Politics,Economics and The Struggle To Survive In America

Subtitle

News

view:  full / summary

Employers Can Buy Retirement Security for $2.64 an Hour

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-04-10/employers-can-buy-retirement-security-for-2-64-an-hour

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 " Workers once had brighter retirement prospects, if not higher wages. What’s changed is that over the last four decades, a growing number of employers replaced their pensions with 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, shifting the responsibility of saving for retirement to employees. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 28 percent of private sector workers who participated in an employment-based retirement plan were enrolled in a traditional pension in 2014, down from 84 percent in 1979".

The writing is on the wall, the myth of CAPITSLISM is coming to a hard reality. The joke has always been on the citizens who really tought CAPITALISM and Tax Cuts helped them. It didnt.. By JJP


 

Employers Can Buy Retirement Security for $2.64 an Hour

Many Americans can’t afford to save for their future and will be doomed to poverty.


 

Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio published a sobering essay last Friday about the state of capitalism in the U.S. He observed, correctly in my view, that “the ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is an effective motivator of people and allocator of resources that raises people’s living standards.”


But Dalio then went on to present myriad data showing that many Americans make too little money to live on, let alone save, with harmful consequences. He counts among them diminished health, education and economic mobility, high rates of incarceration, and widening wealth and income disparity that raise the risk of social unrest. In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, he called it “a national emergency.”


The problems Dalio identified can already be observed in much of his data, but another one is coming, and soon. Many Americans can’t afford to save for their future, and with baby boomers leaving the work force in big numbers, millions will spend their retirement in or near poverty.

 

Unlike many of the thorny problems cited by Dalio, however, this one has a simple solution and it doesn’t involve exorbitant expense.


The Government Accountability Office recently updated its sweeping 2015 report on retirement security in America. The new numbers are no more comforting than the old ones, and the most worrisome among them is stubbornly consistent: 29 percent of households aged 55 and older have no retirement savings and no pension.

Without a Net


Nearly a third of households aged 55 and older had no retirement savings and no pension in 2016


Source: Government Accountability Office


Note: Numbers don't add to 100 percent because of rounding.


It’s a bigger number than it seems. The 65-and-older population is projected to be roughly 74 million in 2030, according to the Census Bureau. If nothing changes, more than 21 million of those retirees will have to rely on Social Security, a meager income. The average annual Social Security benefit for 2019 is roughly $17,500, according to the Social Security Administration, barely above the federal poverty level of $12,490 for a single person.


And that’s optimistic. Social Security income is based on wages earned during one’s working years. According to the GAO report, the median annual income of households with no retirement savings and no pension was $18,932 in 2013. That’s a fraction of the median household income of $53,585 that year, according to the Census Bureau, which is likely to mean that those households’ Social Security benefits will be well below average, too.


With that little income, those households are fortunate to save at all. According to the GAO, they had a median net worth of $34,760 and financial assets of just $1,000 in 2013. But even better-paid workers struggle to save because the median household income is well below the cost of living. Roughly three-quarters of households aged 55 to 64 had $150,000 or less in retirement savings in 2013. That isn’t nearly enough, and unless wages rise, younger workers won’t be any better prepared for retirement.

Not Enough


A large number of baby boomers have saved too little for retirement


Source: Government Accountability Office


Workers once had brighter retirement prospects, if not higher wages. What’s changed is that over the last four decades, a growing number of employers replaced their pensions with 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, shifting the responsibility of saving for retirement to employees. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 28 percent of private sector workers who participated in an employment-based retirement plan were enrolled in a traditional pension in 2014, down from 84 percent in 1979.

For Your Service


A growing number of employers have abandoned traditional pensions over the last four decades


Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute


It’s hard to blame employers. Pensions are difficult and costly to manage, as any number of underfunded corporate and government plans can attest. Workers also move jobs more often than they used to, so employers may not feel as responsible for their futures.But employers have no doubt saved a fortune by abandoning pensions, and given that real wages have hardly moved over the last four decades, there’s little indication they passed those savings on to workers.


It wouldn’t cost employers much, however, to give workers some retirement security again. By my calculation, it amounts to $2.64 an hour.

 

Here’s how I get there: According to the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living for a single person in, say, the Chicago metro area, is $38,600 a year. Assuming an average Social Security benefit of $17,500, the shortfall is $21,100.

 

Assuming also that typical retirees will withdraw roughly 4 percent a year from their retirement savings, that shortfall can be generated with savings of $527,500. And if savings grow at a real rate of 4 percent over 40 years of employment — a more conservative long-term growth rate than the historical real return of 6 percent a year from a traditional 60/40 portfolio, given historically low interest rates and high U.S. stock valuations — employers can provide workers with the savings they need by contributing $5,500 a year to a retirement account on their behalf, or $2.64 an hour based on a 2,080-hour work year.


Many employers already contribute to 401(k)s by matching some portion of workers’ savings, but the workers who can’t afford to save are the ones who most need those contributions. The government can also do its part by excluding employers’ contributions from tax, as well as the growth and eventual withdrawal of those retirement savings.


The flaws of 401(k) and other defined contribution plans are well understood, and more needs to be done to make them cheaper and simpler. But retirement plans are worthless if they can’t be funded. After all, workers can’t save what they don’t make.




D.C. emancipation tallied the price of freedom

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 11, 2019 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-emancipation-tallied-the-price-of-freedom/2012/04/11/gIQAHvWfBT_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fdb5d9bbc1ed

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

"The new law stipulated that the government would pay masters as much as $300 for each freed slave, although, in the end, the owners were often paid much more". Self explanatory... By JJP


   D.C. emancipation tallied the price of freedom


One of Bladen Forrest’s eight slaves was a Susan Mason, who was listed by the appraiser as “old & infirm,” and whose value was placed at zero.


Union Gen. Lorenzo Thomas claimed $800 for his slave laundress, Lucy Berry, and $100 each for her children, George and Lorenzo. But the general was allowed only $219 for Lucy and $43.80 for little Lorenzo. George had “no value.”


So it went in Washington in the spring of 1862. It was a cold accounting, the search for the price of a person.


As the question of slavery in America was being tried on the battlefield, its future in the District was resolved in April 1862 through strange and pioneering legislation that freed 3,100 slaves but paid the masters for their “property.” The slaves received no money unless they agreed to leave the country.


The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act became law on April 16 — 150 years ago Monday. It was the cause of jubilation among those whose chains it broke, and today it is celebrated in Washington on “Emancipation Day," a city holiday.


On Wednesday, the National Archives displayed some records that detailed how many slaves were freed, how many owners applied for compensation and how much each slave was deemed to be worth.


“It was the first time the government had officially liberated any group of slaves,” said David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, and it anticipated the more famous Emancipation Proclamation by six months.

 

The documents offer a window into the bookkeeping of slavery and a rare glimpse into the lives of local slaves and their owners.

 

Assigning value was hard for the commission set up to administer the law, according to its final report. For years, slavery in Washington had been a matter of “trifling importance,” the report said, and an expert was needed.


So the commissioners brought in from Baltimore “an experienced dealer in slaves,” B.M. Campbell, to provide expert and independent opinion.

 

Campbell and his brother, Walter, appear to have had a prewar business trading slaves between Baltimore and New Orleans, Archives experts said, and were considered impartial judges of the value of slaves.

 

The new law stipulated that the government would pay masters as much as $300 for each freed slave, although, in the end, the owners were often paid much more.

 

The owners posted a claim and had to present their slaves for examination, Kenneth J. Winkle, a history professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, wrote on the university’s “Civil War Washington” Web site.

 

The Campbells — like Civil War insurance adjusters — issued their valuations. And the commission decreed what the government would pay.


Official ledger sheets detailed the accounting.

 

William Pressy, for example, claimed a value of $100 for James Thomas, one of his five slaves, but he was awarded $21.90. Thomas might well have been a child because $21.90 seems to be a valuation given for some slave youngsters.

 

Some slaves were deemed to be worth nothing. The records are dotted with notations that such and such a slave, often an infant or child, had “no val.”


The commission records present an array of Washington slave holders.

 

On June 2, 1862, the “Sisters of the Visitation, Georgetown,” listed a dozen slaves — including a couple and their seven children in their petition. They were allowed $3,774 in compensation.

 

Francis P. Blair, whose family was strongly allied with President Abraham Lincoln, and whose son, Montgomery, was Lincoln’s postmaster general, filed for compensation for two slaves.


Clark Mills, the sculptor who created the equestrian statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square and who worked on the statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome, sought compensation for 11 slaves, for whom he was allowed $1,916.25.

 

And Henry Hatton, one of several petitioners described in the ledgers as “colored,” sought compensation for three slaves, Martha, Henry and George Hatton, who could have been members of his family, according to Archives expert Damani Davis.

 

Davis said the District emancipation records are remarkable for the personal detail they provide.

 

Many records from other sources don’t even provide an enslaved person’s last name. Slaves are treated “as just another form of property,” he said. In contrast, the District records provide last names, physical descriptions, personal qualities and work skills.

 

Mills, the sculptor, for example, spoke well of his slave Philip Reid, whom he valued at $1,500. Reid was a skilled plasterer and had figured out a way to complete the problematic construction of the Freedom statue, Davis said.

 

Reid was “aged 42 years, mullatto color, short in stature, in good health, not prepossessing in appearance, but smart in mind, a good workman in a foundry,” Mills wrote of him.


Another owner stated that his slave had “no infirmities or defects either morally, mentally or bodily.”

 

The legislation was introduced by Henry Wilson, an anti-slavery senator from Massachusetts, said Clarence Davis, of the D.C. Office of Public Records.

 

Because of Congress’s jurisdiction over the District, northern legislators were able to pass a D.C. emancipation bill in the absence of their departed Southern brethren.

 

The Senate appoved the legislation on April 3 and the House on April 12. Lincoln signed the bill into law four days after the House acted.

 

“I am gratified that the two principles of compensation and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in the act,” Lincoln wrote Congress.

 

In addition to compensating owners, the bill provided for payments of as much as $100 to slaves who agreed to move to Haiti or Liberia.

This voluntary “colonization,” supported by Lincoln and others, was rejected by most blacks, and only “a handful” from Washington accepted the offer, Winkle said.

