The U.S. is at the end of its economic rope

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway
    7/2/2020

    https://apnews.com/cddec060d38eacbb708a47120d34af51

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. unemployment fell to 11.1% in June as the economy added a solid 4.8 million jobs, the government reported Thursday. But the job-market recovery may already be faltering because of a new round of closings and layoffs triggered by a resurgence of the coronavirus.

    While the jobless rate was down from 13.3% in May, it is still at a Depression-era level. And the data was gathered during the second week of June, just before a number of states began to reverse or suspend the reopenings of their economies to try to beat back the virus.

    “This is a bit of a dated snapshot at this point,” said Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase.

    The news came as the number of confirmed infections per day in the U.S. soared to an all-time high of 50,700, more than doubling over the past month, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    The spike, centered primarily in the South and West, has led states such as California, Texas, Arizona and Florida to re-close or otherwise clamp down again on bars, restaurants, movie theaters, beaches and swimming pools, throwing some workers out of a job for a second time.

    President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back,” though he acknowledged there are still areas where “we’re putting out the flames” of the virus.

    Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden responded, “Just like last month, President Trump has spiked the ball and made this about him. He doesn’t seem to realize he’s not even on the 50-yard line.”

    Economists expect the recovery to take longer than Trump’s optimistic projections, with the unemployment rate likely to be near double-digit levels by year’s end.

    “Even as we move into the second half of the year, a large number of people will still be looking for work,” said Eric Winograd, senior U.S. economist at asset manager AllianceBernstein.

    The shutdowns over the past two weeks will be reflected in the July unemployment report, to be released in early August.

    While the job market improved in June for a second straight month, the Labor Department report showed that the U.S. has recouped only about one-third of the colossal 22 million jobs lost during the lockdowns this spring.

    Layoffs are still running high: The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits fell only slightly last week to 1.4 million, according to the government. Though the weekly figure has declined steadily since peaking in March, it is still extraordinarily large by historic standards.

    And the total number of people drawing jobless benefits remains at a sizable 19 million.

    U.S. job growth in June was driven mainly by companies recalling workers who had been laid off during the widespread business shutdowns across the country.

    In an ominous trend contained in the Labor Department report, the number of Americans who said they had lost their jobs permanently rose by 600,000 last month to nearly 2.9 million.

    Many businesses, particularly small ones, are shutting down for good even though the lockdowns have largely been lifted.

    [​IMG]

    “We could see a huge cliff,” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter. “Those expanded benefits will expire before new hiring has really picked up.”

    Congress is debating another relief package. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he supports something that is “much more targeted” to businesses that need it.

    Hotels, restaurants, bars and casinos added 2.1 million jobs last month, the most of any industry. Retailers gained 740,000.

    While unemployment fell in June for all groups, it dropped faster for whites than for Blacks or Latinos. The rate among white people was 10.1%. Black unemployment fell to 15.4% from 16.8%. Among Latinos, unemployment dropped to 14.5% from 17.6%.

    The number of laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week in Texas, Arizona and Tennessee. It fell in California, but was near 280,000. That’s more than the number of people who were seeking jobless benefits in the entire country before the outbreak took hold in March.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  2. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Dollar's dominance to slowly melt away over coming year: Reuters poll
    JULY 1, 2020

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-forex-poll-dollar-idUSKBN24300L?taid=5efd99dd17654f00015ab44e

    The dollar’s dominance will slowly melt away over the coming year on weakening global demand and a sombre U.S. economic outlook, according to a Reuters poll of currency forecasters whose views depend on there being no second coronavirus shock.

    Despite fears a surge in new COVID-19 cases would delay economies reopening and stymie a tentative recovery, world stocks have rallied - with the S&P 500 finishing higher in June, marking its biggest quarterly percentage gain since the height of the technology boom in 1998.

    Caught between bets in favour of riskier investments, weak U.S. economic prospects as well as an easing in the thirst for dollars after the Federal Reserve flooded markets with liquidity, the greenback fell nearly 1.0% last month. It was its worst monthly performance since December.

    While there was a dire prognosis from the top U.S. medical expert on the coronavirus’ spread, the June 25-July 1 poll of over 70 analysts showed weak dollar projections as Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Monday reiterated the economic outlook for the world’s largest economy was uncertain.

    “The dollar rises in two instances: when you see risk off or when there is a situation where the U.S. is leading the global recovery, and we don’t think that’s going to be the case anytime soon,” said Gavin Friend, senior FX strategist at NAB Group in London.

