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Biden shuts down infrastructure talks with top GOP negotiator, shifts to bipartisan group in hopes of bigger spending

President Joe Biden on Tuesday shut down talks with Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who spent weeks negotiating with his administration to reach a bipartisan agreement on an infrastructure package for the nation.

The president has now shifted gears, meeting with a separate bipartisan group comprised of 20 senators, in hopes of reaching a deal more aligned with the higher spending priorities of his administration.

What are the details?

Following news of the breakdown in talks, Capito told ABC News, “We had a robust package that we could’ve made work and I think I could’ve gotten 20-25 [Republicans] to go with me…and they moved the goal posts on me a couple of times and they just decided to walk away.” When asked what happens now, Capito replied, “You’ll have to ask him.”

The Associated Press reported that “Capito had suggested around a $50 billion boost above the previous Republican offer of $928 billion, the White House said, still leaving the GOP well short of the $1.7 trillion that Biden is seeking.”

On Capito, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, “The President expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs.”

Psaki added, “”He offered his gratitude to her for her efforts and good faith conversations, but expressed his disappointment that, while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion.”

According to Axios, Biden is now focused on negotiating with the “G20” bipartisan group of senators, which is led by Republican Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mitt Romney (Utah), and Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is strategizing on how to get the Biden administration’s full infrastructure priorities through the divided 50-50 upper chamber — whether a deal is reached with the “G20” or not.

The Washington Post reported that “Schumer said Democrats are getting to work on a reconciliation package that might only need support from Democrats, acknowledging that their party is unlikely to accomplish everything they hope in a bill crafted alongside the GOP.”

“It may well be part of the bill that’ll pass will be bipartisan, and part of it will be through reconciliation,” Schumer told the outlet. “But we’re not going to sacrifice the bigness and boldness in this bill.”

Republicans and Democrats have been at odds over what truly constitutes as infrastructure ever since the emergence of Biden’s plan, which includes funding for caretakers and other social spending beyond brick and mortar traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted Tuesday, “It’s not enough to fix the roads and bridges we have. We’ve got to invest in transit, [electric vehicles], and bike infrastructure to prepare for the future and meet our climate goals.”

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) told his own followers, “Roads, bridges, transit, rail, airports, ports, and broadband. This is real infrastructure, and it’s in the Republican Plan that Biden just axed. No partisan wish lists, just funding for REAL infrastructure.”

Scott added, “Biden’s plan is not about infrastructure. It is a job-killing $2 trillion tax hike.”

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We Just Got Even More Proof Inflation is On the Rise

This article was originally published by Brad Polumbo at The Foundation for Economic Education. 

The money in your bank account or under your mattress is worth less now.

The most widely-used metric for price inflation hit a 12-year high in mid-May, showing that prices had risen 4.2 percent over a year. But some argued this was just a one-off outlier, not indicative of a broader trend or serious problem stemming from runaway government spending and money-printing.

Their case just got a lot weaker. New figures released today by the Commerce Department offer even more corroboration that prices are seriously on the rise.

Another key inflation metric, the core personal consumption expenditures index, exceeded expectations and came in showing a 3.1 percent year-over-year increase in prices. If you factor in energy and food prices, the inflation figure rises to a whopping 3.6 percent.

It’s also worth noting that this index and others like it notoriously underestimate inflation.

Where is this inflation coming from? Well, at least in part, it stems from the Federal Reserve’s money-printing to fund COVID-19 “stimulus” efforts.

“Nearly one-quarter of the money in circulation has been created since January 2020,” FEE economist Peter Jacobsen explains. But printing more money doesn’t mean we actually have more stuff, and “if more dollars chase the exact same goods, prices will rise.”

The problem with these inflation levels, which are still far short of truly catastrophic hyperinflation, is that they erode your savings and purchasing power. The money in your bank account or under your mattress is worth less now. And unless your income has risen more than 3-4 percent this year, you’ve really had a pay cut, because what ultimately matters isn’t the number on your paystub but what it can buy you.

