Closing Thought–11Aug20

The Congress is said to be working on yet another pandemic stim package and of course the Dems and Repubs do not see eye to eye…..and the president does not see it the same as Congress……

But the next package MUST include a bailout of the defense industry……

Republican defense lawmakers are pushing for the next emergency coronavirus funding package to include a hefty boost for defense spending, saying that the pandemic’s effects on military spending have cut across an array of program and procurement accounts.

“Socially distanced production spaces, provision of PPE, self-quarantining, disrupted logistics have generated significant bills,” the group wrote in an open statement on Thursday. “These COVID-related effects made defense programs less efficient and more expensive, and DOD cannot redirect money from other crucial priorities to cover these costs.”

The comments lawmakers — Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mac Thornberry, R-Texas; House Appropriations Committee ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas; and the appropriations committee’s defense panel ranking member Ken Calvert, R-Calf. — come amid negotiations on the latest multi-trillion relief package between House Democrats and White House officials.

Defense officials have said publicly they need at least $10 billion in emergency funding to cover pandemic-related costs and avoid exhausting other modernization and readiness funds.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/08/06/next-coronavirus-relief-package-must-include-a-big-defense-boost-gop-leaders-argue/

I say SCREW THEM…I am preached to by the government that I should prepare for that rainy day and yet when it arrives the M-IC whines and demands that we bail them out with taxpayer money….

Once again I say SCREW ‘EM!

Maybe they should start practicing what they preach….hire some accountants that will tell them how to avoid these financial problems.

Not to worry they will get their black mail money for the M-IC has spent lots of cash on Congress to assure that they will ALWAYS get what they want.

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Screw Those Old Farts! (Again)

Closing Thought–10Aug20

This is for all those old farts that still support the president…that would be Trump in case you are not sure…..

Trump has liberally used the power of the Executive Order when he cannot get his way from Congress and he has a new idea for his next EO.

A cut in payroll taxes,,,,yes it will give the worker more money but at the same time will begin the gutting of Social Security…..

An advocacy group representing more than four million American retirees warned Thursday that President Donald Trump took a dangerous step toward “single-handedly” dismantling Social Security by announcing he plans to sign an executive order suspending collection of the payroll tax as early as Friday afternoon.

With congressional negotiations over the next Covid-19 stimulus package still at an impasse, Trump told reporters Thursday that executive orders to suspend the payroll tax, extend boosted unemployment benefits, and reestablish an expired eviction moratorium are “being drawn now” despite questions over whether the president has the authority to unilaterally take any of those actions.

Trump said he expects to sign the orders “tomorrow afternoon or maybe the following morning” if White House negotiators and Democratic leaders don’t reach a deal. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have rejected the idea of cutting the payroll tax, the primary funding mechanism for Social Security.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said in a statement that “after learning that Democratic and Republican congressional leaders would not go along with his harebrained scheme to cut Social Security’s dedicated funding source, President Trump lashed out and announced he would begin dismantling the system single-handedly.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/06/retirees-vow-fight-attempt-gut-social-security-trump-announces-executive-order/

Once again the seniors will take a good screwing and yet they will continue to vote for the toads that are raping their benefits.

I am still working on where the logic in that sort of politics….

But I will admit I can see Trump’s point……his proposed EOs…..

The workweek came and went without a deal in Congress for pandemic relief, and that’s despite a two-hour meeting Friday with Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Treasury’s Steven Mnuchin, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Afterward, the latter two said they would recommend that Trump issue executive orders, and the president pledged to do just that in a Friday evening press conference, reports USA Today. Details are scarce—including on where the money would come from—but Trump said he planned to tackle four main issues, per the Hill:

  • Pay enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of the year
  • Defer student loan payments and forgive interest for the near future
  • Reinstate a federal moratorium on evictions
  • Defer the payroll tax until year’s end

Gridlock brought this about……

Trump signed four executive orders to act where Congress hasn’t, contending Washington’s gridlock had compelled him to act as the pandemic undermined the country’s economy and imperiled his November reelection hopes. Perhaps most crucially, Trump moved to continue paying a supplemental federal unemployment benefit for millions of Americans out of work during the outbreak.

