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[Markets] Spain Reports More Than Five Times As Many COVID-19 Deaths-Per-Capita As US Spain Reports More Than Five Times As Many COVID-19 Deaths-Per-Capita As US

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

It's been a couple of days since my post on deaths per 100,000 in the USA and several other countries.

I'm very much a cautious "measure twice, cut once" type of person, so I went back and updated some of my calculations using more recent numbers.

Specifically, I've updated the third graph in the original post which is the number of deaths per 100,000 at the same point in the timeline since at least 1 case per million population was reported.

In the US, the first day to show more than one case per million population was March 7. So, counting up twenty days we arrive at March 26. On that day, there were 1,295 total deaths in the US. That works out to 0.391 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000. Meanwhile, in Italy, the first day with at least one case per million was Feb 22. Twenty days later, there were 1,106 deaths. That works out to 1.572 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000.

And so on:

And here's how things looked five days earlier, on day 15:

The gap between the US and Spain and the US and Italy became larger over these five days. At day 15, Italy's total for deaths per 100,000 was 3.9 times larger than the US rate. At Day 20, Italy's rate was up slightly at 4 times larger. At Day 15, Spain's death rate was 4.6 times larger than that in the US. At day 20, Spain's rate had grown to 5.6 times larger than the US rate.

As I noted earlier, there are many reasons why the deaths per 100,000 could be higher in Spain and Italy than in the US, Germany, and Switzerland.

One may be the quality of healthcare.

While the US, Germany, and Switzerland all have health systems with sizable government sectors, they have multi-payer systems that are more competitive and modern than the systems found in Spain and Italy (and the UK, for that matter).

Switzerland has a system similar to Obamacare.

Another major factor is demographics. Both Spain and Italy have some of the lowest birth rates in the world, and these relatively elderly populations are lopsidedly affected by COVID-19. These demographic trends can be seen a bit in their population growth:

Note how few people Spain and Italy add each day on average. Spain barely adds anyone at all each day. And Italy is declining in population. (These are historical averages, so this doesn't include deaths from COVID-19.)

Italy is simply a country with a very old population and very low birth rate. In fact, Italy's population is projected to fall more than 10 percent over the next thirty years. The US's population growth, while not high by global standards, is certainly more robust than we're seeing in Spain and Italy. This is true both in total numbers and proportional to the population overall. With the exception of Iran and Switzerland, the US is growing faster percentage-wise than all these countries.

These trends aren't carved in stone. It's entirely possible that something will happen in which the US's death rate accelerates so fast that it overtakes Spain and Italy in this regard. At this time, however, that is not the trend.

(Net population change data, COVID-19 deaths, and total population data are from Worldometer.)

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:30
Published:4/2/2020 2:38:41 AM
[Markets] U.K. in Lockdown; Trump Wants U.S. Reopened Soon: Virus Update (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. became the latest nation to put its citizens under lockdown, while President Donald Trump said the U.S. economy can’t remain slowed for too long, declaring the country “was not built to be shut down.”Singapore reported its largest daily increase in cases, while deaths in Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, slowed for a second day. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first coronavirus test came back negative.The Federal Reserve announced a second wave of initiatives after Democrats blocked the Senate from advancing a rescue plan. An International Olympic Committee member said a decision to postpone the Games in Tokyo has already been made, though a delay hasn’t been announced yet. Key Developments:Cases top 375,000 and 16,000 dead: Johns Hopkins tallyCrisis in aviation industry deepensIOC member says Olympics will be postponedCVS to hire 50,000 workers to meet demandFed’s Bullard says U.S. unemployment may hit 30% in 2QRhode Island postpones its presidential primary from April 28 to June 2Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. To see the impact on oil and commodities demand, click here.AB InBev Withdraws Outlook on Virus Impact (7:25 a.m. HK)Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, withdrew its 2020 outlook. The company cited the uncertainty, volatility and fast-moving developments of the coronavirus pandemic in markets where it operates, according to an emailed statement.In February, AB InBev cut its chief executive’s bonus and forecast the steepest decline in quarterly profit in at least a decade as the coronavirus damps barhopping.Trump Says U.S. to Reopen in Less Than 3 or 4 Months (6:38 a.m. HK)President Donald Trump said the U.S. economy can’t remain slowed for long to fight the coronavirus, declaring the country “was not built to be shut down.”“America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon,” Trump said at a news conference. “A lot sooner than three or four months.”The president also said he was delaying the Oct. 1 deadline for Americans to get a REAL ID. The identification will eventually be required to board a domestic flight in the United States.Florida Orders Self-Isolation for Travelers From N.Y., N.J. (5:34 p.m. NY)Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will issue an executive order making it mandatory for all arrivals from New York and New Jersey to self-isolate for two weeks upon entering the state.Trump Administration May Reopen Obamacare Exchange (5:20 p.m. NY)The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering reopening enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in response to the outbreak. Americans who don’t currently have coverage may see if they qualify for “special enrollment periods” if they’ve lost their job or have been subject to other life-changing circumstances, a CMS spokesperson said.CMS is working closely with the states and health plans to assess other necessary actions to ensure Americans have coverage and access to services during the pandemic, the spokesperson said.Boris Johnson Puts U.K. on Three-Week Lockdown (4:38 p.m. NY)U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved radical measures to ban all unnecessary movement of people for at least three weeks. Police will break up gatherings and have the power to fine individuals who break the tough new laws. Shops selling non-essential items, playgrounds, libraries and places of worship will be closed.Read the full story hereWork to Begin on Hospital at Javits Center (3:33 p.m. NY)Construction will begin this week to turn the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan into a 1,000-bed hospital, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.The main showroom of the center will be broken up into four 250-bed hospitals each about 40,000 square feet in size, Cuomo said at the center. The state is hoping to add an additional 1,000 beds at the center for less-intensive medical care, for a total of 2,000 new beds, Cuomo said.New Jersey, too, expects to increase patient capacity and is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to operate four pop-up hospitals, a step that has support from President Donald Trump, Governor Phil Murphy said.Read the full story hereFrance Advises Against Test Drug (3:03 p.m. NY)As deaths climbed almost 30% in France, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the government recommends against prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or using it for anything other than severe cases. France is participating in a multi-country study looking at the efficacy of four experimental treatments, including hydroxychloroquine.New Deaths Fall in Italy for Second Day (2:27 p.m. NY)Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, posting a decline for a second day, as the country enters its third week of lockdown measures designed to keep the spread of the disease in check.Total cases in the country rose to 63,927, civil protection officials said, while the hard-hit Lombardy region around Milan, which accounts for about half of the nation’s infections, registered a decrease in the number of hospitalized virus patients, top health official Giulio Gallera said Monday.Read the full story hereIMF Predicts Recession (1:30 p.m. NY)The International Monetary Fund said it expects a global recession this year that will be at least as bad as the downturn during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, followed by a recovery in 2021.Nearly 80 countries have asked the Washington-based IMF for emergency finance, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement Monday following a conference call of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers. Georgieva said the fund strongly supports extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries and welcomes the moves of major central banks to ease monetary policy.“Even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front,” she said.Read the full story hereBoeing Closes Washington Plants (1:15 p.m. NY)Boeing Co. is temporarily shuttering its Seattle-area factories, compounding hurdles for a company already reeling from the grounding of its top-selling plane.The shutdown will begin March 25 and last 14 days. The company will conduct deep cleaning at affected sites and establish “rigorous criteria for return to work.”The closing leaves Boeing with just one fully functioning jetliner factory.Read the full story hereGermans Offer to Help Stricken Italy (1:10 p.m. NY)German officials are ready to help Italy get through the coronavirus pandemic and are prepared to support an emergency loan from the euro area’s bailout fund.The preferred option in Berlin would see Italy granted an enhanced credit line by the European Stability Mechanism with minimal conditionality, according to a German official with knowledge of the government’s thinking. While Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she’s happy to discuss Italy’s request for jointly issued coronavirus bonds to shore up euro members’ finances, the official said Germany isn’t ready to move forward with that idea.Read the full story hereDow Loses Gains Under Trump (12:02 p.m. NY)The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 30% of its value in just over a month, wiping out all of its gains since Donald Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016. The S&P 500 Index isn’t too far behind, while the Nasdaq Composite Index’s return remains in the green -- albeit on a downward trajectory with the rest.New Cases May Be Slowing in Germany (10:25 a.m. NY)Germany’s public health authority has seen a trend toward the exponential growth in new cases flattening out and expects to see by Wednesday whether this is the case, Lothar Wieler, president of the authority, said at a press conference earlier on Monday. “I am optimistic.”RKI repeated that many local health agencies don’t report over the weekend and that those numbers will trickle in during the course of the week.NYC May Lose $6 Billion in Tax Revenue (10:21 a.m. NY)New York City is “staring down a fiscal emergency” and may lose as much as $6 billion in tax revenue over the next 15 months, as the the Covid-19 epidemic shuts down a broad swath of the city’s economy, comptroller Scott Stringer said.Moderna’s Vaccine May Reach Some This Fall (10:10 a.m. NY)Moderna Inc.’s experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus could be available to a select few as soon as this fall. That’s ahead of expectations for a commercial launch in another year.Stephane Bancel, the biotech’s chief executive, told Goldman Sachs representatives on Friday that the vaccine could be made available to a few, potentially health-care workers under emergency-use authorization. Moderna has been working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on the vaccine and just started testing in humans earlier this month.A potential vaccine isn’t expected to be commercially available for at least a year. Moderna is also scaling up manufacturing so that the company can produce millions of doses each month, according to a company statement.Trump Weighs Easing Curbs (8:50 a.m. NY)President Trump began talking privately late last week about reopening the nation, despite the swiftly rising number of coronavirus cases and against the advice of health professionals, because he’s worried about the economic damage from an extended shutdown, according to people familiar with his thinking.He earlier retweeted several posts calling for healthy people to return to work after 15 days of precautions. “The fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy that President Trump has built up,” says a post retweeted by Trump. “Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” another says.Singapore Sees Largest Daily Increase (8:35 a.m. NY)Singapore reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus infections with 54 new cases, of which 48 were imported. Earlier, Malaysia confirmed 212 new cases, the biggest daily jump, bringing the total to 1,518 despite imposing a lockdown that began on March 18.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. Published:3/23/2020 6:43:12 PM
[Politics] White House Weighs Opening Up Obamacare Enrollment Following the lead of Democratic states that have reopened Obamacare enrollment amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is considering reopening the national marketplace enrollment at Healthcare.gov.... Published:3/22/2020 8:02:02 AM
[Politics] Biden: Italy Has Single-Payer; 'It Doesn't Work There' Contrasting his Obamacare-era healthcare policies to Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., Medicare for All proposals, Joe Biden pointed to coronavirus-ravaged Italy as an example of how single-payer healthcare can fail. Published:3/15/2020 7:54:38 PM
[Politics] Obamacare Remains A Party Line Thing

Voters are evenly divided over whether Obamacare should stay or go now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of what’s left of the health care law.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters think the complete repeal of Obamacare would be good for most Americans. Forty-one percent (41%) say it would be bad for most instead, while eight percent (8%) feel complete repeal would have no impact. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted March 3-4, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/12/2020 9:33:14 AM
[] Bill Clinton: My Tawdry Sex Sessions With Monica Lewinsky Weren't About "Ministering" To Her At All. No, They Had a Medical Purpose -- They Were About "Managing My Anxieties." To be honest, blow-jays and r-jobs really do take the edge off a day, no? If only Bill Clinton had had Obamacare, he wouldn't have had to self-medicate like this! Bill Clinton claims the affair with Monica Lewinsky that almost... Published:3/5/2020 12:49:14 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Ilya Somin] Obamacare Returns to the Supreme Court—Yet Again My take on today's decision to consider the Obamacare severability case. Published:3/2/2020 9:34:47 PM
[] Supreme Court to Rule, Finally, On Obamcare's Unconstitutionality, After the Election; Court Declines to Review Rule Banning Bump Stocks Your weekly reminder that John McCain was a liar and serial betrayer. The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear a GOP-led effort against Obamacare, with opening arguments likely slated for the fall after the justices initially decided against... Published:3/2/2020 12:32:05 PM
[Politics] Supreme Court Takes Up Case that Could Wipe Out Obamacare

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear a Democratic bid to protect the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, teeing up a major dispute over the landmark healthcare law’s fate in the midst of the 2020 campaign.