Simply put, public policy is all about trade-offs. And the downsides of government largess include more than just the traditional check you write to the Internal Revenue Service. When mounting price inflation erodes your paycheck, that too is a form of indirect taxation you can trace back to Washington, DC.

The post We Just Got Even More Proof Inflation is On the Rise first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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New York Times exposes Biden’s plan to raise taxes on low- and middle-income Americans to pay for massive $6 trillion budget, breaking his repeated promises

President Joe Biden has repeatedly promised not to raise taxes on people making less than $400,000. It was a staple of his presidential campaign, and he continued to say it after being sworn in.

Most conservatives and honest observers didn’t believe him at the time. They saw his agenda, understood the price tag would be huge, and figured higher taxes for everyone would be inevitable.

The New York Times revealed this week that skeptics were right to give his “no taxes” vow the side eye after it obtained Biden administration documents showing the president’s actual tax-and-spend plans.

What is the administration planning?

Less than two months into his first term, the president’s team already began changing the terms of Biden’s promise. No longer would his promise to not raise taxes apply to individuals making less than $400,000 — instead, the threshold would apply to families, CNBC reported.

Now, as the White House prepares to officially present its new budget, it appears that Biden’s promise is getting another revision.

The Times reported Thursday that the president’s massive new budget, which he will unveil Friday, “would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II.”

Biden’s budget, which starts with a $6 trillion spending plan for this year, would increase total annual spending to $8.2 trillion by 2031.

A spending plan that large will naturally require higher taxes — a fact the Times acknowledged, saying that the plan includes raising taxes on corporations and high earners.

But everyone knows that won’t be enough to cover all the new spending, particularly since the administration has said the “jobs and families plan would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years,” the Times noted.

So, where will those extra tax dollars come from?

The Times exposed what the text of the documents it obtained: tax hikes for all income levels.

“The documents forecast that Mr. Biden and Congress will allow tax cuts for low- and middle-income Americans, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump in 2017, to expire as scheduled in 2025,” the Times reported. “Mr. Biden has said he will not raise taxes on people earning less than $400,000 a year. It is possible that he could propose to extend the Trump tax cuts for those earners in a future budget, potentially coupled with additional tax increases on high earners or businesses.”

But there are zero reports of any such proposal even being discussed by this White House.

Republicans blasted the massive budget plan and the coming tax hikes for middle and lower incomes.

“President Biden’s budget blunder sets us up for an even worse economic recovery than the Obama-Biden record of the slowest in history,” House Ways and Means ranking Republican Kevin Brady (Texas) said, according to the Times. “Lower- and middle-income families are already suffering under the stealth tax of higher prices. Now the president wants their income taxes to go up as well.”

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Financial Tyranny: Footing the Tax Bill for the Government’s Fiscal Insanity

This article was originally published by  John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taxation is theft. The rulers see us as tax cattle to be stolen from and abused until they no longer need us.  Time to wake up.

“We are now speeding down the road of wasteful spending and debt, and unless we can escape we will be smashed in inflation.”—Herbert Hoover

We’re not living the American dream. We’re living a financial nightmare.

The U.S. government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are the ones who will be forced to foot the bill for the government’s fiscal insanity.

We’ve been sold a bill of goods by politicians promising to pay down the national debt, jumpstart the economy, rebuild our infrastructure, secure our borders, ensure our security, and make us all healthy, wealthy, and happy.

None of that has come to pass, and yet we’ve still been loaded down with debt not of our own making.

This financial tyranny works the same whether it’s a Democrat or Republican at the helm.

Let’s talk numbers, shall we?

The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $28 trillion and growing. That translates to roughly $224,000 per taxpayer.

The government’s answer to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to throw more money at the problem in the form of stimulus checks, small business loans, unemployment benefits, vaccine funding, and financial bailouts for corporations. All told, the federal government’s COVID-19 spending has exceeded $4 trillion.

The Biden administration is proposing another $2 trillion in infrastructure spending.

The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross domestic product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). And the top two foreign countries who “own” about a third of our debt are China and Japan.

