Closing Thought–12Mar20

Trump went on the air to address the nation about the efforts of the US to curb the spread of this fast moving virus… he was trying to halt the markets free fall….

President Trump said Wednesday he is suspending all travel from Europe to the US for 30 days beginning Friday as a measure to combat the novel coronavirus. Trump made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and saying US clusters were “seeded” by European travelers. “We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.” Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and the US would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier, reports the AP. The BBC reports the rules take effect at midnight Friday.

Trump said he was also directing agencies to provide unspecified financial relief for “for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus,” and asked Congress to take action to extend it. Trump said the US will will defer tax payments for some individual and business filers for three months to lessen the impacts of the virus outbreak. He said the Small Business Administration will also make low-interest loans available to businesses to help them weather the storm. “This is not a financial crisis,” he said. “This just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.” Trump also reiterated his call on Congress to pass a cut to the federal payroll tax in order to stimulate the economy.

Sorry but this damn silly tax relief is NOTHING but an attack on the Social Security system….something the GOP has been trying to destroy since the 1940s….

Plus how will that go about solving the virus problem we are having?  Markets are not the cure!

Then there is the travel ban which does not include places that have Trump golf courses…..

Hours after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday night announced a 30-day travel ban on most of Europe. But among the countries he excluded were two where he has hotels and golf courses that have been struggling financially: the UK and Ireland.

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Markets Go Up….Markets Go Down

We have had a volatile few weeks in the markets…..up….down….up again…..down again…..

Just the other day the markets went up then down 2000 pts and then up 1000 then down another 1000… are waiting for Trump to do something to off-set the market losses…..

US stocks slid on Wednesday as investors mulled the timeline for the White House’s stimulus measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

All three major indexes tanked roughly 5%, erasing gains made during Tuesday’s rebound. The drop ushered in another day of heightened volatility from coronavirus risks and the escalating oil-market war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Investors initially expected stimulus details to be announced Tuesday. Markets surged through the previous session amid reports that President Donald Trump wanted to cut payroll taxes through the November election. The fiscal stimulus would join the Federal Reserve’s early-March monetary-policy boost.

Trump’s ace in the hole for the election is the good economy……and with the virus crapping all over his rep as an astute businessman…..he may decide to do something to help and to improve his chances for the next election….

President Trump on Tuesday proposed eliminating the payroll tax until the end of the year to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. A few different timelines were discussed during a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers, with some talk of the rollback stretching beyond 2020, officials tell NBC News, adding Trump favors a cut that would last at least until November. Payroll taxes are paid by employers and employees to fund Social Security and Medicare. Employees pay 6.2% on the first $137,700 of their income for Social Security, and 1.45% of all their earned income for Medicare, with employers matching those amounts. Under the Obama administration, the Social Security payroll tax was temporarily cut to 4.2%, per CNN. The idea of a 0% payroll tax rate is reportedly being met with resistance from Republican senators, per CNBC.

Officials tell the Wall Street Journal that the April 15 tax deadline is also likely to be extended, though a specific date hasn’t been decided, nor is it clear who would qualify for the extension. Republicans also discussed federal assistance for the shale oil industry, which is suffering as a result of a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. “They are talking about specific industries that would be hurt the worst and to try and get first of all this payroll tax deduction,” GOP Sen. David Perdue of Georgia tells NBC. “That’s at the top of my list as having immediate impact,” but “if you’re not getting paid, that doesn’t help.” Any economic stimulus plan would need to be approved by Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that Democrats were working on a plan of their own.

Something needs to be done to calm the nerves of the profit takers…..but is the proposed plan anything but a secret attack on Social Security?

Economists and progressive advocacy groups are warning that President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut or temporarily suspend the payroll tax in an effort to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus is “a Trojan Horse attack on our Social Security system” that will do little to help most U.S. households.

Slashing the payroll tax, the primary funding mechanism for Social Security, “is the wrong way to go,” said Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

But do not worry the president went on national TV to calm the frayed nerves…..and it did not go so well…..

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel to the US from Europe Wednesday night—but the anti-coronavirus move did not reassure the stock market. CNN reports that Dow Jones futures plummeted more than 1,000 points overnight, setting up another day of stock market carnage Thursday, the day after a 1,465-point plunge officially ended the 11-year bull market. Asian markets also saw major falls Thursday, and European markets suffered in early trading, with Britain’s FTSE 100 down 5.7% to 5,542.17. Analysts say investors were dismayed by Trump’s failure to set out a comprehensive medical and economic response to the outbreak and its effects. More:

