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Economy

Bursting the jobs numbers bubble

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Well, I really don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble. After all, when I get good news, the last thing I want is to see another episode of Adam Ruins Everything and suddenly what I thought was great news is only going to be marginally beneficial … maybe. Before I get started, though, I want one thing to be crystal clear: I am not an economic wizard. As a matter of fact, I don’t want anyone to think I am even slightly good with economics, especially on a national scale. But I don’t think I have to be; common sense should be enough.

Since before President Trump’s inauguration, he has been making deals. What started with Carrier back in late November, 2016, with the “saving of 1000 jobs” as it was reported, jobs numbers have been on a positive move. As an aside, the NYSE and other markets began a steady trend upward on November 9, 2016 that has continued a generally positive movement. Things look good and we are not yet tired of winning. Right? Let’s analyze what over 1 million newly added and filled jobs means.

First, I really hope for the best and for these jobs (and the markets) to continue the positive growth. The recent proposal to immigration in favor of American workers will certainly help growth, both in jobs and the economy. Bringing talented individuals to partake in the American dream is something we all embrace. Innovation and work is good for them, for us, for America and ultimately for the world. First, however, the immigration bill, or RAISE Act, must become an actual piece of legislation; second to be voted on and, third, signed into law. Expect a lot of push-back from the Democratic Liberals on why this legislation is bad: its racist, Islamophobic and “too cosmopolitan” for the globalist elites, are my guesses. I expect 6 months or more before the RAISE Act is actual law and, most likely, part of a larger immigration reform package.

Since January, 2017 the jobs numbers have surged. Not small numbers, massive numbers that, frankly, the Democrats probably find disappointing because they haven’t been able to achieve these growth rates in … well, decades. And President Trump has only been in office for 6 months. Obama’s 1st year in office witnessed the loss of 5 million jobs. In October, 2010, we saw those numbers begin to return with an additional 5 million over his tenure for a total of 10 million. That is roughly 1.67 million jobs per year, from October, 2010 through October, 2016. At this rate, under Trump’s watch, he should be able to easily match if not surpass Obama’s numbers.

The big difference is that Trump didn’t have to make up for lost ground. He started his tenure in office gaining jobs. Now, I’m not discussing whether or not Trump can actually be credited with the gains. Frankly, I don’t care who gets the credit. The problem is that the gains for the American worker, as it stands now, will be minimal. Sure, we feel better when we are working and earning our way, providing for our family and able to make a vacation or two at some point in our lives. But we still have massive issues that are, quite simply, going to erode any good these jobs numbers project.

There are two glaring problems that the Gutless Old Party has yet to accomplish: 1) tax reform, and 2) repeal of Obamacare.

We still need tax reform. If we want corporate America to succeed, they need incentive – taxes and repatriation are two items that must be addressed. For the individual, so what if I have a job. I’m still paying exorbitant taxes. I have been promised tax reform and I want to see it before the 2018 filing season. Oh, and by the way, it would be beneficial to anyone wanting to keep their job on Capitol Hill to make tax reform retroactive to January 1, 2017.

We still have Obamacare. This piece of legislative and regulatory disaster has been most responsible for inhibiting growth in the public and especially the private sectors. Are we still going to have the IRS looking over our shoulders to make sure we have that burden securely fastened to our backs? Am I still going to be fined a penalty if I don’t have Obamacare?

And, finally, what really grinds my gears (thanks, Peter, for that) is that our Republican President says we need an addition $50 billion in this year’s debt ceiling and “we will reduce that to $30 billion next year.” Wait. What? I thought we were trying to limit government spending. Am I going to be able to go to the grocery store and tell them I have opted for an increased debt ceiling? No. And don’t give me this “reduce to $30 billion.” You aren’t reducing anything. You are increasing the debt ceiling by $80 billion over 2 years. And do you think I am naïve enough to believe that it will stop there?

All these jobs are necessary. We have the government’s subsistence to upkeep and that popping sound you heard was the button on the Fed’s fat pants. Yes, once again, our “conservative” Republicans in Congress are just as liberal with our tax dollars as the Democratic Liberals. The difference is who gets to be in control of the purse and spend the money. What is obvious is that two Liberal parties exist. They simply have different ways they want to spend our money.

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Economy

The CFPB must protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices

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The CFPB must protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices

Washington, D.C. – Dennis M. Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued the following statement with the filing of a comment letter on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB’s”) proposed rules implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

“Almost all Americans pay their debts and most of those who don’t are facing circumstances beyond their control like unemployment, a medical calamity, and other usually tragic occurrences. Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) to protect those vulnerable Americans from shocking, egregious, and abusive practices by the debt collection industry: calling homes repeatedly day and night; calling employers to get people fired; calling friends, neighbors, and relatives to embarrass people; and generally harassing people nonstop to boost their profits. The list of horror stories is long and revolting.

“The CFPB is now charged with implementing and enforcing the FDCPA and it must be guided by Congress’s clear and unequivocal objective to protect consumers not the debt collection industry. It must strongly and clearly regulate a business model that is embedded with incentives to pursue debtors ruthlessly using abusive tactics.

“The CFPB has proposed a rule to implement the provisions of the FDCPA. While it has a few modest consumer protections in it, the proposal also opens too many loopholes and ambiguities that will enable debt collectors to once again engage in too many near-abusive or outright abusive practices. For example, as we detailed in our comment letter, the proposal allows too many communications with debtors, essentially amounting to legalized harassment, and it would create an escape hatch from liability when debt collectors file lawsuits to collect on debts that are actually time-barred under the law.