The post Supreme Court Takes Up Case that Could Wipe Out Obamacare appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/2/2020 11:32:23 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Supreme Court to decide fate of Obamacare It looks like John Roberts is about to get a do-over from his horrible 2012 decision to uphold Obamacare: CNBC – The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will hear an . . . Published:3/2/2020 9:44:08 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Supreme Court to decide fate of Obamacare It looks like John Roberts is about to get a do-over from his horrible 2012 decision to uphold Obamacare: CNBC – The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will hear an . . . Published:3/2/2020 9:44:08 AM
[Politics] Supreme Court says it will again consider whether to strike down Obamacare

In a win for California, Supreme Court will weigh Trump's plan to strike down Obamacare and consider a Texas case.

Published:3/2/2020 9:01:34 AM
[Markets] "Con Job": Trump Responds To Obama Taking Credit For Booming Economy "Con Job": Trump Responds To Obama Taking Credit For Booming Economy

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

President Trump responded Monday night, calling Barack Obama’s claim that his prior administration is responsible for the booming US economy a “Con job”.

“Did you hear the latest con job?” Trump tweeted, explaining that “Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”

“He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing.” Trump noted.

Trump also noted that he “had to rebuild our military, which was totally depleted.”

“Fed Rate UP, taxes and regulations WAY DOWN.” The President continued.

If Dems won in 2016, the USA would be in big economic (Depression?) & military trouble right now. THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” Trump concluded.

The President was responding to the below tweet from Obama, sent on President’s Day, which claimed that Obama’s Recovery Act “paved the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

As Trump urged, however, the economy under Obama was the most worst since World War II, despite being largely propped up by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented decade-long zero percent interest rates during his two terms.

The White House also issued a statement responding to Obama.

“President Trump reversed every single failed Obama-era economic policy, and with it, reversed the floundering Obama/Biden economy,” read the statement from Kayleigh McEnany, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary. “Obama and Biden orchestrated the worst economic recovery in modern history.”

“By contrast, though, deregulating, lowering taxes, and supporting free-market policies, President Trump has created the hottest economy on record, with unemployment hitting generational lows and all-time lows for African Americans, Hispanics, the disabled, veterans and many other hard-working Americans,” added McEnany.

And, it’s not just Trump and Infowars pointing this out.

The Wall Street Journal recently asked 68 economists who was responsible for the booming economy and the consensus was that it is “President Trump, and not Obama, who should be taking a bow.”

It has been blindingly obvious for years that Obama did not seed the current recovery.

“The Obama recovery of the last seven years remains the worst in postwar American history,” a Forbes article from 2016 noted.

Others were quick to respond to Obama’s phoney claim:

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/18/2020 - 12:25
Published:2/18/2020 11:31:59 AM
[Markets] Can Sanders Beat Trump In Capitalist America? Can Sanders Beat Trump In Capitalist America?

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

The Democrats are searching for the candidate best able to defeat Trump in the forthcoming Presidential race. The question on the mind of many democrats is whether Bernie Sanders can beat Trump in a capitalist America? Considering the surge in inequality the answer is, yes. It is difficult to underestimate the anger building under the surface as Trump makes his rounds declaring this the "best economy ever."


The reason for the discontent is many Americans are not feeling all that blessed. Wealth inequality has soared in recent years and now stands at the worst it has been during the entire U.S. post-war period. Simply put, statistics show many Americans lack the money to pay for a $500 repair. Driving a decent car doesn't make a person middle-class or economically equal, especially if they are up to their eyeballs in debt to do so.

As for whether Sanders could beat Trump, a couple of issues rapidly come to mind.

  • First, Trump is not as loved as he indicates, matter of fact  the President has a way of ruffling the feathers of both friends and foes. The word braggadocios has been used to describe Donald Trump, synonyms for this word according to thesaurus.com are blowhard, boaster, bragger, show-off, and windbag. None of these are very flattering and over time such behavior has a way of wearing on people. This has caused many of his supporters to indicate they would like him to stop tweeting and shut-up.

  • The second fact is that by flipping a couple of swing states to blue it would be all over for the republicans.  

Like Always The Swing States Decide

Much of Sander's appeal comes from his promises he can deliver a more just society by transferring wealth to those embracing his long-held socialistic values. This highlights a glaring weakness in the democratic system, and that is, a highly motivated minority can overwhelm an unmotivated majority. History shows the promises of generous programs have proven to be a great motivator. It does not hurt that Sanders comes across as sincere and passionate. Those wielding the power to bring about change are often sheltered from the pain inequality and a broken justice system cause. This means they are out of touch with what many people are forced to go through every day. Because of this, the thorny problems of the day become a low priority. Sanders on the other hands seems to relish the challenge of attacking these issues.

The reality that a vast majority of people face diminishing prospects is a concerning trend. This was highlighted by the IMF in a report focused on data showing how middle-income households have continued to move downward. The U.S. middle class has never recovered after being “hollowed out” when manufacturing jobs fled America and incomes fell. Current trends indicate the "equality gap" is not expected to narrow in the future. This comes at a time when the American worker is being told robots are here and more are being deployed each day. This means millions of jobs will soon vanish due to automation. This is a huge threat and could prove to be a big deal. Growing income inequality is not just an American problem but it is an issue across the globe and no magic or silver bullet exists to address the conundrum brought about by this concentration of power and wealth.

A More Recent Chart Hard To Find!

In a piece titled; "The Morass That Swallowed the Middle Class" Matthew Shaw delves into how much of the inequality debate focuses on the gains of “the 1%,” and less attention has been paid to the economic well-being of what is broadly termed the middle class. These people are all too often just lumped into a diverse group labeled the 99%. Some of these people do very well for themselves but many are dirt poor. Much of this centers around just how out of touch our "professional elite" are with the general population and the economy. By our professional elite, I refer to those who make the rules and their minions, their aids, the academics, the financial institutions, economists and the media, all of which have tied their wagon to the status quo. Conflict and corruption also enter into this because we often find those setting the rules also tend to want a bigger piece of the pie.

Trump's trickle-down economics and tax cuts may sound good but they have not worked for all of America. Trump is very comfortable with economic manipulation and has displayed a surprisingly short-term view in his economic policies. This means he often appears more worried about today than the future. His "damn tomorrow" attitude is reflected in deficit spending, his calls for lower interest rates, and by embracing MMT. The Trump economy which is based on huge deficit spending can only take the economy so far and carries with it a fair amount of negatives. Trump's delusion that his stock market can go straight up forever is not based on years of stock trading but rather his years in real estate where inflation treated him well as prices rose ever higher.

The structural issues that haunt America's competitiveness and far outweigh the benefits of lower taxes. If you are one of the many Americans that pay no taxes this subject only means the government will have less to transfer your way. Healthcare remains a huge issue for most voters and Trump's failure to move healthcare reform forward coupled with Republicans' pathetic excuse for an answer to improve healthcare was short of inspiring. While Trump predicted that Democrats will own ObamaCare if it falls apart reality may not support his view. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows a majority of voters, 61 percent said they now blame Trump and Republicans for “future problems” with the healthcare law.

Trump's narrative that tomorrow will be brighter is not being heard everywhere, in fact, some people are downright fearful of where he is taking the country. Many Americans balk at the idea their children will enjoy a better life partly because the system has become so unfair. Moreover, a slew of important emotionally charged issues such as immigration and climate change are still being ignored. In fact, Trump often shows a lack of respect and mocks those concerned about these matters  In addition to exorbitant healthcare America has a broken justice system that it is both expensive and often unjust.  As more Americans retire and become dependent on government anxiety will continue to grow. Also, there is the issue of continuing expensive wars, something Trump pledged to end, not only has he failed to do so but he seems to agitate and inflame discontent where ever he goes.

Just like in the previous elections voters should be prepared to be given a less than inspiring choice for a President to lead us forward. Even though he has been acquitted on impeachment charges Trump still has a reputation of being a schmuck which is something he most likely not be able to shake. Expect both these men to be supported by motivated bases with demographics favoring the Democrats but it is the disaffected independents that will decide this election. Do not be surprised if the decision comes down to who these independents dislike the least, at this point, it is a toss-up. The argument that socialism doesn't work and that all countries that have attempted to institute it have miserably failed may not be enough to turn voters away from seeking new answers.

While I have strong reservations as to the argument Sanders can trump the Don I must say Sanders is clearly shining a spotlight on growing inequality and the unrest bubbling beneath the surface. If Sanders can tap into this feeling it may become more about a kinder more compassionate America than socialism or Trump. This means watching how women and the elderly weigh in. Whether Sanders could win the election without increasing polarization and hatred is questionable but it would be wise for those in power not to get overly comfortable or to underestimate the resentment brewing under the surface.

*  *  *

This is an exercise based on Sanders becoming the Democratic party nominee. It should be noted this has not yet occurred. A big wildcard in the 2020 election would be a third party candidate drawing off just enough votes to spoil everyone's plans. Remember 1992 and Ross Perot!.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/16/2020 - 17:25
Published:2/16/2020 4:35:09 PM
[Markets] Reality Check: There Is No Political Solution To Income Inequality Reality Check: There Is No Political Solution To Income Inequality

Authored by Peter Van Buren via TheAmericanConservative.com,

Sorry Sanders supporters: your guy might be well-meaning, but like everyone else he has no practical solutions. 

Bernie, et al, imagine there exists some means to redistribute wealth, most likely following the economist Thomas Piketty, via a progressive tax on the rich. Just talking about that may be enough to scare the wealthy into putsching a corporate Democrat in Bernie’s place yet again, despite his human shield of nose-pierced volunteers. But even if Sanders were to win, it would not be enough to change America. It’s a reality problem.

The reality of wealth is that the gap between most Americans and those who sit atop our economy continues to grow. During the two decades after 1960, the real incomes of the top 5 percent and the remaining 95 percent increased at almost the same rate, about 4 percent a year. But between 1980 and 2007, incomes diverged, with those at the bottom seeing annual increases only half that of those at the top. Then it got worse.