However, his order called for up to $400 payments, one-third less than the $600 people had been receiving. Congress allowed those higher payments to lapse on Aug. 1, and negotiations to extend them have been mired in partisan gridlock, with the White House and Democrats miles apart. Now, Trump, who has not spoken with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi since last year, sought to play the role of election-year savior, with the $400 weekly assistance, as well as a deferral of payroll tax and federal student loan payments and the continuation of a freeze on some evictions during the crisis. “It’s $400 a week, and we’re doing it without the Democrats,” Trump said, asking states to cover 25% of the cost.

This according to the conservs of Lincoln Project……

This defunds Medicare.

This defunds Social Security.

Tax collection is just deferred.

You’ll still owe these taxes next year.

Stop calling it Washington gridlock…it is the Senate that does nothing and I mean NOTHING….

Image

I still think the payroll tax thing is the beginning of the assault on Social Security and Medicare……I give Trump his props for doing what the Congress could not….but I still question his motives.

Something to think about……

President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon openly vowed to permanently “terminate” the funding mechanism for both Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November—an admission that was seized upon by defenders of the popular safety net programs who have been warning for months that the administration’s threat to suspend the payroll tax in the name of economic relief during the Covid-19 pandemic was really a backdoor sabotage effort.

Announcing and then signing a series of legally dubious executive orders, including an effort to slash the emergency federal unemployment boost by $200 from the $600 previously implemented by Democrats, Trump touted his order for a payroll tax “holiday”—which experts noted would later have to be paid back—but said if he won in November that such a cut would become permanent.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/08/trump-just-admitted-live-television-he-will-terminate-social-security-and-medicare

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Come August

Closing Thought–03Aug20

Kinda reminds of a tune by Earth, Wind and Fire…..but sadly this date is some dire predictions for the economy…..

There’s a chance that the worst of the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t happened yet. According to a troubling BuzzFeed News op-ed, the real economic and societal collapse could arrive in August.

Part of the problem, according to BuzzFeed’s argument, is that many of the measures put in place by the U.S. government to mitigate the coronavirus’s impact will expire in August — while the actual pandemic will likely continue to rage. The result is that unemployed Americans could once more be vulnerable to evictions, right when federal employment payments helping keep them afloat stop coming.

Back in April, when the limited federal aid offered by the U.S. government started to arrive, American households began to save, on average, 33 percent of their income out of fears of an impending economic crash, according to the op-ed.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/economy-collapse-august

Of course the White House or maybe the Congress will offer up some stim money to head off this possibility….but will it work?

The problem is that a significant portion of the money is being funneled directly into capital buffers, leading to an increase in precautionary balances. The situation is akin to the “liquidity trap” that so worried John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression.

Today’s stimulus measures have understandably been rolled out in haste – almost in panic – to contain the economic fallout from the pandemic. And while this fire-hose approach was neither targeted nor precise, many commentators would argue that it was the only option at the time. Without a massive injection of emergency liquidity, there probably would have been widespread bankruptcies, losses of organizational capital, and an even steeper path to recovery.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/stimulus-policies-must-benefit-real-economy-not-financial-speculation-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-and-hamid-rashid-2020-06

The problem is the oligarchs always want money thrown at them and they will fix the economy…..they have not done so in 200 years and yet their wealth keeps going up….and problems still exist.

Does that tell you want these stim plans are really doing?

But not to worry….the markets are up….and yet you are still trying to find the cash to buy food or pay the rent…..how did all that stim money help you?

That brings me to a question I have asking for a very long time…..

We’ve said it before: The stock market is not the economy.

Usually, this simply means that fluctuations in the markets may have little to no real bearing on the underlying realities we think of as making up the economy. Or that there are many important structural factors that make the markets’ outlook different from how ordinary citizens view the country’s overall economic health.

But now, those usual bromides risk wildly understating the disconnect. In the time of COVID-19, the stock market couldn’t be more divorced from the United States’ broader economic situation. Although the S&P 500 tumbled sharply in March, as the coronavirus shut down large swaths of the economy, it had made back almost all of its losses by the first week of June — before dipping again and then quickly rebounding yet again.

The Economy Is A Mess. So Why Isn’t The Stock Market?