    “The U.S. is playing fast and loose with the virus, and chronologically they’re behind the rest of the world.”

    Currency speculators, who had built up trades against the dollar to the highest in two years during May, increased their out-of-favour dollar bets further last week, the latest positioning data showed.

    About 80% of analysts, 53 of 66, said the likely path for the dollar over the next six months was to trade around current levels, alternating between slight gains and losses in a range. That suggests the greenback may be at a crucial crossroad as more currency strategists have turned bearish.

    But more than 90%, or 63 of 68, said a second shock from the pandemic would push the dollar higher. Five said it would push the U.S. currency lower.

    Much will also depend on debt servicing and repayments by Asian, European and other international borrowers in U.S. dollars.

    While an early shortage of dollars in March from the pandemic’s first shock pushed the Fed to open currency swap lines with major central banks, international funding strains have eased significantly since. In recent weeks, usage of the facility has reduced dramatically.

    That trend is expected to continue over the next six months with major central banks’ usage of swap lines to “stay around current levels”, according to 32 of 46 analysts. While 13 predicted a sharp drop, only one respondent said use of them would “rise sharply”.

    The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against six other major currencies, has slipped over 5% since touching a more than three-year high in March.

    When asked which currencies would perform better against the dollar by end-December, a touch over half of 49 respondents said major developed market ones, with the remaining almost split between commodity-linked and emerging market currencies.

    “The dollar is so overvalued, and has been overvalued for a long time, it’s time now for it to come back down again, as we head towards the (U.S.) election,” added NAB’s Friend.

    Over the last quarter, the euro has staged a 1.8% comeback after falling by a similar margin during the first three months of the year. For the month of June, the euro was up 1.2% against the dollar.

    The single currency was now expected to gain about 2.5% to trade at $1.15 in a year from around $1.12 on Wednesday, slightly stronger than $1.14 predicted last month.

    While those findings are similar to what analysts have been predicting for nearly two years, there was a clear shift in their outlook for the euro, with the range of forecasts showing higher highs and higher lows from last month.

    “In comparison to even a month or two ago, the outlook in Europe has improved significantly,” said Lee Hardman, currency strategist at MUFG.

    “I think that makes the euro look relatively more attractive and cheap against the likes of the dollar. We’re not arguing strongly for the euro to surge higher, we’re just saying, after the weakness we have seen in recent years, there is the potential for that weakness to start to reverse.”
     
  3. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Congress stares down funding cliff for coronavirus aid
    Hill leaders, facing a Covid-19 resurgence, must deal with expiring jobless benefits in their next package.
    07/02/2020

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/02/congress-coronavirus-funding-cliff-jobless-benefits-348230

    As the U.S. enters its sixth month of grappling with the coronavirus pandemic — with cases soaring and unemployment claims hovering in the millions — Congress is again facing a double-barreled dilemma: how to address both the health and economic catastrophes threatening the country.

    And in typical Congress fashion, lawmakers have teed up a crunch time crisis this month, giving themselves just a few weeks to wrangle together a massive bipartisan coronavirus relief deal and ship it to President Donald Trump.

    The month of July, which was already crowded with a slate of must-pass spending and defense bills, now brings even higher stakes, with the two parties still far apart on how Washington should approach the twin emergencies just four months before the presidential election.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said “of course” Thursday when asked whether Congress can pull a massive relief bill together in the coming weeks.

    “First of all, I’m not leaving for two weeks,” Pelosi told reporters of the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

    “They’ve made their overtures,” she added of Republicans. “They also have said publicly ‘this or that’ should be in the next bill. So we anticipate we will have a bill.”

    House Democrats passed their coronavirus relief bill nearly two months ago — a roughly $3 trillion measure that Senate Republicans have ignored. With both chambers gone for a two-week recess until mid-July, lawmakers will return with just 11 days to renew an unemployment fund Democrats say is desperately needed for the millions out of work.

    Republicans, who primarily don’t support renewing the unemployment program, dismiss July 31 as an artificial deadline. But they, too, acknowledge it’s time for Washington again to step in. The last coronavirus aid package was signed into law in late April and since then, the number of Americans diagnosed with the virus has soared, as many states that attempted to reopen their economies have seen dramatic spikes.

    Not to mention lawmakers in both parties are staring down another annual Washington deadline that usually motivates them to act quickly: the monthlong August recess.

