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About Me

  1. Governor Laura Kelly Signs “Axe the Food Tax” Bill, Providing Relief for Kansans Bill Will Completely Eliminate the State’s Sales Tax on Groceries by 2025, Putting Money Back into Kansans’ Wallets TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly signed bipartisan legislation, House Bill 2106, that will “Axe the Food Tax,” eliminating the state sales tax on groceries. Cutting the food tax will provide Kansans with much-needed fiscal relief, especially as costs continue to rise. House Bill 2106 will completely eliminate the food sales tax by 2025. https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-laura-kelly-signs-axe-the-food-tax-bill-providing-relief-for-kansans/
  2. See this is the problem with globalism... ABC News: Russia cuts off gas exports to Finland in symbolic move Russia has halted natural gas exports to neighboring Finland HELSINKI -- Russia halted gas exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a highly symbolic move that came just days after the Nordic country announced it wanted to join NATO and marked a likely end to Finland's nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia. The measure taken by the Russian energy giant Gazprom was in line with an earlier announcement following Helsinki’s refusal to pay for the gas in rubles as Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded European countries do since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. As other countries should have learned when China stated they would withhold medical protection equipment, (gloves, masks and gowns) and antibiotics and other medicine from the United States during the pandemic with a China state-run media outlet warning China 'could impose pharmaceutical export controls which would plunge America into “the mighty sea of coronavirus”... Then we saw the near shutdown of appliance and automobile manufacturing in the U.S. because of a "chip shortage", the majority of which are purchased from overseas sources. When a country controls the materials or resources other countries depend on to sustain their operations all it takes is someone from that supplying country deciding to flick a switch - or threatening to flick a switch to bring the economy of an importing nation to a near halt... Just a few years ago the news media and the government was touting "America's Energy Independence". Now the president is begging foreign nations, many of them less than friendly to the United States to sell us more oil. Currently America produces a great deal of light sweet crude oil, but most of our refineries are configured to process heavier sour crude oil and the government heavily regulates the construction of new refineries so none or few can be built to process our plentiful domestic product. I fully understand anyone, including nations, wanting to be able to get the biggest bang for their buck, but when doing so puts an entire nation at the mercy of foreign interests I feel that's a recipe for disaster.
  3. I was sitting in a waiting room and the lounge TV was turned to FOX news, contrary to what anyone would claim I don't usually watch FOX or any mainstream media news network as a rule preferring to get my news from the internet, that way I can more successfully skip past they hype, commentary and not have to listen to people trying to tell me what something means or what I should think about any given subject... I caught part of a broadcast segment talking about what our elected officials were prioritizing with record inflation, skyrocketing gasoline and food prices that has already negated most of the COLA seniors on Social Security received in January, oil and gas shortages, cities with out of control crime, COVID is still a major problem in many areas of the nation, supply shortages, millions of foreign nationals traveling across our southern border, memos suggesting the parents of children are "domestic terrorists" and politicians calling parents opposed to subjects like sexual identity and critical race theory in grade school classes "white supremacists". Iran recently sent a volley of rockets into a United States consulate complex in northern Iraq while at the same time Russia and China are trying to mediate conditions as the Biden administration attempts to restart the Iran nuclear deal - and beg Iran for imports of oil from that nation. China is saber rattling threatening "retaliation" if the United States sanctions China if they actively support or supply Russia during it's war with Ukraine... and let's not forget the all important issues of climate change. Which of these dire issues did Congress decide to address? Well actually - none of them... The elected officials of the United States Senate sought to better represent their constituency by passing a bill to "make Daylight Savings Time permanent" which ironically means doing away with the need to change our clocks twice a year thus eliminating anything resembling daylight savings adjustments. Meanwhile the elected officials in the House of Representatives sought to better represent their constituency by passing the CROWN Act of 2022 making it a crime to discriminate against anyone because of their preferred "hair style", like cornrows, braids, twists, afros. According to the bill's text: This Act may be cited as the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2021” or the “CROWN Act of 2021”. But of course with the possible exception of afros individual hair styles like braids, twists and cornrows are not really "Natural Hair" styles they are examples of coiffured or styled hair. Anywho, how's that for and example of what our elected officials think of as priority considerations needing their immediate attention?
