Politics,Economics and The Struggle To Survive In America

The time is now, the revolution is upon us. Our childrens, children need our resolve in this fight. Take the blinders off and get out of the"Matrix". By JJP 

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Now Just Five Men Own Almost as Much Wealth as Half the World's Population

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  You can't make this America! Still believe in the American Dream? By JJP

Now Just Five Men Own Almost as Much Wealth as Half the World's Population


 

Last year it was 8 men, then down to 6, and now almost 5.

 

While Americans fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of 06/08/17, the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people.

 

Why Do We Let a Few People Shift Great Portions of the World's Wealth to Themselves?

 

Most of the super-super-rich are Americans. We the American people created the Internet, developed and funded Artificial Intelligence, and built a massive transportation infrastructure, yet we let just a few individuals take almost all the credit, along with hundreds of billions of dollars.


Defenders of the out-of-control wealth gap insist that all is OK, because, after all, America is a 'meritocracy' in which the super-wealthy have 'earned' all they have. They heed the words of Warren Buffett: "The genius of the American economy, our emphasis on a meritocracy and a market system and a rule of law has enabled generation after generation to live better than their parents did."

 

But it's not a meritocracy. Children are no longer living better than their parents did. In the eight years since the recession the Wilshire Total Market valuation has more than TRIPLED, rising from a little over $8 trillion to nearly $25 trillion. The great majority of it has gone to the very richest Americans. In 2016 alone, the richest 1% effectively shifted nearly $4 trillion in wealth away from the rest of the nation to themselves, with nearly half of the wealth transfer ($1.94 trillion) coming from the nation's poorest 90%—the middle and lower classes. That's over $17,000 in housing and savings per lower-to-middle-class household lost to the super-rich.

 

A meritocracy? Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos have done little that wouldn't have happened anyway. ALL modern U.S. technology started with—and to a great extent continues with—our tax dollars and our research institutes and our subsidies to corporations.


Why Do We Let Unqualified Rich People Tell Us How To Live? Especially Bill Gates!

 

In 1975, at the age of 20, Bill Gates founded Microsoft with high school buddy Paul Allen. At the time Gary Kildall's CP/M operating system was the industry standard. Even Gates' company used it. But Kildall was an innovator, not a businessman, and when IBM came calling for an OS for the new IBM PC, his delays drove the big mainframe company to Gates. Even though the newly established Microsoft company couldn't fill IBM's needs, Gates and Allen saw an opportunity, and so they hurriedly bought the rights to another local company's OS -- which was based on Kildall's CP/M system. Kildall wanted to sue, but intellectual property law for software had not yet been established. Kildall was a maker who got taken.

 

So Bill Gates took from others to become the richest man in the world. And now, because of his great wealth and the meritocracy myth, MANY PEOPLE LOOK TO HIM FOR SOLUTIONS IN VITAL AREAS OF HUMAN NEED, such as education and global food production.


—Gates on Education: He has promoted galvanic skin response monitors to measure the biological reactions of students, and the videotaping of teachers to evaluate their performances. About schools he said, "The best results have come in cities where the mayor is in charge of the school system. So you have one executive, and the school board isn’t as powerful. 

—Gates on Africa: With investments in or deals with Monsanto, Cargill, and Merck, Gates has demonstrated his preference for corporate control over poor countries deemed unable to help themselves. But no problem—according to Gates, "By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world."


Warren Buffett: Demanding To Be Taxed at a Higher Rate (As Long As His Own Company Doesn't Have To Pay) 

Warren Buffett has advocated for higher taxes on the rich and a reasonable estate tax. But his company Berkshire Hathaway has used "hypothetical amounts" to 'pay' its taxes while actually deferring $77 billion in real taxes.


Jeff Bezos: $50 Billion in Less Than Two Years, and Fighting Taxes All the Way

 

Since the end of 2015 Jeff Bezos has accumulated enough wealth to cover the entire $50 billion U.S. housing budget, which serves five million Americans. Bezos, who has profited greatly from the Internet and the infrastructure built up over many years by many people with many of our tax dollars, has used tax havens and high-priced lobbyists to avoid the taxes owed by his company.


Mark Zuckerberg (6th Richest in World, 4th Richest in America)

 

While Zuckerberg was developing his version of social networking at Harvard, Columbia University students Adam Goldberg and Wayne Ting built a system called Campus Network, which was much more sophisticated than the early versions of Facebook. But Zuckerberg had the Harvard name and better financial support. It was also alleged that Zuckerberg hacked into competitors' computers to compromise user data.

 

Now with his billions he has created a 'charitable' foundation, which in reality is a tax-exempt limited liability company, leaving him free to make political donations or sell his holdings, all without paying taxes.

 

Everything has fallen into place for young Zuckerberg. Nothing left to do but run for president.


The False Promise of Philanthropy


Many super-rich individuals have pledged the majority of their fortunes to philanthropic causes. That's very generous, if they keep their promises. But that's not really the point.

 

American billionaires all made their money because of the research and innovation and infrastructure that make up the foundation of our modern technologies. They have taken credit, along with their massive fortunes, for successes that derive from society rather than from a few individuals. It should not be any one person's decision about the proper use of that wealth. Instead a significant portion of annual national wealth gains should be promised to education, housing, health research, and infrastructure. That is what Americans and their parents and grandparents have earned after a half-century of hard work and productivity.


Borrowing on Borrowed Time

Posted by Jerrald J President on June 17, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

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"The federal government has borrowed so much that there are few places left on the planet where it can borrow more. Take a look at who has loaned the most money to the U.S. government. At the top of the list are the Social Security, Medicare and various federal pension trust funds. For decades, these trust funds have collected more money than they have paid out to retirees – in total, over $5 trillion more. But every time the trust funds generated surpluses, the federal government would borrow and spend them. That makes American retirees are the government's largest creditor". Stop allowing them to manipulate your mind! By JJP

  

Borrowing on Borrowed Time


 The official federal debt will soon cross the $20 trillion mark for the first time in American history. That's six times the federal government's annual income. While the official debt reached seven times the federal government's annual income at the end of World War II, that was prior to the days of unfunded liabilities. The official debt and the actual debt were thus the same.

 

But when the government started promising future Social Security benefits that it wouldn't be able to afford, the official debt became just the tip of a monumental iceberg. Today, unfunded liabilities add another $100 trillion to $200 trillion to the federal debt. This makes the federal government's total financial obligations at least 36 times its annual income.

 

Gargantuan debt is old news though, and politicians know it. They are keenly aware that voters have stopped paying attention, which means they can keep borrowing with impunity. But there's a new financial problem looming that will soon gain people's attention: The U.S. government is running out of places to borrow.

 

The federal government has borrowed so much that there are few places left on the planet where it can borrow more. Take a look at who has loaned the most money to the U.S. government. At the top of the list are the Social Security, Medicare and various federal pension trust funds. For decades, these trust funds have collected more money than they have paid out to retirees – in total, over $5 trillion more. But every time the trust funds generated surpluses, the federal government would borrow and spend them. That makes American retirees the government's largest creditor.

 

The second largest creditor, the Federal Reserve, owns a bit less than $3 trillion of the government's debt. Foreign governments own $4 trillion of the government's debt. Foreign people and corporations own another $2 trillion. American citizens, companies, and local and state governments own the remaining $6 trillion.

 

Of these four groups – foreigners, Americans, the Federal Reserve and the trust funds – three have been cutting back on their lending to the federal government for some time.

 

 

Since 2000, the federal debt has grown at an average annual rate of 8.2 percent. (6.7 percent excluding the Great Recession years). That's about twice the average annual rate at which the economy has grown. Over just the past eight years, the federal debt has doubled from $10 trillion to just shy of $20 trillion. But while the government has been steadily borrowing more, lenders have been steadily lending less.

 

Foreign investors have slowed the growth in their lending from over 20 percent per year in the early 2000s to less than 3 percent per year today. Foreign investors are no longer interested in loaning our government seemingly limitless amounts of money. And there is every indication that their willingness to lend will continue to wane.

 

Things are even more dire with Social Security. This year, for the first time since the program was established, the Social Security trust fund will generate a deficit – it will pay retirees more money than it collects from workers. For 80 years, the federal government borrowed Social Security surpluses to fund its profligate spending. Unless Congress overhauls Social Security, the program will never again generate a surplus for the government to borrow. In fact, the situation will reverse because the government must now start paying back to Social Security those trillions of dollars it borrowed. Growth in lending from the trust funds has slowed from 10 percent per year in the early 2000s to 4 percent today, and is projected to head into the negative numbers as early as this year. There is simply no money left there for the government to borrow.

 

Before the Great Recession, American investors were lending the federal government 10 percent less each year. The uncertainty of the recession caused a flight back to the perceived safety of Treasury bonds, but that quickly dissipated. Since 2001 and excluding the recession years, American investors have been lending the federal government an average of 2 percent less each year.

 

 

Growth in Federal Debt Held by US Investors

Growth in Federal Debt Held by US Investors Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan

 

If federal borrowing is growing steadily at an average pace of 6 percent per year, yet foreign and American investors are slowing their lending, and the trust funds have no surpluses left to lend, where is the government getting the money it's borrowing? And where will it get more in the future?

 

The answer is the Federal Reserve. Prior to the Great Recession, the Fed was increasing its annual lending to the US government by almost 6 percent per year. The Fed then dramatically increased its lending during the recession – that's what all the "quantitative easing" talk was about. On average, since 2001, the Fed has increased its lending to the federal government by over 11 percent annually.

 

Growth in Federal Debt Held by the Federal Reserve

Growth in Federal Debt Held by the Federal Reserve Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan

 

The U.S. government has borrowed more money than any government in human history. Politicians have convinced voters that government debt doesn't matter or that, by the time it does, some magical solution will present itself. The ugly truth, though, is that there simply aren't enough investors left on the planet willing to loan the U.S. government enough to maintain its spending habits. So the Federal Reserve takes up the slack. And this is where things go from bad to worse, because the Federal Reserve prints the money it loans.

 

When the Fed prints more money, every one of the dollars already in circulation, from those in people's savings accounts to those in their pockets, loses some value. Prices go up in response. That's inflation.

 

Since the end of World War II, inflation in the U.S. has averaged less than 4 percent per year. When the Fed starts printing money in earnest because the government can't obtain loans elsewhere, inflation will rise dramatically. How far is difficult to say, but we do have some recent examples of countries that tried to finance runaway government spending by printing money.