    “We do best with deadlines, there’s no question about it,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). A “mid-July return provides, I think, the right timing … because there’s nothing that motivates this place more than going home.”

    But congressional leaders have yet to have serious bipartisan discussions about the next relief package. Democrats point the finger at Republicans, saying they passed a massive relief package in May only to have the GOP-controlled Senate continue to do nothing. Senate Republicans, however, argue that the next package must be more targeted, arguing that billions of dollars that Congress already approved is still unspent.

    And the sudden resurgence in coronavirus cases has raised new concerns about whether Washington has done enough to contain the spread of the virus — and could change the calculations of Congress’ next massive relief bill. The U.S. added a stunning 800,000 cases in June alone, driving up the total number of infections to 2.7 million.

    Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will spend the next few weeks mapping out their parties’ demands for the next round of coronavirus relief — a package initially expected to focus more on the flatlining economy. But new hotspots in Texas, Florida, California and Arizona could force lawmakers to rethink how to control the pandemic, going back to negotiations from this spring.

    “The dangerous uptick in cases all across America tells us that we don’t have a handle on this health issue,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) said. “We do need to put more resources towards it.”

    The U.S. caseload has reached record levels in the past week, now adding more than 50,000 cases per day — up from the previous one-day peak of 36,000 on April 24. The unexpected spike has prompted dire new warnings from federal health officials, with Dr. Anthony Fauci warning lawmakers this week that the number of daily cases could soon reach 100,000 if more isn’t done.

    Congress’s fifth coronavirus aid package was always going to be the most difficult to negotiate: The two parties have grown only more divided over what to do after their rare bipartisan agreement in the early months of the pandemic.

    Now, Republicans and Democrats will need to revisit the thorniest policy decisions in those early bills — including the extra $600 in additional weekly jobless benefits for the millions of Americans who are unemployed, which will expire at month’s end. They’ll also need to address funding and flexibility for state and local governments. And Republicans insist that any next package must also include liability reform to protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

    “It’ll be challenging, for sure, but in the end if we need to move and we need to act we will,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “The key right now is to try to get the White House and Republicans on the Hill in the same place.”

    Thune said outreach to Democrats will “happen at some point” but added that right now Senate Republicans have to make their own assessments of where the greatest needs are, including ensuring schools can reopen in the fall.

    Complicating it further is a U.S. economy that, on paper at least, shows some signs of improving. More than 4.5 million jobs were added in June, and the unemployment rate fell to about 11 percent, giving Trump and Republicans a much-needed talking point on the economy that could make them wary of renewing the additional weekly benefits.

    Still, the unemployment rate remains at an alarmingly high level not seen since the Great Depression with nearly 18 million unemployed in June. And experts are warning that not only will it likely get worse as states start to shutter again to stem the spread of the virus, but the high unemployment rate could last for a decade.

    In addition, many Republicans on Capitol Hill share a deep sense of skepticism about the public health measures pushed by Fauci and other health officials. Some point to the rising caseloads that have, so far, avoided the staggering death tolls seen early on in states like New York, and say it’s time for the economy to reopen for those who feel safe.

    Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said this week he believed the U.S. should not have shuttered the entire economy, noting that more than 60 percent of deaths in his home state took place in nursing homes.

    “We obviously did not protect the really vulnerable, but instead we put healthy and much less vulnerable people effectively in quarantine. That in hindsight, we know that was a mistake, in my view. And we certainly should not go back to that,” Toomey told reporters.

    Other Republicans have pointed to this week’s drop in the U.S. unemployment rate — sliding to 11.1 percent, down from 13.3 percent — to argue that Congress doesn’t need to deliver as much cash as it did in earlier rounds.

    “Our constituents think we've already done too much. So one dollar for a lot of our constituents is too much,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters.

    “I think there is going to be a bill. How big? It's going to depend on what happens to the economy,” Grassley said, adding that the “good news” from the latest jobs report would point to a smaller package overall.

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also called the numbers “very encouraging,” and said that could help shape the final package.

    “There are some senators who feel that we don’t need one so I can’t predict exactly what will happen,” Romney said Thursday. “But I know there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes.”

    But Democrats say more assistance is urgently needed — including a cash infusion to state and local governments that have seen revenues dry up and have been forced to lay off public employees.

    “We’re about to have massive layoffs across the country, police, fire, first responders,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) said, noting that her home state, which has also seen a sharp increase in cases, has a $6 billion budget shortfall. “There’s a cliff there.”