  4. ABC News: Worker pay rises strongly as businesses fight to fill jobs Wages and salaries rose at a healthy pace in the three months ended in June as employers competed to find enough workers to fill millions of available jobs Wages and salaries rose at a healthy pace in the three months ended in June as employers competed to find enough workers to fill millions of available jobs. Pay increased 1% in the second quarter for workers in the private sector, the Labor Department said Friday. That's down slightly from 1.1% in the first three months of the year but still the second-highest reading in more than a decade. Businesses are being forced to offer higher compensation to attract workers, as customer demand has soared in the spring as the pandemic faded. Companies, particularly in the restaurant and retail industries, are offering sign-on bonuses, wages as high as $15 an hour, and benefits such as retirement plans and pet insurance. The unemployment rate is elevated at 5.9% and millions of Americans are out of work, yet there are also a record number of job openings. Economists say it will take time for the unemployed to match with the right jobs. abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/worker-pay-rises-strongly-businesses-fight-fill-jobs When companies and industries hurt for employees they will voluntarily change their wages and hiring benefits to better match local markets. it doesn't take a great brain to figure out the federal government's usual cookie cutter one size fits all doesn't fit everyone. For years everyone has been saying more than anything, small businesses drive the American economy and more than anyone else a federal mandate on wages more significantly impact small businesses - particularly in smaller cities, towns and rural areas. $13 to $15 in an area like Southeast Kansas is usually considered an above average starting wage in places like Los Angeles and New York a $15 minimum wage won't even pay the rent. Just find the statement Pete Buttigieg's husband made about the high costs of rent for a small apartment in DC to see I'm right. BI: Chasten Buttigieg says he and Pete couldn't afford more than a 1-bedroom apartment in DC businessinsider.com/chasten-buttigieg-pete-couldnt-afford-more-than-1-bedroom-dc Advocate: Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, addressed the subject in a profile published Monday in The Washington Post. The Buttigiegs live in a one-bedroom apartment in an upscale building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where their rent comes out to about $3,000 a month because they signed a long-term lease that gave them a couple months free. “We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,” Chasten Buttigieg said. And that’s on the Transportation secretary’s annual salary of $221,400. Monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in the building are $5,650 and up. “We’re doing fine for ourselves, and [yet] the city is almost unaffordable,” he told the Post. “Which tells you how extremely unaffordable it is for many people.” advocate.com/politics/2021/7/26/long-way-south-bend-chasten-buttigieg-living-costly-dc Of course not everyone needs to live in an apartment building with enhanced security, close to the nation's Capitol where their spouse can easily drive to where he can offload his bicycle to ride the rest of the way to work, but even regular people not earning $18,450 a month along with additional Congressional perks say: "the rent is just too damned high" in a lot of places and whether or not some are honest enough to admit it, when product and services costs go up one of the usual ways businesses compensate for that loss is to raise prices to the consumer. So what's the answer? I believe we're seeing it now... if a business is hurting for employees they will sweeten the wage and benefit offerings to attract more applicants - no federal mandate needed and each business can adjust their wages and offering to more correctly reflect local market costs. If rents are too high and no one moves in to those buildings complex owners will lower the prices to attract more residents - but then we should consider not everyone gets to (or needs to) live in the Ritz Tower either.
  5. Reuters: AUGUST 6, 2011 United States loses prized AAA credit rating from S&P The United States lost its top-tier AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday in an unprecedented blow to the world’s largest economy in the wake of a political battle that took the country to the brink of default. A compromise reached by Republicans and Democrats this week calls for creation of a bipartisan congressional committee to find $1.5 trillion of deficit cuts by late November, beyond the $917 billion already identified. reuters.com/article/us-usa-debt-downgrade/united-states-loses-prized-aaa-credit-rating-from-sp Reuters: September 30, 2021 S&P says U.S. risks severe downgrade but it expects debt ceiling fix S&P Global Ratings on Thursday warned of "severe and extraordinary" consequences for financial markets if the United States defaults on its debt, although it added it expects the U.S. Congress will ultimately address the debt ceiling in a timely manner. "It would be unprecedented in modern times for an advanced G-7 country, like the U.S., to default on its sovereign debt," S&P said in a bulletin. Joydeep Mukherji, credit analyst for the United States, warned that a default would prompt the credit rating agency to slash its rating for the country with the world's biggest economy to D, its lowest level. "We don't think it's going to happen," he told Reuters. "That's why we have a AA-plus rating, the second highest on our scale." In 2011, S&P downgraded the top rating of the United States by a notch to its current AA-plus level. reuters.com/business/finance/sp-says-it-expects-us-congress-address-debt-ceiling-time-2021-09-30/ I imagine there are some who would like to immediately jump in with their usual 'blame the Republicans' diatribe but keep in mind it takes two to tango... or in this case tangle, which puts both the Republicans and Democrats on the firing line... More notably in this case is what I perceive as the infighting within the Democrat party between progressives and moderates... not that there wasn't infighting among the Republicans between the TEA party members and their Republican counterparts previously. The more things change the more they stay the same it appears.
  6. Interesting Engineering: Oct 08, 2021 Tesla Is Moving Its Headquarters to Texas from California It means lower taxes and more affordable housing for the employees. https://interestingengineering.com/tesla-is-moving-its-headquarters-to-texas-from-california?
