackets are zero, 12, 22, 24, 32 and 35 per cent
  • ‘Standard’ deduction for non-itemizers nearly doubles
  • Interest is deductible only on the first $750,000 of new home mortgages
  • Only individuals making more than $500,000 and couples earning $600,000 are in the top bracket
  • Corporate tax rates drop from 35 per cent to 21 per cent
  • Deduction for medical expenses and student loan interest and an exemption for graduate school tuition waivers
  • Ends Obamacare tax penalty for failing to buy health insurance
  • Doubles child tax credit to $2,000 for families earning up to $400,000
  • $1,400 of child credit is refundable even for families that don’t pay any income tax
  • Doubles estate tax exemption to the first $11.2 million of inheritances
  • Opens a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling
    ‘Pass-through’ corporations can deduct 20 per cent of income
  • Elimination of corporate Alternative Minimum Tax
  • No repeal of Johnson Amendment barring churches and religious organizations from election activity

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has called the tax cut a years-long goal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the legislation ‘will bring real relief to the middle class by taking money out of Washington’s pocket and putting it into theirs’

That doubles the child tax credit from the current maximum of $1,000 and makes it available to a greater number of middle- and upper-bracket families.

It would begin to phase out for families earning above $400,000. That’s down from a $500,000 cap in the original Senate measure, which passed earlier this month.

But it also benefits more working families by making it refundable, meaning even people who pay no tax would benefit.

Like all major legislation, there are pot-sweeteners inserted to win the support of hesitant legislators.

One, a carve-out for Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, will open a tiny fraction of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

The 19.6-million-acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.

Murkowski and other Republicans say drilling can be done safely with new technology, while ensuring a steady energy supply for West Coast refineries.

THE NEW RATES: A joint committee of House and Senate negotiators released this chart showing the personal income tax brackets for 2018, provided the bill becomes law

Small businesses organized as ‘pass-through’ corporations also get a break.

Most of these firms can write off 20 percent of their income tax-free, a change brought about by business groups and advocates including Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Democrats are expected to vote in lockstep against the bill in both the House and Senate. Republicans hold 52 Senate seats and need 50 to pass the bill – plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence.

While Rubio and Corker have said publicly that they will vote yes, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona are still undeclared.

Republicans will need Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Thad Cochran of Mississippi to return in order to muster enough votes for passage.

Both men have been away fighting illnesses.

One provision of the tax law would open up a tiny portion of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration

One thing the final bill does not include is a measure that Trump had promised to evangelical voters – the repeal of a law forbidding churches from endorsing candidates and engaging in other explicit politicking.

The 1954 Johnson Amendment also keeps churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship from raising money for politicians unless they want to give up their federal tax-exempt status.

Trump pledged at the National Prayer Breakfast in February to ‘totally destroy’ the law.

The tax plan originally passed by the House included a repeal, but the Senate’s version did not. As lawmakers met to hammer out the differences, Democrats prevailed in stripping it out of the final compromise.

An analysis by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation showed that the bill would increase federal deficits by $1.46 trillion over 10 years.

But Republicans argue that economic growth resulting from changes in the tax code will more than make up for it.

Americans so far have been skeptical of a government promising tax cuts.

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COMMENTS (401)

INSATIABLE TAX APPETITE

“For the ungodly hungry beast, too much is never enough” – M Souza

Feds Collected Record Taxes in October;  Still Ran $63 Billion Deficit!
www.cnsnews.com

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government hauled in record total tax revenues in the month of October, taking in a total of $235,341,000,000 during the first month of fiscal 2018, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

The federal government also brought in record individual income tax revenues for the month of October, taking in $127,832,000,000 in individual income taxes.

Despite its record total tax intake of $235,341,000,000 for the month of October, the federal government still ran a deficit of $63,214,000,000 for the month because it spent $298,555,000,000.

Prior to this year, the largest federal tax haul in October came in fiscal 2017 (October 2016), when the Treasury took in $226,360,090,000 in total tax revenues in constant 2017 dollars. (Dollar amounts were adjusted to constant September 2017 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.)

Prior to that, fiscal 2015 (October 2014) saw the largest tax haul in October, with the Treasury taking in $221,128,030,000 in total revenues in constant 2017 dollars.

This year’s record $127,832,000,000 in individual income taxes collected in October bettered the previous record which was set in October 2016 (the first month of fiscal 2017), when the Treasury collected $124,135,980,000 in individual income taxes in constant 2017 dollars.

The Treasury also collected $3,729,000,000 in corporate income taxes in October, as well as $84,018,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes, $7,463,000,000 in excise taxes, $1,615,000,000 in estate and gift taxes, $3,239,000,000 in customs duties and $7,445,000,000 in other taxes and fees.