    Many Democrats also warn that if the caseloads continue to rise, they will need to go even bigger packages, with billions more needed for public health efforts like contact tracing and hospital capacity — as well as delivering a much-needed jolt to the economy.

    "It should have started long before now. I’m afraid that there hasn’t been any serious effort,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday, but acknowledged the speed with which Congress can move when it wants to. “I know we can, we did the first Cares Act in eight days.”
     
  4. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    the conservative take during a pandemic

    End the destructive unemployment bonus
    June 30, 2020

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/end-the-destructive-unemployment-bonus

    When Congress created the $600 per week unemployment bonus in the CARES Act, it appropriately set an expiration date of July 31. The largest bonus in the history of the program (by several hundreds of dollars) was only intended to be available in the short term, as millions were laid off and we entered the early, uncertain phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    That bonus has done a predictably devastating amount of damage, but now some liberals in Congress would like to extend the handout for at least another six months, even as employment numbers are rising and the economy is reopening. Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration need to hold strong and let this bonus expire on time.

    Since the beginning, the virus strategy has been to "flatten the curve" by encouraging workers to stay home. The $600 bonus was compensation for the consequences of that effort. Thankfully, few of our hospitals saw their capacity limits truly threatened. But while we have not lately seen the kind of effects from the virus that we saw earlier this year, businesses have taken a nosedive. As desperate businesses try to hire back workers, their employees refuse to come back because they can actually make more by remaining in government dependency.

    This isn’t fair for people who are making the right decision to return to their jobs, or those who continued to work because they were "essential" employees. Moreover, it is fraudulent to continue receiving benefits when you can and should be working and a monumental bureaucracy, marred by excessive paperwork, makes it nearly impossible for employers to report these workers and do anything about it.

    The $600 unemployment bonus has created a social divide between those who work and those who do not work, and resentment is building. Essential workers have been on the front lines, and often for less pay than their neighbors are getting on unemployment. The average unemployment benefit is now equivalent to roughly a $50,000 per year salary. That means more than two-thirds of people on unemployment are making more than they would working in their normal jobs. You read that correctly.

    It’s logical that some would want to take advantage of that. After all, Congress has made it more lucrative to stay at home and collect unemployment than to work. Workers stand to lose hundreds if they go back to their normal jobs. Without ending this bonus, this damage could become permanent. What happens if, as workers prefer to be laid off rather than to be on the job, the jobs disappear?

    It's not that far off. From restaurants in New York to furniture stores in Tennessee, we’re already seeing this play out. It’s even happening in my home state of Arkansas. In April, a pine mill just half an hour from my front door was set to lay off 200 workers, partly because the workers themselves preferred to make more money on unemployment rather than work for their usual pay.

    About 65% of small businesses are worried their employees will not return. They simply cannot compete with a $600 non-productivity bonus and could be on the hook for the cost of unemployment if they cannot hire their workers back. We do a disservice to small business owners by overlooking policies to encourage growth and prosperity. We have already lost 140,000 small businesses due to the shutdowns. We cannot afford to lose more just as they’re able to start reopening.

    Congress should resist calls to extend the unemployment bonus, and states should safely reopen their economies while protecting public health so that the American economy can roar back to life. That would help countless millions once again experience the American dream.
     
  5. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    The wealthy are preparing for tax increases with these three strategies
    JUN 30 2020

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/30/the...ax-increases-with-these-three-strategies.html
    • The wealthy are preparing for tax increases, working with their accountants to give away money or shift their income to avoid some of the impact of potentially higher tax rates.
    • Accountants are advising the wealthy to sell assets now that have appreciated over a long period of time, and that they intended to sell soon anyway.
    • They should also consider giving up to the maximum $11.58 million this year to family and friends in case the gift tax exemption falls or the tax rate increases.
    The wealthy are preparing for tax increases, working with their accountants to give away money or shift their income to avoid some of the impact of higher rates.

    With rising deficits at the state and federal levels, as government spending soars and revenue drops from the Covid-19 crisis, taxes are likely to go up in coming years, especially for the highest earners. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden told wealthy donors at a fundraiser Monday that he planned to forge ahead with his campaign plan to hike taxes on the wealthy.

    “I’m going to get rid of the bulk of Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut,” Biden said, “and a lot of you may not like that, but I’m going to close loopholes like capital gains and stepped up basis.”