  7. CNN Business: (June 8, 2021) Chipotle raises its menu prices New York -- Chipotle raised its menu prices by about 3.5% to 4% to cover the cost of higher wages for employees, the company's Chief Financial Officer John Hartung said Tuesday. "You take about a 4% price increase to cover the dollar cost of the extra labor," he told an analyst during a conference. Chipotle (CMG) announced in May that it would increase restaurant worker pay to an average of $15 per hour. cnn.com/2021/06/08/business/chipotle-menu-prices/index.html reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/chipotle-raises-menu-prices-employee-costs-increase cnbc.com/2021/06/08/chipotle-hikes-prices-to-cover-the-cost-of-raising-wages Of course the Covid Pandemic and workers unavailable or refusing to go back to work is also having an effect, and not just here in America... CBS News: (JUNE 4, 2021) "Shrinkflation" is hitting the grocery aisles as companies charge the same amount for less The rising price of everything from berries to corn is placing food producers and grocery stores in a bind, pushing them to decide whether to increase the sticker price or to shrink the package and charge the same amount. Because many shoppers tend to base their purchasing decisions on price, rather than examining the weight of the package, some producers and grocers are opting for the latter. "If you are a manufacturer or retailer, you have a couple of choices — you can keep prices the same, which means you have lower margins. Second, you can run fewer promotions, and that definitely happened in the last year," said Anne-Marie Roerink, the founder of market research firm 210 Analytics. "And the third measure is to keep prices the same but have a little less in the box." cbsnews.com/news/grocery-prices-rise-supermarkets/
  8. CNN: States are so flush with funds, many are cutting taxes Nine states have passed legislation to reduce individual or corporate income tax rates that is awaiting governors' signatures or has been enacted, according to Katherine Loughead, senior policy analyst at the right-leaning Tax Foundation. In some, the reductions are retroactive to January 1, but in others, the cuts don't take effect until next year. In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine was set to sign a two-year budget bill on Wednesday that reduces income tax rates and boosts the bottom bracket so more low-income earners will be exempted. But it also eliminates the top bracket for those earning more than $221,300. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, last month signed legislation cutting individual income tax rates by 0.25 percentage point. That reduces the top rate from 5% to 4.75%, the sixth lowest among states that levy income taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. Also, the state's corporate income tax rate will fall from 6% to 4%, tying it with Missouri's for the second lowest in the nation, behind North Carolina, among states with corporate income taxes. Meanwhile, Idaho's Republican Gov. Brad Little touted in May that state officials had enacted the largest tax cut legislation in state history -- providing more than $435 million in relief over two measures. A tax bill signed in May provides $220 million in one-time income tax rebates to residents -- providing a minimum payment of $50 per taxpayer and dependent or about 9% of the tax amount reported on residents' 2019 state income tax forms, whichever is higher. The legislation also includes $163 million in ongoing tax reductions. It trims the number of income tax brackets to five, from seven, and lowers the top individual and corporate tax rates to 6.5%, from 6.925%. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed a bill creating a state-level earned income tax credit in May, after more than a dozen years of advocacy by consumer groups. In Arizona, the state budget that GOP Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to sign collapses the state's tax brackets into two -- a 2.55% and a 2.98% rate. A flat rate of 2.5% could take effect in the future depending on the amount of general fund revenue that is raised. "We're giving a bulk of the surplus dollars back to the people who earned them -- to you," Ducey said in a video message, highlighting that the budget contains the largest tax cut in state history. "This budget puts a giant 'Open for Business' sign on the state of Arizona. We will remain competitive and continue to attract good-paying jobs," https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/politics/states-tax-cuts/index.html **CNN article prints; "nine states" are reducing taxes but only lists 5 states as providing reduced tax benefits for their citizens and businesses
  9. Market Watch: The numbers: The U.S. created just 266,000 new jobs in April on a seasonally adjusted basis even as the economy gained strength, suggesting companies might be struggling to fill open jobs even with millions of people still unemployed. The increase in new jobs fell well short of Wall Street’s forecast. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had estimated 1 million new jobs. “The April jobs report was a huge disappointment,” said senior chief economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services. marketwatch.com/u-s-gains-disappointing-266-000-jobs-in-april For some reason people aren't returning to work... Theories abound as to why, even without everything being open there are an estimated 1.5 qualifies workers for available open jobs, yet jobs remain unfilled. Some talking heads claim it is a remnant fear of Covid that's keeping people at home unwilling to return to work and some claim people out of work are being paid, and paid well - more than they earned at their jobs, so why would they want to return to work unless they just had to? Responding to the abysmal labor market report president Biden at a press conference announced he has a plan. Spend more taxpayer money and provide workers refusing to return to their jobs even less reason to return to work. NBC: Biden seizes on disappointing job numbers to make the case for his $4 trillion in spending plans President Joe Biden argued that Friday's disappointing employment numbers are evidence Congress should pass his $4 trillion infrastructure and jobs package to jumpstart the economy — and are not a byproduct of his policies as Republicans contended. Republicans pointed to the lackluster growth as evidence that the president's policies are discouraging people from working. Biden wants Congress to pass a $2.3 trillion spending bill that would fund everything from new bridges and electric vehicle charging stations to helping families pay for elder care. He’s also asking Congress to fund a second $2 trillion package that would provide free pre-K education, extend a child tax credit and help defray child care costs. But some economists say employers, particularly in the restaurant and entertainment industry, have been struggling to find workers because Biden's relief package which included extended pandemic benefits for the unemployed, is deterring some workers from returning to their old job or seeking out a new position. Bank of America estimates that for those who were earning less than $32,000 a year before the pandemic, unemployment pays more than their former job. And, the bank estimates, that could keep 1 million people out of the workforce. After the jobs report, the Chamber of Commerce called for an end to the extra $300 in federal unemployment benefits, saying it's keeping people from returning to work. nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-seizes-disappointing-job-numbers-make-case-for-4-trillion-in-more-gov-spending U.S. Chamber of Commerce: U.S. Chamber Calls for Ending $300 Weekly Supplemental Unemployment Benefits to Address Labor Shortages Friday, May 7, 2021 - 9:45am “The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market. We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions poses to our economic recovery from the pandemic. One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working.” uschamber.com/press-release/us-chamber-calls-ending-300-weekly-supplemental-unemployment-benefits-address-labor In September of 2020 Fortune reported: More than 97,966 businesses have permanently shut down during the pandemic, according to Yelp.com's Local Economic Impact Report. Presently the number of small businesses shuttered for good because of the pandemic and mandated shutdowns exceeds 100,000 nationally. That's more than 100,000 auto shops, dry cleaners, beauty salons, barber shops, daycare centers for the young and old, community watering holes and mom and pop restaurants. Businesses no longer contributing to local economies with goods, services and jobs and will not recover despite the money the federal government throws at their proposed "infrastructure" project.