Lower savings and hyper-available credit (remember fraudulent Countrywidemortgages, ARMs, and usurious re-fi’s?) put the middle and bottom portions of society on an unsustainable financial path that crashed into the Great Recession of 2008. Yet America’s top earners’ wealth still grew; the one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth, as the stock market recovered, while the bottom people became poorer, as their missing homes did not. Their wealth, such as it was, was a Potemkin vision, held in the form of houses they didn’t actually own. The recession represented the largest redistribution of money in a century. How did the rich pull this off?

It came down to the reality of possession. The wealthy own stock and real estate, not just personal homes. Yet just under half of Americans own no stock (the wealthiest own over 80 percent of all stock, along with 40 percent of America’s land). Markets over time go up and those who own parts of them do well. A rising tide lifts all yachts, as historian Morris Berman observed. People who do not own homes have to rent them from those who do. Owners can raise rents anytime they want more money. 

It can be hard to comprehend the sheer level of wealth possessed by the rich: Redfin figured out Bill Gates could buy all of the real estate in Boston. Candidate Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, could pick up Anaheim. Google’s Larry Page is able to buy Boca Raton. Never mind yachts; they can buy whole cities.

It is the reality of the system. Walmart associates make minimum wage. Most of them are nowhere near full-time, so their take-home pay is well below the poverty threshold. Employer-assisted Obamacare, such as it is, only kicks in after one works 20 hours a week or more, so following the implementation of that policy, most employees were cut to less than 20 hours, meaning they had to juggle multiple jobs to live and still did not have health care, as qualifying hours are not cumulative.

Walmart can pay low wages, creating a new status known as working poor, without having to see workers literally starve on the job, because their employees receive $2.66 billion in government poverty assistance each year. That works out to about $5,815 per worker, or about $420,000 per store. 

Food assistance is also key in profiting from income inequality. According to one study, in a single year, nine Walmarts in Massachusetts received more than $33 million in food stamp dollars spent at their stores. In two years, Walmart received about half of the $1 billion in food stamp expenditures in Oklahoma. Overall, 18 percent of all food benefits money nationwide is spent at Walmart. That’s about $14 billion.

So let’s Robin Hood the wealthy, Bernie, Elizabeth, and others say. After all, Jeff Bezos’ net worth is $109 billion. But that’s everything he has, not just the 6 percent tax Elizabeth Warren wants him to pay. The net worth of the entire Forbes 400 is under $3 trillion. That’s everything they own. The reforms Warren has proposed to address economic inequality will cost us some $20 trillion. The gap has gotten too big to raise everyone up.

But you have to start somewhere, right?

Given that America’s largest companies already pay little to no tax, it is unclear how such a system could ever be enforced in the long run, given that the wealthy will just offshore their money. Taxes still leave in place other factors driving economic inequality, including inheritance laws (money is immortal. The children of rich people are born rich and unless they get really into hookers and blow, will inevitably get richer. They almost can’t help it) and the ability of the wealthy to control wages and the availability of jobs. Unions are increasingly a thing of the past and automation threatens jobs daily. The rich decide when to pull the trigger on touch screens in fast food restaurants and deep-six cashier jobs. And never mind the mass extinction that driverless delivery vehicles will bring on, to say nothing of the one after that when advances in AI crush entry-level coding jobs.

The single most significant factor is that financial growth via capital ownership (what the rich do for money) always outstrips wage growth (what the rest of us do for money). Getting richer by owning stuff is always a better deal than trying to get rich by working for wages from the people who own stuff. Even if a magic wand were to somehow reset society, the nature of capitalism would soon set things back on the path to income inequality.

Rich people get money through capital gains, via assets they buy cheaply that become worth more over time (until slavery was replaced with the minimum wage, human beings were also considered a form of capital asset—seriously, check with human “resources” where you work). That’s why a short-term downturn that’s bad for you (you lose what you have, like a home) is ultimately good for most of them (downturns are discount buying opportunities for those with spare money). It’s why the stock market troubles that uninformed people wish for will not make Trump go away. Math!

The only hope lies in the reality of politics, right? Over large swaths of the earth, there are no elections. In some of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East and Asia, there is not even the pretext of anyone choosing a government. Most governments are controlled by family ascension, not unlike the Middle Ages. In more modern places, corruption and manipulation control things, as power and wealth work together.

Such is the case now in the United States. According to the once-prescient Lawrence Lessing (who has since lost his mind to Twitter and TDS), thanks to concentration of wealth, 132 people in the U.S. essentially control elections. They do so by donating—just that handful of people—over 60 percent of Super PAC money. Those 132 represent 0.000042 percent of the total number of voters; most other contributions to candidates are small, many below $200. It sounds nice when a candidate talks about this, but it diffuses power even as you think he owes you something now. That’s because it’s impossible under such circumstances for government to create laws against the interests of the wealthy; after all, they work for them.

The reality is there is no answer, no solution. That’s because things are working more or less as they are supposed to. From a certain perspective, income inequality means things are going according to the rigged rules. The system is designed to squeeze wealth up into a smaller and smaller group of hands. A byproduct is the creation of more and more poor at the bottom. It is the inevitable endpoint for a society set up to fund the wealthy via capital appreciation by paying low or stagnant wages to everyone else.

To say it can’t be is to ignore the last time it sort of was, one king in one castle sustained by tens of thousands of serfs living in sloven conditions, with feudalism the dominant force. A very, very few owned most everything of value. The 99.999 percent majority—serfs then, valued Target associates now—worked for whatever the feudal lords allowed them to have.

It’s very American to believe there are always answers, that there are not forces stronger than change at work, especially in an election year. Yet if you’re still looking for those answers—solutions—well, you’ve gotten to the end of the article.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/12/2020 - 21:05
Published:2/12/2020 8:08:14 PM
[Markets] Outside the Box: The way your company can offer health insurance is changing in a fundamental way — and no one knows about it Instead of a company group plan, you pick an Obamacare plan for your Individual Coverage HRA and your employer subsidizes the cost.
Published:1/22/2020 5:59:44 AM
[Markets] Supreme Court declines to take up ‘Obamacare’ case before November election Supreme Court declines to take up ‘Obamacare’ case before November election Published:1/21/2020 10:26:18 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Supreme Court denies liberal states’ request to fast track Obamacare case The Supreme Court has just denied the request of nineteen liberal states to fast track their Obamacare case after a federal appeals court ruled last year that the individual mandate is unconstitutional: . . . Published:1/21/2020 10:26:18 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Supreme Court denies liberal states’ request to fast track Obamacare case The Supreme Court has just denied the request of nineteen liberal states to fast track their Obamacare case after a federal appeals court ruled last year that the individual mandate is unconstitutional: . . . Published:1/21/2020 10:26:18 AM
[Politics] Supreme Court puts off an election-year decision on Obamacare

Supreme Court will not intervene in Texas challenge to Obamacare. The move is a setback for California, which asked the high court to settle the dispute quickly.

Published:1/21/2020 9:52:30 AM
[Markets] US Military Jams GPS Across East Coast As FBI Seizes Night-Vision Devices US Military Jams GPS Across East Coast As FBI Seizes Night-Vision Devices

Authored by Mike Adams via NaturalNews.com,

In case you didn’t fully realize that something big is about to take place in America, file these two facts in your brain:

#1: The U.S. military, Carrier Strike Group Four (CSG4), is jamming GPS signals from Jan 16th – 24th

...which may overlap the planned deep state false flag event in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is just at the margins of the range of the GPS jamming exercise map released by the military (see below). The epicenter of the so-called “exercise” is off the coast of Georgia. The official FAA announcement claims no jamming will take place on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week, but we don’t trust the FAA, so your mileage may vary. Remember, too, that 90% of the American population below the age of 30 has never read a paper map and can’t use a compass.

The GPS jamming exercise continues through Jan. 24th and effects South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, Alabama and all of Florida. The AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) has posted details of the warning here.

The FAA has also issued a flight advisory warning aircraft pilots that GPS will fail for “several hours each day” during this military jamming exercise. See:

Map of the Carrier Strike Group Four GPS testing

Here are the areas that will be impacted:

Note that this is the U.S. military testing GPS jamming capabilities in anticipation of an event that would require such jamming (obviously). Consider the convergence of events now shaping up:

  • The impeachment trial of President Trump by the U.S. Senate, presided over by the treasonous sellout SCOTUS Justice Roberts, who already sold out America to Obama under the wildly unconstitutional “Obamacare” decision years ago.

  • The Jan. 20th “Lobby Day” event in Richmond, Virginia, where deep state operatives are absolutely trying to put together a false flag event to cause violence and blame gun owners.

  • The Mysterious drone flights over Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska, recently followed up by an emergency meeting with the Oklahoma legislature on a military base, where they were briefed about something “horrific” and “life altering.”

  • The FBI’s sudden attempts to confiscate high-end night vision tubes from distributors, indicating an emergency need for night vision capabilities in an agency led by a treasonous traitor (Chris Wray) and that has a long history of planning and carrying out terrorism plots across America, according to the New York Times and the Kansas City Star.

#2: FBI invokes “imminent domain” to seize high-end night vision tubes

The FBI is now claiming “imminent domain” to essentially seize high-end night vision tubes (that power night vision goggles) from distributors in the United States. This indicates the FBI has an emergency effort under way to acquire large numbers of night vision devices in anticipation of some urgent event which will take place at night (possibly another FBI false flag operation like Oklahoma City or the 1993 attempted World Trade Center bombing which was entirely masterminded by the FBI).

As Dave Hodges is reporting from The Commonsense Show, Bob Griswold from ReadyMadeResources.com relates a shocking event where he had already locked in the purchase of 70 night vision tubes from his distributor, and had those tubes invoiced and committed. Within hours, the FBI claimed imminent domain over the tubes, effectively “seizing” them from Ready Made Resources before they could even be shipped.

We reviewed a letter written to RMR by their distributor, confirming that the government preempted the order to RMR and claimed they had ownership over the gear because they were the government.

An hour ago, I spoke with Griswold on the phone to confirm the situation, and he told me he thought there were, “No more than 200 high-end night vision devices remaining in the entire country.” (This excludes the crappy gen 1 and gen 2 night vision devices, which nobody wants anyway.)

I’m told that inventory units are flying off the shelves and will be gone everywhere in the next 1-2 business days. Yes, there is a run on night vision in America, happening right now.

Here’s the relevant question: What is the FBI planning that would require hundreds of night vision devices?

Answer: Probably another bombing, mass shooting, mass casualty event or some other terrorism flashpoint that the FBI is famous for causing. Just ask the church members of Waco, Texas… or not, since they’re all dead, thanks to the FBI and ATF.

Earlier this week, Alex Jones declared on his broadcast that the deep state was going to “attempt to assassinate Trump next week.” Could this military exercise, and the FBI night vision devices, and the drones scanning the Midwest all be related?

Most likely, yes.

Listen to my urgent false flag warning podcast which covers the possibility of deliberate violence being staged for Monday, Jan. 20th, in Richmond, Virginia:

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/18/2020 - 15:30
Published:1/18/2020 2:36:43 PM
[Issues] Nuns Will Return to Supreme Court to Fight Obamacare Mandate

The Little Sisters of the Poor are once again asking the Supreme Court to defend their religious exemption to Obamacare's contraceptive mandate. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, et al. The nuns welcomed the hearing, which could bring their five-year legal fight to a close. Recent Stories in ...