    Accountants and tax lawyers say they’re seeing a surge in calls and emails from wealthy clients asking about actions they can take now to avoid tax hikes in 2021 and beyond.

    “It’s coming up in almost every conversation,” said David Handler, partner in the trusts and estates practice at Kirkland & Ellis. “People are not just thinking about it, they’re acting on it. They know that one way or another, tax rates may be headed up.”

    The main action the wealthy are taking now is giving money to family and friends. Under the current estate and gift tax, individuals can give away up to $11.58 million — and couples can give away up to $23.16 million — over their lifetimes without paying the gift tax of 40%. Democrats in Congress have been pushing for years to lower the exemption for the gift and estate tax to raise more revenue.

    So accountants are advising the wealthy to give up to the maximum $11.58 million this year in case the exemption falls or the tax rate increases.

    “For many clients, this is a motivating factor for gifts they were planning to make all along,” Handler said.

    Regardless of who wins the White House, accountants say the wealthy fear some form of tax increase at the state or federal level. At the center of Biden’s tax plan is an increase in the capital gains tax and the elimination of the step-up in basis, which allows any appreciation in the value of property that occurred during the owner’s life to go untaxed.

    Accountants say they’re also advising the wealthy to sell assets now that have appreciated over a long period of time, and that they intended to sell soon anyway. That way they will pay a top tax rate of 20% rather than risk the 39.6% rate proposed under Biden’s plan. Of course, given the decline in some asset values and the stock market so far this year, many of the wealthy may not want to sell yet.

    Still, accountants and lawyers are advising clients who have seen big gains in their stocks or properties over the years to sell now if it’s feasible.

    “It has to make sense economically first,” said Joseph Perry, tax and business services leader at Marcum. “A lot of people will wait until the end of the year, especially with stocks given the volatility in the market. But if you wait to incur a gain until next year, you run the risk of rates going up.”

    The wealthy are also making plans to shift income into 2020, to shield it from potentially higher tax rates in 2021 and beyond. Owners of private companies, for instance, are negotiating contracts with customers who front-load more of the earnings in 2020. Company owners are also shifting expenses into next year when possible.

    Taxpayers who are members of partnerships or have pass-through income are also taking as much income as possible this year if they can shift it from 2021.

    The coronavirus pandemic and looming tax increases have also caused high earners to think more seriously about moving out of high-tax states. Even if the limit on state and local tax deductions — which was part of the Trump tax cuts — is repealed, accountants say the wealthy who have been working from home in other states now realize how easy it would be to leave. While the process of changing a tax residency is lengthy — and could take more than a year — accountants say many of their clients are starting the formal process of changing their permanent residence.

    “This was the tipping point for a lot of people, especially in finance,” Perry said. “That connectivity that kept them in New York may not be there anymore. So now they realize they don’t have to be there and pay those taxes.”
     
  6. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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  7. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    ‘The swamp is alive and well in Washington, D.C.’ — 40 lobbyists with ties to Trump got $10 billion of federal coronavirus aid for their clients
    July 6, 2020

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-swamp-is-alive-and-well-in-washington-dc-40-lobbyists-with-ties-to-trump-got-10-billion-of-federal-coronavirus-aid-for-their-clients-2020-07-06

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid, among them five former administration officials whose work potentially violates Trump’s own ethics policy, according to a report.

    The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns, and some are prolific fundraisers for his reelection.

    They include Brian Ballard, who served on the transition, is the finance chair for the Republican National Committee and has bundled more than $1 million for Trump’s fundraising committees. He was hired in March by Laundrylux, a supplier of commercial laundry machines, after the Department of Homeland Security issued guidance that didn’t include laundromats as essential businesses that could stay open during the lockdown. A week later, the administration issued new guidance adding laundromats to the list.

    Dave Urban, a Trump adviser and confidant, has collected more than $2.3 million in lobbying fees this year. The firm he leads, American Continental Group, represents 15 companies, including Walgreens and the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, on coronavirus issues.

    Trump pledged to clamp down on Washington’s influence peddling with a “drain the swamp” campaign mantra. But during his administration, the lobbying industry has flourished, a trend that intensified once Congress passed more than $3.6 trillion in coronavirus stimulus.

    While the money is intended as a lifeline to a nation whose economy has been upended by the pandemic, it also jump-started a familiar lobbying bonanza.