  10. The concept of a Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT) isn't new, it's been considered and rejected a number of times because the undeniable end result would be increased prices on goods purchased by end user consumers. Particularly hard hit would be the poor and those on a fixed incomes. Look for the prices of everything to go up if a newly considered Biden administration tax is approved... CNBC: Vehicle mileage tax could be on the table in infrastructure talks, Buttigieg says Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation secretary, said a vehicle mileage tax could be on the table in infrastructure talks. He contends that President Joe Biden’s forthcoming plans to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges and waterways would lead to a net gain for the U.S. taxpayer. A vehicle mileage tax could be on the table in talks about how to finance the White House’s expected multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg, who spoke with CNBC’s Kayla Tausche on Friday, also contended that President Joe Biden’s forthcoming plans to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges and waterways would lead to a net gain for the U.S. taxpayer and not a net outlay. “When you think about infrastructure, it’s a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment,” he said. “That’s one of many reasons why we think this is so important. This is a jobs vision as much as it is an infrastructure vision, a climate vision and more.” He also weighed in on several potential revenue-generating options to fund the project. He spoke fondly of a mileage levy, which would tax travelers based on the distance of the journey instead of on how much gasoline they consume. “A so-called vehicle-miles-traveled tax or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it,” he said. Democrats have slowly pivoted away from a gasoline tax in favor of a mileage tax amid a simultaneous, climate friendly effort to encourage consumers to drive electric cars. cnbc.com/2021/03/26/buttigieg-says-white-house-is-weighing-mileage-levy-to-fund-infrastructure Interesting concept and not one that I am totally opposed to, but as I mentioned at the beginning transportation companies who deliver goods whether to initial or middle processors and end user sellers consumers will be impacted by a Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT) and of course since they will have to pay more for this transportation tax, they will have to find some way to recover the added cost outlay... The easiest and most predictable way for them to do so is to raise the price of their transportation services which in turn will cause the processors and sellers to raise their prices to recover their added costs. Then take into consideration that those working who have to drive (or ride) to their places of employment, public services like police, fire, ambulances, utility workers, U.S. mail and private package delivery companies will also have to contribute for this proposed VMT unless legislation excludes them from it so also look for state and local taxes to go up as well. On a side note, I'm wondering how much positivity a federal government raise in the minimum wage to $15 is going to help, if the cost of everything from apples to zucchini (and all the non food items in between as well) get increased?
  11. ABC: House Democrats pass $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, handing Biden major victory All House Republicans voted against, objecting to the cost. House Democrats on Wednesday passed a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill with the goal of having it on President Joe Biden’s desk by the end of the week, just days before key federal unemployment benefits start to expire for many workers on March 14. By a 220-211 vote -- with no Republicans voting in favor -- Democrats handed Biden a crucial first legislative victory. The White House said he would sign the measure into law on Friday. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer formally signed the bill with the National Mall providing the backdrop. "This is a momentous day in the history of our country because we have passed historic, consequential, and transformative legislation," Pelosi said. "Help is on the way!" Schumer exclaimed multiple times from the podium. One Democrat joined Republicans in voting against the measure. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine had cited concerns about the cost and scope of the legislation. Republicans took issue with the price tag and billions going to what they called unrelated items on the Democrats' "wish list." "It’s a real tragedy when you look at that package, we know that the results of that package are going to be middle-class tax increases, we know for sure that it includes provisions that are not targeted, they’re not temporary, they’re not related to COVID, and it didn’t have to be this way," House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney said Tuesday. abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-democrats-pass-19-trillion-covid-19-relief
  12. FOX: New McDonald's drive-thru is using AI technology to take orders, make suggestions The AI technology takes the order, while human employees can focus on accuracy and quality The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of changes to restaurants. Since many casual restaurants had to close their doors and switch to take-out only, people were ordering fast food even more than usual. And because the "grab-and-go" factor is already a perk of fast-food restaurants, it was basically a no-brainer for those who hoped grab a meal and maintain social distancing. Now, McDonald’s, one of the pioneers of modern fast food, has decided to step it up when it comes to efficiency and consistent service. Somewhere in a Chicago suburb, an AI is currently taking drive-thru orders. foxnews.com/food-drink/new-mcdonalds-drive-thru-ai-technology-take-orders And on a side note Headline 2032: After yet another costly fast food industry worker's strike for an increase in the minimum wage for unskilled workers to $27.50 an hour, Mc Donald's has introduced the latest in fast food service technology replacing 62 out of 68 human workers with automated customer self service kiosks, the McD's patented drive-thru AI, "McFlippy" the short order cook and the patent pending drink and non fried foods service automaton.