That debt is also growing exponentially: it is expected to be twice the size of the U.S. economy by 2051.

Essentially, the U.S. government is funding its very existence with a credit card.

We’re paying more than $300 billion in interest every year on that public debt, not including what COVID-19 just added to the bill. That breaks down to more than $2400 per household.

According to the Committee for a Reasonable Federal Budget, the interest we’re paying on this borrowed money is “nearly twice what the federal government will spend on transportation infrastructure, over four times as much as it will spend on K-12 education, almost four times what it will spend on housing and over eight times what it will spend on science, space, and technology.”

Clearly, the national debt isn’t going away anytime soon, especially not with government spending on the rise and interest payments making up such a large chunk of the budget.

Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed, and undeterred in its wanton spending.

Indeed, the national deficit (the difference between what the government spends and the revenue it takes in) is expected to be $2.3 trillion for fiscal 2021.

If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation’s finances, we’d all be in debtors’ prison by now.

Despite the government propaganda being peddled by the politicians and news media, however, the government isn’t spending our tax dollars to make our lives better.

We’re being robbed blind so the governmental elite can get richer.

This is nothing less than financial tyranny.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

In the eyes of the government, “we the people, the voters, the consumers, and the taxpayers” are little more than pocketbooks waiting to be picked.

Consider: The government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes. Government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing. And the IRS insists on getting the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

We have no real say, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.

It wasn’t always this way, of course.

Early Americans went to war over the inalienable rights described by philosopher John Locke as the natural rights of life, liberty and property.

It didn’t take long, however—a hundred years, in fact—before the American government was laying claim to the citizenry’s property by levying taxes to pay for the Civil War. As the New York Times reports, “Widespread resistance led to its repeal in 1872.”

Determined to claim some of the citizenry’s wealth for its own uses, the government reinstituted the income tax in 1894. Charles Pollock challenged the tax as unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Pollock’s victory was relatively short-lived. Members of Congress—united in their determination to tax the American people’s income—worked together to adopt a constitutional amendment to overrule the Pollock decision.

On the eve of World War I, in 1913, Congress instituted a permanent income tax by way of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the Revenue Act of 1913. Under the Revenue Act, individuals with income exceeding $3,000 could be taxed starting at 1% up to 7% for incomes exceeding $500,000.

It’s all gone downhill from there.

Unsurprisingly, the government has used its tax powers to advance its own imperialistic agendas and the courts have repeatedly upheld the government’s power to penalize or jail those who refused to pay their taxes.

While we’re struggling to get by, and making tough decisions about how to spend what little money actually makes it into our pockets after the federal, state and local governments take their share (this doesn’t include the stealth taxes imposed through tolls, fines and other fiscal penalties), the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

To top it all off, all of those wars the U.S. is so eager to fight abroad are being waged with borrowed funds. As The Atlantic reports, “U.S. leaders are essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

Of course, we’re the ones who will have to repay that borrowed debt.

For instance, American taxpayers have been forced to shell out more than $5.6 trillion since 9/11 for the military-industrial complex’s costly, endless so-called “war on terrorism.” That translates to roughly $23,000 per taxpayer to wage wars abroad, occupy foreign countries, provide financial aid to foreign allies, and fill the pockets of defense contractors and grease the hands of corrupt foreign dignitaries.

Mind you, that staggering $6 trillion is only a portion of what the Pentagon spends on America’s military empire.

The United States also spends more on foreign aid than any other nation ($50 billion in 2017 alone). More than 150 countries around the world receive U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance, with most of the funds going to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. That price tag keeps growing, too.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in a 1953 speech, this is how the military-industrial complex will continue to get richer, while the American taxpayer will be forced to pay for programs that do little to enhance our lives, ensure our happiness and well-being, or secure our freedoms.

This is no way of life.

Yet it’s not just the government’s endless wars that are bleeding us dry.

We’re also being forced to shell out money for surveillance systems to track our movements, money to further militarize our already militarized police, money to allow the government to raid our homes and bank accounts, money to fund schools where our kids learn nothing about freedom and everything about how to comply, and on and on.