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Defund Afghanistan

These days there is lots about defunding this or that…from the police to the Pentagon……check what was written about this…….

https://lobotero.com/2020/06/09/de-fund-the-pd/

As long as we are calling for all this defunding….why not defund the US longest and costliest war…Afghanistan?

As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the Afghan health system in June, doctors rallied in Kabul, calling upon the International Monetary Fund to rescind a recently granted $220 million emergency loan to the Afghan government to help with the COVID-19 crisis. In support, Sayed Ekram Afazali, head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a local group fighting corruption, said that such “monopolization in the spending of the aid . . . creates severe vulnerabilities and it removes the trust” in the government owing to embezzlement and mismanagement. The Kabul rally is just one of many protests against government corruption in Afghanistan. Doctors in Herat, for instance, protested against unpaid salaries. In remote Ghor Province, security forces killed six protesters angry at the distribution of food aid.

These and other similar actions acknowledge a counterintuitive but simple truth: Aid to Afghanistan is accelerating state collapse because it is channeled through a government that is dysfunctional and corrupt. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the Taliban and other insurgents draw attention to government corruption and use it to “undermine public support for the government, garner recruits to their cause and weaken the government’s bargaining position during future peace negotiations.” We believe that the current system of centralized government is the cause of systemic injustices that drive this current conflict. After 20 years of this system, there are no technical fixes to corruption that could win public trust. Rather, the entire government must be defunded, dismantled, disbanded, and rebuilt anew by the Afghan people. The coming intra-Afghan dialogue will be an opportunity to do just that.

https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/commentary/defund-afghanistan

This makes perfect sense….Trump is trying to end this costly war and the Congress and Hawks are fighting that tooth and nail…..

Time for the US to come home and save the cash spent on Afghanistan….this country needs the money to repair itself and yet those idiot warmongers are looking for other spots for their expansionism.

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That 2021 Pentagon Budget

I think that the Pentagon Budget is way too high and that it makes for waste…..the new budget for 2021 was up for a vote and there was a movement to cut 10% out of the budget…..a move that I agreed with but thought it should be higher)….

Not to worry…..the M-IC owns Congress so the deal to cut the budget was defeated….and after that 37 Dems voted to approve the wasteful budget……..

Hours after the Republican Party released a coronavirus relief proposal including $0 for election assistance funding and no additional funding for cities and states as the country continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, allocating $740.5 billion to the Pentagon.  

The annual military budget bill was passed with a vote of 86-14, with 37 Democrats joining the Republicans in supporting the proposal. View the full roll call here. 

Progressives including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.),and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) voted against the bill.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/23/day-after-voting-down-10-pentagon-cut-37-senate-dems-join-gop-approve-740-billion

Not worry those VP picks are right on target…the Progressive voted “No” and the  sell out voted “yes”…..

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, two leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic vice presidential nomination, voted opposite ways Wednesday on an amendment to slash the Pentagon budget by 10% and invest the savings in healthcare, housing, and education in impoverished U.S. communities.

Warren, a co-sponsor of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), voted in favor of the measure while Harris voted against. The amendment, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), was defeated by a margin of 23-77, with 24 Democratic senators voting no. See the full roll call here.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)—one of more than a dozen potential vice presidential picks being vetted by the Biden campaign—also voted against the amendment, which would have reduced the proposed $740.5 billion Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2021 by $74 billion.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/22/top-vp-contenders-diverge-warren-votes-yes-and-harris-votes-no-slashing-pentagon

There you have it……Biden who is a centrist sell out and two of his picks for VP Duckworth and Harris….and now we know who owns those Senators.

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Buddy! Can You Spare Some Change?

Closing Thought–27Jul20

I am sure that you have been accosted by some guy/gal in front of the supermarket looking for some spare change….

The apparently this pandemic has created a problem for change….especially in the banks…..

Amid the pandemic-induced coin shortage, one Wisconsin bank has resorted to paying people who bring in their spare change. The Community State Bank’s Coin Buy Back Program will give a $5 bonus to anyone who brings in $100 worth of coins, up to a maximum bonus of $500. The bank is also waiving fees for coin counting. You don’t need to be a customer of the bank to take part, CNN reports. “Instead of buying coin from the Fed, we’re buying coin from our community,” an exec tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Hundreds of people have already participated, and the bank says the program is helping local businesses that need change for their stores.