  13. For me it's reminiscent of the 1988 famous last words from the HW Bush campaign... "Read my lips... No new taxes" And Obama's multiple remarks, one of the many (and my favorite) being before the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009: "I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." Honestly I hope what VP elect Harris says Biden will do, He will do... however given the tremendous amount of promises he's committed to in his campaign, along with what the people who supported and voted for him seem to expect him to do in return for their support and votes to get him into office, let's just say I remain a bit skeptical the only people who will see a hike in their taxes are those making $400,000 or more. Related:
  14. Covid-19: Pandemic Causing Deadly Delays in Cancer Diagnosis Depression Symptoms 3 Times Higher During COVID-19 Lockdown Coronavirus: 'Isolation' of drug and alcohol addiction {up} under lockdown When lockdown is not actually safer: Intimate partner violence {increases} during COVID-19 Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents World's billionaires get even richer during the coronavirus pandemic Poor Americans Hit Hardest by Job Losses Amid Lockdowns, Fed Says U.S. now has 22 million unemployed, wiping out a decade of job gains 'I Can't Keep Doing This:' Small-Business Owners Are Giving Up Medical and health experts have expressed concern that during the Coronavirus lockdown and pandemic, needed physical and diagnostic visits have declined, Cancer screening in particular declined by nearly 50%. Along with this an alarming increase in people identified with symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger issues, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence have become more prevalent. As I've repeatedly said, Covid it a new thing and we all are still trying to learn the best steps to take to deal with it. This pandemic, the steps taken to mitigate and recover from it as well as suggested 'recommendations' from the health and scientific community continues to evolve as more clinical research and scientific data, specific to this infection is studied. "Lockdown" seems like a perfectly good recommendation, that is until the associated personal health, economic and social disadvantages begin to be examined... One difference not mentioned in the many articles I've read about various states and their individual approach to their own economic and medical precautions is it seems president Trump wants to leave the power to impose recommendations to those individual states, their leaders and health officials with the assistance of the federal government if needed - Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden seems to think the federal government should be able to proclaim cookie cutter national mandates, regardless of the circumstances or consequences to individual states - **Yes, we need to protect the health of the people so they can once again return to the viable economically secure world they know. But we also have to take steps to make sure their are viable nations, business and economies for them to return to. USA Today: WHO discourages lockdowns as US hospitalizations climb; 11 states set records for new COVID-19 cases (October 11, 2020) Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization’s special envoy on COVID-19, urged world leaders this week to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method" for blunting a virus surge. “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro told "The Spectator." Nabarro said lockdowns can only be justified "to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted. But by and large, we’d rather not do it.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/10/11/covid-hospitalizations-up Politico: (August 2020) Joe Biden says he’d lock down US if needed for coronavirus It’s the strongest action the Democratic presidential nominee has suggested to stop the virus. https://www.politico.eu/article/biden-says-hed-lock-down-us-if-spread-of-coronavirus-warranted-it/ Biden's Commitment to National Lockdown https://www.realclearhealth.com/2020/08/25/biden039s_commitment_to_national_lockdown_280926.html CNBC: (August 2020) Trump says nationwide lockdown would ‘ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent’ https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/03/trump-says-nationwide-lockdown-would-ultimately-inflict-more-harm-than-it-would-prevent.htm
  15. CNN: US stocks plummet on coronavirus fears: March 9, 2020... And in response, CNN: Trump pushes payroll tax cut and assistance for hourly workers in coronavirus economic response "President Donald Trump said Monday he would press lawmakers to enact a payroll tax cut and ensure assistance is available to hourly workers amid a roiling coronavirus pandemic that's caused deep economic concerns and stock market shock. >>> "We are going to be asking tomorrow, we're seeing the Senate. We're going to be meeting with House Republicans, Mitch McConnell, everybody discussing a possible payroll tax cut or relief, substantial relief," Trump said, surrounded by officials he'd tasked to respond to the issue. "We're also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position where they're not going to ever miss a paycheck," he added. The White House has also weighed an expansion of paid sick leave — a major focus for some White House officials, who fear the virus could spread further if service workers go to work sick. The president and his advisers have put it on the table and now it's Congresses turn to act - or not. Will the Democrats attempt to rebuff the administration's plan just because Trump proposed it? We shall see ~
  16. ABC News: The Dow Jones reaches 29,000 for the 1st time in history https://abcnews.go.com/Business/dow-jones-broke-29000-1st-time-history CNN: Dow hits a new record: 29,000 points https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/10/investing/dow-stock-market-29000 NBC News: Dow soars past 29,000 for first time, brushing off weak jobs report https://www.nbcnews.com/business/markets/dow-soars-past-29-000-first-time-brushing-weak-jobs
  17. Bloomberg Financial News: U.S. Companies' Repatriated Cash Hits $1 Trillion Under Tax Law Corporations have brought back more than $1 trillion of overseas profits to the U.S. since Congress overhauled the international tax system and prodded companies to repatriate offshore funds, a report showed Thursday. Even so, the total remains well short of the $4 trillion President Donald Trump said would return as a result of the 2017 tax law. The flow rose to $95.3 billion in the third quarter from a downwardly revised $70.4 billion in the previous three months, according to Commerce Department data, reaching a total of $1.04 trillion since the end of 2017. Investment banks and think tanks have estimated that American corporations held $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion in offshore cash at the time the law was enacted. Before the overhaul, companies were incentivized to keep profits overseas because they owed a 35% tax when bringing it back and could defer payment by keeping funds offshore. The law set a one-time 15.5% tax rate on cash and 8% on non-cash or illiquid assets. The repatriation figures were included in the quarterly report on the current-account deficit, which narrowed by $1.1 billion to $124.1 billion in the July-to-September period. The gap is considered the broadest measure of international trade because it includes income payments and government transfers. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-19/u-s-companies-repatriated-cash-hits-1-trillion-under-tax-law