 

Starting in 1975, Greece tried to jumpstart its economy through stimulus spending, which it paid for by printing money. For 15 years, the Greeks suffered 20 percent inflation. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia printed money to keep its government apparatus running. The result was five years over which inflation averaged 750 percent and peaked at 2,500 percent. Today, in the face of a collapsing economy, Venezuela's government has resorted to printing money to pay its bills. The result is nearly 200 percent inflation, which the International Monetary Fund expects to reach 1,600 percent in 2017. And here, after the U.S. abandoned the gold standard in 1971, the Fed ramped up its money printing. The result was 10 percent to 15 percent inflation for much of the 1970s.

 

For nearly a century, politicians have treated deficit spending as a magic wand. In a recession? Government must spend more money! In an expansion? There's more tax revenue, so government can spend more money! Always and everywhere, politicians argued only about how much to increase spending, never whether to increase spending. Past politicians left massive deficits, and the debt they created, for future generations to fix. The future has now arrived. There is simply no one left from whom to borrow.


The U.S. Is Where the Rich Are the Richest

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"1 percent of the world’s population hold 45 percent of the world’s $166.5 trillion in wealth. They will control more than half the world's wealth by 2021". 


The U.S. Is Where the Rich Are the Richest

Things are looking rosy for American billionaires and millionaires as wealth accumulation goes into overdrive.

  

It’s an excellent time to be rich, especially in the U.S.

 

Around the world, the number of millionaires and billionaires is surging right along with the value of their holdings. Even as economic growth has slowed, the rich have managed to gain a larger slice of the world’s wealth.

 

Globally, almost 18 million households control more than $1 million in wealth, according to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group. These rich folk represent just 1 percent of the world’s population, but they hold 45 percent of the world’s $166.5 trillion in wealth. They will control more than half the world's wealth by 2021, BCG said.

 

Rising inequality is of course no surprise. Reams of data have shown that in recent decades the rich have been taking ever-larger shares of wealth and income—especially in the U.S., where corporate profits are nearing records while wages for the workforce remain stagnant.

In fact, while global inequality is simply accelerating, in America it’s gone into overdrive. The share of income going to the top 1 percent in the U.S. has more than doubled in the last 35 years, after dropping in the decades after World War II (when the rich were taxed at high double-digit rates). The tide shifted in the 1980s under Republican President Ronald Reagan, a decade when “trickle-down economics” saw tax rates for the rich fall, union membership shrink, and stock markets spike.

 

Now, those policies and their progeny have helped put 63 percent of America’s private wealth in the hands of U.S. millionaires and billionaires, BCG said. By 2021, their share of the nation’s wealth will rise to an estimated 70 percent.

 

 

Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth Report 2017

The world’s wealth “gained momentum” last year, BCG concluded, rising 5.3 percent globally from 2015 to 2016. The firm expects growth to accelerate to about 6 percent annually for the next five years, in both the U.S. and globally. But a lot of that can again be attributed to the rich. The wealth held by everyone else is just barely growing.

 

 

Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth Report 2017

Where is all this wealth coming from? The sources are slightly different in the U.S. compared with the rest of the world. Globally, about half of new wealth comes from existing financial assets—rising stock prices or yields on bonds and bank deposits—held predominately by the already well-off. The rest of the world’s new wealth comes from what BCG classifies as “new wealth creation,” from people saving money they’ve earned through labor or entrepreneurship.

 

In the U.S., the creation of “new” wealth is a minor factor, making up just 28 percent of the nation’s wealth increase last year. It’s even lower in Japan, at 21 percent. In the rest of the Asia Pacific region, meanwhile, two-thirds of the rise is driven by new wealth creation.

 

 

Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth Report 2017

Political changes could boost the riches of American millionaires even further. After the 2016 election, U.S. stocks rose as investors hoped Republican President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress would agree to eliminate regulations and lower corporate tax rates. The wealthy may also get a tax cut as part of the bargain. For example, the American Health Care Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal and replace Obamacare, includes the elimination of taxes paid almost exclusively by the top 1 percent.

 

“No one knows” what kind of tax changes will become law, said BCG senior partner Bruce Holley. However, “this could buoy the [growth in U.S. wealth] that we are predicting.”

 

 

World Wealth & Income Database

Unsurprisingly, for a country where almost a quarter of income goes to the rich and where they hold the highest concentration of wealth, a big chunk of the world’s richest call America home. Two out of five millionaires and billionaires live there, and their ranks are growing fast. There are now about 7 million Americans with more than $1 million, and BCG expects 10.4 million millionaires and billionaires in the U.S. by 2021. That’s an annual growth rate of 8 percent, or about 670,000 new millionaires each year.

 

Millionaires are far rarer in the rest of the world than in the U.S., where 5.7 percent of all households own more than $1 million in assets. The only countries with a higher concentration of millionaires are much smaller nations, such as Bahrain, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, most with a reputations as havens for the wealthy. China has the second most millionaires and billionaires, at 2.1 million, though its population is four times the size of America.

 

 


The Housing Recovery Is Leaving Out Most of America

Posted by Jerrald J President on June 17, 2017 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

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"The number of Americans spending 50 percent of their income on rent is near historic highs, something likely to get even worse if proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development eliminate rental assistance for hundreds of thousands". THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!! The illusion of the myth called "CAPITALISM" is coming home TOO ROOST.. By JJP



 

The Housing Recovery Is Leaving Out Most of America

Elsewhere, gains are slow and low-income households are paying more rent than ever.


 

For further evidence of the uneven recovery among U.S. housing markets, how’s this: In the 10 most expensive U.S. metropolitan areas, median home values have increased by 63 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation. In the 10 cheapest metros, median values rose by just 3.6 percent.

 

That finding, and the others illustrated by the charts below, comes from the State of the Nation’s Housing, an annual report published Friday by Harvard University’s Joint Center For Housing Studies. While home prices have increased sharply in expensive coastal cities, plenty of urban centers are lagging behind. Home prices in 3 out of 5 metropolitan areas remain below their pre-recession peak, and home prices in low-income neighborhoods are faring even worse.

 

Meanwhile, the number of Americans spending 50 percent of their income on rent is near historic highs, something likely to get even worse if proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development eliminate rental assistance for hundreds of thousands. Demand for rental units continues to rise, pushing rents higher.

 

The good news—such as it is—is that slow price appreciation in much of the country outside the hot metros means for-sale units there remain relatively affordable for more families.

 

 

Home prices increased in 97 out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, according to the report. Nationally, nominal prices returned to the peaks they held before the Great Recession. But when you adjust for inflation, those prices are as much as 16 percent below past peaks. And appreciation hasn’t been evenly distributed: A May report from Trulia showed that nationally, just 1 in 3 homes has recovered peak value. The Harvard report, however, shows the price gains have been concentrated in high-income neighborhoods.

 

 

The flip side of low appreciation should be greater affordability for home buyers. Indeed, 59 percent of households in U.S. metros can afford to purchase the median home, the Harvard report stated, and in 1 in 5 metros, 75 percent can afford to buy. (In this case, the report defines affordability based on a 5 percent down-payment and monthly mortgage payments of no more than 36 percent of household income.)

 

But many local markets suffer from low inventory, the report notes, partly because of the sluggish pace of new construction: The U.S. added fewer housing units over the decade ending in 2016 than in any 10-year period since 1990.

 

 

Joint Center for Housing Studies

And while a significant number of Americans spend half of their income on rent, that figure did tick down a bit in 2015, to 11.1 million. That’s still 49 percent more severely rent-burdened households compared with 2001. The vast majority of those households earn less than $30,000 a year.

 

Regardless of income, or whether they own or rent their homes, families that spend half their income on housing are forced to make sacrifices elsewhere in their budgets. When the poorest families pay less for housing, the extra money goes to necessities like health care. Among households that fall in the bottom 25 percent for total consumer spending, those that spent less than 30 percent of their income on housing spent three times as much on health care.

 

 

Those hoping for relief in the form of new rental stock may be waiting for a while. After growing by leaps following the foreclosure crisis, the nation’s stock of single-family rentals actually fell in 2015, the last year for which the report offers data. Low-rent units, meanwhile, are being replaced by more expensive offerings, the report said. That is where the money is.

 

 


Trump's Budget Bites Deeply Into Programs Benefiting His Voters

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 24, 2017 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

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 Surprise, Surprise, Suprise America. Trump kept his word he is "Making America Great Again" 1920's style Great.. By JJP

Trump's Budget Bites Deeply Into Programs Benefiting His Voters

  

President Donald Trump made an impassioned plea for support from minority voters during his election campaign by asking them, “What do you have to lose?”

 

On Tuesday, they got an answer, as did many of the rural, poor and working-class voters who propelled him into office. In his fiscal 2018 budget proposal, Trump asked Congress for $3.6 trillion in spending cuts that would mean steep reductions in food stamps, Medicaid health insurance payments, disability benefits, low-income housing assistance and block grants that fund meals-on-wheels for the elderly.

 

The plan found little favor in Congress, even among Republican lawmakers from districts and states that gave Trump wide margins in the November election, and it had Democrats talking about a deal on spending that would exclude the White House.

 

The administration was undeterred. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called the spending proposal released Tuesday a rethinking of government to place greater weight on the interests of the people who pay taxes rather than those who turn to it for help.

 

“It’s a taxpayer-first budget,” Mulvaney said. “We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs and the amount spent on those programs.”

 

Congressional Priorities

 

But Congress has its own plans and, as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview last week with Bloomberg News, Trump’s priorities “aren’t necessarily ours.”

 

“We know the president’s budget is not going to be passed as proposed,” Republican Senator John Cornyn said on Tuesday. Even so, Senate Republicans are working to implement some of Trump’s proposed Medicaid cuts as part of an Obamacare repeal bill and plan to take up his proposed tax rate cuts later this year.

 

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Trump’s budget “the latest example of the president breaking his promises to working Americans.” But he also highlighted the bipartisan agreement on 2017 spending that cut the White House out of negotiations. He held out hope for a repeat of that deal, saying “our Republican colleagues dislike this budget almost as much as we do.”

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump’s budget, like those of his predecessors, will get a heavy reworking in Congress. But he sought to highlight areas where the White House and congressional Republicans share similar goals.

 

“Here’s what I’m happy about: We finally have a president who’s willing to actually even balance the budget,” Ryan told reporters. “And we will have a great debate about the details on how to achieve those goals.”

 

Deep Cuts

 

Trump’s fiscal plan reaches deeply into programs relied on by many of his core supporters, including cuts of $610 billion from Medicaid alongside alongside $250 billion savings from repealing Obamacare, $193 billion from food stamps and $72 billion in Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income program, which provide cash benefits for the poor and disabled.