The post Nuns Will Return to Supreme Court to Fight Obamacare Mandate appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:1/17/2020 9:31:58 PM
[Health Care] How Obamacare Made Things Worse for Patients With Preexisting Conditions

One of the strange features of the national health care conversation is how it has evolved. What is often referred to as Obamacare began as... Read More

The post How Obamacare Made Things Worse for Patients With Preexisting Conditions appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:1/14/2020 4:44:02 PM
[Markets] "The Flying Monkeys Have Taken Over The Asylum" - Impeachment, Soleimani, & The Pull Of The Swamp "The Flying Monkeys Have Taken Over The Asylum" - Impeachment, Soleimani, & The Pull Of The Swamp

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The day Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would open up impeachment proceedings against President Trump I called it a coup. It was obvious to me then and more obvious to me today that we are headed to a dangerous place (a dangerous place).

Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week and it’s clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place.

It is the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp.

This is what I said back in September:

The Democrats would not be pushing for this if they didn’t think they have the votes in the House and the Senate to get this done. Ignore the conventional wisdom on this. They were wrong in the UK.[about the courts upholding Johnson proroguing Parliament]

They will be wrong here, unless Trump has something else up his sleeve.

His removing John Bolton and refusal to attack Iran is driving the neoconservatives to apoplexy. They want their holy war against the apostate Shi’ites and they will get it. Mike Pence will be their avatar until such time as he can be removed through a sham election in 2020.

If this wasn’t the case they wouldn’t be risking what’s left of their political future defending a senile old man, Joe Biden, who they don’t actually want to be the candidate anyway.

It’s a coup folks.

Take this one step farther. You don’t start this process if you aren’t going to use what it gives you. Thinking only in terms of the Democrats’ horrific slate of challengers to Trump betrays the myopia of most political analysts.

They see things, wrongly, in terms of partisanship. This isn’t primarily about Democrat v. Republican. This isn’t even just about Clinton v. Trump and a temper tantrum.

And you have to ask yourself the question why would Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell go along with a real trial unless the fix was in?

Because, as Trump rightly points out, he’s got the approval rating nationally and within his own party. He’s a lock for re-election. So, given the clear unconstitutionality of these impeachment articles (which I discussed previously) why is this even still a thing?

Because Trump is going to be taken out.

The events of the past twelve days since Trump murdered IRGC General Qassem Soleimani prove this beyond any doubt. Impeachment was the leverage point to drive open a wedge between Republicans and Trump through Iran.

Pelosi slow-walking the articles of impeachment to the Senate was all part of the pantomime, folks. She gets what she wants: Congress asserting more power and the Democrats shoring up their base by taking out an eyesore in Trump.

She waits just long enough for Trump to do something questionable and for it to be made known publicly.

The neocons in the Senate get what they want — further escalation of pressure on Iran with the hope of destroying them. Moreover, they prove to Trump, Israel, the MIC and the world that they are still fully in charge of U.S. foreign policy.

The Swamp Strikes Back and puts Trump in a no-win situation.

The Wall St. Journal article from this weekend which intimated that Trump made the decision to kill Soleimani was motivated by shoring up his support in the Israeli Occupied Senate is further proof.

“Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said,” the newspaper reported.

It’s not like Trump hasn’t let missiles fly to appease the Neocons in the past. He did it with the bombing of the Al Shairat airbase in Syria back in April of 2017. Remember, that was the night the MSM and Congress declared Trump suitably “Presidential.”

Then he did it again four months later, doubling our presence in Afghanistan in the hopes of getting Obamacare repealed. Oh, by the way, Lindsey Graham reneged on that deal.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper doing the Sunday talk show circuit to throw the President under the bus about his intelligence seals the deal.

Now Pelosi wants to add more charges to the docket and McConnell is going for a trial, when he should just outright dismiss these charges. I told you that this all comes down to McConnell and how he handles the terms of the trial.

He sets the table for this. And if he’s not tilting it in Trump’s favor, Donald is right to be worried.

Trump’s killing Soleimani gives them plenty of cover to do so. His lack of consistency in defending the act will be used against him. That’s why Esper told the world Trump didn’t have proof of an imminent threat.

So, Trump, often his own worst enemy, then defends himself by saying Soleimani just needed killin’.

It’s all being stage-managed by a nearly rogue Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and facilitated through Lindsey Graham. The events that led up to Iran’s missile attack on our bases in Iraq should not be taken at face value.

Killing one U.S. oil contractor does not justify attacks on five PMU bases ringing the Iraqi/Syrian border crossing between Al Qaim and Al Bukamai.

It certainly doesn’t necessitate taking the conflict all the way to the point of Iran firing missiles at our airbases in Iraq.

Don’t think for a second that if Graham feels Trump isn’t sufficiently controlled at this point that he won’t, in the end, wring his hands and vote for his removal from office because the President’s decision-making skills are questionable.

If the Swamp truly wants Trump removed from office then this impeachment trial is their best chance of getting that done. At this point we have a handful of open Republican turncoats. Swelling that number to twenty in the Senate is not that hard.

Remember, twenty is a helluva lot smaller than the millions of voters that would have to turn against Trump to elect Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings to emerge from a brokered Democratic convention this summer.

That’s what’s fundamentally wrong with representative forms of government.

And even then, Pence v. Clinton would be a close affair because of the deep divisions within the electorate and Hillary’s fundamental evil. Either way, the Swamp wins.

Nothing happens in D.C. that doesn’t become a weapon in these people’s hands.

To think Pelosi wouldn’t use this to its fullest is terminally naive. To think Trump is savvy enough to see the game board in all its complexity having not one truly loyal staff (or family) member is also naive.

To think McConnell is anything more than an order-taker from those above him is the height of naivete.

I give Trump credit for navigating things to this point and keeping the violence to a minimum, but if he’s going to go down, he better be prepared to go scorched earth in the process.

It’s his only chance at survival and fulfilling even one of his many campaign promises.

Either way, the U.S. electorate will not stand for removing Trump over this. And they shouldn’t. I may be angry with Trump for his recent actions, but this impeachment is the height of lunacy. And when something this ludicrous goes this far, it means the fix is in.

The Flying Monkeys have taken over the asylum. The existence of this trial is itself an inflection point in history.

The rest is just a chase scene.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 01/14/2020 - 14:10
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Published:1/14/2020 1:12:25 PM
[In the Courts] Supreme Court Orders Fast Response In Obamacare Challenge

By Kevin Daley -

US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ordered the Trump administration and a coalition of red states to respond by Friday to a petition asking the justices to immediately take up a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Setting the case on an expedited timeline ensures the justices can hear the case during ...

Supreme Court Orders Fast Response In Obamacare Challenge is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:1/8/2020 3:36:31 PM
[Markets] "Revolutionary Changes In Public Opinion" - Gallup's Decade in Review: 2010-2019 "Revolutionary Changes In Public Opinion" - Gallup's Decade in Review: 2010-2019

Authored by Justin McCarthy, a journalist and analyst at Gallup,

A review of Gallup analyses over the past decade reveals that the years from 2010 to 2019 bore witness to key revolutionary changes in public opinion, along with some persistent trends and concerns, as well as striking moments and lasting effects.

Here are the changes, issues and moments in public opinion that Gallup editors think will long be associated with the 2010s:

Revolutionary Changes

Same-Sex Marriage: When the decade began, only a handful of states had legalized gay marriage and most Americans opposed it. But in 2011, Gallup recorded majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time. Americans continued to warm to gay marriage as the decade progressed, with support reaching the 60% mark just before the Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision made gay marriage legal nationwide.

In the final years of the decade, support has ranged between 61% and 67%. The wholesale change in public attitudes about gay marriage over such a short time span represents one of Gallup's most compelling public opinion trends.

Marijuana: Much like the issue of same-sex marriage, Americans' views on legalizing marijuana have vastly changed, with the sharpest shift in support for legalization occurring in the past 10 years.

In 2010, when no states had yet legalized recreational marijuana, 46% of U.S. adults supported legalizing it, but that grew to about two-thirds in four consecutive readings by decade's end. Today, 11 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use of marijuana, while many other states have decriminalized it or passed laws allowing for medical marijuana use.

The U.S. Economy: That two in three Americans say it is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S. at the conclusion of 2019 shows how far U.S. consumers have come from the economic despair Gallup found as the decade began.

In January 2010, just 9% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job. And for the better part of the decade, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was in negative territory as Americans continued to reel from the effects of the global economic crisis and the U.S. recession. President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017 marked an important turning point as Americans again became net-positive about the economy and jobs in particular. But Gallup has consistently found that most Americans view the country's current and future economic health through a political lens.

Political Polarization: Republicans and Democrats have become more polarized in their views on issues and evaluations of politicians. This polarizing trend is not unique to the end of the decade, but it's one that has accelerated over the past 10 years.

A 2017 Gallup analysis found that Barack Obama's presidential approval ratings had been the most politically polarized ratings for any president in Gallup's history -- and President Donald Trump's are on pace to be even more polarized. But Republicans and Democrats diverge even on questions that are seemingly apolitical, including how the U.S. economy is doing and how they rate their personal healthcare situation, for example. This will have enormous consequences not just for the coming presidential election, but for how U.S. politics navigate beyond it.

Religion: Religious faith is prominent in the U.S., but much less so than in previous decades. Church membership and attendance -- as well as frequency of attendance -- are all down to record lows. Americans have become less likely to believe in God. Meanwhile, more than one in five Americans (21%) now describe themselves as having no religion, a sizable jump from 14% in 2010 and 8% in 1999.

In addition to the decline in Americans identifying with any religion, some of the largest changes within religious groups have occurred among U.S. Catholics, of whom weekly church attendance has nearly halved since the beginning of the millennium, and whose confidence in organized religion and the clergy have fallen.

Persistent Issues and Concerns

Gun Violence: Many of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred during the past decade, and Americans have often reacted to these events with alarm. In 2012, U.S. parents worries' about their children's safety rose after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which marked one of the least happy days in 2012, according to Americans' self-reports of their emotions. In March 2018, less than a month after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Americans' mentions of guns as the nation's top problem spiked to a record high. But much like the cyclical political conversations on gun control, these fears typically decline until the next event drives them back up again.

How Americans interpret deadly shootings is also divisive, as Republicans and Democrats attribute gun violence to different root problems. Majorities of Americans have generally reported wanting stricter gun control over time, and violent events have often pushed this desire to relative heights.

Terrorism: Americans' worries about terrorism in the 2010s were somewhat of a holdover from the prior decade, which was largely defined and shaped by the attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. Much like gun violence, Americans' worries about terrorism ebb and flow in reaction to terrorism in the U.S. and abroad. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings prompted a double-digit increase in the percentage of Americans who believed another terrorist attack was coming. After the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans' concerns about the possibility of future terrorist attacks rose the most among a list of 15 problems facing the U.S.

Fears about terrorism affect Americans' behavior, as was evident in 2017, when a record-high percentage of U.S. adults reported they were less likely to attend large events because of terrorist attacks. As recently as October 2019, nearly half of Americans said they worried that they or a family member could be a victim of terrorism.

Race Relations: Whites and blacks alike are less positive in their assessments of race relations in the U.S. than they were in the previous decade. The final years of the 2010s revealed heightened worries about race relations compared with previous measures Gallup has taken since 2001. The election of Obama, the first black U.S. president, may have signaled a major achievement in race relations, but Americans' views of race relations became less harmonious during Obama's time in office -- and have further soured during Trump's presidency.