 

COMMENTS (9)

GREAT AGAIN! LESS FOOD STAMPS

Food Stamp Usage Has Fallen Every Month of Trump Presidency – Breitbart
www.breitbart.com

Food stamp usage has declined every month since President Trump took office in January, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics on food stamp enrollment.
Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dropped to 41,310,785 in June 2017, the latest data available from the USDA, from 42,691,363 in January 2017.

Food stamp usage has been on a steady decline since Donald Trump began his presidency in January 2017, with the latest data showing that SNAP enrollment decreased by more than 1.3 million, or 3.23 percent, since the beginning of his term in office.

A closer look at the data shows that food stamp usage has been consistently decreasing each month since January 2017.

Here is the breakdown of how many people dropped off the food stamp rolls each month of 2017:

January to February- 408,956
February to March- 95,152
March to April- 521,295
April to May- 176,527
May to June- 178,648
The most significant drops in enrollment took place from January to February and March to April.

The two months where SNAP participation dropped the most can be attributed to states that started reimplementing work requirements to receive food stamps around that time.

Georgia, for example, expanded work requirements in 21 more counties that went into effect starting April 1, 2017. The state began implementing work requirements in a handful of counties in January 2016.

Alabama fully implemented work requirements in all of its counties by January 2017.

Many policies at the federal level have also contributed to the decline in food stamp enrollment overall.

Trump’s 2018 budget proposal proposed cuts to SNAP, and suggested that states match up to 20 percent of federal money allotted for the food stamp program.

The president also called for states to expand work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps if they have not already done so. Some federal lawmakers are crafting legislation to implement this policy nationwide, along with time limits on how long food stamp recipients can receive benefits.

Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown has also indirectly affected food stamp enrollment. Many immigrants, both legal and illegal, canceled their food stamps over fears they might be denied citizenship or deported.

Food stamp participation on average in 2017 has dropped to its lowest level since 2010, and the steady decrease in SNAP enrollment shows this trend has no signs of stopping.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that this downward trend will continue through the next decade, with food stamp enrollment dropping 1 to 2 percent each year. By 2027, CBO estimates that 32.5 million people would be receiving food stamps.

GLOBAL ECONO-CRASH VERY LIKELY

Next global crash could arrive ‘with a vengeance’

A new financial crisis is brewing in the emerging economies and it could hit “with a vengeance”, an influential group of central bankers has warned.

Emerging markets such as China are showing the same signs that their economies are overheating as the US and the UK demonstrated before the financial crisis of 2007-08, according to the annual report of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Claudio Borio, the head of the BIS monetary and economic department, said a new recession could come “with a vengeance” and “the end may come to resemble more closely a financial boom gone wrong”.

The BIS, which is sometimes known as the central bank for central banks and counts Bank of England Governor Mark Carney among its members, warned of trouble ahead for the world economy.

It predicted that central banks would be forced to raise interest rates after years of record lows in order to combat inflation which will “smother” growth.

The group also warned about the threat poised by rising debt in countries like China and the rise in protectionism such as in the US under Donald Trump, City AM reported.

Chinese corporate debt has almost doubled since 2007, now reaching 166 per cent of GDP, while household debt rose to 44 per cent of GDP last year.

In May, Moody’s cut China’s credit rating for the first time since 1989 from A1 to Aa3 which could potentially raise the cost of borrowing for the Chinese government.

The BIS’s credit-to-GDP gap indicator also showed debt, which is seen as an “early warning indicator” for a country’s banking system, is rising far faster than growth in other Asian economies such as Thailand and Hong Kong.

“Brexit will make Britain worse off, Bank of England chief Carney says.”

The world economy is still recovering from the financial crisis and the euro crisis which followed it in 2010.

The UK is said to be experiencing a “lost decade” as productivity and wages have flatlined.

COASTAL LIBERALISM IS DESTROYING RURAL AMERICA

Hard Times Come to Much of Rural America
www.wsj.com

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.

Ab Basu

Rural Jobs Coalition

Occoquan, Va.

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.

DEEP GOVT SPENDING CUTS

Trump Seeks $3.6 Trillion in Cuts to Reshape Government
www.bloomberg.com
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.”

Campaign Promises

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.

Economic Growth

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.
Accounting gimmicks

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.

Safety Net

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.

COMMENT

THE PROBLEM: LATIN AMERICA

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 SLASHES PORK!

Trump Budget Proposes Killing All Funding for PBS, NPR and National Endowment for the Arts
www.thewrap.com

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.

Also Read: 11 Times Fox News Hosts Criticized Donald Trump (Photos)

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.

Also Read: 10 Women Who Have Left Fox News Shows, From Megyn Kelly to Laurie Dhue (Photos)

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.

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