 

States that Trump carried in the presidential election are high on the list of those that spent the most federal money for Medicaid in 2016, including Pennsylvania at No. 4 with $16.6 billion, Ohio a notch lower with $15.1 billion and Michigan at No. 7 with $12.3 billion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

Among the top 25 states for proportion of households receiving food stamps, Trump won 16 of them, according to a comparison of election results and Census Bureau figures. That includes three in the top five for usage: Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky.

 

Those three also are among the top states with the highest proportion of beneficiaries of Social Security disability payments. Of the 25 states with the highest shares of recipients compared with total population, Trump carried 17 of them in November.

 

Agricultural Programs

 

Cuts to agricultural programs also will be felt in Trump country. Eight of the 10 states that received the most federal money in farm subsides voted for Trump, according to a state ranking compiled by the Environmental Working Group. Even in Illinois and Minnesota, the two states that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, rural areas supported the Republican.

 

Trump’s proposal claims to balance the budget within a decade. But it relies on a tax plan for which the administration has provided precious little detail and makes heavy use of accounting gimmicks.

 

The budget predicts a sweeping tax overhaul package that would strengthen economic growth while providing few details of how the tax code would change. The one thing the administration has said is people and businesses will pay less; the budget asserts the amount of revenue collected won’t drop.

 

Neither of the White House’s assertions -- that Trump’s tax plan would be both revenue neutral and fuel budget coffers by $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion through economic growth -- are realistic, said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

 

‘Impossible Assumptions’

 

She called the administration’s projections of three percent annual growth "really not possible -- they have impossible assumptions of no changes in revenue and tax cuts." She added that to see three or four percent growth "is nearly unprecedented. You’d need productivity growth at a level you’ve never seen."

 

The scant detail in Trump’s tax proposal was likely to hinder tax reform, she said. “They rolled out all the goodies but none of the offsets that would be necessary,” MacGuineas said. “I’m not a fan of surprises, and you have to set realistic expectations, because there are real trade-offs and choices.”

 

The independent Tax Policy Center estimated that Trump’s campaign tax plan would add $7.2 trillion to the deficit. Economic growth spurred by Trump’s tax and regulation policy would add more than $2 trillion in tax revenue, according to the budget documents.

 

 

The budget also makes use of several other classic accounting gimmicks. It assumes that the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East will cause future Congresses to allocate $593 billion in extra war funding that won’t be needed and then claims to save that amount by not spending it.

 

The Trump budget also assumes a $35 billion savings from changes to financial services industry regulations and a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law’s orderly liquidation authority, under which financial regulators are empowered to untangle and wind down the biggest banks in a crisis. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected savings of $14.5 billion over a decade from eliminating the authority.

 

The plan calls for some new domestic spending, including $25 billion over 10 years for nationwide paid parental leave -- a cause championed by first daughter Ivanka Trump -- and an expansion of the Pell Grant program for low-income students. The Department of Homeland Security’s budget would increase $3 billion versus the final full year of President Barack Obama’s term.

 

While the Pentagon’s budget would see a $6 billion increase, the push for more high-priced weapons -- including fulfilling Trump’s pledge to increase the Navy fleet to 350 ships from 275 that can be deployed today -- will wait another year.

 

He’s also proposing cutting funding for the State Department by more than 28 percent, which Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said “will gut soft power.”

 

“If we implemented this budget you’d have to retreat from the world or put a lot of people at risk,” said Graham, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “A lot of Benghazis in the making if we actually implemented the State Department cuts.”

 

He said the Trump budget “is not going to go anywhere.”

 

The administration has pitched its changes to student loan programs as beneficial to students. The budget would create a single repayment plan that would cap monthly payments at 12.5 percent of discretionary income, an increase from the 10 percent cap under some existing payment plans. But students would only need to repay their loans for 15 years, rather than 20, with the remainder wiped out by the federal government. That change would cut the federal subsidy by $76 billion.

 

The proposal seeks to boost government revenues by allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ending the practice of sharing oil royalties with states along the Gulf of Mexico and selling off government-owned electricity transmission lines in the West. Like much of the budget, those moves are likely to face opposition on Capitol Hill.

 

Trump has promised a wall on the southern U.S. border that Mexico will eventually pay for, and the budget includes $2.6 billion in 2018 – $1.6 billion for “new and replacement border wall’’ in certain locations and about $1 billion for other items including aircraft, equipment and surveillance technology to deter illegal activity. Trump estimates the wall will cost $8 billion to $12 billion, but most experts say it will likely be more expensive.


Finance Elite in Vegas: Long Live Trump! Or Pence. Whichever

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 24, 2017 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

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  While the news media distracts America with foolishness; this is what the money men do. They win regardless of whose in the "White House".By JJP

 


Finance Elite in Vegas: Long Live Trump! Or Pence. Whichever


  

 

As Donald Trump’s ballooning scandals sent stocks tumbling Wednesday, hedge fund managers gathered at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for one of the industry’s most popular conferences. First on the day’s agenda: pedaling exercise bikes, visiting a spa and trying a beauty service called GlamSquad. The mood was relaxed.

 

The SALT conference was founded by Anthony Scaramucci, a fund management executive-turned-Trump booster, and was the first big fundraising stop last year for campaign finance chief Steven Mnuchin, who’s now Treasury secretary. Many attendees this year stand to profit if Trump fulfills his promise to slash taxes and Wall Street regulation.

 

So why weren’t they freaking out over chatter of potential impeachment?

 

 

“We all feel comfortable with Mike Pence leading,” said Anna Stone, a marketing and investor relations consultant whose clients include family offices and hedge funds. “Some people would be happier.”

 

The general indifference to Trump’s travails here says much about the financial industry’s view of the young administration. For many on Wall Street, deregulation and tax reform matter more than a border wall or travel ban. Even if Trump succumbs to crisis, the thinking goes, Republicans and Pence can press on. The vice president has taken steps to begin building his own political war chest.

 

The scene at the conference, where a white McLaren was parked indoors for guests to ogle, contrasted with the uproar in markets, where the S&P 500 Index fell the most since September and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. shares slid the most in almost a year. On Thursday, U.S. stocks were poised to continue their descent as European and Asian equity markets slumped.

 

Ignoring News

 

On a quiet, shaded patio at the hotel, attendees sipped coffee and networked. Down below, Bank of America Corp. and competing prime brokerages lured clients to poolside bungalows. David Rubenstein huddled at a corner table at the Palio Cafe, where a cold-pressed juice costs $12.50. Fellow billionaire Marc Lasry took calls.

 

QuickTake

Everything You Need to Know About Impeachment

 

 

Some attendees confessed they hadn’t tuned in yet to the scandal’s latest developments, with a few saying they were more interested in finding that night’s parties. Others simply brushed off allegations that Trump asked the head of the FBI to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and reports that the president disclosed sensitive intelligence to Russian officials. Trump has denied wrongdoing. By evening, the Justice Department had named a special counsel.

 

Billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell said he dislikes the “cacophony” around the president, and that none of the revelations this week suggest Trump should be removed.

 

“I think the president has the competence, and all this unfit-for-office stuff is a bunch of stuff," Zell said in an interview from the conference.

 

Steady Hands

 

The elite in Las Vegas weren’t alone. In Washington, Wall Street consultant Paul Atkins said things were just fine. The former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission runs Patomak Global Partners LLC and sits on Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. He had just come from a meeting of the board of a mutual fund company that featured Craig Phillips, a former BlackRock Inc. executive who’s leading the Treasury’s review of banking regulation. What Atkins and his colleagues care about is that the government is on its way to rolling back rules.

 

“You can divorce the Washington drama from the good work that the administration already is doing,” he said about deregulation. “That’s what people are focusing on.”

 

Wall Street has been too confident about Washington before, and it doesn’t always read government tea leaves perfectly. Early in the Republican primaries, few took Trump seriously. Even after June’s Brexit vote took bankers by surprise, not many predicted the novice politician could top Hillary Clinton. This year, the White House and Capitol Hill may be too gummed up to make the major changes bankers crave.

 

“None of us in the markets yet know what’s fake and what’s real,” said Bruce Richards, who runs distressed-debt investor Marathon Asset Management. Even though the burst of delight about Trump that fueled the U.S. stock market is coming to an end, he said, Mnuchin and economic adviser Gary Cohn lend steady hands. He doesn’t think those two former Goldman Sachs partners are going anywhere.

 

Bernanke’s Warning

 

Cohn delighted executives when he talked about privatizing U.S. infrastructure at a meeting in Washington last month with members of the Partnership for New York City, an event co-chaired by Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat and Blackstone Group LP billionaire Stephen Schwarzman. On Wednesday, Kathryn Wylde, the partnership’s president, said her colleagues won’t abandon Trump because of the day’s crises.

 

“It’s the only game in town, so I think most of the financial and other leaders will stick with it until they can’t,” she said. “The focus will shift to the leadership in Congress and working with them on trying to drive these important items home.”

 

Ben Bernanke was on the SALT schedule alongside former Vice President Joe Biden, at least five billionaires and the comedian Steve Harvey. The former Federal Reserve chairman had a warning for his calm colleagues.

 

“Markets are very blase about political risk until the very last moment,” Bernanke said. “They go along until something happens that pulls the rug out from under their assumptions.”

 

 


Cohn Says Privatizing Some Infrastructure Makes Sense

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 24, 2017 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

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Cohn Says Privatizing Some Infrastructure Makes Sense





2016 Land Report 100

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 2, 2017 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

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Of all private U.S. agricultural land, Whites account for 96 percent of the owners, 97 percent of the value, and 98 percent of the acres. Nonetheless, four minority groups (Blacks, American Indians, Asians, and Hispanics) own over 25 million acres of agricultural land, valued at over $44 billion, which has wide-ranging consequences for the social, economic, cultural, and political life of minority communities in rural America. This article presents the most recent national data available on the racial and ethnic dimensions of agricultural land ownership in the United States, based largely on USDA’s Agricultural Economics and Land Ownership Survey of 1999. 