Striking Moments

The 2016 Election: In 2016, for only the fourth time in U.S. history, the president elected by the Electoral College did not win the popular vote. Still, the event was singular in that the two major-party candidates had the worst favorable ratings Gallup has ever recorded leading up to an election, and Americans rated the tone of the election more negatively than elections in the past.

Despite then-candidate Trump's low ratings on personality and leadership qualities, the constant news about his opponent Hillary Clinton's email server scandal hurt her. Trump's attacks on the media came at a time when confidence in the media had dipped to new lows -- especially among members of his own party.

Osama bin Laden: Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden had been "Public Enemy No. 1" even before the attacks on 9/11. His eluding capture had dogged then-President George W. Bush, who was in the first year of his presidency when the U.S. experienced the deadliest terrorist attack in its history.

Nearly a decade after 9/11, bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by a U.S. special operations team. The raid was well received in the U.S., with 93% approving of the military action and about eight in 10 saying it was extremely or very important to the U.S. that bin Laden was killed (though the operation was not well-received in Pakistan, where it occurred). Americans gave most credit to the U.S. military and the CIA. Obama received a six-percentage-point bump in his approval ratings -- a rare "rally event" for him.

Government Shutdowns: The federal government shut down three times over the decade. While one was relatively brief (Jan. 20-22, 2018), the other two lasted weeks -- with the most recent shutdown that ended in January 2019 being the longest in U.S. history. Gallup has found that these events affected Americans' views of the country in various ways.

In 2013, Congress approval dropped to one of its lowest levels in history, while satisfaction with government reached a new low. Meanwhile, Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy -- which had been slowly rebuilding after the global economic crisis -- plummeted as the shutdown wore on.

The Republican Party's image took a hit as a result of GOP members of Congress' role in the shutdown. Obama's approval ratings mostly held steady during the shutdown of 2013, as did Trump's ratings during the shutdown earlier this year. During the most recent shutdown, mentions of the government and poor leadership as the top U.S. problem spiked, while trust in the government to handle domestic and international issues each dropped to record lows.

The Tea Party: The seeds of the Tea Party movement took root in 2009 and early 2010 when fiscal conservatives opposed "excessive" federal spending and government bailouts -- and later, when conservative Republicans were outraged over various proposals from the new Democratic-controlled Congress and White House, particularly the Affordable Care Act.

But the movement bore fruit in 2010, when 87 Republicans were newly elected to Congress, many under the umbrella of the Tea Party movement -- representing one of the GOP's greatest electoral victories in generations. In 2010, Gallup found that more than a quarter of Americans (28%) and about half of Republicans (49%) were supporters of the Tea Party movement, with strong support among whites and conservatives. Support for the movement waned after peaking at 32% following its successes in the 2010 elections. By 2015 -- the last time Gallup posed the question -- support was about half that level (17%).

Occupy Wall Street: Not long after the Tea Party movement's successes in 2010, the Occupy Wall Street movement was born when protesters in New York City's Zuccotti Park remained there for two months in the fall of 2011. This prompted national and international re-creations of the protest and ignited larger conversations about wealth inequality in the U.S., particularly the top 1% of income earners.

Americans were slightly more approving than disapproving of the movement's goals and the way the protests were being conducted, but most were unfamiliar with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy Wall Street likely tapped into frustrations that were present that year, as Americans' satisfaction with opportunities for people to get ahead by working hard had dipped to a new low (55%) in 2011 and a record-low 44% said it was likely that U.S. youth would have better lives than their parents. Many of the movement's messages have resonated with the current presidential campaigns of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, whose platforms are largely centered on income inequality.

Lasting Effects

The Affordable Care Act (ACA): One of the decade's most significant pieces of legislation was passed at its beginning. Signed by Obama in March 2010, the ACA successfully reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans. The bill, which became widely known as "Obamacare," was controversial, with 45% of Americans supporting it and 48% opposing just weeks before its passage.

Since then, public opinion has continued to tilt against the law, averaging 46% approval and 49% disapproval since 2012, based on annual averages. Americans were most negative about the ACA as the ACA exchanges opened in late 2013 and the individual mandate took effect in early 2014. The ACA enjoyed majority approval in only two polls, both conducted in 2017, amid Republican attempts to repeal it. Twin polls in 2019 found the law just as divisive today as it was at the start, with 50% approving of the ACA and 48% disapproving.

Socialism: Nationally, socialism has not gained in popularity over the past decade -- and less than half of Americans would vote for a socialist presidential candidate. But U.S. Democrats have warmed slightly to socialism, and they now view socialism more favorably than they do capitalism. About half of millennials view socialism positively.

Though Americans skew negative in their views of socialism, their views are more nuanced when asked about specific aspects of government responsibility. With more political leaders, namely Democrats, adopting socialist messages, the coming decade will tell whether Americans become more positive in their views of socialism or whether they will remain as negative about it as they were in the 2010s.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/01/2020 - 20:00
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Published:1/1/2020 7:02:54 PM
[Markets] Ron Paul: Should Racists Get Health Care? Ron Paul: Should Racists Get Health Care?

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Political correctness recently took a dangerous turn in the United Kingdom when the North Bristol National Health Service Trust announced that hospital patients who use offensive, racist, or sexist language will cease receiving medical care as soon as it is safe to end their treatment.

The condition that treatment will not be withdrawn until doing so is safe seems to imply that no one will actually suffer from this policy. However, health-care providers have great discretion to determine when it is “safe” to withhold treatment. So, patients could be left with chronic pain or be denied certain procedures that could improve their health but are not necessary to make them “safe.” Patients accused of racism or sexism could also find themselves at the bottom of the NHS’s infamous “waiting lists,” unable to receive treatment until it truly is a matter of life and death.

Since many people define racism and sexism as “anything I disagree with,” the new policy will no doubt lead to people being denied medical care for statements that most reasonable people would consider unobjectionable.

This is not the first time NHS has withheld treatment because of an individual’s behavior. A couple years ago, another local health committee announced it would withhold routine or nonemergency surgeries from smokers and the obese. Since reducing smoking and obesity benefits both individual patients and the health care system as a whole, this policy may appear defensible. But denying or delaying care violates medical ethics and sets a dangerous precedent. If treatment could be denied to smokers and the obese, then it could also be denied to those who engage in promiscuous sex, drive over the speed limit, don’t get the “proper” number of vaccinations for themselves and their children, or have “dangerous” political views.

Government bureaucrats denying care to individuals for arbitrary reasons is the inevitable result of government interference in the health-care market. Government intervention is supposed to ensure quality and affordable (or free) care for all. But, government intervention artificially lowers the costs of health care to patients while increasing costs to providers. As demand rises and supply falls, government imposes rationing to address the shortages and other problems caused by prior government interference.

Rationing has been part of American health care at least since the passage of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. Every plan to expand government’s role in health care contains some form of rationing.

Advocates for government intervention in health care will counter complaints about rationing by saying the related health-care decisions are being made to benefit people’s quality of life. But, claiming government officials know how medical treatment can best enhance quality of life is as absurd as claiming that government officials know the correct prices of automobiles.

The only way to reverse the slide into national health care and rationing is for those who understand the economic and moral case for liberty to keep pushing to replace Obamacare and all other government intrusions into health care. Government-controlled health care must be replaced by free-market health care that empowers individuals to determine for themselves what does and does not enhance their quality of life.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/31/2019 - 20:45
Published:12/31/2019 7:51:09 PM
[Markets] Buchanan: Today France, Tomorrow America? Buchanan: Today France, Tomorrow America?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

As that rail and subway strike continued to paralyze travel in Paris and across France into the third week, President Emmanuel Macron made a Christmas appeal to his dissatisfied countrymen:

“Strike action is justifiable and protected by the constitution, but I think there are moments in a nation’s life when it is good to observe a truce out of respect for families and family life.”

Macron’s appeal has gone largely unheeded.

“The public be damned!” seems to be the attitude of many of the workers who are tying up transit to protest Macron’s plan to reform a pension system that consumes 14% of GDP.

Macron wants to raise to 64 the age of eligibility for full retirement benefits. Not terribly high. And to set an example, he is surrendering his lifetime pension that is to begin when he becomes an ex-president.

Yet, it is worth looking more closely at France because she appears to be at a place where the rest of Europe and America are headed.

In France, the government collects 46% of the GDP in taxes and spends 56% of GDP, the highest figures in the Western world.

And Paris appears to be bumping up against the limits of what democratic voters will tolerate in higher taxes, or reductions in benefits, from the postwar welfare states the West has created.

A year ago, when Macron sought to raise fuel taxes to cut carbon emissions, the “yellow vests” came out in protests that degenerated into rioting, looting, arson, desecration of monuments and attacks on police.

Paris capitulated and canceled the tax.

How do we compare?

The U.S. national debt is now larger than the GDP. Only in 1946, the year after World War II, was U.S. debt a larger share of GDP than today.

In 2019, the U.S. ran a deficit just shy of $1 trillion, and the U.S. government projects trillion-dollar deficits through the decade, which begins next week. And we will be running these deficits not to stimulate an economy in recession, as President Obama did, but to pile them on top of an economy at full employment.

In short, we are beginning to run historic deficits in a time of prosperity. Whatever the economic theory behind this, it bears no resemblance to the limited government-balanced budget philosophy of the party of Ronald Reagan.

The questions the U.S. will inevitably face are the ones France faces: At what point does government consumption of the national wealth become too great a burden for the private sector to bear? At what point must cuts be made in government spending that will be seen by the people, as they are seen in France today, as intolerable?

While a Republican Congress ran surpluses in the 1990s, when defense spending fell following our Cold War victory, Dwight Eisenhower was the last Republican president to run surpluses.

Opposition to new or higher taxes appears to be the one piece of ground today on which Republicans will not yield. But if so, where are the cuts going to come from that will be virtually mandated if U.S. debt is not to grow beyond any sustainable level?

America’s long-term problem:

  • Deficits are projected to run regularly in the coming decade at nearly 5% of GDP while economic growth has fallen back to 2%.

  • With taxes off the table, where, when and how do we cut spending?

  • Or does each new administration kick the can down the road?

The five principal items in the federal budget are these:

1. Social Security, which consumes 25% of that budget. Yet, Social Security outlays will reach the point this year where payroll taxes no longer cover them. The “trust fund” will have to be raided. Translation: The feds will have to borrow money to cover the Social Security deficit.

2. Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and other health programs account for another fourth of the budget. All will need more money to stay solvent.

3. Defense, which used to take 9% of GDP in JFK’s time and 6% in Ronald Reagan’s buildup, is now down to 3.2% of GDP.

4. Yet, while defense’s share of GDP is among the smallest since before World War II, U.S. commitments are as great as they were during the Cold War. We are now defending 28 NATO nations, containing Russia, and maintaining strategic parity. We have commitments in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the global war on terror. We defend South Korea and Japan from a nuclear-armed North Korea and China.

5. Yet another major item in the budget is interest on the debt.

And as that U.S. debt surges with all the new deficits this decade, and interest rates inevitably begin to rise, interest on the debt will rise both in real terms and as a share of the budget.

Again, is France the future of the West?