  • Travel ban clarified. Trump initially said all travel from Europe—excluding the UK—would be suspended for 30 days, but officials later clarified that the ban only applies to foreign nationals who have been in the 26 Schengen Area countries that allow passport-free travel between each other, the AP reports.
  • Britain won’t follow suit. Authorities in Britain say they won’t copy the US ban on flights from the European Union, the Guardian reports. “With regard to flight bans we are always guided by the science as we make our decisions here,” health secretary Matt Hancock said Thursday. “The advice we are getting is that there isn’t evidence that interventions like closing borders or travel bans are going to have a material effect on the spread of the infections.”
  • EU condemns move. The European Commission slammed Trump’s move in a statement Thursday, reports the New York Times. “The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” the EU’s governing body said. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”
  • Airlines hardest hit. The Wall Street Journal reports that airlines and cruise ship operators have been the hardest hit by pretrading drops, with America Airlines, Delta, and United all down at least 10%. Analysts say that with the full effect of the virus and containment measures on the world economy still largely unknown, markets may remain volatile for weeks to come.

Sorry but the markets are not showing much faith in the proposals by this president….and today’s opening shows the lack of confidence in the president…..

The market is cratering at the open, and it happened so fast that trading was suspended for the second time this week. The Dow fell more than 1,700 points, about 7%, after another string of worrying coronavirus developments. The benchmark S&P fell 7% as well, and that triggered a 15-minute “circuit breaker” pause in trading, reports CNBC. The plunges come after the Dow slipped into a bear market Wednesday after 11 years of a bull run. On Thursday, the S&P also entered a bear market.

Meanwhile, the New York Stock Exchange is exploring the unprecedented step of closing its trading floor and switching to electronic backup systems, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move comes amid a push to discourage large gatherings of any kind as a way to curb the spread of the disease.

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Panic Takes Hold!

I know I stated that I would not write any more on this topic unless it was something major…..this is something major…..PANIC!

After all the articles, news shows and blog posts on the coming apocalypse, the Virus, panic buying has started……and my friend at The Limin Report has written about this as well…..

I have told readers to be prepared but panic buying is not preparation……I have told my readers as well to use common sense and rationality….those qualities seem to be in short supply……sad thing is the with common sense it is seldom all that common.

Does anyone know why normally rational people are panic buying?

The worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus is leading to some curious side effects: Store shelves are being stripped bare from Singapore to Seattle. Supermarkets in the U.K. have started rationing items. In Hong Kong a delivery man was reportedly robbed at knife-point of hundreds of toilet-paper rolls. Australia has seen brawls break out at supermarkets prompting police to taser one man. And France effectively nationalized all production of face masks after people began depleting the supply.

Panic buying has emerged as reliable a feature of the coronavirus epidemic as a fever or dry cough.

Psychologists view control as a fundamental human need. With a disease that’s highly infectious and can turn deadly, this epidemic violates a sense of control in fundamental ways. Unless policy makers can find a way to restore that feeling, the cycle of panic buying, hoarding and scarcity only stands to escalate.

Take a deep breath…..calm down….take the advice of the CDC…..use common sense (if that is in your wheelhouse)……avoid crowds….wash hands….be prepared.

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“lego ergo scribo”

More American Deaths In Iraq

Just two days ago I wrote about the two Marine Raiders that were killed in Iraq and now more sad news for two more Americans have been killed in Iraq….as well as a British soldier as well…….

Two American soldiers and one British soldier were killed Wednesday evening when 15 small Katyusha rockets hit Iraq’s Camp Taji. The Pentagon reported 10 other people of various nationalities were wounded.

Details are still emerging, with the US quickly dismissing the idea that this was an ISIS attack by doubting they had the capability, even though Katyusha rockets are virtually ubiquitous among Middle Eastern armed factions.

Instead, officials say they suspect Shi’ite militias in general, and Kataib Hezbollah in particular. The militia is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of Iraq, whose leader was killed in a January US airstrike in Baghdad.

I will post more as the facts become known..

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What The Burning Hell Has Happened To National Security?

It is so very sad what is happening to this nation’s national security…..and the sad state of our NatSec can be blamed on the president…..

Bill Taylor, the US’s chief envoy in Ukraine, revealed on Wednesday that a member of his staff overheard a conversation in Ukraine between President Donald Trump and Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU.

According to Taylor, the conversation happened at a restaurant in Kyiv and the volume was apparently loud enough that they were overheard.

Sondland was almost certainly spied on while talking to the president in that restaurant, Politico reported. But this incident is just one out of many in which Trump or the people around him have compromised US national security.

Then Newsweek takes a shot at Trump and his failure with our NatSec……

“The President is a threat to our national security, the integrity of our elections, and the rule of law. Every day he remains in office is an unacceptable risk,” Richard Primus wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night. Primus is a law professor at the University of Michigan.

“I’m a big reasonable-disagreement guy. But sometimes there’s a right side and wrong side. Now is one of those times,” he added.

I know that rabid Trump supporters will take exception to these points……but think about it….blind faith has destroyed a many empire…..

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“lego ergo scribo”