Once the legislation was enacted, most of the District’s freed slaves “immediately left their homes and sought employment from others,” the commission’s report stated. “Many of them left the District of Columbia to join the service of officers of the army, or to go north.”





Landmark Legislation: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 11, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/DCEmancipationAct.htm

Http;//www.jerraldpresident.info//

 Yet , my anscestors being direct " Descendent Of A Slaves In America" received Absolutely Nothing! By JJP

     Landmark Legislation: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act


On a visit to Washington, D.C., in 1836, the sight of a slave auction held in the shadow of the Capitol convinced future senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts to “give all that I had to the cause of emancipation.” Elected to a Senate seat in 1855, Wilson became a leading voice for the abolition of slavery during the Civil War. Throughout the war years, the Senate operated, according to Senator John Sherman of Ohio, like “a laborious committee where bills are drawn as well as discussed.” In addition to fulfilling legislative responsibilities and accomplishments such as funding the war effort and providing for Union troops during this period, a group of elected officials known as the Radical Republicans demanded the abolition of slavery. Many senators believed that only the president had the power to emancipate slaves in the states, but as Senator Sherman explained, “Little doubt was felt as to the power of Congress to abolish slavery in the District.” On April 3, 1862, the Senate passed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, originally sponsored by Wilson. Harper’s Weekly reported that the “bill passed by a vote of twenty-nine yeas to fourteen nays. The announcement of the result was received with applause from the galleries.” Two days later, Senator Lafayette Foster of Connecticut proudly declared, “You may strike off the bonds of every slave in the District of Columbia today.”

 

President Lincoln signed the bill into law on April 16, freeing slaves in the district and compensating owners up to $300 for each freeperson. The Hartford Daily Courant celebrated that, “Not a slave exists in the District of Columbia …Their shackles have fallen, never to be restored.” In the months following the enactment of the law, commissioners approved more than 930 petitions, granting freedom to 2,989 former slaves. “DC Emancipation Day” has been celebrated in the District each year since 1862. Just five months later, in September 1862, using his powers as Commander in Chief, Lincoln announced his intention to emancipate slaves located in states “in rebellion.” On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to slaves residing in Confederate states not occupied by Union forces. The Thirteenth Amendment, ratified by the states on December 6, 1865, abolished slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”





$68 trillion is about to change hands in the US

Posted by Jerrald J President on March 11, 2019 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/20/great-wealth-transfer-is-passing-from-baby-boomers-to-gen-x-millennials.html

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  This is what the Trump presidentcy will be remembered for. Do you really think this will trickle down to you? By JJP

  $68 trillion is about to change hands in the US


 

Baby boomers are the wealthiest generation in American history — and they’re about to pass down those riches over the next few decades. It’s the so-called Great Wealth Transfer.

Yet that exchange might not be as large as you had hoped if you don’t take the right estate-planning steps.

 

The biggest wealth transfer in history is about to happen — and it’s now expected to be more than double what many thought it was. It’s estimated that 45 million U.S. households will transfer $68 trillion in wealth over the next 25 years, according to Asher Cheses, a research analyst and lead author of a new report from financial services research firm Cerulli Associates.

 

Baby boomers, who hold the lion’s share of that amount, are the wealthiest generation in American history — thanks in no small part to a 10-year bull market. That generation will pass down those assets over the next few decades. Here’s what you should know to make sure that transfer is as smooth as possible.

Ensure there’s still some wealth to pass down


Make sure the inheritance you’re poised to bequeath remains intact. Health-care expenses can add up fast. The cost of long-term care can wipe out an entire potential estate in just a few years. While the premiums can be hefty, some financial advisors say long-term care insurance is worth it.

Death & taxes


Most estates are not actually subject to federal estate tax now because the exemption is pretty high. But check the rules in your state. Some have much lower estate-tax thresholds.

Set up a trust


If you want to put some conditions on how your bequest is spent, consider a trust. Trusts can dictate exactly when assets pass to beneficiaries, or how it should be spent. For example, you can stipulate expenses be tied to education, or health care. Another plus: Trusts can minimize estate taxes and keep your estate out of probate court.

Consider a living trust

 

Keep in mind, the probate court process can be time-consuming and expensive, which ultimately just chips away at your estate. Another way to avoid it is to supplement the will with something called a “living trust.” It holds the majority of your assets while you’re still alive (so you can maintain control) and then transfers it to your beneficiaries after you die.


Avoiding probate also keeps your wishes private. Probate is public, which means everyone knows your business.


So take care with that legacy planning now, and your heirs will be well in the black later on.


Haitian, Jamaican or American ... If you're black in Miami, odds are you're struggling

Posted by Jerrald J President on March 2, 2019 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

https://amp.miamiherald.com/news/business/article226732184.html?fbclid=IwAR39PjFWhWln1tAox63ejMEGhA0jPJl44a-PeyIgH-kZT5n5EvGmA2k1oDM

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  It's all in the numbers. By JJP

▪ For white households, the median net worth was an estimated $107,000.

▪ For Black-American households, the median net worth was $3,700.

▪ For Black-Caribbean households, the median net worth was $12,000.

Meanwhile, households identifying as Cuban had a median net worth of $22,000.


   Haitian, Jamaican or American ... If you’re black in Miami, odds are you’re struggling

 

A new study sheds light on the yawning gap in wealth in the Miami area between white households and households of color.


Among non-white groups, it is Miami-area households identifying as black that continue to suffer most, according to the authors of the study, “The Color of Wealth in Miami.”


The wealth gap exists across racial background: African-American, Haitian-American, and all other types of black households, the study says.

 

“If skin complexion is a marker of social treatment, as I believe it to be, then we still have lots of structural barriers related to someone’s phenotype,” said study co-author Darrick Hamilton, a professor of economics and social policy at Ohio State University.


Or as the study’s authors state ominously: Despite Miami’s rise as a cosmopolitan city in the past decade or so, “The concentration of wealth that characterizes modern global cities does not necessarily trickle down to all its residents.”


The study is part of a series chronicling the racial wealth gap in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Previous studies have looked at the gap in Boston, Los Angeles, and the Washington, D.C., area, among other cities. Hamilton said that the black-white wealth gap is most severe in Boston.

 

So what’s unique about Miami?


Thanks to its particular mix of ethnicities identifying as black, the authors are able to show how skin complexion is most correlated with economic insecurity.

 

Using new survey data, as well as U.S. Census Bureau data, covering a period between 2013 and 2015, the study’s authors calculated the median net worth for households of various ethnicities in the Miami metropolitan area, comprising Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.


▪ For white households, the median net worth was an estimated $107,000.

 

▪ For Black-American households, the median net worth was $3,700.


▪ For Black-Caribbean households, the median net worth was $12,000.

 

Meanwhile, households identifying as Cuban had a median net worth of $22,000.

 

“U.S. black descendants and black Caribbean descendants, primarily Haitians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians and Tobagonians, and blacks with Latin or Hispanic heritage, are more economically similar than Latins of various ancestral origin who self-identify as white as opposed to black,” the authors write.


For Hamilton, the data show that the experience of being black in Miami is a uniquely difficult one, even accounting for different ethnic or ancestral origins.


“The key takeaway is that when it comes to things like business ownership, home ownership, and household income, the variation based on color is more pronounced than the variation based on ancestral background,” he said.


The authors findings suggest Hispanics seem to grasp the inherent advantage of identifying as white.


“In terms of identification, overwhelmingly, Latin Census respondents self-classify as either racially white or ‘other,’ while a small fraction chose a racially black identity,” the authors write. “Self-reported white Latin individuals attain higher economic outcomes, despite having only slightly higher educational attainment than their racially self-reported black counterparts.”


Indeed, education appeared to do little to close the wealth gap among Miami households of different ethnicities.

 

▪ For white households with a bachelor’s degree or higher, median net worth was $301,000.

 

▪ For Hispanic households with a bachelor’s degree or higher, median net worth was $87,500.


▪ For black households with a bachelor’s degree or higher, median net worth was $32,000.

 

Hamilton says the study offers evidence that what he referred to as “multicultural neoliberalism,” which he said puts forward the belief that different groups’ obstacles or sufferings are equal, but that education can be sufficient to overcome those barriers, needs to be questioned.


“This offers strong context to dispel the myth .. .that we all face the same circumstances, and that if we just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we can get ahead.”

 

In reality, Hamilton and his co-authors find, the gaps are the result of policies, or the lack thereof, that have discriminated against black individuals.


“We must understand the scope of racial differences in resource transfers across generations, with an eye on both historical and present-day policies and practices that enable some groups to gain a relative position advantage over others,” the authors write.


They continue: “Policies are needed that provide opportunities for asset development; fair access to housing, credit, and financial services; opportunity for good-paying jobs; strengthening retirement incomes; promoting access to education without overburdening individuals with debt; and providing access to health care while helping minimize medical debt.”


The report is a joint publication of The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University, Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. The lead author was Alan A. Aja, an associate professor in the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College.


World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam

Posted by Jerrald J President on January 27, 2019 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/21/world-26-richest-people-own-as-much-as-poorest-50-per-cent-oxfam-report

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 Every year the numbers of billionaires increases, while the politicians they control/finance tell US everything is fine. By JJP

 

World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam

Charity calls for 1% wealth tax, saying it would raise enough to educate every child not in school

 

 

The growing concentration of the world’s wealth has been highlighted by a report showing that the 26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population

In an annual wealth check released to mark the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the development charity Oxfam said 2018 had been a year in which the rich had grown richer and the poor poorer.


It said the widening gap was hindering the fight against poverty, adding that a wealth tax on the 1% would raise an estimated $418bn (£325bn) a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.

 

 

Oxfam said the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018 – or $2.5bn a day. The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.


As a result, the report concluded, the number of billionaires owning as much wealth as half the world’s population fell from 43 in 2017 to 26 last year. In 2016 the number was 61.

 

Among the findings of the report were:


In the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled.


Between 2017 and 2018 a new billionaire was created every two days.


The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to $112bn. Just 1% of his fortune is equivalent to the whole health budget for Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.

 

The poorest 10% of Britons are paying a higher effective tax rate than the richest 10% (49% compared with 34%) once taxes on consumption such as VAT are taken into account.


Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Matthew Spencer, said: “The massive fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty is one of the greatest achievements of the past quarter of a century but rising inequality is jeopardising further progress.


“The way our economies are organised means wealth is increasingly and unfairly concentrated among a privileged few while millions of people are barely subsisting. Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are being denied an education that could be their route out of poverty. No one should be condemned to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy simply because they were born poor.


“It doesn’t have to be this way – there is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life. Governments should act to ensure that taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, good-quality public services that can save and transform people’s lives.”


The report said many governments were making inequality worse by failing to invest enough in public services. It noted that about 10,000 people per day die for lack of healthcare and there were 262 million children not in school, often because their parents were unable to afford the fees, uniforms or textbooks.


Oxfam said governments needed to do more to fund high-quality, universal public services through tackling tax dodging and ensuring fairer taxation, including on corporations and the richest individuals’ wealth, which it said were often undertaxed.

A global wealth tax has been called for by the French economist Thomas Piketty, who has said action is needed to arrest the trend in inequality.


The World Inequality Report 2018 – co-authored by Piketty – showed that between 1980 and 2016 the poorest 50% of humanity only captured 12 cents in every dollar of global income growth. By contrast, the top 1% captured 27 cents of every dollar.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

 

Oxfam said that in addition to tackling inequality at home, developed nations currently failing to meet their overseas aid commitments could raise the missing billions needed to tackle extreme poverty in the poorest countries by increasing taxes on extreme wealth.


China’s rapid growth over the past four decades has been responsible for much of the decline in extreme poverty but Oxfam said World Bank data showed the rate of poverty reduction had halved since 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty was on the increase.


Oxfam said its methodology for assessing the gap between rich and poor was based on global wealth distribution data provided by the Credit Suisse global wealth data book, covering the period from June 2017 to June 2018. The wealth of billionaires was calculated using the annual Forbes billionaires list published in March 2018.

 

• This article was amended on 21 January 2019 to clarify that the figure of 10,000 people dying for lack of healthcare is per day.



As 2019 begins…


… we’re asking readers to make a new year contribution in support of The Guardian’s independent journalism. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But this is only possible thanks to voluntary support from our readers – something we have to maintain and build on for every year to come.

 

Readers’ support powers The Guardian, giving our reporting impact and safeguarding our essential editorial independence. This means the responsibility of protecting independent journalism is shared, enabling us all to feel empowered to bring about real change in the world. Your support gives Guardian journalists the time, space and freedom to report with tenacity and rigor, to shed light where others won’t. It emboldens us to challenge authority and question the status quo. And by keeping all of our journalism free and open to all, we can foster inclusivity, diversity, make space for debate, inspire conversation – so more people, across the world, have access to accurate information with integrity at its heart. Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, enables us to keep working as we do.

 

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.


Please make a new year contribution today to help us deliver the independent journalism the world needs for 2019 and beyond.


Members Of The Forbes 400 Hold More Wealth Than All U.S. Black Families Combined, Study Finds

Posted by Jerrald J President on January 19, 2019 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/noahkirsch/2019/01/14/members-of-forbes-400-hold-more-wealth-than-all-us-black-families-combined-study-finds/#6657bd626771

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  Separately, the study noted, “Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33% increase for the median White household.” At present, the median Black family has assets of $3,600, roughly 1/4oth that of the median White household, the institute reports.

 We have to be honest with our plight, and be honest with our reality. By JJP

  Members Of The Forbes 400 Hold More Wealth Than All U.S. Black Families Combined, Study Finds

Wealth concentration in the United States—which is intensifying across the board—has impacted minority groups the hardest.

 

That is the thesis of a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C.


Utilizing data from the Federal Reserve, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Forbes rich lists, among other sources, the institute found that the 400 richest Americans hold more wealth than “all Black households, plus a quarter of Latino households [combined].”


Separately, the study noted, “Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33% increase for the median White household.” At present, the median Black family has assets of $3,600, roughly 1/4oth that of the median White household, the institute reports.


Institute for Policy Studies

 

Among the study’s other striking conclusions:

 

Black families are about 20 times more likely to have zero or negative assets (indebted) than they are to be worth $1 million or more. Latino households are 14 times more likely to have zero or negative assets than they are to be millionaires. Meanwhile, white households are equally likely to fall into either category.

The wealth of the median Latino family rose 54% between 1983 and 2016, to $6,600. Still, the wealth of typical Latino household is 1/22nd that of the median white household.


The Bottom Line Of Orientation And Acculturation In Successful Organizations: How Do You Get There?

 

“Wealth is where the past shows up in the present. From slavery to Jim Crow, to redlining, to mass incarceration, the division of assets on the basis of race has been explicit public policy for centuries,” says Josh Hoxie, one of the study’s co-authors.

 

International disparities resemble those in the United States. Of the 2,043 individuals who made Forbes’ 2018 list of the World’s Billionaires, just 11 were black. Additionally, a 2018 Oxfam analysis found that the world’s 42 richest people hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.7 billion people combined.

 

The Institute for Policy Studies’ latest report emphasizes that wealth concentration in the U.S. is increasing across demographics. For instance, the three richest Americans—Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett—hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country combined, the institute says. That statistic mirrors the barrier to entry for The Forbes 400. In 1982, the list’s inaugural year, the minimum net worth was $100 million. This year the cutoff hit an all-time high of $2.1 billion.

 

Inversely, a 2017 Federal Reserve report found that 40% of adults would not have the cash to cover an unexpected expense of $400. The same report found than one in five adults cannot pay all of their monthly bills, while more than a quarter skip necessary medical care because they can’t afford it.

 

Some billionaires, including Bill Gates, have acknowledged the significance of wealth and income inequality. “High levels of inequality are a problem—messing up economic incentives, tilting democracies in favor of powerful interests, and undercutting the ideal that all people are created equal,” Gates wrote in a 2014 blog post. His wife, Melinda, echoed the sentiment in their foundation's 2018 annual letter: "It's not fair that we have so much wealth when billions of others have so little. And it's not fair that our wealth opens doors that are closed to most people."


For his part, Warren Buffett cites “an advanced market-based economy” for the gap between the rich and the poor. Still, he wrote in a 2015 op-ed, “The poor are most definitely not poor because the rich are rich. Nor are the rich undeserving.”

 

Reversing current trends is proving difficult. Proposals range from establishing bonds for young children, to guaranteeing a basic income, to raising the estate tax, to expanding access to affordable medical care and housing—any of which is guaranteed to be politically explosive. Identifying a problem is often easier than fixing it.


Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Racial Wealth Divide

Posted by Jerrald J President on January 19, 2019 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

https://inequality.org/great-divide/dreams-deferred-racial-wealth-divide/

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 "Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33 percent increase for the median White household. Over that same period, the number of households with $10 million or more skyrocketed by 856 percent." Gangster Capitalism 101


Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Racial Wealth Divide

A new report released by the Institute for Policy Studies highlights how a polarizing racial wealth divide has grown between White households and households of color over the past three decades.


January 14, 2019


by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie Sabrina Terry


January 15, 2019, the release date of this report, would have been the 90th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King envisioned a future in which deep racial inequalities were eradicated and he worked tirelessly towards that mission. His tragic assassination occurred while he was organizing the Poor Peoples Campaign, his last great effort to ensure economic justice as a cornerstone of civil rights.

 

In light of Dr. King’s pursuit of economic justice, this report highlights how historic racial wealth disparities have been perpetuated and increased by the trend towards extreme inequality in the United States. It also puts the racial wealth divide in the context of overall wealth inequality trends.

 

Download the Full Report

Enriching the 1 Percent Widens the Racial Wealth Divide


Key Findings

 

This report looks at the trends in household wealth among Black, Latino and White households over the past three decades. It relies on data from the Federal Reserve Board’s most recent triannual Survey of Consumer Finances. The Racial Wealth Divide Over the past three decades, a polarizing racial wealth divide has grown between White households and households of color. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among Black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, White household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation.


The Racial Wealth Divide


Over the past three decades, a polarizing racial wealth divide has grown between White households and households of color. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among Black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, White household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation.

 

Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33 percent increase for the median White household. Over that same period, the number of households with $10 million or more skyrocketed by 856 percent.

The median Black family today owns $3,600— just 2 percent of the $147,000 of wealth the median White family owns. The median Latino family has assets worth $6,600 — just 4 percent as much as the median White family. In other words, the median White family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family.

If the trajectory of the past three decades continues, by 2050 the median White family will have $174,000 of wealth, while Latino median wealth will be $8,600 and Black median wealth will be $600. The median Black family is on track to reach zero wealth by 2082.

If current trends continue, it would take the typical Black family over 52 million years to reach the wealth of the Walton family today and Latino families 24 million years.

The proportion of all U.S. households with zero or “negative” wealth, meaning their debts exceed the value of their assets, has grown from 1 in 6 in 1983 to 1 in 5 households today. Families of color are much likelier to be in this precarious financial situation. Thirty-seven percent of Black families and 33 percent of Latino families have zero or negative wealth, compared to just 15.5 percent of White families. One piece of good news: the proportion of Latino families with zero or negative net worth dropped 19 percent between 1983 and 2016, from 40 percent to 33 percent.

Black families are about 20 times more likely to have zero or negative wealth (37 percent) than they are to have $1 million or more in assets (1.9 percent). Latino families are 14 times more likely to have zero or negative wealth (32.8 percent) than they are to reach the millionaire threshold (2.3 percent). White families are equally likely to have zero or negative wealth (about 15 percent) as they are to be a millionaire (15 percent).

Low levels of Black and Latino wealth, combined with their growing proportion of the population, is a key factor in the overall decline in American median household wealth from $84,111 in 1983 to $81,704 in 2016.


In a Deeply Unequal Economy


The widening of the racial wealth divide has coincided with the extreme concentration of U.S. wealth. The wealthiest 0.1 percent of households have grown richer while millions of families face poverty and deep-seated economic insecurity.

 

The median American family saw their wealth drop 3 percent between 1983 and 2016, while the richest 0.1 percent have seen their wealth jump 133 percent.

During this same period, the annual increase for White median family wealth was about $1,000. Latino median family wealth went up by $66 annually and Black median family wealth dropped $83 annually. Meanwhile, the average household in the top 1 percent saw their wealth jump by half a million dollars annually.