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/24/2019 - 07:45
Tags
Published:12/24/2019 6:59:34 AM
[In the Courts] Blue States Will Turn To Supreme Court After Appeals Court Strikes Down Obamacare Mandate

By Kevin Daley -

Obamacare has failed the American people

California and a coalition of blue states defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) told a federal judge Friday that they will appeal a lower court order striking down the individual mandate to the Supreme Court. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday a trial ...

Blue States Will Turn To Supreme Court After Appeals Court Strikes Down Obamacare Mandate is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/23/2019 12:59:18 PM
[d7dda033-17c0-583d-863e-20085ab07ab5] Justin Haskins: Congress, pass THIS ObamaCare fix now before families suffer While Congress wastes time on impeachment, federal court cases are pushing ObamaCare closer than ever to collapse. Published:12/23/2019 9:54:08 AM
[Markets] As The Fiscal Doomsday Machine Powers On, David Stockman Rages "Impeach The Congress, Too!" As The Fiscal Doomsday Machine Powers On, David Stockman Rages "Impeach The Congress, Too!"

Authored by David Stockman via LewRockwell.com,

If bringing one’s country to fiscal ruin were an impeachable offense, you’d have to impeach the entire city of Washington.

On December 16 the gross Federal debt breached a new level to $23.1 trillion, while the net debt after $401 billion of cash weighed in at $22.71 trillion. The latter monstrous figure is notable because on June 30, 2019 it stood at $21.76 trillion.

So what has happened in the last 167 days is a $948 billion increase in the Uncle Sam’s net debt, which amounts to a gain of $5.7 billionper day – including, as we like to say, weekends, holidays and snow days.

Worse still, not a single dollar of that gain got absorbed in government trust funds. The Treasury float held by the public actually rose by $953 billion.

So why in the world do the knuckleheads on bubblevision not understand where the spiking rates and ructions in the repo market came from?

The law of supply and demand is still operative, and the US Treasury is literally flooding the bond pits with new supply. Even at the bottom of the Great Recession, Uncle Sam did not drain $5.7 billion per day from the bond market.

But nary a soul down in the Imperial City has noticed this borrowing eruption at the tippy-top of the business cycle, which now teeters on borrowed time at a record 127 months of age. Instead, this very day the Congress is busily engaged in what is a fair approximation of abolishing the election process at the heart of American democracy.

We will address today’s hideous impeachment Gong Show below. But here we note that every talking head showing up on the screen today is claiming that the market can keep on bubbling higher because the pending impeachment of the nation’s 45th president is a great big nothingburger.

Au contraire!

It’s real, deeper meaning is that the Washington end of the Acela Corridor is now morphing into a disruptive missile aimed right at the canyons of Wall Street.

Of course, the Donald won’t be “convicted” by the Republican Senate. Indeed, the House impeachment resolution my never even be sent to the Senate if Nancy and her ship of fools conclude there won’t be a real “trial” in the Senate and therefore leave the resolutions sitting on the parliamentarian’s desk as camera ready campaign fodder for 2020.

But, hey, a government which can treat the supposedly solemn and extraordinary process of impeachment as a mere exercise in campaign theatrics is a government that has given the term “dysfunctional” an altogether new definition. It means that the conduct of the actual business of the people’s government has virtually ceased.

To be sure, we would ordinarily consider a government that does absolutely nothing to be praiseworthy. After all, the route to prosperity does not extend through the halls of Congress or the vast departments inside the beltway, but stems from the genius of free enterprise and the exertions and inspiration of workers, employers, savers, investors and inventors. They require neither help nor superintendence from an activist Federal government.

Likewise, a reticent government is all we really need for national defense. The latter has been more than taken care of by the god-created ocean moats which secure our shores and our already paid for nuclear deterrent which keeps distant foes at bay. All the rest of the $900 billion of so-called national security spending and the vast and unremitting Washington machinations it funds are in behalf of Empire, not the safety and liberty of the homeland.

But the fly in the ointment is that several generations of Washington politicians have turned the Federal budget into a Fiscal Doomsday Machine. Spending for both automatic entitlements and so-called discretionary programs alike gushes higher, pulling the public debt upwards as it goes, with virtually no meaningful legislative action.

Consequently, the fractured and inflamed partisanship evident in today’s demented proceedings has become the handmaid of the nation’s impending fiscal catastrophe. That is, government must take positive and sweeping legislative action to brake the Doomsday Machine, but James Madison’s checks and balances have always made large-scale statutory enactments difficult, while today’s metastasized partisanship have made them well nigh impossible.

It is generally understood that the giant entitlements – Social Security, Federal retirement, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and the lesser income security programs – are automatic, permanently authorized payments that currently flow to upwards of 160 million Americans and will continue to do so, whether Congress does its job or not.

But what needs emphasis is that the rate of growth is accelerating – in effect, it is busting loose from the growth rate of the faltering national economy which must finance these massive entitlements.

Thus, between 1987 and 2000, total Federal entitlement spending soared from $358 billion to $778 billion or by 117%. But during those first 13 years of Greenspan’s reign, the Fed’s easy money was able to goose nominal GDP by 115%, meaning that the entitlement claim on GDP remained constant at about 7.5%.

Since then, it has been off to the races as shown in the graph below. During the last 19 years, nominal GDP (brown line) doubled again, but Federal entitlement spending (purple line) tripled, and it’s claim on GDP rose from 7.5% to 11.0%.

What this means is that every year the legislative stalemate and inaction persists is another year in which the Fiscal Doomsday Machine gathers even more momentum.

Moreover, the surge of beneficiaries behind the above divergence is by no means over. The 80-million strong Baby Boom will continue to clamber on to the Social Security/Medicare welcome wagon at a rate of 11,000 per day until the end of the 2020s.

The graph below is dispositive. The 39.7 million Medicare (and social security retirement, too) beneficiaries at the turn of the century are already more than 60 million, which total will rise to 81.5 million by 2030 and 92.4 million by 2050.

Needless to say, the rate of entitlement spending growth, which has already broken loose from GDP, will diverge to an even greater degree during the decades ahead. Quite simply, the already baked-in-the cake demographics of American society guarantee that work force and GDP growth will continue to weaken, even as the exploding retirement population gets ever older (on average) and therefore more costly to support.

Nor is the automatic entitlement the only aspect of the budget threatening a further breakout in the Turbulent Twenties ahead. Mandatory interest on the debt is fixing to soar at quadruple the rate of the last 19 years owing to the math of debt and interest rates.

To wit, the first 19 years of this century witnessed the full fury of central bank interest rate repression. The 10-year U.S. Treasury (UST) yield fell from 6.5% to a recent sub-basement level of just 1.75%.

Accordingly, even as the Federal debt erupted from $5.7 trillion to nearly $23 trillion, or 300%, during that period, the interest expense of the US Treasury crept up at a far more moderate pace.

Thus, interest outlays during Q3 2000 posted at a $353 billion annual rate, representing 6.2% of the $5.67 trillion of public debt then outstanding. But during the next 19 years of explosively growing Federal debt, interest expense crept up to just $584 billion at an annual rate during Q3 2019, representing but a 65% gain since the turn of the century.

Here’s the thing. Annualized interest expense in Q3 2019 amounted to just 2.6% of the debt outstanding – or barely one-third of the 6.2% level registered in Q3 2000.

It goes without saying that this disconnect between the debt and its cost of carry was a one-time fiscal windfall that has actually functioned to obfuscate the magnitude of the budget crisis gestating down below the top line. Yet according to the sheer math of the thing, it can’t happen again in the decades ahead because interest rates have already been pushed to sub-economic and unsustainable levels by the Fed and other central banks.

At minimum, therefore, interest expense will grow just as fast as the baked-in-the-cake growth of the Federal debt, which is heading toward well in excess of $40 trillion by the end of the 2020s. Accordingly, even at today’s average yield Federal interest expense will surge to $1.1 trillion per year during the next 10 years, and a lot more when interest rates finally normalize.

Growth of Federal Debt Versus Interest Expense, 2000-2019

Finally, even the so-called discretionary part of the budget – annual appropriations for defense and domestic programs – has succumbed to a form of de facto automaticity.

To wit, the Imperial City has been so fiscally euthanized by the Fed’s gift of unending cheap money and massive monetization of the public debt that both parties are on the same side of the budgetary boat. That is, in favor of more spending – with the GOP neocons and hawks pushing defense spending skyward in trade for equivalent levitation of domestic appropriations, as especially favored by the Dems.

Moreover, the Trumpified GOP has developed a deathly fear of being blamed for another government shutdown, which it falsely blames for its wipeout at the polls in 2018. So the GOP has essentially joined a bipartisan conspiracy in favor of a rolling suspension of the Federal debt limit and annual omnibus appropriations bills that are loaded with budget busting pork.

Crazily, the talking heads on bubblevision this AM were making the absurd argument that there is smooth sailing ahead because Congress just passed a 2300 page $1.4 trillionomnibus appropriations bill for the balance of FY 2020, even as it is in the midst of a partisan donnybrook on impeachment.

Supposedly, this means the government is still functioning. No sweat!

Well, yes, it is functioning, but to literally blow the top off from even the tiny discretionary spending corner of the Federal budget that until the Donald came along was exhibiting a modicum of restraint.

No more. The two-year budget deal being sent to the White House will blow the budget caps for FY2020-2021 by $320 billion, but even that isn’t the half of it.

Due to Congress’ crooked, self-serving scoring rules, budgetary caps become the basis for the outyear current policy baseline in subsequent years. Accordingly, for FY 2020 the existing caps were supposed to cause total defense and non-defense appropriations to drop by $125 billion – from $1.244 trillion in FY 2019 to $1.119 trillion in FY 2020.

This is shown in the solid black line in the chart below, and also shown by the dotted black line is the convention for projecting 10-year baseline spending from the old FY2020 and FY2021 caps.

Thanks to Congress’ alleged ability to “function” in the midst of partisan madness, however, those caps have now been blown away and none have been enacted for subsequent years. Hence the baseline for discretionary spending in the outyears is now plotted by the dotted blue line.

The difference over 10-year? A cool $1.7 trillion, and you can believe that the bipartisan duopoly on Capital Hill will drive every dime of this increase right into Uncle Sam’s trillion+ per year borrowing requirement.

Even then they were not done as they honed today’s impeachment brickbats. While they were at it, they repealed $375 billion of health care taxes that the one and same Pelosi-led Dem majority rammed through in 2010 in order to prove that Obamacare would not add to the public debt!

We have no particular brief for the medical taxes and are not surprised at all by the blatant Dem hypocrisy. After all, for the most part these massive taxes have never actually gone into effect because implementation has been deferred time and time again just before the effective dates.

Still, if you can’t repeal ObamaCare spending as the GOP miserably failed to do in 2017 and 2018, why do you get to repeal these financing means and brag you have made a blow for America’s taxpayers?

Not only do these actions bury taxpayers deeper in debt, they also guarantee that some day down the road even higher taxes will be imposed in order to finally stem the flood of red ink.

Besides that, $200 billion of the revenue loss buried in the Omnibus appropriations bill is attributable to permanent repeal of the so-called Cadillac Tax on ultra-high cost, gold-plated – mainly union – health care plans, which have a total cost of more than $30,000 per year.

That’s right. The bipartisan duopoly has now agreed to keep spending trillions over the next decade for ObamaCare but can’t even see its way clear to tax the excess value of health care plans which cost about the same as the average annual wage among the 170 million payroll tax filers in the US.