Why a coin shortage? This story explains.

I know…I know…..who knew?

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Will Workers Be Protected?

This pandemic has shove unemployment up the worker’s butt and broke off……but Congress decided to step in an extend unemployment and try to help save the lives of laid off workers.

The problem is the bill that protected the workers is due to expire on 25 July, the CARES Act…….once it expires will Congress step up and protect workers again or will they decide to screw them hard like they do most of the time?

Some 25 million US workers are facing a reduction or outright elimination of a $600 weekly federal addition to state unemployment benefits when the supplemental payment authorized by Congress under the CARES Act expires on July 25.

In the midst of a raging pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with at least 30 million out of work and new jobless claims surpassing one million a week, the supplement is all that has been keeping many families above water. Coinciding with the impending end of a federal moratorium on evictions and the expiration of state moratoriums, the cut in jobless pay will propel millions into destitution and homelessness.

One survey found that 37 percent of renters and 26 percent of homeowners feared they could be homeless by the end of the year. Researchers at Columbia University say they expect US homelessness to increase by 45 percent compared to 2019.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/21/pers-j21.html

Since Congress only worries about party politics and could care less of the plight of the workers….I think they will find a way to screw those people that need help (as always)…..even economists see the need to extend the Act even the need to expand it a bit….

Congress is back in session, and it has a weighty task before it — figuring out what to do about the economy as COVID-19 infections spike across the country and states roll back their reopenings. One central point of tension: the $600-per-week supplemental unemployment insurance benefit that was enacted in March as part of the CARES Act and is set to expire on July 31.

Democrats have proposed extending the payment until jobless rates in states fall below a certain threshold. Republicans, meanwhile, are leery of continuing the full payments, saying they will discourage people from returning to work. And it’s true that research has shown that many workers are making more money on the beefed-up benefits than they would be at their old jobs.

Economists Think Congress Should Keep Paying Unemployed Workers $600 A Week — Or Even More

Time to end these damn wars and use the money saved where it is most needed…..in this country to help those that are paying for the wars.

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Remember Dodd-Frank?

Does anyone remember the days around 2008?

The financial collapse….remember now?

Well after the collapse Congress did all they could to make things better for the society and spawned the rooks on Wall Street…..it was called Dodd-Frank.

In case you have no damn idea what I am talking about…..

Dodd-Frank is also geared toward protecting consumers with rules like keeping borrowers from abusive lending and mortgage practices by banks.

It became the law of the land in 2010 and was named after Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), who were the sponsors of the legislation.

But not all of the provisions are in place and some rules are subject to change, as we’ll see.

The bill contains some 16 major areas of reform and contains hundreds of pages, but we will focus here on what are considered the major rules of regulation.

https://www.cnbc.com/id/47075854

Basically the Congress allowed the industry to write the bill and then makes it look like someone is protected……you are NOT!

The pandemic has created a similar situation,,,,and Congress is doing what it always does….bails out the crooks as a solution to the problem….

Big business and banks are just as corrupt and eager to shovel profits to senior executives 10 years after the landmark banking reform legislation known as Dodd-Frank as they were during the 2008 crisis, a new report warns, because the bill’s regulations on executive pay remain unimplemented.

“White collar crime pays, and until Congress enacts the rules to change it, we’ll continue to see top executives raking in off catastrophes of their own making,” report author Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, said in a statement.

The report lists billions in bonus cash paid out to executives over the past decade despite Dodd-Frank’s regulatory framework banning such cash-outs.

“It’s 2008 all over again,” said Naylor. “Congress is bailing out Big Business and enriching CEOs while workers scrape by as the economy lurches downward in a pandemic.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/21/white-collar-crime-pays-decade-after-dodd-frank-executives-still-lining-their

Once again the Congress is only protecting their donors……. they care NOTHING for the “people”……and yet we are to believe that they have our best interests at heart……

Time for them to have a wake up call….and the people take back the government that began with them in mind and has gone so far off the original track.