The richest dynastic families in the United States have seen their wealth expand at a dizzying pace. The three wealthiest families — the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Mars — have seen their wealth increase nearly 6,000 percent since 1983.

The Forbes 400 richest Americans own more wealth than all Black households plus a quarter of Latino households.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, owns $160 billion in total wealth. That is 44 million times more wealth than the median Black family and 24 million times more wealth than the median Latino family.


Moving Forward


The racial wealth divide and growing economic inequality is often analyzed as two separate and concurrent trends, when in fact, they are mutually reinforcing outcomes of larger economic issues. Both the racial wealth divide and the unequal economy were created and perpetuated by public policies that favored Whites and continue to favor the very wealthy. Public policies aimed at reducing both trends will be critical to creating a more equitable economic system and a more just society overall. Such policies could include, but are not limited to:

 

A baby bond program to help low-wealth households build wealth

A tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent to reduce distortions caused by concentrated wealth and generate revenue marked for expanding opportunity for low-wealth households

An audit of federal government policies to evaluate their impact on the racial wealth divide

Targeted reparations to address the legacy of racism in wealth building

 

Dreams Deferred expands on and updates two previous reports from the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, in collaboration with Prosperity Now: “The Ever-Growing Gap: Failing to Address the Status Quo Will Drive the Racial Wealth Divide for Centuries to Come,” in 2016, and “The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Wealth Divide is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class” in 2017. This report also builds on extensive research on the growing concentration of wealth in the United States catalogued in the “Billionaire Bonanza” report series released in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The most recent edition focused on the growing power and influence of intergenerational wealth dynasties.

 

Too often Dr. King’s “Dream” of making justice a reality for people of color is conflated with the “fantasy of self-deception” that there is “steady growth toward a middle-class utopia.” Examining the concentration of wealth and ongoing deep racial wealth inequality in light of Dr. King’s 90th birthday reminds us of the reality King spoke of in his famous “I Have A Dream Speech”: “the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”


Dr. King also stated in this speech that “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.” Over 50 years since this famous dream was shared with the nation, we have seen wealth concentrate among the wealthiest Americans and a polarizing racial wealth divide grow between Whites and Blacks and Latinos.


Despite aspirant rhetoric and sensationalized media stories, the racial wealth divide has not improved over the past three decades. In fact, the divide has grown considerably as wealth continues to concentrate at the top leaving the rest of the country an increasingly smaller share. A targeted set of policies is imperative to begin to bridge this deep divide for generations to come. Inaction or, worse, repeating the same mistakes that led to this situation will simply widen further the divide and create greater economic instability for the country at large.

 

Read the full report.


Please direct all media inquiries to Jessicah Pierre at jessicah@ips-dc.org.


Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he also co-edits Inequality.org. His most recent book is Is Inequality in America Irreversible? from Polity Press and in 2016 he published Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good.


Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is the director of the Bridging the Divide project at the Institute for Policy Studies where he is an Associate Fellow. He is also principal at Race, Wealth And Opportunity, LLC. He was previously the Senior Fellow the Racial Wealth Divide Project at Prosperity Now and hosts the Race and Wealth Podcast.


Fed Says Millennials Are Just Like Their Parents. Only Poorer

Posted by Jerrald J President on December 5, 2018 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-29/fed-says-millennials-are-just-like-their-parents-only-poorer

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  All around America same song!!! By JJP

Fed Says Millennials Are Just Like Their Parents. Only Poorer

Millennials, long presumed to have less interest in the nonstop consumption of goods that underpins the American economy, might not be that different after all, a new study from the Federal Reserve says.

 

Their spending habits are a lot like the generations that came before them, they just have less money at this point in their lives, the Fed study found. The group born between 1981 and 1997 has fallen behind because many of them came of age during the financial crisis.


“We find little evidence that millennial households have tastes and preference for consumption that are lower than those of earlier generations, once the effects of age, income, and a wide range of demographic characteristics are taken into account,” wrote authors Christopher Kurz, Geng Li and Daniel J. Vine.


Their findings are grounded in an analysis of spending, income, debt, net worth, and demographic factors among different generations. The conclusion that millennials aren’t all that different also holds for the researchers’ more granular examination of expenditures on cars, food, and housing.

 

“It primarily is the differences in average age and then differences in average income that explain a large and important portion of the consumption wedge between millennials and other cohorts,” they conclude.


So much for the young folks favoring "experiences" over tangible goods.

 

Millennials aren’t unique when it comes to what they spend their money on, either. The report finds that shifts in expenditure shares between different goods and services have been broadly consistent regardless of age. Housing and food are two areas where millennials have spent less than previous generations, with the younger cohort paying more for education. As a caveat, spending on avocado toast wasn’t specifically tracked for this analysis.


What’s old is new again. The paper observes that some of the millennials’ parents were subject to similar baseless grumbles of "kids these days" from their elders.


“A similar question was posed 20 years ago when Baby Boomer profligacy was being compared to the Silent Generation’s penchant for saving,” they wrote. “Speaking to that debate, Sabelhaus and Manchester (1995) were able to separate fact from popular myth at the time and provided evidence that consumption had not increased as much as income, and that Baby Boomer asset accumulation had in fact outpaced that of the previous generation.”


Wage Statistics for 2017

Posted by Jerrald J President on December 5, 2018 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2017

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

"50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $31,561.49 for 2017". By JJP

Wage Statistics for 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 2017.


Net compensation components for 2017 Compensation subject to Federal income taxes $7,688,538,291,676.52

Net compensation 7,982,655,109,292.13

a Wages on which contributions were paid by 59,178,407 workers.

b Distributions, to the extent included in reported wages (see text above), paid to 59,539 workers.


The "raw" average wage, computed as net compensation divided by the number of wage earners, is $7,982,655,109,292.13 divided by 165,438,239, or $48,251.57. Based on data in the table below, about 67.4 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $48,251.57 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 $31,561.49 for 2017.



General Motors to lay off 15 percent of workers, shutter 5 plants in North America

Posted by Jerrald J President on December 5, 2018 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

https://abcnews.go.com/Business/general-motors-lay-off-15-percent-workers-shut/story?id=59419725

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  Tha proverbial canary in the mine is here America. By JJP

 

General Motors is laying off 15 percent of its salaried workers and shuttering five plants in North America, the Detroit automaker announced on Monday.

Interested in General Motors?

Add General Motors as an interest to stay up to date on the latest General Motors news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

General Motors

 

The company said it was "transforming its global workforce to ensure it has the right skill sets for today and the future, while driving efficiencies through the utilization of best-in-class tools."


These cuts, as planned, will result in about 14,000 layoffs in North America. That breaks down into 8,000 white-collar workers, (some of whom will be offered buyouts) and 6,000 factory workers across North America, although some could transfer to other plants, according to GM.

 

Barring an agreement between the United Auto Workers union and GM, these plans will move forward and the five plants will close its doors by the end of 2019.


PHOTO: The General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 26, 2018.Carlos Osorio/Reuters

The General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 26, 2018.

 

(MORE: The Trump Economy: How steelworkers view the midterm elections)


"The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra said. “We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success."

 

PHOTO: The General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 26, 2018.Carlos Osorio/Reuters

The General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 26, 2018.

 

President Trump, who said he spoke with Barra, was displeased with the news of the layoffs.


"Not happy about it. Their car is not selling well, so they'll put something else. I have no doubt that in a not-too-distant future, they'll put something else. They better put something else in," Trump said.

 

(MORE: The Trump Economy: Why new-car prices are approaching record highs)

 

GM has shifted its focus on electric, ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles while eliminating poor-selling models. Industry insiders and Wall Street have praised the move.


The company "is trying to get ahead of a potential crisis by making cuts now," Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader, said, noting that GM is reacting to a weaker market in China and weaker demand in North America, its two biggest markets.

 

"GM is actually a tad late to adjusting its product line and production capacity to the dramatic car to utility shift. Ford and Fiat Chrysler already revealed their plans to largely abandon traditional cars," Krebs added.

 

(MORE: Trump 'not happy' about GM layoffs that run counter to his claims of bringing jobs back to US)

 

The three assembly plants that will close are: Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit, and Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio.


The Detroit plant makes the Chevy Impala, Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac CT6. The Ohio plant makes the Chevy Cruze. The closures jeopardize the production of those models.

 

"The sales of all those cars are in decline. They need heavy incentives to sell and a lot of those sales go to fleet or rental agencies," Edmunds analyst Ivan Drury told ABC News. "They have heavy competition in those segments -- Cruze is up against Civics and Corollas and they know they’re not winning there."


He added, "The only shock is that a year ago they said they were going to keep all their cars lines."


The closures were opposed by organized labor.


Unifor, Canada's largest union, issued a statement calling on General Motors Canada to keep the plant open past December 2019.


“Oshawa Assembly is GM’s most decorated plant with a highly skilled, committed workforce,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Additionally, the USMCA provides the Canadian auto industry with firm footing so walking away after a hundred year history of manufacturing makes no sense.”

 

“Unifor does not accept the closure of the plant as a foregone conclusion,” said Dias.


General Motors workers leave the Oshawa General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Nov. 26, 2018.


 

The cuts were lauded as a step toward a more nimble future for the automaker but others expressed concern about a collective loss of industry talent.

 

"It comes at a tremendous cost to people and the communities which depend upon GM plants for economic sustainability. While this may be a market necessity, I am concerned about the brain drain: a loss of valuable legacy knowledge and experience as long-term GM employees are let go," according to Kelley Blue Book's Rebecca Lindland.


GM stock was trading 5.6 percent higher midday on the news at $37.94 a share.

 

GM spokeswoman Stephanie Rice told ABC News the planned plant closures and job cuts are not related to recent U.S. government trade or tariff decisions, but acknowledged "headwinds" they're experiencing from rising prices on commodities "that are largely a reaction to the recent trade policy changes."


GM estimates "recent trade policy changes" have cost them $1.4 billion this year alone.