“The CFPB must finalize a rule consistent with the letter and spirit of the FDCPA, which means it must put consumer interests over debt collectors and meaningfully constrain their impulse to engage in abusive but highly profitable practices.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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Democrats

‘Lite’ versions of Medicare-for-All are no better – and possibly worse – than the real thing

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Lite versions of Medicare-for-All are no better - and possibly worse - than the real thing

How do Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and other Democratic candidates plan on sinking Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders? By highlighting how their radical Medicare-for-All proposals are several steps too far to the left for America and by offering “lighter” versions of their semi-popular healthcare plans. But there’s a problem with their proposals. All of them will lead to the same conclusion – single-payer healthcare – and all of them may actually be more damaging to the economy along the way.

This is saying a lot since the $32 trillion Medicare-for-All is an absolute existential threat to the United States economy. How could these lighter versions be worse?

Before we answer that, let’s look at what would happen if Buttigieg’s Medicare-for-All-Who-Wants-It, Biden’s Obamacare 2.0, or Harris’s Medicare-for-All plus private supplements ever become law in America. They all come at it from different angles, but what they’re describing is a public option for health insurance that would be taxpayer-funded and remove the out-of-pocket expenses from those who choose to take it instead of a private healthcare plan. This sounds reasonable to many Americans who want health insurance available to everyone, even those who cannot afford it, but who do not want to lose their own health insurance.

But what nobody’s mentioning is that the holes in a public option create problems for everyone, including:

  • Dichotomous healthcare services. There will be “good” healthcare offered to those with private insurance and “bad” healthcare offered to those taking the public option. We see this in action with the VA, which was intended to offer superior services to veterans. But the opposite has been proven to be the case. When government injects itself as an option against the private market, invariably the solutions they present are unambiguously inferior to the private variations. Americans will not be told of this dichotomy. Instead, they will find out when it’s too late that the healthcare they’re receiving is horrible compared to what they would have received under the private market option.
  • Increased costs across the board. What does a public option mean for the private market? Fewer customers. Fewer businesses enticing employees with health insurance benefits. Fewer healthy people paying for healthcare while higher-cost participants make private insurance more expensive for everyone. As for those on the public option, their acceptance of taxpayer-funded health insurance will, of course, drive up taxes for nearly everyone, including the middle class that nobody seems to want to admit will get hit with these taxes.
  • An eventual shift towards single-payerAs private health insurance becomes less lucrative and eventually becomes a money-loser, companies will start pulling out. We already saw this without the public option in Obamacare. Throw in a public option and it eventually becomes cost-prohibitive to offer anything other than supplemental insurance for uncovered procedures such as cosmetic surgery. The public option will become single payer by default within 3-5 years after it’s launched.

Nobody outside of the health insurance industry likes the health insurance industry, but over a hundred million Americans rely on this industry to keep themselves and their families from paying the extremely high costs for medical care. The combination of health insurance driving medical expenses and a government driving the health insurance industry has resulted in diapers costing $20 each after birth. They know most American will not care about the details as long as they’re not paying for it out of pocket, so they can encourage hospitals and doctors to charge outrageous rates. This all changes for the worst once single-payer is in place.

Back to the original premise – these “lighter” options could actually be worse for America than full-blown and immediate Medicare-for-All. With the latter, everything is upfront. They will tax us at extremely high rates to pay for their pet project. It will be horrible. But it will be understood from the beginning. With the half-measures proposed by the “moderates” in the group, the way it all pans out will be in a constant state of radical evolution. Prices will fluctuate so rapidly that changes will need to be made on the fly. It’s like inserting a knife into our backs slowly instead of just plunging it right in. The constant tearing of tissues over time may make us bleed out faster than if they just stabbed us quickly.

The various public option proposals are all single-payer-in-training. They will invariably become Medicare-for-All because private insurance will die a slow death as a result. Meanwhile, our healthcare quality and economy will die much more rapidly.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

How much longer will Elizabeth Warren dodge the middle-class tax increase question?

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How much longer will Elizabeth Warren dodge the middle-class tax increase question

Senator Elizabeth Warren refuses to acknowledge that her Medicare-for-All plan will require a middle-class tax increase. She implies it in her answer to the question by focusing on “costs will go down,” meaning people will pay less in healthcare expenses that, in her view, should compensate for the tax increases. But she absolutely, positively refuses to admit that taxes will go up, dodging the question clumsily every time she’s asked.

It’s starting to get uncomfortable. Even left-wing entertainer Stephen Colbert pressed her on the issue. He offered her a new way of pushing the message forward, equating the taxes we’d pay for her healthcare plan to the taxes we pay for public education. Even with the friendly host, Warren refused to admit her plan would require a middle-class tax cut. Unfortunately, this bodes ill for all American taxpayers as this refusal to say the words means it’s likely much worse than we can possibly imagine.

Watch her stumble through to not answer the question:

What is she hiding? She knows her plan requires middle-class tax increases and likely a downward extension in the tax bracket that will mean lower-income Americans who currently do not pay taxes will be forced to. But her focus has always been on making “rich corporations and wealthy individuals” pay for it. This message works because it creates an “us versus them” mentality within her base.

What Warren knows is that many in her base are not being crushed under the weight of medical expenses. She knows all of them will see their taxes go up, and unless they’re currently paying a ton out of pocket for their healthcare, their overall “costs” will not go down, as she promises. The burden of high medical costs is not as mainstream as she claims, which is why she refuses to acknowledge taxes will rise dramatically under her plan. She wants them to be focused on “free” medical care even if the “costs” for many if not most of her supporters will actually rise.

When a politician refuses to directly answer questions about their premier policy proposal, be afraid. Bernie Sanders might be a mess, but at least he’s honest about taxes rising across the board. Warren is not being honest at all.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

American Conservative Movement

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