2016 Land Report 100

 

No. 1 John Malone

 

2,200,000 acres

 

THE FULL LIST: AMERICA’S 100 LARGEST LANDOWNERS 2016

 

1. John Malone

2. Ted Turner (down 43,000 acres)

3. Emmerson Family (up 35,000 acres)

4. Stan Kroenke (up 522,000 acres)

5. Reed Family

6. Irving Family (down 4,000 acres)

7. Singleton Family

8. Brad Kelley (down 500,000 acres)

9. King Ranch Heirs

10. Pingree Heirs

11. Wilks Brothers (up 172,000 acres)

12. Briscoe Family (up 80,000 acres)

13. Ford Family

14. Lykes Heirs

15. O’Connor Heirs (up 80,000 acres)

16. Martin Family – NEW TO LIST

17. D.R. Horton (up 131,195 acres)

18. Stimson Family – NEW TO LIST

19. Westervelt Heirs – NEW TO LIST

20. Simplot Family

21. Fisher Family – NEW TO LIST

22. Philip Anschutz

23. Drummond Family

24. McDonald Family – NEW TO LIST

25. Jeff Bezos (up 110,000 acres)

25. Holding Family

27. Hughes Family

28. Malone Mitchell 3rd

29. Collins Family (up 923 acres)

30. Nunley Brothers

31. Llano Partners Ltd. (up 30,000 acres)

32. Bass Family (up 135,000 acres)

33. Mike Smith (down 2,472 acres)

34. Collier Family

35. Kokernot Heirs

36. Killam Family (up 22,000 acres)

37. Lee Family – NEW TO LIST

37. Anne Marion

39. Babbitt Heirs

40. Shannon Kizer – NEW TO LIST

41. Galt Family – NEW TO LIST

42. Lyda Family

43. Fasken Family (up 95,000 acres)

44. Coffee Family – NEW TO LIST

45. Jones Family

45. True Family

47. Reynolds Family

47. Sanders Family – NEW TO LIST

49. Paul Fireman

50. Barta Family – NEW TO LIST

51. D.K. Boyd

52. Koch Family

53. Riggs Family

54. Stefan Soloviev (up 93,949 acres)

55. Kenedy Memorial Foundation

56. Louis Bacon (up 6,769 acres)

57. Bidegain Family

58. Yates Family (up 121,500 acres)

59. Cassidy Heirs (up 7,195 acres)

60. Scott Family

61. East Wildlife Foundation

62. T.R. Miller Family – NEW TO LIST

63. Hearst Family

64. Gage Heirs

65. Cocanougher Family – NEW TO LIST

66. Eugene Gabrych

66. Hunt Family

66. Langdale Family

69. Skiles Family – NEW TO LIST

70. Williams Family (up 1,450 acres)

71. Bogle Family

71. Durrett Family – NEW TO LIST

73. Kennedy Family – NEW TO LIST

74. Robert Funk

75. McCoy Remme Ranches

76. Mike Mechenbier (up 8,123 acres)

77. Broadbent Family

77. Irwin Heirs

79. Sugg Family

80. Jones Sisters – NEW TO LIST

81. Cogdell Family

81. Fanjul Family

83. JA Ranch Heirs

84. Ellison Family

85. Boswell Family

85. Eddy Family

85. Green Heirs

88. David Murdock

89. Wells Family

90. L-A-D Foundation (up 13 acres)

91. Don Oppliger

92. Benjy Griffith III

92. Walker Family – NEW TO LIST

94. Gerald J. Ford

95. Arthur Nicholas

96. Friedkin Family – NEW TO LIST

97. Patrick Broe

98. Harrison Family

99. Lane Family

100. Walker Heirs – NEW TO LIST


Who Owns The Land? Agricultural Land Ownership by Race/Ethnicity

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 2, 2017 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

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  "Of all private U.S. agricultural land, Whites account for 96 percent of the owners, 97 percent of the value, and 98 percent of the acres". This should explain why Black people in America have nothing. From 1604-1865 we where "SLAVES". From 1865-1965 legal slavery(13th Amendment+Jim Crow). Yet you ask why "Can't we do better". Ownership of land equals "EQUITY" or "WEALTH". Under the scheme called capitalism... By JJP

   Who Owns The Land? Agricultural Land Ownership by Race/Ethnicity


 Of all private U.S. agricultural land, Whites account for 96 percent of the owners, 97 percent of the value, and 98 percent of the acres. Nonetheless, four minority groups (Blacks, American Indians, Asians, and Hispanics) own over 25 million acres of agricultural land, valued at over $44 billion, which has wide-ranging consequences for the social, economic, cultural, and political life of minority communities in rural America. This article presents the most recent national data available on the racial and ethnic dimensions of agricultural land ownership in the United States, based largely on USDA’s Agricultural Economics and Land Ownership Survey of 1999.

Global debt explodes at 'eye-watering' pace to hit 170 trillion

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 29, 2017 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

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 The question that should be on your mind is; if the world's entire GDP is only worth $90-Trillion dollars. How can the debt be paid off, there's not enough currency in circulation to pay it off. It's key strokes on a computer! By JJP

 Global debt explodes at 'eye-watering' pace to hit £170 trillion

  Global debt has climbed at an "eye-watering" pace over the past decade, soaring to a fresh high of £170 trillion last year, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

 

The IIF said total debt levels, including household, government and corporate debt, climbed by more than $70 trillion over the last 10 years to a record high of $215 trillion (£173 trillion) in 2016 - or the equivalent of 325pc of global gross domestic product (GDP).

 

It said emerging markets posed "a growing source of concern" to financial stability and the global economy as debt burdens in these countries climb at a rapid pace.

 

 

Growing vulnerabilities

 

The IIF data showed the increase was partly driven by a "spectacular rise" in emerging markets, where total debt stood at $55 trillion at the end of 2016, or 215pc of total emerging market GDP.

 

Debt has risen from $16 trillion in 2006 and $7.4 trillion in 1996.

 

The body, which represents the world's top financial institutions, said a wave of maturing debt this year presented a "growing refinancing risk".

 

It estimates that more than $1.1 trillion of emerging market bonds and loans will mature this year, with dollar-denominated debt accounting for a fifth of all redemptions.

 

 

It said China faced around $40bn of dollar-denominated redemptions this year, while Russia faced redemptions of $20bn.

 

 

International bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have warned that rising interest rates in the US could bring an end to an emerging market corporate debt binge as companies in these countries see their debt servicing costs rise in local currency terms.

 

"While risks associated with currency mismatches may not be as acute as during past emerging market debt crises, the overall emerging market debt burden - particularly as global interest rates head higher - is a growing source of concern," the IIF said in a note.

 

The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said on Tuesday that credit in China continued to grow at a "rapid" pace.

 

Corporate credit in the world's second largest economy has climbed to 166pc of nominal GDP.

 

The IMF at the end of last year warned of broader risks to the global economy.

 

While the global economy appears to be turning a corner, the Fund said there was a risk that low growth, high debt and weak banks could push the world in a dangerous direction.

 

It said the "sheer size of debt could set the stage for an unprecedented private deleveraging process that could thwart the fragile economic recovery".

 

Governments lead advanced economy debt rise

 

The increase in debt in advanced economies has been led by rising public sector debt, according to the IIF.

 

Outstanding government debt in the US and UK has more than doubled since 2006, data shows, while Japan and the eurozone have seen a 50pc increase.

 

By contrast, households and businesses in advanced economies embarked on a period of "substantial deleveraging" in the decade after the crisis, compared with growth of $72 trillion in the ten years to 2016.

 

Private debt as a share of GDP fell by almost 30 percentage points in the UK between 2008 and 2015, according to the IMF, representing the biggest reduction in the advanced world.

 

Emerging market debt boom

 

The "substantial rise" in emerging market debt over the past decade has been driven by the development of local currency bond markets.

 

Total local currency debt stood at $48.5 trillion in 2016, while foreign currency debt stood at $7.2 trillion.

 

The IIF said foreign currency debt was below the peak seen in the second quarter of 2014, though this drop was driven by Chinese companies repaying dollar-denominated debt, and a loan restructuring programme in Hungary.

 

It said Latin American countries had seen much sharper increases in foreign currency debt, including Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, as well as Turkey and South Africa.

 

Corporate debt burdens are also much higher. The IIF said increases had been "concentrated in non-financial corporates, where debt-to-GDP has risen from 68pc in 2006 to 100pc in 2016", even though the pace of growth has slowed in recent quarters.


Barack Obama to be paid $400,000 for speech at Cantor Fitzgerald event

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 28, 2017 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

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  This is why you have to follow the money! Wall Street get's bailed out by "OUR" governement with interest free money. The  banks own the Insurance companies, which in turn bank roll Senator Barack Obama presidential campaign. Senator Obama becomes President. ObamaCare get's passed Insurance companies get rich. Banks get America! By JJP

 

Barack Obama to be paid $400,000 for speech at Cantor Fitzgerald event

Former US president criticised over role at Wall Street firm’s conference after he previously vowed crackdown on ‘fat cats’

 

Last modified on Wednesday 26 April 2017 19.40 EDT

 

Barack Obama is to be paid $400,000 (£312,000) to speak at a healthcare conference organised by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald, despite his criticism of the finance sector when he was US president.

 

The fee is nearly double that received by Hillary Clinton, who had hoped to succeed him as president, for speeches at Goldman Sachs and indicates the scale of the potential earnings of the former US president.

 

Neither his representatives nor Cantor Fitzgerald could be reached to comment on the reports from the US, where he is facing criticism for his decision to accept the engagement.

 

In 2010, Obama was credited with pushing through legislation that was intended to clamp down on Wall Street. A year earlier he said that he did not run for office to help out “a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street”.

 

Since the end of his second term he has started to write his memoir – he and his wife, Michelle, are reportedly receiving $60m for separate accounts – and took a holiday with the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

 

 

0:00

/ 2:33

 

 

 

‘So what’s been going on?’: Barack Obama returns to public stage

But Obama, 55, returned to the public stage this week to speak at the University of Chicago, where he said he would support future leaders. He told the audience that economic inequality and lack of opportunity, a skewed criminal justice system and climate change must be confronted.

 

 

“All those problems are serious, they’re daunting, but they’re not insoluble. What is preventing us from tackling them and making more progress really has to do with our politics and civic life,” he said.

 

The Cantor Fitzgerald event is scheduled for September, with Obama being described as the keynote speaker at a lunch during the healthcare conference. The firm, which had offices in the World Trade Center and lost two-thirds of its staff in the September 11 attacks, is not known for its Democratic links: Howard Lutnick, Cantor’s chairman and chief executive, is reported to have backed Jeb Bush, the Republican who lost out to Donald Trump for the party’s presidential nomination.

 

Fox News, which first reported the speaking engagement, quoted Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant, as saying: “He went on the attack against Wall Street and now he’s being fed by those same people he called fat cats. It’s more hypocritical than ironic.”

 

However, Obama is joining a long line of former senior politicians to be paid for speeches. Bill Clinton was reportedly paid $750,000 for a speech in Hong Kong to the telecoms company Ericsson. His wife, Hillary, disclosed during her presidential campaign that they had been paid more than $25m in speaking fees since January 2014.

 

 

Politico has reported that George W Bush is paid up to $175,000 for every speech while the former presidential candidate Sarah Palin is said to have received $115,000 for one speech.