  18. Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate; John Delaney speaks about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's health plan which would raise taxes on wealthiest Americans. It isn't about "Taxing the Rich" that Obama and his supporters kept calling for, it never was. It wasn't even about "raising the taxes on the rich"... The truth or reality is, the rich already pay their fair share and more in income taxes... Its about revising the tax code, making it simpler, doing away with deductions and loopholes that the wealthy primarily use to keep more of the money they make. John Kevin Delaney (D-MD) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician who is running for President of the United States in 2020. He was the United States Representative for Maryland's 6th congressional district from 2013 to 2019 and he is what's known as a "centrist" (or moderate) Democrat. Of course I think wealthy Americans should pay more, but so far no Democrat plan that I know of has come up with anything that makes sense but Delaney hits the nail on the head within the first couple of sentences on the topic: CNN Video: Delaney: "I think I should pay more in tax, I think wealthy Americans should pay more in tax, but we have to have a real solution. The real solution is to raise the capital gains rate. There is no reason why people who invest for a living should pay less than people who work for a living, that's ridiculous. It's the biggest loophole in our tax code." {**Audience applause**} https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/07/30/john-delaney-net-worth-elizabeth-warren-tax-plan-cnn-democratic-debate-vpx.cnn
  19. I'm certainly not opposed to anyone being able to earn a living wage, but what defines the term "living wage" is more often than not a variable depending on where and how people choose or are forced to live, but I am not in favor of any government mandating a standard wage that will ultimately cost jobs or see businesses go under. NY Times: $15 Minimum Wage Would Reduce Poverty but Cost Jobs, Congress Told in Report https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/08/us/politics/federal-minimum-wage.html As the job market continues to strengthen businesses and states are raising the minimum wage on their own as can be afforded to attract and keep employees - no federal mandate needed - and as for the argument that without a mandated minimum wage hike some businesses just won't raise their wages for the most part jobs, particularly higher paying jobs have always been awarded to the best qualified, most skilled and better trained candidates. With the less skilled, minimal training and lower qualification jobs with lower the wages considered entry level jobs - not a usually considered anyone's chosen career path and workers should be incentivized to become (or see to it their children are) better trained, more skilled and qualified to have better jobs and a higher standard of living. Reuters: House passes bill to raise federal minimum wage to $15 an hour The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by October 2025, a big win for workers and labor groups, even as it remained unlikely the bill would pass a Republican-controlled Senate. The Democratic-majority House approved the legislation titled Raise the Wage Act, in a mostly partisan vote of 231-199. Only three Republicans voted for it, while six Democrats opposed it. Many Republicans and business groups have argued that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would hurt jobs, forcing businesses to hire fewer people and replacing jobs with automation. Several Republican lawmakers cited a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office last week, which estimated the move will boost wages for 17 million workers but at the same time, 1.3 million workers would lose their jobs. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-minimum-wage/house-passes-bill-to-raise-federal-minimum-wage-to-15-an-hour As some in Washington and the pubic continue to push for a manditory $15 federal minimum wage nationwide according to the publicly available LIVING WAGE CALCULATOR from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in four American States that $15 figure is already too low to offer those who receive it a "living wage". In some states the proposed $15 an hour raise leaves very little left over after basic living expenses and in about half of the contiguous American states $15 will indeed significantly raise (by about $5-$8 an hour) the average wages for those states... but may wind up costing jobs because businesses will hire fewer workers or businesses may cut back on employee hours. But as I already pointed our in previous threads the most common effect of a federal mandated raise in the minimum wage will likely be higher prices to the consumer, and a reduction in worker hours... CNBC: Higher minimum wage means restaurants raise prices and fewer employee hours, survey finds For restaurants, minimum wage hikes usually mean higher menu prices and fewer employee hours, according to a survey released Wednesday. Harri, a workplace management software company that works with restaurants, surveyed 173 restaurants between Feb. 28 and March 15 about the impact of raising the minimum wage. The respondents represent more than 4,000 restaurant locations ranging from fine dining to fast food. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/10/higher-minimum-wage-means-restaurants-raise-prices-and-fewer-employee-hours-survey-finds.html That is if businesses aren't forced to shutdown all together... restaurant business online: RESTAURANTS UNLIMITED DECLARES BANKRUPTCY The casual-dining operator closed six locations and blamed rising minimum wages and shifting consumer tastes for the filing. In their bankruptcy filing, Restaurants Unlimited brought up the rising minimum wages in several West Coast cities where they operate restaurants, including Seattle, San Francisco and Portland. The chain previously drew negative customer feedback for adding a one percent “living wage” surcharge to all bills in 2016. https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/restaurants-unlimited-declares-bankruptcy https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-08/upscale-restaurant-chain-goes-bust-blaming-progressive-wages