America's Heavily Levered Companies Layer Loans Over Loans

Posted by Jerrald J President on December 5, 2018 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-28/america-s-heavily-levered-companies-layer-loans-on-top-of-loans

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  The house of cards will crumble. By JJP

 

America's Heavily Levered Companies Layer Loans Over Loans

By Sally Bakewell

and Kelsey Butler

 

First the companies tapped the loan market. Not long after that, they came back for more.

Corporations like Bausch Health Cos., a drugmaker, telecom provider Sprint Corp. and Applied Systems Inc., an insurance software provider, borrowed again this month after getting financing in the loan market. Their new loans came by layering more debt onto an existing liability, making that older obligation riskier in the process.

 

This kind of borrowing, known as using incremental debt, has been rampant this year. Companies have secured around $100 billion of these loans so far in 2018 in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the most since at least 2014.


A senior official at the Federal Reserve took the unusual step of expressing concern about incremental loans in a speech last month, noting that proceeds of the borrowings may end up as payouts to private equity owners. In one case, Applied Systems borrowed so much using incremental and regular loans that its private equity owners were able to completely recoup their original investments in the company.

 

Incremental lending has grown so much in part because investors agreed to allow it in the first place. For much of the year, money managers were so eager to make loans that they would consent to just about any terms, including allowing companies to add on more loans. The growth of incremental debt underscores how permissive lending markets have become, and why so many money managers and rulemakers are watching corporate borrowings warily now.

 

“Lenders have been providing what feels like unlimited capacity to borrowers to incur additional loans,” said Vince Pisano, a senior analyst at Xtract Research. “A lot of the extra debt is paid out to private equity owners as dividends, so at some point you should be investing in those firms and not the loans.”

Adding Up


U.S. incremental leveraged loans boom this year

 

Note: 2018 launch volume YTD through Nov. 20; all others full year volume.

 

Lenders have agreed to a wide range of looser terms as U.S. leveraged loans have grown into a more than $1 trillion market, eclipsing junk bonds. Those weaker protections for investors could be painful during the next credit downturn: Moody’s Investors Service projects that investors will recover just 61 cents on the dollar when first-lien term loans go bad whenever the market turns, well below the historical average rate of 77 cents.

 

Valuations are relatively high in the loan market, so it makes sense to be "highly selective," Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd wrote in an outlook piece this month. The money manager has been broadly reducing corporate credit exposure to the lowest level since the financial crisis.

 

Incremental debt is issued under the same terms and documentation as a prior loan. It can make a company riskier for lenders not just by saddling the borrower with more debt, but also by changing the priority of debt repayments. A company, for example, might get an incremental loan that is first in line to be repaid if a company fails, and use the proceeds to refinance a loan that is second in line.

Debt Buffer

 

With that refinancing, a company ends up with more debt that’s first in line, reducing recoveries for everyone at the level known as the first lien, and fewer lenders to absorb losses when things go wrong. The crowded first lien is a problem for lenders who have agreed to receive less interest in exchange for taking what they thought would be less risk, said George Goudelias, of Seix Investment Advisors.

 

“One of the main reasons you’re taking less interest in the first-lien is because you’re first in line to get paid and there’s a debt buffer behind you,” Goudelias said.

 

When Bausch Health, formerly known as Valeant, borrowed $1.5 billion in the loan market in an incremental deal in November, it said it was using proceeds to buy back unsecured notes. A spokeswoman for Bausch declined to comment. Ring Container Technologies, a maker of containers and packaging, borrowed $65 million earlier this month, in an add-on to its existing $475 million deal. Proceeds will pay down the second lien.


Ring Container didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, while a spokesman for Bank of America Corp., which led the loan offering, declined to comment. Sprint, which priced a $1.1 billion incremental-loan deal this week, also declined to comment. The telecom company said it was using proceeds for general corporate purposes.

Dividends Increase


Applied Systems is using a $210 million incremental loan to pay its private equity owners $200 million, a third dividend. Hellman & Friedman bought the Illinois-based

When combined with two previous debt funded dividends of $390 million in October 2017 and $171 million in the year before, the owners will have recouped their entire initial investment in the firm in two years, according to people familiar with the deals, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. Applied Systems didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives for Hellman & Friedman and JMI declined to comment.


Applied Systems is one of an increasing number of firms using incremental loans for dividends, according to Bloomberg data. This use of proceeds accounted for more than 17 percent of all incremental loans in 2018, up from 15 percent in 2017 and the highest since 2016, the data show. That’s the highest since at least 2015 in dollar terms, at about $17 billion.


Some incremental debt deals have even sought to add a piece of debt that matures ahead of the term loan, effectively subordinating borrowings that would otherwise rank equally in the repayment order, according to Chris Mawn, head of the corporate loan business at investment manager CarVal Investors.


Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts of Congress Referenced in Black Americans in Congress

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 11, 2018 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Historical-Data/Constitutional-Amendments-and-Legislation/

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  With a stroke of the pen my so-called rights in America could vanish.  By JJP

  Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts of Congress Referenced in Black Americans in Congress


 Thirteenth Amendment

P.L.38-11; 13 Stat. 567; P.L. 38-52

13 Stat. 774–775 Abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Approved by the 38th Congress (1863–1865) as S.J. Res. 16; ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

Civil Rights Act of 1866

14 Stat. 27–30 Guaranteed the rights of all citizens to make and enforce contracts and to purchase, sell, or lease property. Passed by the 39th Congress (1865–1867) as S.R. 61.

Fourteenth Amendment 14

Stat. 358–359 Declared that all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. were citizens and that any state that denied or abridged the voting rights of males over the age of 21 would be subject to proportional reductions in its representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Approved by the 39th Congress (1865–1867) as H.J. Res. 127; ratified by the states on July 9, 1868.

Fifteenth Amendment

P.L. 40-14; 15 Stat. 346 Forbade any state to deprive a citizen of his vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Approved by the 40th Congress (1867–1869) as S.J. Res. 8; ratified by the states on February 3, 1870.

First Ku Klux Klan Act

(Civil Rights Act of 1870) 16 Stat. 140–146 Prohibited discrimination in voter registration on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Established penalties for interfering with a person’s right to vote. Gave federal courts the power to enforce the act and to employ the use of federal marshals and the army to uphold it. Passed by the 41st Congress (1869–1871) as H.R. 1293.

Second Ku Klux Klan Act

(Civil Rights Act of 1871) 16 Stat. 433–440 Placed all elections in both the North and South under federal control. Allowed for the appointment of election supervisors by federal circuit judges. Authorized U.S. Marshals to employ deputies to maintain order at polling places. Passed by the 41st Congress (1869–1871) as H.R. 2634.

Third Ku Klux Klan Act (1871

) 17 Stat. 13–15 Enforced the 14th Amendment by guaranteeing all citizens of the United States the rights afforded by the Constitution and provided legal protection under the law. Passed by the 42nd Congress (1871–1873) as H.R. 320.

Civil Rights Act of 1875

18 Stat 335–337 Barred discrimination in public accommodations and on public conveyances on land and water. Prohibited exclusion of African Americans from jury duty. Passed by the 43rd Congress (1873–1875) as H.R. 796.

Civil Rights Act of 1957

P.L. 85–315; 71 Stat. 634 Created the six-member Commission on Civil Rights and established the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. Authorized the U.S. Attorney General to seek court injunctions against deprivation and obstruction of voting rights by state officials. Passed by the 85th Congress (1957–1959) as H.R. 6127.

Civil Rights Act of 1960

P.L. 86–449; 74 Stat. 86 Expanded the enforcement powers of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and introduced criminal penalties for obstructing the implementation of federal court orders. Extended the Civil Rights Commission for two years. Required that voting and registration records for federal elections be preserved. Passed by the 86th Congress (1959–1961) as H.R. 8601.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

P.L. 88–352; 78 Stat. 241 Prohibited discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and schools. Outlawed discrimination in federally funded projects. Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to monitor employment discrimination in public and private sectors. Provided additional capacities to enforce voting rights. Extended the Civil Rights Commission for four years. Passed by the 88th Congress (1963–1965) as H.R. 7152.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

P.L. 89–110; 79 Stat. 437 Suspended the use of literacy tests and voter disqualification devices for five years. Authorized the use of federal examiners to supervise voter registration in states that used tests or in which less than half the voting-eligible residents registered or voted. Directed the U.S. Attorney General to institute proceedings against use of poll taxes. Provided criminal penalties for individuals who violated the act. Passed by the 89th Congress (1965–1967) as S. 1564.

Civil Rights Act of 1968

(Fair Housing Act)

P.L. 90–284; 82 Stat. 73 Prohibited discrimination in the sale or rental of approximately 80 percent of the housing in the U.S. Prohibited state governments and Native-American tribal governments from violating the constitutional rights of Native Americans. Passed by the 90th Congress (1967–1969) as H.R. 2516.

Voting Rights Act

Amendments of 1970

P.L. 91–285; 84 Stat. 314 Extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for five years. Made the act applicable to areas where less than 50 percent of the eligible voting age population was registered as of November 1968. Passed by the 91st Congress (1969–1971) as H.R. 4249.

Voting Rights Act

Amendments of 1975

P.L. 94–73; 89 Stat. 400 Extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for seven years. Established coverage for other minority groups including Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Permanently banned literacy tests. Passed by the 94th Congress (1975–1977) as H.R. 6219.

Voting Rights Act

Amendments of 1982

P.L. 97–205; 96 Stat. 131 Extended for 25 years the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Allowed jurisdictions that could provide evidence of maintaining a clean voting rights record for at least 10 years, to avoid preclearance coverage (the requirement of federal approval of any change to local or state voting laws). Provided for aid and instruction to disabled or illiterate voters. Provided for bilingual election materials in jurisdictions with large minority populations. Passed by the 97th Congress (1981–1983) as H.R. 3112.

Civil Rights Restoration

Act of 1987

P.L. 100–259; 102 Stat. 28 Established that antidiscrimination laws are applicable to an entire organization if any part of the organization receives federal funds. Passed by the 100th Congress (1987–1989) as S. 557.

Fair Housing Act

Amendments of 1988

P.L. 100–430; 102 Stat. 1619 Strengthened the powers of enforcement granted to the Housing and Urban Development Department in the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Passed by the 100th Congress (1987–1989) as H.R. 1158.