 

UK politicians also command hefty fees for speeches. The former chancellor George Osborne – who is not standing for re-election in June – disclosed that he had received more than £500,000 from speeches in the US, including two events for JP Morgan at £81,174 and £60,578 each, last year.

 

In 2009 Tony Blair received £390,000 for two half-hour speeches in the Philippines, while Gordon Brown has donated fees of about £70,000 for speaking engagements to his charitable foundation.


18 Big Companies That Paid Zero in Taxes? Here's the Deal

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

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  If you think this bad, wait until the Trump tax cut's go into effect! By JJP

 

18 Big Companies That Paid Zero in Taxes? Here’s the Deal

 

A flawed tax code couples a high top rate with big deductions—you might even call them loopholes. GE calls report “deeply flawed and misleading.”



 

Once health care is tamed, President Donald Trump and Congress will turn to other bears, such as the byzantine U.S. tax code. Conveniently, a new report has come out on legal tax avoidance.

 

The report, from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, says 18 of America’s biggest corporations paid zero federal income tax from 2008 to 2015.

 

Feel free at this point to bang your head on the tax forms strewn across your kitchen table. After that, consider these points:

 

 

1. General Electric Co., International Paper Co., Priceline Group, and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. were among the companies that the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy says had no net tax liability at all over the period.

 

2. These are not simple calculations. They involve complicated assumptions and choices, such as what bits to put in the numerator (the tax) and what bits to put in the denominator (the profit). General Electric called the report “deeply flawed and misleading” and added: “Over the last decade, GE paid $32.9 billion in cash income taxes worldwide, including in the U.S.”

 

3. The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy and its sister organization, Citizens for Tax Justice, lean left. Sample blog headline: “Bernie Sanders Is a Champion for Tax Fairness.” That said, CTJ's corporate-tax studies have been cited even by neutral experts.

 

4. Note the word “legal” in “legal tax avoidance.” These companies obeyed the law, as far as anyone knows. If you have a problem with their actions, blame Congress, not the companies and their highly skilled tax attorneys and accountants.

 

5. ITEP cites the 18 companies to reinforce its larger point: that corporate taxes are lower than they appear to be. One of President Trump's familiar talking points is that the U.S. has just about the world's highest corporate tax rate. The ITEP report is titled The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth. It says that of the 258 companies in its sample that had profits every year from 2008 to 2015, the average “effective” tax rate was 21.2 percent.

 

 

6. It's pretty well accepted by now that while the U.S. has one of the very highest top rates on corporate income, its average rate isn’t unusually high because there are lots of allowable deductions. So the new report, the latest in a series going back to the 1980s, isn’t breaking any conceptual ground.

 

7. Most of the 18 companies on the list are electric utilities. That’s no coincidence. During the financial crisis, Congress enacted a policy called “bonus depreciation” intended to stimulate economic growth. It allowed companies to write off new investments right away. Because they do a lot of investment, utilities enjoyed some of the biggest benefits. The downside? Because the investments are already fully written off, the companies won’t be able to get a tax benefit from depreciating them in future years, notes PG&E spokesman Brian Hertzog. International Paper also cited bonus depreciation, along with the impact of the recession and pension fund contributions. A spokeswoman for Priceline disputed the report, citing filings showing it did pay federal income taxes.

 

8. Just about everyone agrees that the U.S. corporate income tax system is a mess. That includes GE, which said in a statement, “The tax code is complex and outdated, which is exactly why tax reform must happen this year. GE has long been advocating to simplify and modernize the tax system—even if it means we pay more in taxes.”

 

9. Even if 35 percent isn’t what companies pay, the top rate does matter. As every student of intro econ learns, decisions are made at the margin, not on the average. If the government grabs 35 percent of the last dollar of income you earn, you'll be at least a bit discouraged from earning that last dollar. “There’s a good argument for coming up with some broader business tax with a lower rate that doesn’t allow so many deductions,” said Alan Cole, an economist at the Tax Foundation, which describes itself as nonpartisan and which Cole called more “market-leaning” than ITEP and Citizens for Tax Justice.

 

10. The report urges Congress to stop allowing U.S. companies to defer federal taxes on offshore profits. More than $1 trillion in cash has piled up abroad because companies don’t want to pay U.S. tax on it. That may be a good idea, but only if it’s coupled with a cut in the top rate. Otherwise U.S. companies would have an even stronger incentive to shift their headquarters overseas to escape U.S. taxation, Cole said.

 

Now go pay your taxes.


Special report: America's perpetual state of emergency

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2017 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/22/president-obama-states-of-emergency/16851775/

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  Special report: America's perpetual state of emergency


 

WASHINGTON — The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.

 

Thirty separate emergencies, in fact.

 

An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

 

A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.

 

Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying "widespread violence and atrocities" in the Democratic Republic of Congo "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

 

Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will.

 

"What the National Emergencies Act does is like a toggle switch, and when the president flips it, he gets new powers. It's like a magic wand. and there are very few constraints about how he turns it on," said Kim Lane Scheppele, a professor at Princeton University.

 

If invoked during a public health emergency, a presidential emergency declaration could allow hospitals more flexibility to treat Ebola cases. The Obama administration has said declaring a national emergency for Ebola is unnecessary.

 

In his six years in office, President Obama has declared nine emergencies, allowed one to expire and extended 22 emergencies enacted by his predecessors.

 

Since 1976, when Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, presidents have declared at least 53 states of emergency — not counting disaster declarations for events such as tornadoes and floods, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents. Most of those emergencies remain in effect.

 

Even as Congress has delegated emergency powers to the president, it has provided almost no oversight. The 1976 law requires each house of Congress to meet within six months of an emergency to vote it up or down. That's never happened.

United States of Emergency

 

U.S. presidents have declared 52 states of emergency since Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976. Thirty are still in effect. A breakdown by president:


 

Instead, many emergencies linger for years or even decades.

 

Last week, Obama renewed a state of national emergency declared in 1995 to deal with Colombia drug trafficking, saying drug lords "continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States and to cause an extreme level of violence, corruption and harm in the United States and abroad."

 

In May, President Obama rescinded a Bush-era executive order that protected Iraqi oil interests and their contractors from legal liability. Even as he did so, he left the state of emergency declared in that executive order intact — because at least two other executive orders rely on it.

 

Invoking those emergencies can give presidents broad and virtually unchecked powers. In an article published last year in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, attorney Patrick Thronson identified 160 laws giving the president emergency powers, including the authority to:

 

• Reshape the military, putting members of the armed forces under foreign command, conscripting veterans, overturning sentences issued by courts-martial and taking over weather satellites for military use.

 

• Suspend environmental laws, including a law forbidding the dumping of toxic and infectious medical waste at sea.

 

• Bypass federal contracting laws, allowing the government to buy and sell property without competitive bidding.

 

• Allow unlimited secret patents for Army, Navy and Air Force scientists.

 

All these provisions come from laws passed by Congress, giving the president the power to invoke them with the stroke of a pen. "A lot of laws are passed like that. So if a president is hunting around for additional authority, declaring an emergency is pretty easy," Scheppele said.

 

In 2009, Obama declared a state of national emergency for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. That emergency, which quietly expired a year later, allowed for waivers of some Medicare and Medicaid regulations — for example, permitting hospitals to screen or treat an infectious illness off-site — and to waive medical privacy laws.

 

Unlike the Ebola crisis, the swine flu had hospitalized 20,000 people and killed 1,000 when Obama declared an emergency.

 

At a congressional hearing last week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said another emergency power — the ability to waive procurement regulations — may be helpful in responding to Ebola.

 

The White House said an Ebola emergency isn't necessary. "I'm not aware of any consideration that currently is underway (for) any sort of national medical emergency," spokesman Josh Earnest said last week. "I wouldn't rule it out, but frankly ... that's not something that we're actively considering right now."

 

Presidential emergency powers are hardly new. The Militia Acts of 1792 gave the president the authority to take over state militias to put down an insurrection, which is what President George Washington did two years later during the Whiskey Rebellion. President Abraham Lincoln commandeered ships, raised armies and suspended habeas corpus — all without approval from Congress.

 

President Franklin Roosevelt declared a state of emergency in 1933 to prevent a run on banks, and President Harry Truman declared one in 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War. After President Richard Nixon declared two states of emergency in 17 months, Congress became alarmed by four simultaneous states of emergency.

 

It passed the National Emergencies Act by an overwhelming majority, requiring the president to cite a legal basis for the emergency and say which emergency powers he would exercise. All emergencies would expire after one year if not renewed by the president.

 

Three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Bush issued Proclamation 7463. It allowed him to call up the National Guard and appoint and fire military officers under the rank of lieutenant general.

President George W. Bush sits with his National Security

 

 

That proclamation has been renewed every year since 2001, including by Obama last month.

 

As of Sept. 30, about 25,700 guard and reserve troops remain involuntarily called up to federal service on the authority of Bush's proclamation, the Pentagon says. Canceling the state of emergency would allow them to go home.

 

Eight generals and admirals have been appointed to their positions despite laws limiting the number of general officers in each service. That's because the state of emergency allows the president to bypass the law and appoint an unlimited number of one- and two-star generals.

 

Those numbers are down significantly from their peaks over the past decade. There were 202,750 guard and reserves called up involuntarily in 2003. In 2009, the military had 89 more generals and admirals than Congress allowed for in a non-emergency situation.

 

The Department of Defense is conducting a review of how it would meet staffing needs if the president fails to renew the state of emergency, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman. That review has been going on quietly for years, and the emergency has been extended each time.

 

Bush's Proclamation 7463 provides much of the legal underpinning for the war on terror. Bush cited that state of emergency, for example, in his military order allowing the detention of al-Qaeda combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and their trial by military commission.

 

The post-9/11 emergency declaration is in its 13th year. Eleven emergencies are even older.

 

OLDEST EMERGENCY

 

The oldest operational emergency was issued by President Carter in 1979. For Mohamad Nazemzadeh, that state of emergency isn't an academic debate. He's on trial because of it and could get up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

 

Nazemzadeh, an Iranian-born Ph.D. biochemical engineer, was a research fellow at the University of Michigan where he did research on new radiation therapies to cure cancer and epilepsy. In 2011, he attempted to broker the sale of a $21,400 refurbished MRI coil to an Iranian hospital.

Mohamad Nazemzadeh

 

 

That's illegal under a string of executive orders dating back to the Carter administration. Carter, invoking his emergency powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, imposed an embargo on trade with Iran in 1979. That emergency has been renewed every year since.

 

In its current form, the executive order has an exception for medicine — but not medical equipment.