  20. Common sense informed a few of us that businesses would raise their wages on their own as the economy improved and as needed to find and retain workers... of course liberals, Democrats, Progressives and even a few Republicans called those of us who suggested something like that "haters", greedy and derisive of the poor and minimum wage employees. Well it seems as it turns out, those of us who suggested businesses would increase their employee wages on their own, as they were able to, were right all along... KOIN-CBS Local: Minimum wage increases by 50 cents in Oregon Minimum wage varies across the state of Oregon PORTLAND, Ore. — Minimum wage workers in Oregon received a 50 cent raise on Monday as part of a phased-in series of annual increases. The bump in pay impacted about 162,000 Oregonians. The Oregon State Legislature in 2016 approved a set of increases in the minimum wage until 2022, when the wage will be tied to inflation. For the Portland metro area, the minimum wage will top out at $14.75 an hour. The legislation also created Oregon’s unique three-tier minimum wage system to take into account differences in the state’s urban and rural regions. In the Portland metro area, the minimum wage increased from $12 to $12.50. The standard wage is now $11.25 an hour for more than a dozen counties, including Marion, Yamhill and Tillamook. In nonurban counties, the pay was bumped to $11. https://www.koin.com/news/oregon/on-monday-162k-oregonians-will-get-a-raise/ In 2017, 19 states local governments voted to Increase Minimum Wage - ABC News: 19 States Increase Minimum Wage at the Start of 2017 https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/19-states-increase-minimum-wage-start-2017/story?id=44501349 In 2018, 18 states local governments voted to Increase Minimum Wage - Economic Policy Institute: 18 states will increase their minimum wages on January 1, benefiting 4.5 million workers While the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, some states have opted to increase it to more than $10. At the beginning of 2018, 18 states will increase their minimum wage, providing about $5 billion in additional wages to 4.5 million workers across the country. https://www.epi.org/publication/18-states-will-increase-their-minimum-wages-on-january-1-benefitting-4-5-million-workers/ Here are the states with new 2018 minimum wages, according to the Economic Policy Institute - Alaska: $9.84, $.04 increase Arizona: $10.50, $.50 increase California: $11.00, $.50 increase Colorado: $10.20, $.90 increase Florida: $8.25, $.15 increase Hawaii: $10.10, $.85 increase Maine: $10.00, $1.00 increase Michigan: $9.25, $.35 increase Minnesota: $9.65, $.15 increase Missouri: $7.85, $.15 increase Montana: $8.30, $.15 increase New Jersey: $8.60, $.16 increase New York: $10.40, $.70 increase Ohio: $8.30, $.15 increase Rhode Island: $10.10, $.50 increase South Dakota: $8.85, $.20 increase Vermont: $10.50, $.50 increase Washington: $11.50, $.50 increase In 2019, 20 states local governments voted to Increase Minimum Wage - FOX Business: (Published December 27, 2018) Minimum wages set to increase in these 20 states in 2019 Millions of workers are due for a raise next year. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 5.3 million workers will see their pay rates increase as a result of numerous minimum wage hikes set to take effect across a number of states at the outset of 2019. Workers in 20 states will see minimum wages rise between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Additionally, 23 localities will be raising rates, according to a list compiled by the conservative-leaning Employment Policies Institute. Collectively, those policy decisions will result in an extra $5.4 billion worth of pay next year – a $90 to $1,300 average pay bump per year-round employee, depending on state of residence. Eighteen states raised their minimum wages at the outset of January 2018, while two additional states did so in July. https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/minimum-wages-set-to-increase-in-these-20-states-in-2019 Of course another prediction voiced by many opposed to a federal government mandate to raise the minimum wage seems to have also come true... businesses raising their prices to pass the increase in their expenses on to the customers... NBC-Today: Is fast food still a good deal? Why McDonald's, Wendy's and more are raising menu prices Burgers, chicken sandwiches and other fast food favorites are getting more expensive. But plenty of other menu items, usually the ones that aren't being advertised with flashy commercials, are becoming more expensive. Datassential, a company that researches and analyzes restaurant menu trends, recently found that the median price of fast food burgers has risen 26 percent in the last four years, one of the steepest price hikes across the industry. Prices on fast casual and fine dining menus have seen an 8 percent increase, while burger prices at casual restaurants like Applebee's or Ruby Tuesdays have gone up 16 percent. In part, this price hike in places like McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King is a result of consumers becoming comfortable with paying more. "Fast food prices also rise for political reasons," Allen told TODAY Food. Those reasons include new taxes on food supplies that drive up costs for restaurants, which are then passed on to customers, as well as increases in the minimum wage for restaurant workers across the country. https://www.today.com/food/despite-1-deals-fast-food-getting-pricier-here-s-why-t144520 There seems to be no denying, all the previous demand the need for federal government to mandate a national minimum wage hike was as many predicted, just so much hysterical hype... States and businesses don't need the federal government to 'forced' them to raise the minimum wage, as employer AND worker need arises businesses will raise their wages... Of course the effect of businesses raising their wages seems to be an increase in the price of their goods effectively negating much or all of the pay increases so essentially many workers are no better off - some worse off do to reduction of hours and downsizing - than they were before the wage hike... Don't say we didn't warn you ~
  21. CNN: Employers need to hire more people than ever The economy may be slowing down, but as of December, it was still a very good time to look for a job. The number of job openings reached 7.3 million at the end of 2018, the highest level since the Labor Department started measuring them in 2000. That pushed the job opening rate -- the number of openings as a share of total employment -- back to the high it reached last August. The reading suggests that the labor market remains very strong, despite nearly universal forecasts that the economy will slow toward the end of the year. That has prompted the Federal Reserve to hold off hiking interest rates for at least the next several months. Job creation was particularly strong in construction and accommodation and food services, while manufacturing job openings fell. Another measure released Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business' small business optimism index, fell in January to its lowest level since President Donald Trump's election -- even though business owners still say quickly adding jobs and finding workers are their biggest challenges. The rate of people quitting their jobs remained flat, arresting a slight downward trend from recent months, indicating that workers still feel confident enough to switch employers or strike out on their own. Job openings have outpaced hiring since December of 2017, which shows that employers are having a difficult time finding enough workers to fill all the positions they have available. There have been more open jobs than unemployed people since March 2018. The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance also reached an all-time low in January, though it spiked during the government shutdown and remains elevated. https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/12/economy/jolts-december/index.html https://kval.com/news/nation-world/us-job-openings-jump-to-record-high-of-73-million https://www.limaohio.com/top-stories/340794/restaurants-fight-to-keep-employees https://workingnation.com/small-businesses-worker-shortage/ https://www.marketwatch.com/story/screaming-labor-shortage-forcing-firms-to-get-creative-to-fill-record-job-openings As I have been saying, the best way to raise