Civil Rights Act of 1991

P.L. 102–166; 105 Stat. 1071 Reversed nine U.S. Supreme Court decisions (rendered between 1986 and 1991) that had raised the bar for workers who alleged job discrimination. Provided for plaintiffs to receive monetary damages in cases of harassment or discrimination based on sex, religion, or disability. Passed by the 102nd Congress (1991–1993) as S. 1745.

Voting Rights Act of 2006

P.L. 109–246; 120 Stat. 577 Extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for 25 years. Extended the bilingual election requirements through August 5, 2032. Directed the U.S. Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the implementation, effectiveness, and efficiency of bilingual voting materials requirements. Passed by the 109th Congress (2005–2007) as H.R. 9.



Conservatives call for constitutional intervention last seen 230 years ago

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 11, 2018 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/11/conservatives-call-for-constitutional-convention-alec

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

   You think this is a game? These "Descendants of Slave Owners" are not playing. What do you think the mean when they say "The Original Intent of The Constitution"! By JJP


Conservatives call for constitutional intervention last seen 230 years ago


Lawmakers push for ‘constitutional convention’ to restrict federal government – and it’s not as far fetched as it sounds


There is growing confidence a convention could take place, introducing new constitutional amendments: ‘We’re in a battle for the future of our country.’

There is growing confidence a convention could take place, introducing new constitutional amendments: ‘We’re in a battle for the future of our country.’


It’s been more than 230 years since America’s last constitutional convention, but there is growing confidence in some conservative circles that the next one is right around the corner – and could spell disaster for entitlement programs like medicare and social security, as well court decisions like Roe v Wade.


“I think we’re three or four years away,” said the former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn on Friday, speaking at the annual convention for American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – a powerful rightwing organization that links corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers from across the country.


Coburn, a veteran Republican lawmaker, now works as a senior adviser for the advocacy group Convention of States, which seeks to use a little known clause in article V of the US constitution to call a constitutional convention for new amendments to dramatically restrict the power of the federal government.

Louisiana’s Democratic governor an ally at influential rightwing conference


Coburn, who retired from the Senate in 2010, said that the American republic is “failing”, and that such a convention is the “only answer” to the problems the country faces today.


“We’re in a battle for the future of our country,” Coburn told the assembly of mostly conservative state lawmakers meeting in New Orleans. “We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free. As far as me and my family and my guns, I’m going to be free.”

 

Convention of States, with Alec’s support, is one of three prominent conservative groups pushing for a new constitutional convention. Under article V, if two-thirds of state legislatures so choose, they can force congress to convene such a meeting. On the agenda for Convention of States: an amendment to require a balanced budget, term limits for congress, repealing the federal income tax and giving states the power to veto any federal law, supreme court decision or executive order with a three-fifths vote from the states.


“The only chance we have to restore this country, that is peaceful, is this convention,” said Jim Moyer, a Convention of States supporter and attendee at the Alec annual meeting.


It’s not as far fetched as it sounds. A coalition seeking just the balanced budget amendment currently has 28 out of the required 34 state legislatures on board, with active bills calling for a convention. Since Trump’s election, Arizona and Wyoming have both passed bills to join in the call while Maryland, Nevada and New Mexico have repealed versions they had previously put on the books.


We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free

Senator Tom Coburn


Convention of States and its more expansive to-do list doesn’t have as many states in play as the balanced budget group, but it does boast a big roster of well-known conservative supporters such as Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Rand Paul, and a reported 2.5 million volunteers ready to mobilize: “double that of the NRA [National Rifle Association],” pointed out Rita Dunaway, the staff council at Convention of States.


Their partnership with Alec makes success that much more likely. No group in US history has been so successful at getting similar and sometimes nearly identical pieces of legislation passed in multiple states, often within a period of one or two legislative sessions.


Unity among conservatives seeking an article V intervention is paramount. For the convention to be triggered, all 34 states have to ask for the same thing. Once they do though, critics argue the floodgates open. “Once you call a convention literally anybody can bring up anything,” said Jay Riestenberg, a spokesperson for the non-partisan watchdog group Common Cause. “We can bring up an amendment to overturn Roe v Wade or the Civil Rights Act,” Riestenberg added.


Coburn and Dunway both bristled at the possibility of what is known as a “runaway convention”, where conventioneers go beyond their original mandate, perhaps so far as to write an entirely new constitution. This is technically what happened during the framing of the current constitution in 1787, when attendees were tasked with amending the Articles of Confederation, but wound up crafting something new entirely.


Coburn cited the three-fourths barrier – three out of four states need to agree for any proposal made to become law – a firewall to concerns over “runaway”. “All it takes is 13 judiciary chairmen, in 13 states, to stop anything stupid that might come out of that,” Coburn said. “Nothing’s going to happen, I’ll stake my life on that.”


The panelists broadly tabbed “liberals” as the opposition to their hopes, but the politics of an article V convention aren’t so cut and dried. Some of the most virulent opposition to the movement has arisen in the far right John Birch Society which argues that a convention could “rewrite our constitution and destroy its protection of our rights”.


Conversely, some liberal groups have also pushed for an article V convention in response to the supreme court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling as a means to winnow back the influence of money in politics. A group called Wolf Pac leading that charge and has secured legislation in five of the 34 required states.

 

Tom Buford, a Republican state senator from Kentucky, said he’s been to both of the “simulations” that Convention of States has staged – including one held in 2016 at Colonial Williamsburg complete with period costumes and wigs.


“I support their thought, I’m OK with it, but I’m not the poster child,” Buford said. He thinks some of the proposals, like veto power over the supreme court go too far, and said that decades in state government have shown him the limitations of things like balanced budget amendments.


“A balanced budget amendment is a nice idea, and it will make people feel happy if that amendment were to pass but it wont solve the problem,” Buford said. Kentucky (like every other state besides Vermont) has a balanced budget clause in its state constitution, but lawmakers routinely find ways around.

Since you’re here …


… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our reporting as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.


The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.


More voters purged from voter rolls between 2014 and 2016: Report

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 11, 2018 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

https://abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/millions-voters-purged-voter-rolls-2014-2016-report/story?id=56756914

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  American Gangsterism 101. By JJP

 

 

More voters purged from voter rolls between 2014 and 2016: Report



WATCH: High court rules that Congress needs to update the landmark law from 1965.


A recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice found that between 2014 and 2016 states purged almost 16 million voters from the rolls, four million more voters than removed from 2006 to 2008.


Jonathan Brater, a counsel in the nonpartisan center’s Democracy Program and a co-author of the report, said it’s hard to know how many voters were purged in error, “which is part of the concern.”


The 33 percent increase outpaces both population growth and the growth in total registered voters.


While Brater said it was “a little hard to say,” whether the Supreme Court's striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder caused the increase, the report found that jurisdictions the ruling released from being subject to preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act had “significantly higher” rates of purging voters.


Before that ruling, the Voting Rights Act used a formula, developed in the 1960s, to determine which counties would require changes to their election laws to be federally reviewed before they could go into effect.

Last minute voters rush to cast their ballots on Election Day at the Christ United Methodist Church precinct in north Jackson, Miss., Nov. 8, 2016.


In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that formula unconstitutional because it was outdated and needed to be updated. It called on Congress to rework it, which it has not yet done.


The Brennan Center found that between 2012 and 2016 these jurisdictions removed nine million voters from registration lists and that the removal rate in these places was 2 percent higher than in other areas.


Two million fewer people would have been removed from voter rolls if the rates were equal, researchers found.


While they were also unable to determine the percent of voters mistakenly removed in these districts, the Brennan Center found that as the rates of voters removed increased, so did the number of people who showed up to vote but were unable to.


Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, told ABC News the report is evidence that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is crucial to our democracy and questioned the demographics of those purged from voter rolls.


“It is our belief that there is an over-representation of African American, Latino and lower and working-class individuals,” he said. “It is unfortunate that this nation has refused to honor the sacred right to vote and proactively protect that right for all citizens.”

A poll worker hands a voter a, "I'm a Georgia voter," sticker after casting her ballot in Georgia's primary election at Chase Street Elementary in Athens, Ga., May 22, 2018.


Georgia, which has a Republican gubernatorial primary run-off Tuesday and is where Stacey Abrams is running to be the first black woman governor in the nation, was previously subject to preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. The Brennan Center found that between 2012 and 2016 it purged 1.5 million voters.


In an emailed statement, Candice Broce, the press secretary and staff attorney for the Office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp which oversees elections in the state, said "Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is a leader in ensuring that our elections are secure, accessible, and fair for all voters. Robust voter list maintenance is a critical safeguard to maintain the integrity of the ballot box, and when groups have tried to challenge our practices, the courts have upheld our laws to keep the rolls accurate and up-to-date.”

 

The report also said that states can rely on “faulty” data and that there had been increasing pressure from groups alleging that states were not cleaning voter rolls enough. According to their research, eight states, including New York, Alabama and Maine, had either violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) with one of their purges or had policies that violate the law.


Published last Friday, the report comes a day after former First Lady Michelle Obama announced her "When We All Vote" initiative, using a star-studded cast to encourage voter registration.


It also comes a month after the Supreme Court declared an Ohio law allowing the state to remove people who have not voted in two federal elections constitutional in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.


To protect voters from aggressive voter roll maintenance, the Brennan Center suggests that states enforce the National Voter Registration Act, enact more protections than required under the act and automatic voter registration.


“We’ve found that a lot of these purges happen in secret and problems are only found on election day when people went to try to vote,” Brater said. “So that’s why it’s critical that states be transparent about what their policies are on purging the voter rolls and that voters check their registration.”


Shelby County v. Holder

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 11, 2018 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.brennancenter.org/legal-work/shelby-county-v-holder

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 The mid term elections proved and showed how America has always treated Descendants of Slave. By gutting the 1965 Voters Rights act the desied outcome came to fruition. By JJP

 

Shelby County v. Holder

August 4, 2018


The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to ensure state and local governments do not pass laws or policies that deny American citizens the equal right to vote based on race. On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court swept away a key provision of this landmark civil rights law in Shelby County v. Holder.