 

In 2010, Congress passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestiture Act. The law tightened sanctions against Iran but included broader exceptions, including for medical equipment such as the MRI coil.

 

Nazemzadeh's lawyer, Shereen Charlick, argued that Congress delegated the emergency powers to the president and intended to take part of them back with the 2010 law.

 

"The congressional exemptions trump the executive order. Since Congress is the lawmaking body and gave the president the emergency powers in the first place, it can remove the authority it delegated to the president. That's my argument," Charlick said. "I did not prevail on that argument. I still think I'm completely right."

 

Judge James Lorenz rejected that argument. "It is undisputed that the plain language of IEEPA vests authority to the president to declare an emergency and implement economic sanctions," he said in his ruling in January. Even though Congress made it legal to send medical equipment, the president can use his emergency powers under the old law to require a license, the judge ruled.

 

Nazemzadeh didn't have a license. Such licenses are routine but expensive.

 

"If you look at the history of IEEPA, it was to give the president extra powers in times of emergency. It wasn't intended to permanently expand the powers of the executive branch. It's all on fairly shaky ground," said Clif Burns, a Washington sanctions lawyer.

 

The president uses that emergency power because it's the only tool he has to enforce sanctions. Congress has twice allowed the Export Administration Act to lapse — first from 1994 to 2000 and again since 2001 — because of a dispute over anti-boycott provisions involving Israel.

 

"The president, as well as his predecessors, have declared a number of national emergencies in the context of IEEPA in order to impose economic sanctions, including with respect to the situations in Iran, Syria and in order to address terrorism and proliferation concerns," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council. He declined to discuss the internal deliberations around the declaration or renewal of national emergencies.

 

OVERTURNING EMERGENCIES

 

The National Emergencies Act allows Congress to overturn an emergency by a resolution passed by both houses — which could then be vetoed by the president. In 38 years, only one resolution has ever been introduced to cancel an emergency.

 

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, President Bush declared a state of emergency allowing him to waive federal wage laws. Contractors rebuilding after the hurricane would not have to abide by the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires workers to be paid the local prevailing wage.

An aerial view shows the flooded area in the northern

 

(Photo: Menahem Kahana, AFP/Getty Images)

 

Democrats — and some Republicans from union-friendly states such as Ohio and West Virginia — cried foul. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., introduced a resolution that would have terminated the emergency. Bush, under pressure from Congress, revoked it himself two months later, and Miller's resolution was moot.

 

"The history here is so clear. The Congress hasn't done much of anything," said Harold Relyea, who studied national emergencies during a 37-year career at the Congressional Research Service. "Congress has not been the watchdog. It's very toothless, and the partisanship hasn't particularly helped."

 

If anything, Congress may be inclined to give the president additional emergency powers. Legislation pending in Congress would allow the president to invoke an emergency to waive liability for health care providers and to sanction banks that do business with Hezbollah.

 

Scheppele, the Princeton professor, said emergencies have become so routine that they are "declared and undeclared often without a single headline."

 

"If we had to break the glass and flip the switch in order to do it ... it would be helpful for the alarm to go off at least. It's a sign that normal law isn't set up right," she said. "States of emergency always bypass something else. So what we need to look at is what's being bypassed, and should that be fixed."


Obama extends post-9/11 state of national emergency for 16th year

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2017 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/09/09/obama-extends-post-911-state-national-emergency-16th-year/90004960/

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Surprise.... By JJP



Obama extends post-9/11 state of national emergency for 16th year

 

WASHINGTON — The post-9/11 state of national emergency — declared by President George W. Bush three days after the 2001 terrorist attacks — will continue through the end of the Obama presidency.

 

President Obama has extended Bush's Proclamation 7463 for the 16th consecutive year, giving him broad powers over the organization of the military for at least another year.

 

Among them: the ability to call up the national guard and deploy those troops overseas. As of last week, 16,345 guardsmen remain called up under the legal authority involved by that proclamation, the Pentagon said.

 

The emergency also gives the president — and his successor — the authority to "suspend the operation of any provision of law relating to the promotion, involuntary retirement, or separation of commissioned officers" of the armed forces. And he can appoint an unlimited number of new one- or two-star generals, waiving promotion requirements and legal limits on the number of officers.

 

Wednesday, GOP candidate Donald Trump suggested he would use his authority as president to replace top generals, saying he would seek the advice of generals on the Islamic State, but "they’d probably be different generals, to be honest with you."

 

Under the National Emergencies Act, national emergencies expire after a year, unless the president renews them by notifying Congress.

 

Obama did just that last week. "The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues," he said. "For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in after September 14, 2016, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat."

 

Congress is also required to meet every six months to consider whether to revoke each state of emergency. In 40 years of the National Emergencies Act, Congress has never done so — and only seriously threatened it once.

 

There are now 32 states of national emergency pending in the United States, with the oldest being a 1979 emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter to impose sanctions during the Iran hostage crisis. Most are used to impose economic sanctions — mostly as a formality, because Congress requires it under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

 

Special report: America's perpetual state of emergency

 

In his term in office, Obama has declared 13 new emergencies, continued 21 declared by his predecessors and revoked just two, which imposed sanctions on Liberia and Russia.

 

But Proclamation 7463 is unique among those national emergencies. Along with a use-of-military-force authorization by Congress signed by President Bush four days later, it gives the president the power to call up the national guard and to alter the size and shape of the military's top officers. It also gives him the power to hire and fire commissioned officers — even ordering them out of retirement if necessary.

 

As of 2014, there were 10 generals serving in such positions, but the Pentagon could not determine what that number is currently.


Trump Lays Groundwork for Federal Government Reorganization

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2017 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

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https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/trackers/2017-04-12/trump-lays-groundwork-for-widespread-government-reorganization

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  Problem Reaction Solution, is coming to a city and town near you! By JJP

  Trump Lays Groundwork for Federal Government Reorganization

 

President Donald Trump is issuing a presidential memorandum that will call for a rethinking of the entire structure of the federal government, a move that could eventually lead to a downsizing of the overall workforce and changes to the basic functions and responsibilities of many agencies.

 

The order, which will go into effect Thursday, also will lift a blanket federal hiring freeze that has been in place since Trump’s first day in office almost three months ago and replace it with hiring targets in line with the spending priorities the administration laid out in March, said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

The move is a part of Trump’s campaign pledge to "drain the swamp" and get rid of what the administration views as inefficiencies in the federal government, Mulvaney said. It comes as the White House also is trying to curb the size of many government agencies through a proposed budget that calls for historically deep spending cuts to everything from medical research to clean-energy programs.

 

The push to reshape the government as well as the budget cuts are almost certain to draw opposition from Congress.

 

"We think at the end of the day this leads to a government that is dramatically more accountable, dramatically more efficient, and dramatically more effective, following through on the very promises the president made during the campaign and that he put into place on day one," Mulvaney said.

‘Blank Sheet’

 

He said the administration is starting with a "blank sheet of paper" as to how the government should operate and has set up a website to solicit ideas.

 

One solution may be to organize it by function, like putting all areas that deal with trade under one department, or to break up large departments into a number of smaller agencies. As an example, Mulvaney said there are 43 different workforce-training programs across at least 13 agencies -- without a single point person in charge of them -- that could be brought under one roof.

 

“We’re now transitioning into the smarter, more surgical plans of running the government,” Mulvaney said in an interview on MSNBC Wednesday morning.

 

The adjustments will then be included in the fiscal 2019 budget, which the administration will start putting together this September.

 

Changes to federal hiring, though, will begin immediately. Once the hiring freeze is lifted as of Thursday, the heads of federal agencies will have the discretion to start filling positions in line with the proposed budget the administration released last month. That budget, for fiscal 2018, would slash or eliminate many of the Great Society programs that Republicans have for decades tried to peel back while showering the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security with new resources.

 

That budget already is facing opposition in Congress, and many programs the administration would like to target could only be eliminated through legislation.

 

"Congress’s priorities may be a little different. Any of you who follow the appropriations process understand there are certain things that Congress can actually make us do," Mulvaney said. "We’ll follow the law when it comes to that. To the extent we have discretion under the law, then the discretion will be exercised in the method best possible to effectuate the president’s policies."


Trump's Cabinet dubbed 'Goldman, generals and gazillionaires'

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2017 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/12/11/trumps-cabinet-goldman-generals-and-gazillionaires/95299216/

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Did you really think he was "DIFFERENT"? By JJP

  


  Trump's Cabinet dubbed 'Goldman, generals and gazillionaires'


 

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump ran for the White House as an outsider and a pragmatist. But he's quickly putting together an administration that will be the most fiercely conservative of any in decades.

 

After campaigning as the least ideological presidential contender in modern times, Trump is naming a Cabinet and senior White House staff that is dominated by retired military leaders, wealthy business executives and partisan activists who oppose the historic mission of the departments they are poised to head. While the president-elect issued few policy blueprints while he was seeking the job, his nominees for key posts already have been leading the charge to dismantle President Obama's initiatives on health care and climate change.

 

"I call it the three 'G' Cabinet: Goldman, generals and gazillionaires," Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said mockingly Sunday on ABC's This Week, a reference to multiple Trump appointees who have worked at the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.

 

On Fox News Sunday, Trump said he was "very, very close" to naming his pick for the Cabinet's biggest prize, secretary of State, speaking favorably of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. "He's much more than a business executive," Trump said of Tillerson, reported to be the frontrunner for the job. "I mean, he's a world-class player." The president-elect also favorably mentioned two other prospects, 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker.

 

Trump's unorthodox campaign, dominated by a promise to "make America great again" and attacks on Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, gave limited insights about what a Trump administration would look like. But in the past four weeks, he has reassured Republicans and alarmed Democrats by appointments that largely reflect GOP orthodoxy — from a Labor secretary-designate who opposes raising the minimum wage to a Housing and Urban Development secretary-designate who warns that subsidized housing fosters dependency.

 

His domestic team would have been a good fit for just about any of his Republican primary rivals, though Trump's friendly stance toward Russia and its provocative president, Vladimir Putin, is at odds with GOP tradition and the party's leading congressional voices on foreign policy.

 

So far, Trump's choices — including top jobs for a trio of veterans of Goldman Sachs, a firm he blasted at campaign rallies — haven't reflected the populist impulses that fueled his appeal to some white working-class voters or his vow to "drain the swamp" in Washington of donors and other insiders.

 

"I think we're going to have one of the great Cabinets ever put together," Trump boasted. The nominations, announced via Twitter and at campaign-style rallies, provide clues about how he will operate and what he will do after the Inauguration.