    “The swamp is alive and well in Washington, D.C.,” said Mike Tanglis, one of the report’s authors. “These (lobbying) booms that these people are having, you can really attribute them to their connection to Trump.”

    The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

    Shortly after Trump took office, he issued an executive order prohibiting former administration officials from lobbying the agency or office where they were formerly employed, for a period of five years. Another section of the order forbids lobbying the administration by former political appointees for the remainder of Trump’s time in office.

    Yet five lobbyists who are former administration officials have potentially done just that during the coronavirus lobbying boom:

    — Courtney Lawrence was a former deputy assistant secretary for legislation in the Department of Health and Human Services in 2017 and 2018. She became a lobbyist for Cigna in 2018 and is listed as part of a team that has lobbied HHS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and at least two other agencies. Cigna did not respond to a request for comment.

    — Shannon McGahn, the wife of former White House counsel Don McGahn, worked in 2017 and 2018 as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. She then joined the National Association of Realtors as its top lobbyist and is listed on disclosures as part of a team that has lobbied both houses of Congress, plus six agencies, including the Treasury Department. The Realtors association did not respond to a request for comment.

    — Jordan Stoick is the vice president of government relations at the National Association of Manufacturers. Stoick’s biography on NAM’s website indicates that he is “NAM’s lead lobbyist in Washington,” where he started working after serving as a senior adviser in the Treasury Department. Disclosures indicate that Stoick and his colleagues lobbied both houses of Congress plus at least five executive branch agencies, including Treasury.

    “NAM carefully adheres to the legal and ethical rules regulating lobbying activity, including ensuring that its employees comply with all applicable prohibitions on contacting their former employers,” Linda Kelly, the organization’s general counsel, said in a statement.

    — Geoffrey Burr joined the firm Brownstein Hyatt after serving as chief of staff to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The firm’s lobbying disclosure for the first quarter of 2020 includes Burr on a list of lobbyists who contacted the White House and Congress on coronavirus-related matters on behalf of McDonald’s.

    — Emily Felder joined Brownstein Hyatt after leaving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where she worked in the legislative office. Felder is listed on a disclosure from the first quarter of 2020 that shows she was part of a team that lobbied Congress and the White House.

    A spokeswoman for the firm said both Felder and Burr abide by the Trump administration’s ethics rules, which limit their lobbying to the House and the Senate.

    “We are confident that our lobbyists are in compliance with all lobbying rules and applicable prohibitions and did not violate their Trump Administration pledge,” spokeswoman Lara Day said in a statement.

    Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, who himself is a registered lobbyist, said the group intends to file ethics complaints with the White House. But he’s not optimistic that they will lead to anything. Last year, he filed more than 30 complaints, all of which were either ignored or rejected.

    “There does not appear to be anyone who is enforcing the executive order,” Holman said.
     
  8. Vlaara

    Vlaara Maaruk the Mighty

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    oh that's not the swamp, the swamp is where brown people live.

    Trump is taking care of his marsh.
     
  9. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Financial analyst Gary Shilling says the stock market could see a 1930s-like decline
    JUL 6 2020

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/06/gar...ck-market-could-see-a-1930s-like-decline.html
    • Financial analyst Gary Shilling said stocks could tumble as the economic recovery from the coronavirus recession takes longer than expected.
    • “I think we’ve got a second leg down and that’s very much reminiscent of what happened in the 1930s where people appreciate the depth of this recession and the disruption and how long it’s going to take to recover,” he said.
    Stocks could be poised for a big drop similar to the market’s decline during the Great Depression, according to financial analyst Gary Shilling.

    In a CNBC interview, Shilling said the stock market could plunge between 30-40% over the next year as investors realize the economic recovery from the coronavirus recession could take longer than expected.

    “I think we’ve got a second leg down and that’s very much reminiscent of what happened in the 1930s where people appreciate the depth of this recession and the disruption and how long it’s going to take to recover,” he said.

    The S&P 500 plunged in February and early March as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the U.S., forcing businesses to shut down and lay off workers. Since mid-March, the index has rebounded roughly 40% as investors have become optimistic about the gradual reopening of the economy and policymakers have injected trillions of dollars of economic stimulus into the financial system.

    Early economic data has bolstered the case for a V-shaped recovery, where the economy bounces back quickly from a steep downturn, yet some investors are still cautious as the number of coronaviruses cases in the U.S. continues to rise. Many Americans have missed out on the recent market rally, with record-high levels of cash sitting on the sidelines.