In April 2010, Shelby County, Alabama filed suit asking a federal court in Washington, DC to declare Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Section 5 is a key part of the Voting Rights Act, requiring certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to submit any proposed changes in voting procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal district court in D.C. – before it goes into effect – to ensure the change would not harm minority voters. In September 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and in May 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the district court that Section 5 was constitutional. Shelby County appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court agreed to take the case in November 2012.


On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act — which determines which jurisdictions are covered by Section 5 — is unconstitutional because it is based on an old formula. As a practical matter this means that Section 5 is inoperable until Congress enacts a new coverage formula, which the decision invited Congress to do. The Brennan Center’s statement on the decision is available here.


The Brennan Center for Justice, alongside many other partner organizations, submitted amicus briefs in the case. All the amicus briefs submitted in the case, including the Brennan Center's brief, alongside the Supreme Court documents can be found in our Shelby County v. Holder case documents page.


How Did the Supreme Court Give a Green Light to Massive Voter Suppression?

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 11, 2018 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.thenation.com/article/supreme-court-give-green-light-massive-voter-suppression/

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 " In April 2010, Shelby County, Alabama filed suit asking a federal court in Washington, DC to declare Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Section 5 is a key part of the Voting Rights Act, requiring certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to submit any proposed changes in voting procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal district court in D.C. – before it goes into effect – to ensure the change would not harm minority voters. In September 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and in May 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the district court that Section 5 was constitutional. Shelby County appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court agreed to take the case in November 2012"'. Checkmate

 

How Did the Supreme Court Give a Green Light to Massive Voter Suppression?

Two words: Neil Gorsuch.


When Neil Gorsuch appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 to make a case for his confirmation to serve a life term on the US Supreme Court, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy observed that, “unless we were asking about fishing or basketball, Judge Gorsuch stonewalled and avoided any substantive response. He was excruciatingly evasive. His sworn testimony and his approach to complying with this Committee’s historic role in the confirmation process have been patronizing. That is a disservice to the American people. And it is a blight on this confirmation process.”

 

Leahy said the nominee’s evasiveness was a particular concern on the voting-rights issues that were raised during the hearing. Gorsuch, said the chamber’s senior senator, “provided no answer at all to questions regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County to gut the Voting Rights Act.” The same went for questions from Leahy and his fellow senators regarding democracy issues. The questions were asked, but Gorsuch did not answer.


Now Justice Gorsuch has answered. On Monday, the Court released its ruling in the case of Hustad v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, an essential test of the Court’s stance regarding voting rights. With the critical 2018 election just months away, the Court’s activist majority gave Republican secretaries of state a go-ahead to resume the antidemocratic practice of purging fully qualified voters from registration rolls.

 

It was a 5-4 decision. Had Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Obama to serve on the Court but was then refused a confirmation hearing as part of the machinations by Senate Republican that eventually landed Gorsuch on the high court, it almost certainly would have been different. There is good reason to believe that a Justice Garland would have refused to send the signal that Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law president Kristen Clarke warns is likely to be interpreted “as a green light to purge the registration rolls of legitimately registered voters.”

But Gorsuch sent that signal, siding with four other conservative judicial activists to say that Ohio and other states may conduct aggressive purges of voter rolls, with an eye toward removing the names of qualified voters who have failed to cast ballots in every election. The Ohio process begins by sending address-confirmation notices to voters who have not voted in the past two years. If the voters do not go through the bureaucratic process of returning the notices or otherwise updating their registration data over the ensuing four years, their registrations are tossed.

 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that ruling was fundamentally flawed, noting that the National Voter Registration Act (the so-called “motor-voter law”;) was enacted to prevent such purges. “Congress enacted the NVRA against the backdrop of substantial efforts by states to disenfranchise low-income and minority voters, including programs that purged eligible voters from registration lists because they failed to vote in prior elections,” explained Sotomayor in a scathing dissent. “The Court errs in ignoring this history and distorting the statutory text to arrive at a conclusion that not only is contrary to the plain language of the NVRA but also contradicts the essential purposes of the statute, ultimately sanctioning the very purging that Congress expressly sought to protect against.”


Unfortunately, Gorsuch and the Court’s activist majority chose to put partisanship ahead of the law.


What this means is that an Ohio voter who may have missed a few local and state elections and a presidential election can show up for the next presidential election and find that their registration has been canceled. It also raises the prospect that even more aggressive purges could be implemented by Republican officials in battleground states where statewide contests are frequently dicided by narrow margins.

 

“The Supreme Court has just given a stamp of approval to voter suppression,” says Liz Kennedy, the senior director of Democracy and Government Reform for the Center for American Progress. “Ohio’s system of purging voters that choose not to participate in some elections unfairly silences hundreds of thousands of voters in the state, especially people of color and the homeless.”

 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ripped the ruling, saying, “It’s a travesty that the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s voter suppression efforts. Instead of making people jump through hoops to vote, states should pass automatic voter registration and same-day registration. Politicians afraid of large voter turnouts are political cowards.”


Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan (D-WI) warned that “The Supreme Court just empowered Republican-led states across the country to kick voters off the voting rolls, stifling democracy and creating an unnecessary burden for voters who find that they have been mistakenly and unfairly removed from the rolls. Today’s decision ensures that more voters—especially those that are young, minority, and low-income—will be turned away from the polls and not have their voices heard.”

Support Progressive Journalism


If you like this article, please give today to help fund The Nation’s work.


Pocan has introduced the Voter Roll Integrity Act, legislation designed to prevent states from purging voter rolls “without the knowledge or consent of active and still-eligible voters.” Pocan’s bill would require the use of comprehensive data and a strict confirmation standards to prevent the unfair canceling of registrations.


Calling for immediate consideration of the Voter Roll Integrity Act, the congressman decried Republican governors such as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker for continuing “to commit various forms of voter suppression, all under the guise of eliminating voter fraud.”


Pocan said that elected officials, instead of making up excuses for purging voters from registration rolls, “have a responsibility to do everything we can to empower voters.”


The Creeping Privatization of America's Armed Forces

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 11, 2018 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.newsweek.com/creeping-privatization-americas-forces-616347?amp=1

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  This is why they just love their military. It's largest PONZI scheme created next to the Federal Bank. By JJP

 The Creeping Privatization of America’s Armed Forces

Given the absence of any kind of American grand strategy, rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and all the intrigue and posturing with Russia, it is hard to imagine how international security could get any more complicated.

But as these stories make headlines, another phenomenon grows beneath the surface that is even more concerning.


An increasing number of super-wealthy private citizens own private militaries and are looking for “business” in the Middle East, Africa and around the world.

Since the end of the Cold War, two trends have fed this expansion: 1) the rise of private equity (PE) and 2) the increased dependence of the United States on private military companies/contractors (PMCs).


Since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the number of global PE firms has increased from just a few hundred to more than 6,500, and the assets they manage have increased from under $500 million to more than $4.6 trillion.

 

However, it is not just the number of PE firms or the magnitude of assets under their management that is important, but the very nature of private equity is important to consider here.


Essentially, the owners of PE firms are private citizens, they often buy all of a company’s publicly traded stock (thus taking the company “private”;), their only purpose is to make very high returns on risky investments by drastically cutting costs and boosting revenue because they want to move on to the next investment as quickly as possible, and all of this is done out of the public’s eye.


This is all fine when applied to ketchup and automotive companies. But what about when applied to private military contractors?


The second trend for concern here is the United States’ dependence on contractors to perform military, diplomatic and intelligence functions.


We have used military contractors in every major conflict since the American Revolution. In fact, some Hessians employed by the British defected to the American’s side in return for land and farm animals.

 

However, according to the Congressional Research Service, within the last few years the U.S.’ dependence on contractors has grown to the point where about half of the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is employed by private military contractors.


In other words, about half of our armed forces is outsourced to private military contractors. These contractors, to include the company formerly known as Blackwater, are now increasingly owned by private equity firms. Thus, American and international security is largely in the hands of private equity partners.


Just to provide a few examples of this overlap: in 1997, Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL, founded Blackwater. After the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Iraq in which four of Prince’s employees were convicted, he changed the company’s name to Xe Services. In 2010, he sold the company to two private equity firms for $200 million.


These PE investors renamed the firm ACADEMI, bought two of Blackwater’s competitors, Triple Canopy and Olive Group, then sold all three PMCs in 2016 to the world’s largest private equity firm, Apollo, for an estimated $1 billion.


More recently, Prince has re-entered the industry recruiting a group of Chinese investors and starting his own private equity firm and another PMC. “This is not a patriotic endeavor of ours,” he made clear of his new PE firm’s goals. “We’re here to build a great business and make some money doing it.”


He also said his new firm’s focus was on securing Chinese businesses’ operations in Africa, especially in their efforts to acquire natural resources.


Another example of the private equity-PMC connection includes the 2004 sale of large military contractor DynCorp’s security-related businesses to Veritas, a private equity firm. In 2010, Veritas sold its DynCorp stake to another private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, for about $1.5 billion


The constant buying and selling of PMCs by sophisticated private equity partners suggests they are very attractive investments. A lot of money is made by providing security in an insecure world.


One of the concerns, however, is that all of this money is made during periods of insecurity. What happens to these investments if peace breaks out? There is enormous financial incentive to maintain short-term insecurity in perpetuity because peace is bad for business.


The dependence of U.S. strategic objectives on a small group of super-wealthy investors, who are focused on short-term profit maximization has consequences. There is a misalignment of objectives between short-term focused PE-owned-PMCs and U.S. national security, which should include the long view.


What could possibly go wrong by PMCs scouring the Middle East and Africa for short-term profits? Plenty.


What We Need to Fight the Next Financial Crisis

Posted by Jerrald J President on September 17, 2018 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/opinion/sunday/bernanke-lehman-anniversary-oped.html

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

   This is what a "REAL GANGSTER" looks like. By JJP

What We Need to Fight the Next Financial Crisis

Congress has taken away some of the tools that were crucial to us during the 2008 panic. It’s time to bring them back.

By Ben S. Bernanke, Timothy F. Geithner and Henry M. Paulson Jr.


Mr. Bernanke is a former chairman of the Federal Reserve. Mr. Geithner and Mr.

 

Ten years ago, the global economy teetered in the face of a classic financial panic, the most dangerous type of financial crisis. In a financial panic, investors lose confidence in all forms of credit, retreating to the safest and most liquid assets, like Treasury bills. The prices of risky assets collapse, and new credit becomes unavailable, with dire consequences for workers, homeowners and savers.