 

Here are some things we're learning:

 

'I like generals'

 

"I think generals are terrific, you know?" Trump said in Sunday's interview on Fox News. "They go through schools and they sort of end up at the top of the pyramid, and it's like a test. They passed the test of life." He's picked three of them to top jobs: retired Marine Corps Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis as secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly as secretary of Homeland Security, and retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

 

He's also met at Trump Tower with retired Army Gen. David Petraeus and retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis as he weighed the possibilities for secretary of State.

 

Corporate command

 

Not since the Eisenhower administration have so many business executives landed top government jobs, making Trump's Cabinet the wealthiest in American history. "I want people that made a fortune because now they're negotiating with you," he told supporters in Des Moines Thursday during his "thank you" tour. "It's not different than a great baseball player or a great golfer."

 

He has designated former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon as his senior White House strategist, Goldman veteran Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary and billionaire activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary. Another billionaire, Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, has been named deputy Commerce secretary.

 

Linda McMahon, a former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has been chosen to head the Small Business Administration. A millionaire who is married to a billionaire, she contributed $7 million to pro-Trump super PACs this fall.

 

Climate-change campaign in the crosshairs

 

Last week, environmental activists were encouraged when Trump met with former vice president Al Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, both activists on climate change. Then the president-elect selected as head of the Environmental Protection Agency Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt — a skeptic of climate change who repeatedly has sued the EPA to push back regulations aimed at reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants.

 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), an ally of the fossil-fuel industry, is reported to be Trump's choice to lead the Interior Department. She has supported legislation to open the Atlantic Ocean to drilling and prevent the Interior Department from regulating hydraulic fracturing.

 

Trump, who during the campaign called climate change "a big scam," now says it's up for debate and decries the burden of regulations on businesses. (Mainstream scientists overwhelmingly agree that the climate is changing, in part due to human activity.) "I'm still open-minded," Trump said Sunday. "Nobody really knows."

 

He complained that China, Mexico and other countries were "eating our lunch" because of environmental regulations. ""We can't let all of these permits, that take forever to get, stop our jobs," he said, adding that he was studying whether to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. "I don't want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries."

 

Russian roulette

 

Trump's stance on Russia, including his call for more cooperation with Putin, puts him at odds with many of the Republicans allied with him on other fronts. Some of the top appointments he has made or is considering are aligned with his views. Flynn sat next to Putin last year during a paid appearance in Moscow for Russia Today, a TV network financed by the Kremlin. Tillerson, who has negotiated business deals with Putin for years, was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013.

 

Trump disputed the conclusion in an unpublished CIA report that Russia tried to intervene in the election to boost his prospects. "I think it's ridiculous," he said. "I don't believe it."

 

Senate Armed Services chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) disagreed. "It's clear the Russians interfered," he said on CBS' Face the Nation. He called for a select congressional committee to investigate Russia's efforts and expressed concern about Tillerson's ties to Moscow. "It's a matter of concern to me that he has such a close personal relationship with Vladimir Putin, and obviously they've done enormous deals together," McCain said. "That would color his approach to Vladimir Putin and the Russian threat."

 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Trump's primary rivals who happens to be on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that will consider his nomination for secretary of State, on Sunday signaled his concern in a Trump-like way — on Twitter. "Being a "friend of Vladimir" is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryofState," he posted.


New York State Just Passed a $163 Billion Budget and a Free College Tuition Plan

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 10, 2017 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

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 This just show's all American's education should be "FREE"! This is how you maintain your "CIVILIZATION". It's not a commodity. By JJP

 New York State Just Passed a $163 Billion Budget and a Free College Tuition Plan


 

Travelers across New York state will get the chance to summon ride-sharing cars under a $163 billion state budget passed on Sunday that includes a free public college tuition program and ends imprisoning people younger than 18 with adults.

The passage completed a deal struck between lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, on Friday, nine days after the fiscal year began.

Key components – raising the age of criminal responsibility and free tuition for students from families earning less than $120,000 a year – were pushed by Cuomo and led to the longest budget delay since the Democrat took office in 2011.

To be phased in through October 2019, people under the age of 18 will no longer be housed in adult jails and prisons.

The measure, strongly embraced by Assembly Democrats, will leave North Carolina as the only state to automatically prosecute and imprison 16 and 17-year-olds as adults regardless of the crime.

Cuomo, considered a possible 2020 presidential contender, said in a radio interview that raising the age - along with increasing the state's minimum wage last year and legalizing same-sex marriages in 2011 - are "really great lasting legacies."

Republican lawmakers complained Cuomo incorporated social policy into the budget , but ultimately compromised.

"There's a lot of things you like, a lot things you don't like," Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, a Republican, said from the Senate floor.

State residents with household incomes under $100,000 will be able to enroll in state public colleges tuition-free. The income limit rises to $125,000 in three years.

The budget revives a tax cut program for New York City affordable housing developers and funds $2.5 billion of clean water infrastructure projects.

The spending plan won overwhelming support in the Assembly and Senate.

Legislators hailed the provision to permit Uber (UBER), Lyft (LYFT) and similar ride-hailing services to operate beyond New York City.

Sen. Timothy Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat, said upstate New York can now join the 21st Century.

Brooklyn Grange is finding ways to farm in an urban setting.

The $163 billion package also includes federal disaster aid for people impacted by 2012's Superstorm Sandy hurricane and funds for health care reform.

The pact gives Cuomo's budget director authority to plan spending cuts if the federal government slashes more than $850 million of funding to New York this fiscal year.

Cuomo called New York "a target for hostile federal actions" under Republican President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress, which could cut billions of Medicaid dollars to New York and other states by replacing the Affordable Care Act.

To help offset the state's $3.5 billion deficit and fund income tax cuts for people making under $300,000, the budget extends for two years an 8.82 percent tax rate on individuals making more than $1 million a year.Cuomo failed in his quest to compel giant online marketplaces such as Amazon to collect taxes on third-party transactions.


Wage Statistics for 2015 April 8, 2017

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 8, 2017 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

html/https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2015

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"50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $29,930.13 for 2015." Which means 80-Million people in America makes less than $29k or less per year. By JJP

Wage Statistics for 2015

April 8, 2017

The national average wage index (AWI) is based on compensation (wages, tips, and the like) subject to Federal income taxes, as reported by employers on Forms W-2. Beginning with the AWI for 1991, compensation includes contributions to deferred compensation plans, but excludes certain distributions from plans where the distributions are included in the reported compensation subject to income taxes. We call the result of including contributions, and excluding certain distributions, net compensation. The table below summarizes the components of net compensation for 2015.

 

Net compensation components for 2015

Compensation subject to Federal income taxes $7,144,666,448,113.06

Deferred compensation plan Contributions

Distributionsb+ 273,726,425,786.92

- 2,576,877,886.08

Net compensation 7,415,815,996,013.90

 Wages on which contributions were paid by 55,844,233 workers.

Distributions, to the extent included in reported wages (see text above), paid to 60,716 workers.

 

The "raw" average wage, computed as net compensation divided by the number of wage earners, is $7,415,815,996,013.90 divided by 160,794,699, or $46,119.78. Based on data in the table below, about 67.4 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $46,119.78 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $29,930.13 for 2015.


Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 8, 2017 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

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 This debt can never be repaid. Why? Because the interest was never created. The only way to pay back debt is to create more debt! By JJP

 Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge


  The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates.

 

The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion, according to the Bank for International Settlements and data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S. economy.

 

Borrowing has soared as central banks suppress benchmark interest rates to spur growth after the U.S. subprime mortgage market collapsed and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy sent the world into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yields on all types of bonds, from governments to corporates and mortgages, average about 2 percent, down from more than 4.8 percent in 2007, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index.

 

“Given the significant expansion in government spending in recent years, governments (including central, state and local governments) have been the largest debt issuers,” said Branimir Gruic, an analyst, and Andreas Schrimpf, an economist at the BIS. The organization is owned by central banks and hosts the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which sets global capital standards.

 

In the six-year period to mid-2007 global debt outstanding doubled from $35 trillion, according to data compiled by BIS.

 

Austerity Measures

 

Marketable U.S. government debt outstanding has soared to a record $12 trillion, from $4.5 trillion in 2007, according to U.S. Treasury data compiled by Bloomberg. Corporate bond sales globally surged during the period, with issuance totaling more than $21 trillion, Bloomberg data show.

 

Concerned that high debt loads would cause international investors to avoid their markets, many nations resorted to austerity measures of reduced spending and increased taxes, sacrificing their economies as they tried to restore the fiscal order they abandoned to fight the worldwide recession.

 

“To get out of debt, you need prudence and you need pro-growth structural reforms,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank in London. “Those are long-term processes. You can’t get out of debt too quickly or your economy collapses, as we saw in Greece.”

 

Bond Returns

 

Adjusting budgets to ignore interest payments, the International Monetary Fund said late last year that the so-called primary deficit in the Group of Seven countries reached an average 5.1 percent in 2010 when also smoothed to ignore large economic swings. The measure will fall to 1.2 percent this year, the IMF predicted.

 

The unprecedented retrenchments between 2010 and 2013 amounted to 3.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and 3.3 percent of euro-area GDP, according to Julian Callow, chief international economist at Barclays Plc in London.

 

Rising debt did little to diminish demand for fixed-income assets. Bonds worldwide have returned 31 percent since 2007, including reinvested interest, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. Treasury and agency debt handed investors gains of 27 percent, while corporate bonds returned more than 40 percent, the indexes show.

 

Rating Downgrades

 

“Total debt levels, the sum of household, government and corporate debt, haven’t declined at all in recent years,” said Ben Bennett, a credit strategist in London at Legal & General Investment Management, which oversees the equivalent of about $120 billion of corporate bonds. “Each time there’s a wobble, the central banks turn on the taps. Either that works by creating growth with asset prices eventually coming into line with fundamentals, or it doesn’t and we’re in for a massive fall.”

 

Bond investors haven’t penalized sovereign issuers such as the U.S., U.K., Japan and France for losing their top credit ratings. While Standard & Poor’s stripped the U.S. of its AAA ranking in August 2011, Treasuries moved in the opposite direction from what the downgrade suggested and yields touched a record low of 1.38 percent in 2012.

 

In the U.K., where ratings were cut one level to Aa1 from Aaa in February 2013 by Moody’s Investors Service, 10-year Gilt yields fell 26 basis points to 1.85 percent in the month after the downgrade.

 

Increasing Indebtedness

 

Yields on U.S. government bonds have dropped 2.3 percentage points since 2007 to an average 1.6 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch bond index data. Corporate yields have declined 2.6 percentage points to 2.9 percent.