wages isn't by some government mandate, but by creating more jobs so businesses are encouraged to offer better wages and more benefits to be able to hire and keep workers. We don't need the federal government to step in and pay for college and job training courses, businesses desperately in need of workers will partner with schools and job training services to educate the kinds of workers they need... and it seems that's exactly what's happening. People can try to slam the our government leaders all they want, but with a strong job market, more people are being put to work, getting better pay and more benefits because businesses have so many job openings. With more workers paying taxes and purchasing goods the economy has no where to go but up so long as the job market remains strong. Market Watch: Screaming labor shortage forcing firms to get creative to fill record job openings Jobless claims haven’t been this low since Woodstock and a man on the moon For working Americans that’s great news. More people are earning higher pay and job switchers especially benefit as firms compete to hire them by offering better wages and benefits. It’s a big headache for businesses, though. Not only do they have pay higher labor costs, they can’t find enough talent to raise production to meet growing demand. Some companies even have to reject new orders because they cannot fill them. Increasing overtime and converting part-time workers to full time are just some of the steps firms have taken to attack the problem. Yet the labor shortage has finally gotten bad enough that companies are getting creative in figuring out how to find the workers of the future. A major utility company in Northeast, for instance, is spending more on vocational training and establishing ties to local schools and colleges to make it easier to fill job openings, the New York Federal Reserve said in the latest Beige Book report. Many firms with an aging workforce in industries such as utilities have taken the same tack in what is basically an updated, 21st century form of apprenticeship. The same sort of thing is going on in the South, the fastest growing region of the country. An employee-staffing firm in the Dallas region, for example, joined with a manufacturer to offer a paid six-week welding course. Those who completed the course would get a full-time job. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/screaming-labor-shortage-forcing-firms-to-get-creative-to-fill-record-job-openings
  22. CBS News: Americans' paychecks are rising at their fastest rate in 9 years Among the rosy employment statistics in Friday's monthly hiring report, one especially shines: Worker wages in the U.S. are finally taking off. Average hourly earnings in October grew 3.1 percent from ago, federal data show. That's the first time wage growth has crossed the 3 percent mark since April 2009, when the economy was reeling from the housing crash. Earnings for non-bosses (a category the Labor Department calls "production and non-supervisory workers" and excludes managers), grew even faster at 3.2 percent. … https://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-paychecks-are-rising-at-their-fastest-rate-in-9-years/ Businesses hired 250,000 workers in October as wages rose most in 9 years U.S. businesses added 250,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said on Friday—a blowout number that surpassed Wall Street's expectation. Jobs were added in health care, construction, manufacturing and transportation and warehousing. The monthly average job creation now stands at about 210,000 for the last three months. That incorporates revised data for September, which saw an unusually low jobs figure thanks to Hurricane Florence. Hurricane Michael, which hit the Florida panhandle last month, did not affect the jobs report, the Labor Department said. … https://www.cbsnews.com/news/busineses-hired-a-blowout-250000-workers-in-october-as-wages-rose-most-in-9-years/ https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-employment-costs-rise-on-better-pay-for-private-sector-workers-1540989339 http://www.unionleader.com/news/business/workers-see-fastest-wage-increase-in-a-decade/article_d601f002-fd7b-5987-be81-656331b0f036.html
  23. CNN: CNNMoney Reports: American workers are in high demand (VIDEO) https://money.cnn.com/video/news/economy/2018/08/03/july-jobs-report.cnnmoney MarketWatch: U.S. gains 157,000 jobs in July; unemployment falls to 3.9% WASHINGTON -- The U.S. added 157,000 new jobs in July to nudge the unemployment rate below 4% again in another solid showing for a surging economy. The increase was below the 194,000 MarketWatch estimate, but hiring in June and May was stronger than previously reported. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, dipped to 3.9% from 4%. The average wage paid to American workers rose by 7 cents, or 0.3%, to $27.05 an hour. The yearly rate of pay increases was unchanged at 2.7%. Employment gains for June and May were revised up by a combined 59,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The government said 248,000 new jobs were created in June instead of 213,000. May's increase was raised to 268,000 from 244,000. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-gains-157000-jobs-in-july-unemployment-falls-to-39-2018-08-03 BLS: THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JULY 2018 https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000
  24. So according to several news media sources the U.S. economy grew last quarter by rate of 4.1%, this is on top of those same news agencies reporting "the U.S. economy grew faster than expected" - an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the first three months of 2018, according to the Commerce Department. Swarthmore, PA Daily Times: US economy grew at a brisk 4.1 percent rate last quarter WASHINGTON >> The U.S. economy accelerated last quarter at an annual rate of 4.1 percent, the government estimated Friday, as consumers spent tax-cut money, businesses stepped up investment and exporters rushed to ship their goods ahead of retaliatory tariffs. President Donald Trump said he was thrilled with what he called an “amazing” growth rate — the strongest quarterly figure since 2014 — and said it wasn’t “a one-time shot.” But most economists took issue with that forecast, saying the pace of growth in the April-June quarter won’t likely last in the months ahead. The Commerce Department said the gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the United States — posted its best showing since a 4.9 percent annual increase in the third quarter of 2014. http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20180727/NEWS/180729739 Market Place: U.S. economy surges to 4.1 percent growth rate in second quarter https://www.marketplace.org/2018/07/27/economy/second-quarter-gdp-numbers CNN: US economy roars into high gear https://money.cnn.com/video/news/economy/2018/07/27/us-gdp-economic-growth.cnnmoney/index.html Wall Street Journal: U.S. Economy Grew at 4.1% Rate in Second Quarter Consumer spending, exports and business investment power strongest growth pace in nearly four years https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-economy-grew-at-4-1-rate-in-second-quarter-1532694956 Now, in light of the Trump tariffs, new trade deals and the pensiveness of U.S. businesses and investors - whether or not this economic surge is sustainable is something that remains to be seen.
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