Nevertheless, when you add $70 billion of other tax loopholes which were extended and the associated debt service cost, the very “functional” Congress at work this week blew a $500 billion hole in the revenue collections over the next decade to fit on top of the $1.7 trillion of added discretionary spending.

So the Federal budget has indeed become a full-bore Doomsday Machine. There is not a scintilla of capacity or will on either side of the partisan divide to even brake its trajectory. As shown below, the publicly-held debt is heading toward 150% of GDP – a level which would crush what remains of US economic growth or encourage the Fed to print so much money monetizing this exploding public debt as to virtually destroy the financial system in the process.

Yet this gets us back to today’s contretemps.

Obviously, the Dem impeachment case is absurd. The meddling in the 2016 election was done by the Deep State intelligence agencies with the encouragement of partisan Obama officials, not the Russians; and Ukraine’s cesspool of corruption would not have smeared American politics in the slightest had Washington not fomented a coup in February 2014 against a government it didn’t like for being too friendly with its historic Russian neighbor and suzerain.

So the Donald had every reason of state to want the Ukraine corruption investigated. For crying out loud, the prosecutor fired by Biden has told exactly why it happened.

In early 2106, he had seized the property of the corrupt Ukrainian oligarch and owner of Burisma, who had hired Hunter Biden and the son-in-law and chief of staff to the Secretary of State, John Kerry. Then out of the blue, wham! He was removed from office at Biden’s command in exactly the quid pro quo manner Uncle Joe famously bragged about before an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations.

So how much stench do you really need in your nostrils to recognize that the Hunter Biden led crew of fortune hunters in Ukraine after February 2014 weren’t on the up and up?

But actually, the threadbare articles of impeachment arising from the stench of Ukraine are not really about the Donald’s 25 minute phone call and purported quid pro quo at all. The Dems have adopted the posture that the American election process itself is imperiled by the nefarious meddling of Russkies and other fureners, and are focused not on governance, but on this alleged threat to their ability to win office and hold power.

At the same time, the GOP has lost all sense of its fundamental missions in behalf of sound money, fiscal rectitude, free markers and homeland defense. Instead, it’s going full retard on its own fatuous version of the supposedly imperiled U.S. election process.

That’s what the Donald’s insane Wall on the Mexican border and the GOP’s increasingly shrill anti-immigration policy is all about. It opposes more immigrants and brown people because it believes they will vote Democrat and thereby deprive the GOP of its rightful claim on political power.

Needless to say, two parties fighting over alleged existential threats to the very essence of American democracy is the very opposite of the nothingburger ballyhooed by bubble vision this AM.

What the Trump impeachment is really about is a brutal, raw struggle for power that threatens the very survival of American democracy, and which could end up in a hung 2020 election that would make the hanging-chad ordeal of 2000 look like a walk in the park.

Even then, the Fiscal Doomsday Machine will power forward unrestrained.

And these fools on bubble vision want you to buy-the-dip.

Don’t you dare!

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/22/2019 - 21:30
Published:12/22/2019 8:47:41 PM
[Markets] The Fake Impeachment: Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory The Fake Impeachment: Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory

Authored by Joaquin Flores via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

And so it came to pass, that in the deep state’s frenzy of electoral desperation, the ‘impeachment’ card was played. The hammer has fallen. Nearly the entirety of the legacy media news cycle has been dedicated to the details, and not really pertinent details, but the sorts of details which presume the validity of the charges against Trump in the first place. Yes, they all beg the question. What’s forgotten here is that the use of this process along clearly partisan lines, and more – towards clearly partisan aims – is a very serious symptom of the larger undoing of any semblance of stability in the US government.

The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi’s own admission, is evident in Trump’s being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he’ll be exonerated. But even if it doesn’t go to the Senate, what we’re left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump.

Only in a country that produces so much fake news at the official level, could there be a fake impeachment procedure made purely for media consumption, with no real or tangible possible victory in sight.

For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment.

Don’t forget, this impeachment is fake

Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be ‘they deserve whatever they believe’. And her aim appears to be the one who makes them believe things so that they deserve what she gives them. For little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will ‘send the impeachment to the Senate’ as soon as she ‘has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment’, except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to ‘We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”.

In both cases, reality is turned on its head – for rather we will know how the Senate intends to conduct its procedure as soon as it has the details, which substantively includes the impeachment documents themselves, in front of them, and likewise, legislators ought to know what’s in a major piece of legislation before they vote either way on it. Pelosi’s assault on reason, however, isn’t without an ever growing tide of resentment from within the progressive base of the party itself.

We have quickly entered into a new era which increasingly resembles the broken political processes which have struck many a country, but none in living memory a country like the US. Now elected officials push judges to prosecute their political opponents, constitutional crises are manufactured to pursue personal or political vendettas, death threats and rumors of coups coming from media and celebrities being fed talking points by big and important players from powerful institutions.

This ‘impeachment’ show really takes the cake, does it not? We will recall shortly after Trump was elected, narrator for hire Morgan Freeman made a shocking public service announcement. It was for all intents and purposes, a PSA notifying the public that a military coup to remove Trump would be legitimate and in order. Speaking about this PSA, and recounting what was said, would in any event read as an exaggeration, or some allegorical paraphrasing made to prove a point. Jogging our memories then, Freeman spoke to tens of millions of viewers on television and YouTube saying:

We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes … president.

He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins.

This really set the tone for the coming years, which have culminated in this manufactured ‘impeachment’ crisis, really befitting a banana republic.

It would be the height of dishonesty to approach this abuse of the impeachment procedure as if until this moment, the US’s own political culture and processes were in good shape. Now isn’t the time for the laundry list of eroded constitutional provisions, which go in a thousand and one unique directions. The US political system is surely broken, but as is the case with such large institutions several hundreds of years old, its meltdown appears to happen in slow motion to us mere mortals. And so what we are seeing today is the next phase of this break-down, and really ought to be understood as monumental in this sense. Once again revealed is the poor judgment of the Democratic Party and their agents, tools, warlords, and strategists, the same gang who sunk Hillary Clinton’s campaign on the rocks of hubris.

Nancy Pelosi also has poor judgment, and these short-sighted and self-interested moves on her part stand a strong chance of backfiring. Her role in this charade is duly noted. This isn’t said because of any disagreement over her aims, but rather that in purely objective terms it just so happens that her aims and her actions are out of synch – that is unless she wants to see Trump re-elected. Her aims are her aims, our intention is to connect these to their probable results, without moral judgments.

The real problem for the Democrats, the DNC, and any hopes for the White House in 2020, is that this all has the odor of a massive backfire, and something that Trump has been counting on happening. When one’s opponent knows what is probable, and when they have a track record for preparing very well for such, it is only a question of what Trump’s strategy is and how this falls into it, not whether there is one.

Imagine being a fly on the wall of the meeting with Pelosi where it was decided to go forward with impeachment in the House of Representatives, despite not having either sufficient traction in the Senate or any way to control the process that the Senate uses.

It probably went like this:

We’ll say we impeached him, because we did, and we’ll say he was impeached. We’ll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. ‘

Informed citizens are aware that whatever their views towards Trump, nothing he has done reaches beyond the established precedent set by past presidents. Confused citizens on the other hand, are believing the manufactured talking points thrown their way, and the idea that a US president loosely reference a quid pro quo in trying to sort a corruption scandal in dealings with the president of a foreign country, is some crazy, new, never-before-done and highly-illegal thing. It is none of those things though.

Unfortunately, not needless to say, the entirety of the direct, physical evidence against Trump solely consists of the now infamous transcript of the phone call which he had with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The rest is hearsay, a conspiracy narrative, and entirely circumstantial. As this author has noted in numerous pieces, Biden’s entire candidacy rests precisely upon his need to be a candidate so that any normal investigation into the wrongdoings of himself or his son in Ukraine, suddenly become the targeted persecution of a political opponent of Trump.

Other than this, it is evident that Biden stands little chance – the same polling institutions which give him a double-digit lead were those which foretold a Clinton electoral victory. Neither their methods nor those paying and publishing them, have substantively changed. Biden’s candidacy, like the impeachment, is essentially fake. The real contenders for the party’s base are Sanders and Gabbard.

The Democratic Party Activist Base Despises Pelosi as much as Clinton

The Democratic Party has two bases, one controlled by the DNC and the Clintons, and one which consists of its energized rank-and-file activists who are clearer in their populism, anti-establishment and ant-corporate agenda. Candidates like Gabbard and Sanders are closest to them politically, though far from perfect fits. Their renegade status is confirmed by the difficulties they have with visibility – they are the new silent majority of the party. The DNC base, on the other hand, relies on Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and the likes for their default talking points, where they have free and pervasive access to legacy media. In the context of increased censorship online, this is not insignificant.

Among the important reasons this ‘impeachment’ strategy will lose is that it will not energize the second and larger base. Even though this more progressive and populist base is also more motivated, they have faced – as has the so-called alt-light – an extraordinarily high degree of censorship on social media. Despite all the censorship, the Democrats’ silent majority are rather well-informed people, highly motivated, and tend to be vocal in their communities and places of work. Their ideas move organically and virally among the populace.

This silent majority has a very good memory, and they know very well who Nancy Pelosi is, and who she isn’t.

The silent majority remembers that after years of the public backlash against Bush’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, destruction of remaining civil liberties with the Patriot Act, torture, warrantless search – and the list goes on and on – Democrats managed to retake the lower house in 2006. If there was a legitimate reason for an impeachment, it would have been championed by Pelosi against Bush for going to war using false, falsified, manufactured evidence about WMD in Iraq. At the time, Pelosi squashed the hopes of her own electorate, reasoning that such moves would be divisive, that they would distract from the Democrats’ momentum to take the White House in ’08, that Bush had recently (?) won his last election, and so on. Of course these were real crimes, and the reasons not to prosecute may have as much to do with Pelosi’s own role in the war industry. Pelosi couldn’t really push against Bush over torture, etc. because she had been on an elite congressional committee – the House Intelligence Committee – during the Bush years in office which starting in 2003 was dedicated to making sure that torture could and would become normalized and entirely legal.

It seems Pelosi can’t even go anywhere with this impeachment on Trump today, and therefore doesn’t even really plan to submit it to the Senate for the next stage. The political stunt was pulled, a fireworks show consisting of one lonely rocket that sort of fizzled off out of sight.

Trump emerges unscathed, and more to the point, we are closer to the election and his base is even more energized. Pelosi spent the better part of three years inoculating the public against any significance being attached to any impeachment procedure. Pelosi cried wolf so many times, and Trump has made good on the opportunities handed to him to get his talking points in order and to condition his base to receive and process the scandals in such and such way. This wouldn’t have been possible without Pelosi’s help. Thanks in part to Pelosi and the DNC, Trump appears primed for re-election.

Trump energizes his base, and the DNC suppresses and disappoints theirs. That’s where the election will be won or lost.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/22/2019 - 18:30
Tags
Published:12/22/2019 5:52:13 PM
[7fb262a0-8d20-5db6-adf2-7b185e953f86] Sally Pipes: Court ruling leaves problem-plagued ObamaCare’s future unknown – More pragmatic plan needed Lawmakers and the Trump administration need to examine pragmatic and cost-effective ways to meet our health care needs without boosting government spending by trillions of dollars as some Democratic presidential candidates advocate, while addressing the serious shortcomings of ObamaCare. Published:12/20/2019 3:34:18 AM
[Markets] Watch Live: The Final Democratic Debate Of 2019 Watch Live: The Final Democratic Debate Of 2019

Tonight's Democratic debate - the final one of 2019 - features seven candidates; the four leading candidates Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren, as well as Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer.