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Pandemics Helped Build Mega-Corporations

Yes I know another one of the professor’s historic posts……history is where it is at people.

I read an interesting article about pandemics and how they helped build the mega-corporations….but first a little background from earlier posts here on IST……

https://lobotero.com/2020/03/28/pandemics-in-history/

https://lobotero.com/2020/04/01/more-plague-history/

There have been many pandemics through history and each time someone dies and others profit……

In June 1348, people in England began reporting mysterious symptoms. They started off as mild and vague: headaches, aches, and nausea. This was followed by painful black lumps, or buboes, growing in the armpits and groin, which gave the disease its name: bubonic plague. The last stage was a high fever, and then death.

Originating in Central Asia, soldiers and caravans had brought bubonic plague – Yersina pestis, a bacterium carried on fleas that lived on rats – to ports on the Black Sea. The highly commercialised world of the Mediterranean ensured the plague’s swift transfer on merchant ships to Italy, and then across Europe. The Black Death killed between a third and a half of the population of Europe and the Near East.

This huge number of deaths was accompanied by general economic devastation. With a third of the workforce dead, the crops could not be harvested and communities fell apart. One in ten villages in England (and in Tuscany and other regions) were lost and never re-founded. Houses fell into the ground and were covered by grass and earth, leaving only the church behind. If you ever see a church or chapel all alone in a field, you are probably looking at the last remains of one of Europe’s lost villages.

https://theconversation.com/how-pandemics-past-and-present-fuel-the-rise-of-mega-corporations-137732

Throughout history there are winners and losers……usually it is the working stiffs that lose out and those with the money that make out like bandits…..

Think this is not the case?

Let’s look at Bezos……in one day during this pandemic…..

How do you treat yourself when you make $13 billion in one day? We’ll have to ask Jeff Bezos, who, per Bloomberg, saw that amount added to his net worth Monday, the largest single-day boost to one person’s wealth since the Bloomberg Billionaires Index began in 2012. A big part of his newfound windfall: Amazon shares rising 7.9% Monday (they’ve been up 73% so far this year). The 56-year-old Amazon founder has made $74 billion in 2020, bringing his overall fortune up to nearly $190 billion—more than what Nike or McDonald’s is worth. Earlier this year, Business Insider reported

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Closing Thought–22Jul20

This pandemic has done major damage to the working class…..they have seen the wages disappear and their livelihood shrink to nothing. In other words it has been devastating to the economy….well not so devastating for some…..some have made out like bandits without guns…..

How wonderful!  I am so glad that billionaires keep making lots of cash while the rest of society suffers.

Time for society to fight back.

Time for these slackers to do their part for this society.

The time has come……period!

Have you been impressed with the Dems handling of the economic pandemic?

Re-think your “atta boys”…..

Some 25 million US workers are facing a reduction or outright elimination of a $600 weekly federal addition to state unemployment benefits when the supplemental payment authorized by Congress under the CARES Act expires on July 25.

In the midst of a raging pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with at least 30 million out of work and new jobless claims surpassing one million a week, the supplement is all that has been keeping many families above water. Coinciding with the impending end of a federal moratorium on evictions and the expiration of state moratoriums, the cut in jobless pay will propel millions into destitution and homelessness.

One survey found that 37 percent of renters and 26 percent of homeowners feared they could be homeless by the end of the year. Researchers at Columbia University say they expect US homelessness to increase by 45 percent compared to 2019.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/21/pers-j21.html

STOP! believing the hype that Dems are the friends of the working class….it is a CON!

A closing thought…..we know how much Trump hates China and has gone out of his way to sanction them, right?

If that is true why has he ordered about 8 tons of stuff?

President Donald Trump’s US properties imported more than eight tons of Chinese goods since September, according to a CNN analysis. 

More than six tons of tables were shipped to Trump International Hotel in New York last fall and two tons of cabinets were delivered to Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles in May, CNN reported.

On the 2016 campaign trail and throughout his presidency, Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices and pledged to address the trade deficit between the two countries.

As part of his “America First” policy, Trump entered a months-long tariff war with Beijing and has pressured American companies to redirect their business within the U.S.

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-owned-properties-imported-more-than-8-tons-of-chinese-goods-2020-7

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