    Shilling said the S&P 500′s comeback resembles its rebound in 1929, when stocks rallied after an initial crash. He warned history could repeat itself with the S&P 500 poised to tumble again like it did in the early 1930s after the severity of the Great Depression became clear.

    “Stocks are [behaving] very much like that rebound in 1929 where there is absolute conviction that the virus will be under control and that massive monetary and fiscal stimuli will reinvigorate the economy,” he said.

    Shilling, who is the author of several books including “The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation,” said the coronavirus pandemic will force consumers to remain more cautious about spending in the coming years.

    “I think we’re going to see downward pressure on prices and that works to the advantage of Treasury bonds, which have been my favorite since 1981,” he said.
     
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    Trump administration hands emergency loans to Kanye West and Church of Scientology as small businesses go bust
    Rapper among Hollywood producers and property developers who claimed government assistance
    7/7/2020

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/kanye-west-ppp-loan-yeezy-scientology-trump-business-pandemic-a9605291.html

    Kanye West’s clothing line and the Church of Scientology were among billion-dollar brands who used US government loans designed to help businesses survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The US Small Business Administration (SBA) said on Monday that the billionaire rapper’s Yeezy brand had been cleared to receive $5 million (£4m) under the government’s small-business loan program.

    Yeezy, which made $1.3 billion (£1.52b) in 2019, said to the SBA that the loan would save 160 workers from unemployment, according to NBC News analysis.

    Three Church of Scientology locations in New York, Washington DC and Florida were also cleared to receive loans between $150,000 (£120,000) and $350,000 (£278,000) each.

    US Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in March to secure small loans for businesses and nonprofits with less than 500 workers amid Covid-19 shutdowns.

    That coronavirus bill set-aside more than $320 billion (£256b) in government money to assist small businesses who were expected to struggle amid the pandemic.

    Almost three months on, the SBA list published on Monday shows that Mr West and other billionaires used the PPP to receive loans.

    “PPP was sold to the American people as a program to help Mom-and-Pop shops keep their lights on during the pandemic,” said Accountable.US watchdog president Kyle Herrig to NBC News. "The reality is that the Trump administration created a program that helped the well connected cut to the front of the line to get these loans.”

    PPP applicants also included multimillionaire pop artist Jeff Koons, Hollywood producer Francis Ford Coppola, Hamptons property developer Joe Farrell and the Church of Scientology, which is reported to be worth at least $1 billion (£802m).

    Those businesses needed to prove in their application that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant”.

    Applicants were also asked to ensure that the loan was used to retain workers, maintain payroll and make essential payments.

    Treasury secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said on Monday that more than 80 per cent of small business employees had benefited from PPP loans.

    He added: “We are particularly pleased that 27 per cent of the program’s reach in low and moderate income communities which is in proportion to percentage of population in these areas."

    The SBA announcement comes as Mr West was mocked over his last minute bid to enter the 2020 presidential race.

    He tweeted: “We must now realise the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States.”
     
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    Payday lenders won't have to check whether borrowers can afford loans
    JULY 7, 2020

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/payday-loan-lenders-high-interest-loans-cfpb/

    Payday lenders won't have to check whether borrowers can afford to repay their high-interest loans under a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its director, Kathleen L. Kraninger, said the new provision will provide "access to credit from a competitive marketplace."

    The rule reflects a rollback of a 2017 provision conceived by the Obama administration that was designed to protect consumers from taking out expensive payday loans, which can carry interest rates as high as 400%. By comparison, credit cards offer rates between 12% to 30%. With the new rule, lenders will no longer be required to "reasonably" determine whether a consumer can repay the loan in a timely manner.

    Some lawmakers hailed the new rule as a benefit to consumers, with Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina saying that it will help "families in need have access to every option to cover unexpected costs."

    But consumer advocates said it could hurt some consumers, especially people of color, who have less access than White households have to traditional lending services and a history of tapping what are meant to be short-term payday loans charging higher rates. That could be doubly harmful during the current recession and the economic stresses that many households are experiencing during the pandemic, they added.

    "At a time of unprecedented financial challenges, the CFPB has rolled back much-needed, yet insufficient, consumer protections, making it even easier for payday lenders to trap Americans in a devastating cycle of debt," Rachel Gittleman, Financial Services Outreach Manager with the Consumer Federation of America, said in a statement.