Of the remaining candidates, who won't be there? Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bloomberg, Deval Patrick, Michael Benne, and Marianne Williamson.

"The pressure on the candidates to manufacture drama will be considerable," notes Politico, which is hosting the event along with PBS NewsHour.

With less than two month until the Iowa caucuses, and some candidates having seen their polls (and odds) collapse, tonight's anti-Trump get-together will be their last chance for redemption before the news cycle calms a little.

Source: Bloomberg

Here are the topics that The Hill thinks will come up.

Impeachment

The debate comes exactly one day after the House voted to impeach President Trump. The issue will now go to the Senate where a trial will be held. Three of the candidates on stage, Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, will be called back to Washington for the trial. Expect them to field questions about the topic. Biden could also face questions given Trump’s call for Ukraine to investigate him and his son, which kicked off the impeachment inquiry.

Diversity

While he did not make the debate stage, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has led the charge in calling for more diversity on the debate stage. Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro were joined by all of the candidates appearing on Thursday’s debate in requesting the Democratic National Committee lower the qualification standards for debates in January and February. The topic could come up, given the attention it’s gotten in the run-up to the forum.

Labor rights

The Democratic Party has long maintained strong connections to the labor movement in the U.S., and those ties were on display earlier this week when all of the candidates pledged not to cross the picket line if Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11 did not come to an agreement. The candidates could receive some questions on how they would work with labor groups as president.

Environment

The issue of combatting climate change could also come up, given California’s struggle this year with wildfires. Environment advocate Greta Thunberg has also been in the news recently after being named Time’s Person of the Year. President Trump attacked her on Twitter after she received the award, saying she needed to work on anger management issues. Biden jumped to Thunberg’s defense, saying “What kind of president bullies a teenager?”

Health Care

The topic has played a role in most of the primary debates, with the progressive candidates pushing for a "Medicare for All" plan, while centrist candidates have advocated for building upon the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. Expect this topic to come up as one of the party’s currently most hotly contested issues.

*  *  *

Watch live (due to start at 2000ET):

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/19/2019 - 19:55
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Published:12/19/2019 7:01:25 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Is Texas v. U.S. really "necessary"? Nearly a decade after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act remains under constant siege. Indeed, covering Obamacare reminds me of the film Groundhog Day: the same script repeats itself over and over again, in slightly different contexts. The Supreme Court has twice rejected challenges to the Affordable Care Act's survival. Now, the third major challenge… Published:12/19/2019 4:28:11 PM
[Markets] What the Obamacare court ruling means if you have Affordable Care Act insurance The Fifth Circuit decision affects approximately 20 million Americans with Obamacare health insurance plans.
Published:12/19/2019 1:27:54 PM
[Health Care] An Appeals Court Rules Against Obamacare. Here’s What Lawmakers Should Do Next.

A divided panel of judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Wednesday declared part of Obamacare unconstitutional—but the case is... Read More

The post An Appeals Court Rules Against Obamacare. Here’s What Lawmakers Should Do Next. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/19/2019 11:57:24 AM
[] Fifth Circuit Rules That Obamacare's Individual Manadate is Unconstitutional; Remands Case to Lower Court to Determine if All of Obamacare Must Therefore Be Found Unconstitutional If you've forgotten the backstory, Roberts ruled that Obamacare itself was Constitutional as part of the tax power of Congress, even though Congress explicitly denied it was a tax and deliberately crafted the individual mandate to not be scored as... Published:12/18/2019 6:54:25 PM
[] Appeals court rules Obamacare's individual mandate is unconstitutional The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling today that found Obamacare's individual mandate to be unconstitutional as it exists today. The court did not reach a conclusion on whether or not the mandate was severable from the rest of the Obamacare law. Instead, the court sent the case]] Published:12/18/2019 6:23:01 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Jonathan H. Adler] BREAKING—Fifth Circuit Declares Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Punts on Whether Rest of ACA Must Fall As if there wasn't enough going on this week, a federal appellate court issues a significant (and significantly flawed) ruling in the latest Obamacare challenge Published:12/18/2019 6:02:11 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: Appeals court ruled major part of Obamacare unconstitutional! Obamacare took a beating in the courts today, with the individual mandate being ruled unconstitutional by two out of three federal judges on the fifth circuit: 🚨🚨🚨 The Fifth Circuit has upheld . . . Published:12/18/2019 6:02:11 PM
[Uncategorized] While everyone was focused on impeachment, 5th Circuit cut the legs out from under Obamacare 5th Circuit upheld the lower court ruling that the Obamacare mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded to the District Court for further consideration of whether that means the entire law falls. Published:12/18/2019 6:02:11 PM
[Health Care] Spending Deal Would Make Obamacare More Fiscally Irresponsible

In selling Obamacare before Congress a decade ago, President Barack Obama promised that he “would not sign a plan that adds one dime to our... Read More

The post Spending Deal Would Make Obamacare More Fiscally Irresponsible appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/17/2019 2:20:01 PM
[2020 Election News] Liar: Biden Falsely Says He Helped Find Republican Votes For Obamacare

By Chris White -

Former Vice President Joe Biden falsely said at a rally Friday that he found Republican votes to pass the Affordable Care Act during his time in the Obama administration. “We need someone with a proven ability to bring people together and do the hard work of getting legislation passed,” Biden ...

Liar: Biden Falsely Says He Helped Find Republican Votes For Obamacare is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/14/2019 2:29:05 PM
[Politics] Column: Obamacare study proves that having health insurance will reduce U.S. death rates

Experts at Stanford and the IRS found that the Obamacare mandate got people to buy insurance, and the insurance reduced death rates

Published:12/9/2019 5:01:32 PM
[Markets] The Washington Post's Double Standard On Immigration And Guns The Washington Post's Double Standard On Immigration And Guns

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, the Washington Post's editorial board came out against sanctuary cities. No, not the kind of sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration law. The Post's editors have no problem with that. Instead, the Post came out against the efforts by some local governments to oppose state- and federal-level enforcement of restrictions on gun ownership.

The Post didn't go easy on these efforts either. The editorial likened the gun-owner sanctuary efforts to "vigilantism" and "frontier justice," with the obvious implication being these people are one step away from organizing lynch mobs. Moreover, we're told the movement is "nonsense fanned by mischief-makers with an agenda," and will lead to "chaos."

Recognizing the obvious double standard the Post is proposing for immigrant sanctuaries and gun-owner sanctuaries, the authors try to explain it all away:

The distinction between the two sanctuaries is basic. Localities that have passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuary jurisdictions are threatening to ignore laws enacted by duly elected state legislatures and signed by governors. Immigration-focused sanctuary localities are breaking no law; rather, they are refusing purely voluntary cooperation in service to federal law enforcement.

It's pretty hard to split this hair any finer. The Post's distinction here seems to be that local nullification of federal law is acceptable, but local nullification of state law is not.

Of course, whether or not local governments are breaking a law depends on each state's constitution and the nature of "home rule" in each state. Indeed, in California, Judge James Crandall, appointed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, ruled against California's law mandating local enforcement of immigration law. Crandall argued the law was "an unconstitutional invasion into the rights of the city." He also said "the operation of a police department and its jail is a city affair. For the state to say one size fits all for policing isn’t going to fit everybody." This state law was enacted — to use the words of the Post editors — "by duly elected state legislatures."

Does the Post agree or disagree with the judge's logic? If the Post's editors disagree, then on what grounds to they justify support for local governments that ignore state laws mandating compliance with immigration enforcement? If the editors agree with the ruling, then on what grounds do they deny a local government's freedom to enforce gun laws as they wish?

Several states, including Florida, have adopted laws that prohibit sanctuary cities. According to this source, at least one local government in Florida has declared itself a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Shall we expect an editorial from the Post denouncing this flouting of state laws? That seems unlikely.

Moreover, since the Post is now coming out in favor of state and local indifference toward federal law, will the Post's editors be throwing their support behind state-level efforts to nullify federal Obamacare laws or federal gun laws?

Obviously, that's not going to happen, and we should not expect any consistency on this from the Post. To anyone who is paying attention, it is clear the Post truly has a double standard here, and has been casting about for ways to justify support for one type of local nullification, while opposing a different kind.

What the Post should have done was just come out and state what is likely the editorial board's real position: namely that restrictions on gun ownership are good, and restrictions on immigration are bad.

The conclusion: it is moral to ignore laws restricting immigration. But it is immoral to ignore laws restricting gun ownership.

Although this position on guns is certainly wrong, the Post's editors could at least have been respected for saying what they really meant. Instead, they fall back on a disingenuous claim that they support the law, and that anything else is "chaos."

This ersatz conservatism was no doubt an attempt to appeal to people who fancy themselves as "reasonable" or "moderate." Indeed many of these sorts of people continue to support the War on Drugs with nonsense about how we're all obliged to follow clearly unconstitutional federal drug laws until those laws are changed. Nonetheless, the Post's approach is inherently dishonest and double-dealing.

A truly consistent position is to let states and locals decide for themselves on all of these issues.

In a 2017 column for mises.org, I said exactly this:

If California establishes — yet again — that states can ignore and even inhibit federal arrests and prosecutions in the states, then it becomes all the easier for other states to refuse to enforce federal gun laws, federal drug laws, Obamacare, or federal mandates that states provide welfare programs and "free" taxpayer-funded services to non-citizens.

The only tool the federal government should have in these cases is to cut off funding. This is a very powerful tool, mind you, but it is also hardly a given that every state would face disaster if facing a cut in federal spending. Nor is this a one-way street. for political reasons, the federal government wants to spend money in the states just as much as the states want to receive it.

So, let's make every state a sanctuary from federal gun laws, federal immigration law, federal drug laws, federal election laws, and more.

We should take this even further, of course, and support broad "home rule" powers for individual cities and counties, so they can decide for themselves what state laws to enforce, and which to nullify. Only by decentralizing and localizing political power can we hope to have laws that actually reflect to a reasonable extent the values of the local population. Radical decentralization also makes it easier for those who disagree with these policies to escape them through physical relocation. The alternative is more of what we already have: both state and federal governments impose the will of the majority in the legislature on the minority. Often, this is a near fifty-fifty split, yet we're suppose to believe, for example, that all 39 million Californians in a place larger than Britain are obliged to follow state laws because, say, 51 percent of the population supports those policies. And if you're in the minority? Tough luck, forever. Oh, and you'll have to move hundreds of miles away to live under different laws.

If the Post really supported democracy, it would want more of it. That is, it would want more legislative bodies — whether city councils, county commissions or state legislatures — to decide matters for themselves. And that includes laws covering guns.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:25
Published:12/5/2019 11:34:44 AM
[2020 Election News] Biden: Buttigieg ‘Stole’ My Health Care Plan

By Mary Margaret Olohan -

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg “stole” his health care plan. Biden has proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, and Biden wants to add a “public option,” allowing individuals to opt into a government plan while maintaining private insurer’s ...

Biden: Buttigieg ‘Stole’ My Health Care Plan is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/3/2019 11:22:53 AM
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