 

Faster growth is deflecting concern about high debt loads. In the U.S., the government will borrow less money this year than at any time since 2008, validating the nation’s decision to go deeper into debt to combat the financial crisis as a stronger economy shrinks the deficit, based on a January survey of the Wall Street’s biggest bond dealers.

 

The government will sell $717 billion of notes and bonds on a net basis, 14 percent less than last year, according to a survey of primary dealers which are obligated to bid at Treasury auctions. Issuance has fallen every year since the U.S. borrowed a record $1.607 trillion in 2010, data compiled by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association show.

 

Unprecedented Stimulus

 

Helped by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented stimulus, the Obama administration’s deficit spending has enabled the American economy to recover faster from the first global recession since World War II than European countries that chose austerity.

 

Faster economic growth and falling unemployment in the U.S. has slowed the build-up of debt as a proportion of GDP to 70 percent, less than two-thirds of the 24 developed nations tracked by Bloomberg. The jobless rate was 6.7 percent in February, government data showed last week, down from 7.7 percent a year earlier.

 

Higher corporate and individual tax receipts have prompted dealers in the Bloomberg survey to predict the U.S. budget deficit will decline by about $50 billion to $629 billion, the least since 2008.

 

Smaller deficits may be short-lived because government costs for retirement and health care are poised to surge in the coming decade. Spending on Social Security will rise 67 percent to $1.414 trillion in 2023 from $848 billion this year, while spending on programs including Medicare and Medicaid will almost double to $1.808 trillion in 2023, estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released in May show.

 

Debt Recovery

 

Bonds in Europe’s most indebted nations are recovering from the region’s sovereign debt crisis, with 10-year yields from Greece to Ireland sinking last week to the lowest since at least 2010.

 

The average yield to maturity on bonds from Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain fell to an average 2.44 percent on March 5, the lowest in the history of the euro area, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. That’s down from more than 9.5 percent in 2011, when the region was rocked by concern nations may struggle to service their debt.


Big Risk: $1.2 Quadrillion Derivatives Market Dwarfs World GDP

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 8, 2017 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

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 Do you really believe our government is worried about a $20-Trillion dollar deficit? Stop drinking the kool-aid. By JJP


Big Risk: $1.2 Quadrillion Derivatives Market Dwarfs World GDP


  One of the biggest risks to the world's financial health is the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market. It's complex, it's unregulated, and it ought to be of concern to world leaders that its notional value is 20 times the size of the world economy. But traders rule the roost -- and as much as risk managers and regulators might want to limit that risk, they lack the power or knowledge to do so.

 

A quadrillion is a big number: 1,000 times a trillion. Yet according to one of the world's leading derivatives experts, Paul Wilmott, who holds a doctorate in applied mathematics from Oxford University (and whose speaking voice sounds eerily like John Lennon's), $1.2 quadrillion is the so-called notional value of the worldwide derivatives market. To put that in perspective, the world's annual gross domestic product is between $50 trillion and $60 trillion.

 

To understand the concept of "notional value," it's useful to have an example. Let's say you borrow $1 million to buy an apartment and the interest rate on that loan gets reset every six months. Meanwhile, you turn around and rent that apartment out at a monthly fixed rate. If all your expenses including interest are less than the rent, you make money. But if the interest and expenses get bigger than the rent, you lose.

 

You might be able to hedge this risk of a spike in interest rates by swapping that variable rate of interest for a fixed one. To do that you'd need to find a counterparty who has an asset with a fixed rate of return who believed that interest rates were going to fall and was willing to swap his fixed rate for your variable one.

 

The actual cash amount of the interest rates swaps might be 1% of the $1 million debt, while that $1 million is the "notional" amount. Applying that same 1% to the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market would leave a cash amount of the derivatives market of $12 trillion -- far smaller, but still 20% of the world economy.

 

Getting a Handle on Derivatives Risk

 

How big is the risk to the world economy from these derivatives? According to Wilmott, it's impossible to know unless you understand the details of the derivatives contracts. But since they're unregulated and likely to remain so, it is hard to gauge the risk.

 

But Wilmott gives an example of an over-the-counter "customized" derivative that could be very risky indeed, and could also put its practitioners in a position of what he called "moral hazard." Suppose Bank 1 (B1) and Bank 2 (B2) decide to hedge against the risk that Bank 3 (B3) and Bank 4 (B4) might fail to repay their debt to B1 and B2. To guard against that, B1 and B2 might hedge the risk through derivatives.

 

In so doing, B1 and B2 might buy a credit default swap (CDS) on B3 and B4 debt. The CDS would pay B1 and B2 if B3 and B4 failed to repay their loan. B1 and B2 might also bet on the decline in shares of B3 and B4 through a short sale.

 

At that point, any action that B1 and B2 might take to boost the odds that B3 and B4 might default would increase the value of their derivatives. That possibility might tempt B1 and B2 to take actions that would boost the odds of failure for B3 and B4. As I wrote back in September 2008 on DailyFinance's sister site, BloggingStocks, this kind of behavior -- in which hedge funds pulled their money out of banks whose stock they were shorting -- may have contributed to the failures of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

 

It's also the sort of conduct that makes it extremely difficult to estimate the risk of the derivatives market.

 

How Positive Feedback Loops Crash Markets

 

Another kind of market conduct that makes markets volatile is what Wilmott calls positive and negative feedback loops. These relatively bland-sounding terms mask some really scary behavior for investors who are not clued into it. Wilmott argues that a positive feedback loop contributed to the 22.6% crash in the Dow back in October 1987.

 

In the 1980s, a firm run by some former academics came up with the idea of portfolio insurance.

 

Their idea was that if investors are worried about their assets losing value, they can buy puts -- the option to sell their investments at pre-determined prices. They can sell everything -- which would be embarrassing if the market then started to rise -- or they could sell a fixed proportion of their portfolio depending on the percentage decline in a particular stock market index.

 

This latter idea is portfolio insurance. If the Dow, for example, fell 3%; it might suggest that investors should sell 20% of their portfolio. And if the Dow fell 20%, it would indicate that investors should sell 100% of their portfolio.

 

That positive feedback loop -- in which a stock price decline leads to more selling -- boosts market volatility. Portfolio insurance causes more investors to sell as the market declines by, say 3%, which causes an even deeper plunge in the value of investors' holdings. And that deeper decline leads to more selling. Before you know it, many investors are selling everything.

 

The portfolio insurance firm started off with $5 billion, but as its reputation spread, it ended up managing $50 billion. In 1987, that was a lot of money. So when that positive feedback loop got going, it took the Dow down 22.6% in a day.

 

The big problem back then was the absence of a sufficient number of traders using a negative feedback loop strategy. With a negative feedback loop, a trader would sell stocks as they rose and buy them as they declined. With a negative feedback loop strategy, volatility would be far lower.

 

Unfortunately, data on how much money has been going into negative and positive feedback loop strategies is not available. Therefore, it's hard to know how the positive feedback loops have gained such a hold on the market.

 

But it is not hard to imagine that if a particular investor made huge amounts of money following a positive feedback loop strategy, other investors would hear about it and copy it. Moreover, the way traders get compensated suggests that it's better for them to take more and more risk to replicate what their peers are doing.

 

Traders Make More Money By Following the Pack

 

There is a clear economic incentive for traders to follow what their peers are doing. According to Wilmott, to understand why, it helps to imagine a simplified example of a trading floor. Picture yourself as a new college graduate joining a bank's trading floor with 100 traders. Those 100 traders each trade $10 million: They "win" if a coin toss lands on heads and "lose" if it lands on tails. But now imagine you've come up with a magic coin that has a 75% chance of landing on heads -- you can make a better bet than the other 100 traders with their 50-50 coin.

 

You might think that the best strategy for you would be to bet your $10 million on that magic coin. But you'd be wrong. According to Wilmott, if the magic coin lands on a head but the other 100 traders flip tails, the bank loses $1 billion while you get a relatively paltry $10 million.

 

The best possible outcome for you is a 37.5% chance that everyone makes money (the 75% chance of you tossing heads multiplied by the 50% chance of the other traders getting a head). If instead, you use the same coin as everyone else on the floor, the probability of everyone getting a bonus rises to 50%.

 

When Traders Say 'Jump,' Risk Managers Ask 'How High?'

 

Traders are a huge source of profit on Wall Street these days and they have an incentive to bet together and to bet big. According to Wilmott, traders get a bonus based on the one-year profits of those on their trading floor. If the trading floor makes big money, all the traders get a big bonus. And if it loses money, they get no bonus -- but at least they don't have to repay their capital providers for the losses.

 

Given that bonus structure, a trader is always better off risking $1 billion than $1 million. So if the trader, who is the king of the hill at the bank, asks a lowly risk manager to analyze how much risk the trader is taking, that risk manager is on the spot. If the risk manager comes back with a risk level that limits how big a bet the trader can take, the trader will demand that the risk manager recalculate the risk level lower so the trader can take the bigger bet.

 

Traders also manipulate their bonuses by assuming the existence of trading profits before they are actually realized. This happens when traders get involved with derivatives that will not unwind for 20 years.

 

Although the profits or losses on that trade have not been realized at the end of the first year, the bank will make an assumption about whether that trade made or lost money each year. Given the power traders wield, they can make the number come out positive so they can receive a hefty bonus -- even though it is too early to tell what the real outcome of the trade will be.

 

How Trader Incentives Caused the CDO Bubble

 

Wilmott imagines that this greater incentive to follow the pack is what happened when many traders were piling into collateralized debt obligations. In Wilmott's view, CDO risk managers who had analyzed a future scenario in which housing prices fell and interest rates rose would have concluded that the CDOs would become worthless under that scenario. He imagines that when notified of that possible outcome, CDO traders would have demanded that the risk managers shred that nasty scenario so they could keep trading more CDOs.

 

Incidentally, the traders who profited by going against the CDO crowd were lone wolves whose compensation did not depend on following the trading floor pack. This reinforces the idea that big bank compensation policies drive dangerous behavior that boosts market volatility.

 

What You Don't Understand, You Can't Properly Regulate

 

Wilmott believes that derivatives represent a risk of unknown proportions. But unless there is a change to trader compensation policies -- one which would force traders to put their compensation at risk for the life of the derivative -- then this risk could remain difficult to manage.

 

Unfortunately, he thinks that regulators aren't in a good position to assess the risks of derivatives because they don't understand them. Wilmott offers training in risk management. While traders and risk managers at banks and hedge funds have taken his course, regulators so far have not.

 

And if regulators don't understand the risks in derivatives, chances are great that Congress does not understand them either.



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