    She added, "The 'ability-to-repay standard' was an important, modest step to ensuring that Americans could afford to repay the loan along with sky-high interest rates imposed by payday lenders."

    The new rule "green-lights predatory payday loans amid [the] COVID-19 pandemic," consumer advocacy organization U.S. PIRG said in a statement.

    "At risk"

    The Obama-era rule that required lenders to determine a borrower's repayment ability had prompted many payday lenders to switch gears and offer installment plans, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Instead of requiring repayment in full within days or weeks when the next paycheck cleared, installment loans provide more flexibility and can save borrowers money on interest.

    "The 2017 rule curbed small loans with balloon payments and encouraged mainstream lenders to offer affordable installment loans," Alex Horowitz, senior research officer with Pew's consumer finance project, said in a statement. "Today's action puts all of that at risk."

    Black Americans are twice as likely as other races to take out payday loans, a Pew study found. Other groups that are more likely to rely on these expensive loans are renters, households earning less than $40,000 a year, people without college degrees and separated or divorced households.

    Instead of turning to payday loans to make ends meet, consumers should instead seek out credit unions, which can provide lower-interest loans than commercial lenders, or even ask friends and family for help, said Mike Litt, U.S. PIRG consumer campaign director.

    "Reach out to each company or person you owe money to and explain that you need help because of the coronavirus," Litt said. "Doing so might help you delay or reduce your monthly payments, or avoid interest and late fees."
     
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    Steve Mnuchin’s Exclusive LA Country Club Got Millions in COVID Relief
    The Riviera Country Club closed down because of COVID. Then it got a bailout from the department run by a man who it counted as a member.
    Jul. 08, 2020

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/steve...era-country-club-got-millions-in-covid-relief

    [​IMG]

    An exclusive California golf course that has counted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin among its members is seeing plenty of the taxpayers’ green.

    The Riviera Country Club, located in a posh enclave of Los Angeles, received $2 million to $5 million in assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program—a multibillion-dollar initiative intended to carry small businesses and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic. Mnuchin, whose Department of the Treasury has assisted in the operation of the program, disclosed his membership in the elite institution to the U.S. Senate during his confirmation process in 2017. The Small Business Administration released PPP recipient data on Monday amid mounting pressure to do so.

    Neither the Riviera nor the Department of the Treasury immediately responded to a request for comment, making it impossible to confirm whether Mnuchin is still involved with the organization. But Politico reported in April 2018 that the Treasury Secretary had been sighted at the establishment, which is famed for its celebrity clientele, its top-notch course, and for annually hosting the Los Angeles Open. Mnuchin attended that yearly event at the Riviera in 2019, according to USA Today.

    Golf writer Geoff Shackelford first noted Riviera's receipt of the low-interest loan on his personal blog on Tuesday.

    The SBA data indicates that the Riviera reported having Asian and female ownership. The club’s own website identifies its owner as Noboru Watanabe, a male real estate magnate based in Tokyo. The most recent California corporate records list Noboru Watanabe as the CEO of the club’s ownership entity, and Megan Fujiko Watabe as the company’s secretary and chief financial officer. It is unclear, however, whether the latter has any stake in the club.

    A LinkedIn page apparently belonging to Noboru Watanabe describes his business as “a Japan-based lifestyle company with more than 2,000 employees in Japan, the United States, and China.”

    PPP was specifically designed to assist companies with 500 workers on payroll or fewer. However, byzantine business structures have enabled a number of large firms to obtain the federal funds—though public outcry has prompted a few big corporations to return the money.

    The Riviera is hardly the only well-connected company to benefit from PPP. The Daily Beast identified scads of for-profit and nonprofit operations tied to members of Congress, current and former White House aides, and political vendors and lobbyists associated with members of both parties. Millions more went to the Church of Scientology and other religious institutions.

    The country club reported that the federal aid preserved 159 jobs. California was one of a handful of states to close golf courses at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, though the Riviera has since reopened. Its caddies got a private sector bailout even before the federal funds arrived: comedy legend Larry David, a member, started a GoFundMe to support the tipped workers in March.

    David and Mnuchin aren’t the only A-listers who enjoy hitting the links at the Riviera. According to golf site Outside The Cut, its membership rolls also include Tom Brady, Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Luke Wilson, and Mark Wahlberg.

    Famous past members include Glen Campbell, Dean Martin, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, Charlie Chaplin, and O.J. Simpson.
     
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