The seeds of the panic were sown over decades, as the American financial system outgrew the protections against panics that were put in place after the Great Depression. Depression-era safeguards, like deposit insurance, were aimed at ensuring that the banking system remained stable, but by 2007 more than half of all credit flowed outside banks. Financial innovations, like subprime mortgages and automated credit scoring, helped millions to buy homes, but they also facilitated unwise risk-taking by lenders and investors.


Most dangerously, trillions of dollars of risky credit were financed by uninsured, short-term funding. This made the financial system vulnerable to runs — not by ordinary bank depositors, as in the 1930s, but by pension funds, life insurance companies, and other investors. A Balkanized and antiquated regulatory system made identifying these risks difficult and provided policymakers with limited authority to respond when the panic erupted.


The underlying performance of the broader economy before the crisis was troubling as well. Productivity growth was slowing, wages were stagnating, and the share of Americans who were working was shrinking. That put pressure on family incomes even as inequality rose and upward social mobility declined. The desire to maintain relative living standards no doubt contributed to a surge in household borrowing before the crisis.


Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner worked with regulators and other officials to stabilize the American economy during the 2008 financial crisis.CreditMatthew Cavanaugh/European Pressphoto Agency


Although we and other financial regulators did not foresee the crisis, we moved aggressively to stop it. Acting in its traditional role as lender of last resort, the Federal Reserve provided massive quantities of short-term loans to financial institutions facing runs, while cutting interest rates nearly to zero. The Treasury Department stopped a run on money market funds by providing a backstop for investors. The Treasury also managed the takeover of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and worked with the Fed to try to prevent the collapse of large, systemically important financial firms. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guaranteed bank debt and protected depositors.


But the powers of the regulators alone proved inadequate. Congressional action made it possible for two presidents, one Republican and one Democratic, working with regulators, to prevent the collapse of the financial system and avoid another Great Depression. Most importantly, Congress provided capital to the banking system, allowing for the normalization of credit flows. Congress also provided support for housing and mortgage markets and authorized a powerful fiscal stimulus. The economy began to grow again in mid-2009, and the funds deployed by Congress were recovered with substantial profit to the taxpayer. Policymakers certainly didn’t get everything right. But compared to most other countries, America’s post-2008 recovery started sooner, was completed faster and was built on healthier foundations.


Are we ready for the next crisis? In some respects, yes. Reforms of financial regulation have helped make the system more resilient, making a crisis less likely to occur. Banks and other key financial institutions are financially stronger, and the gaps in regulatory oversight have largely been closed. Regulators are more attuned to systemwide risks. Our main concern is that these defenses will erode over time and risk-taking will emerge in corners of the financial system that are less constrained by regulation.

the next financial crisis


Even if a financial crisis is now less likely, one will occur eventually. To contain the damage, the Treasury and financial regulators need adequate firefighting tools. After the crisis, Congress gave regulators some promising new authorities to help them manage the failure of an individual financial institution, tools we did not have in the fall of 2008 when we faced the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers. The so-called orderly liquidation authority, for example, which was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, could help regulators unwind a failing firm in a manner that could be less damaging to the system as a whole.


But in its post-crisis reforms, Congress also took away some of the most powerful tools used by the FDIC, the Fed and the Treasury. Among these changes, the FDIC can no longer issue blanket guarantees of bank debt as it did in the crisis, the Fed’s emergency lending powers have been constrained, and the Treasury would not be able to repeat its guarantee of the money market funds. These powers were critical in stopping the 2008 panic.


From a political perspective, Congress’s decision to limit these crisis-fighting tools was predictable. Many of the actions necessary to stem the crisis, including the provision of loans and capital to financial institutions, were controversial and unpopular. To us, as to the public, the responses often seemed unjust, helping some of the very people and firms who had caused the damage. Those reactions are completely understandable, particularly since the economic pain from the panic was devastating for many.


The paradox of any financial crisis is that the policies necessary to stop it are always politically unpopular. But if that unpopularity delays or prevents a strong response, the costs to the economy become greater. We need to make sure that future generations of financial firefighters have the emergency powers they need to prevent the next fire from becoming a conflagration. We must also resist calls to eliminate safeguards as the memory of the crisis fades. For those working to keep our financial system resilient, the enemy is forgetting.



Ben S. Bernanke, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, was chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014. @BenBernanke


Timothy F. Geithner, president of the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, was Secretary of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013.


Henry M. Paulson Jr., chairman of the Paulson Institute, was Secretary of the Treasury from 2006 to 2009.


U.S. Federal Budget Breakdown

Posted by Jerrald J President on August 28, 2018 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-federal-budget-breakdown-3305789

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 The discretionary budget is $1.203 trillion. More than half goes toward military spending, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and other defense-related departments. To quote the late great 2Pac "They got money for WARS , but can't feed the POOR". By JJP

U.S. Federal Budget Breakdown

The Budget Components and Impact on the US Economy

In Fiscal Year 2019, the federal budget will be $4.407 trillion. The U.S. government estimates it will receive $3.422 trillion in revenue. That creates a $985 billion deficit for October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

 

Spending is in three categories: Mandatory, which is at $2.739 trillion; Discretionary at $1.305 trillion; and Interest on the National Debt, $363 billion. This article provides a detailed breakdown of each. You can also find links to past budgets at the end.

 

01

Revenue

US Tax Time

Most of the government's revenue comes from you. Photo: David Freund/Getty Images

 

The federal government will receive $3.422 trillion in revenue. Most of the taxes are paid by you, either through income or payroll taxes:

 

Income taxes contribute $1.622 trillion or 49 percent of total receipts.

Social Security, Medicare, and other payroll taxes add $1.238 trillion or 36 percent.

Corporate taxes supply $225 billion or 7 percent.

Excise taxes and tariffs contribute $152 billion or 4 percent.

Earnings from the Federal Reserve's holdings add $55 billion or 2 percent. Those are interest payments on the U.S. Treasury debt the Fed acquired through quantitative easing.

Estate taxes and other miscellaneous revenue supply the remaining 2 percent.

 

It's estimated that each taxpayer works until late April each year to pay for all federal revenue collected. That's Tax Freedom Day. Can you think of any other purchase you make for which you've worked as hard and long?

 

02

Spending

 

The government will spend $4.407 trillion. Most of this, about 62 percent of expenditure, pays for mandated benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

 

Interest on the U.S. debt is $363 billion. The U.S. Treasury must pay it to avoid a U.S. debt default. The United States has been fortunate because interest rates have been low. A worldwide flight to safety increased demand for Treasury notes, lowering rates. Now that the global economy is strengthening, Treasury yields are rising. So will interest payments. Interest on the $21 trillion debt is already the fastest growing federal expense.

 

The remaining 38 percent of the budget pays for everything else. It's called discretionary spending. The U.S. Congress changes this amount each year. It uses the president's budget as a starting point.


03

Mandatory Spending



Mandatory spending is $2.739 trillion. Social Security is by far the biggest expense at $1.046 trillion. Medicare is next at $625 billion, followed by Medicaid at $412 billion.


Social Security costs are currently covered 100 percent by payroll taxes and interest on past payroll taxes that have been invested. Until 2010, there was more coming into the Social Security Trust Fund than being paid out. Thanks to interest on investments, the Trust Fund is still running a surplus. But, the Trust Fund’s Board estimates that this surplus will be depleted by 2036. Social Security revenue, from payroll taxes and interest earned, will cover only 77 percent of the benefits promised to retirees.


Medicare is already underfunded. Medicare taxes don't pay for all benefits, so this program relies on general tax dollars to pay for a portion of it. Medicaid is 100 percent funded by the general fund

 

04

Discretionary Spending


The discretionary budget is $1.203 trillion. More than half goes toward military spending, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and other defense-related departments. The rest must pay for all other domestic programs. The largest are Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development.

 

There is an emergency fund of $111.4 billion that's not included in the budget process. Most of that, amounting to $88.9 billion, goes to Overseas Contingency Operations to pay for wars.

 

05

Military Spending

 

Military spending was budgeted at $886 billion. The biggest expense is the Department of Defense base budget at $597.1 billion. Overseas Contingency Operations will cost $88.9 billion.

 

Military spending also includes $181.3 billion for defense-related departments. These include Homeland Security, the State Department, and Veterans Affairs. These departments also receive emergency funding of $18.7 billion. That pays for the war on terror costs triggered by the 9/11 attacks. These include ongoing costs from the war in Iraq and the Afghanistan war.

 

Congress approved a spending bill of $892.7 billion. It includes $616.9 billion for the DoD base budget, $69 billion for the OCO, and $21.9 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration within the Department of Energy.

 

06

The Deficit

The Capitol building stands behind caution tape

 

The budget deficit will be $985 billion. That's the difference between $3.422 trillion in revenue and $4.407 trillion in spending. The article on “Deficit by President” shows which U.S. president racked up the highest expenses. A look at the deficit by year will reveal trends in the country’s annual deficits.

 

07

How the Deficit Contributes to the National Debt

deficit vs debt

Each year's deficit adds to the debt. Photo: Image Source/Getty Images

 

Each year, the deficit adds to the U.S. debt. This anticipated tax slows economic growth. It’s like driving a car with the brakes on. It raises interest rates, as investors demand more return. They become hesitant to purchase Treasurys because they fear not being repaid.


Now that the economy has recovered, deficit spending is not necessary. Congress should create a budget surplus to reduce the national debt burden. But it isn’t being done because politicians, who slice popular programs, usually find themselves cut out from the next election.

 

08

Budget Process

 

Congress created the budget process. First, the Executive Office of Management and Budget prepares the budget. The president submits it to Congress on or before the first Monday in February. Congress is supposed to respond with spending appropriation bills that go to the president by June 30. The president has 10 days to reply.


Most important, the deadline for budget approval is September 30. If it isn't approved, the government can shut down, as it did in January 2018 and in 2013. To avoid that, Congress usually passes a continuing resolution. It keeps the government running at spending levels of the last budget. Since the FY 2010 budget, Congress has only followed the budget process twice.





Rss_feed