It’s tempting to say that there’s little we can do about it, except that’s not quite accurate.

There are a few things we can do (demand transparency, reject cronyism and graft, insist on fair pricing and honest accounting methods, call a halt to incentive-driven government programs that prioritize profits over people), but it will require that “we the people” stop playing politics and stand united against the politicians and corporate interests who have turned our government and economy into a pay-to-play exercise in fascism.

Unfortunately, we’ve become so invested in identity politics that pit us against one another and keep us powerless and divided that we’ve lost sight of the one label that unites us: we’re all Americans.

Trust me, we’re all in the same boat, folks, and there’s only one real-life preserver: that’s the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution starts with those three powerful words: “We the people.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there is power in our numbers. That remains our greatest strength in the face of a governmental elite that continues to ride roughshod over the populace. It remains our greatest defense against a government that has claimed for itself unlimited power over the purse (taxpayer funds) and the sword (military might).

Where we lose out is when we fall for the big-talking politicians who spend big at our expense.

The post Financial Tyranny: Footing the Tax Bill for the Government’s Fiscal Insanity first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Infrastructure Bills Do Not Lead To Recovery, Only Increased Federal Control

This article was originally published by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.us at The Birch Gold Group. 

The concept of infrastructure stimulus has been hyped for decades as a kind of cure-all for economic decline. The propaganda runs parallel to the narrative of the “savior” of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In fact, one cannot examine the presidency of FDR without being bombarded with one-sided worship of infrastructure spending and the “New Deal.”

The New Deal is often credited in left-leaning literature as being the singular cure for the depression, and FDR by extension has been handed messiah status among leftists. The New Deal is supposedly proof that massive socialized federal and central bank interventions through public works programs is economic ambrosia. So, it’s not surprising that nearly every president since the Great Depression has argued for an unprecedented infrastructure bill when faced with economic collapse. A large portion of the public on both sides of the aisle has been trained to think these programs will save us.

Biden, in particular, has made historic stimulus spending the very first platform of his administration, and consistently cites FDR and Lyndon Johnson as patron saints of his infrastructure bill. If it worked for them, then obviously it will work for him… right?

Actually, the New Deal wasn’t a great deal

In reality, the public works and welfare programs of FDR in particular had very little to do with the ending of the Great Depression. In fact, the New Deal actually made the situation worse.

Roosevelt’s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, lamented on May 6th, 1939 after two full terms of FDR’s presidency and stimulus programs that the New Deal was a complete failure. He stated to fellow Democrats during a session of the House Ways and Means Committee that:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

High unemployment and declining living standards were an epidemic in the U.S. throughout the 1930s and well into World War II. The Census Bureau outlines the dismal state of the financial system and the U.S. consumer throughout this period in its “Historical Statistics of the United States.” By 1939 the stock market had crashed on multiple occasions, car sales imploded by 30%, business closures increased by 50%, and real estate foreclosures were still near record highs. The New Deal had achieved minimal benefits of limited scope, but not much else. For the average American, it was as if nothing had changed in a decade.

That said, for certain major companies and big banks, the gains were incredible. Companies like General Electric, IBM, Proctor and Gamble, and JP Morgan saw endless profits during the Great Depression while buying up smaller competitors for pennies on the dollar. Those companies involved in public works programs siphoned government money like a black hole while very little trickled down to American workers. All in all, the Great Depression was a windfall for the corporate elite as wealth was consolidated and centralized into fewer and fewer hands.

So we have to ask, if the New Deal was a failure and did nothing to solve the depression problem, what did solve it? Some historians and journalists suggest the beginning of World War II and increased defense spending saved America. This is incorrect. As noted by Robert Higgs, the U.S. standard of living continued to decline throughout World War II. It was not the beginning of the war that saved America, but “After the war, genuine prosperity returned for the first time since 1929.”

How the U.S. led the world out of the war

The U.S. was one of the only industrialized nations on the planet that had been left mostly untouched by the destruction. Because of this, all other nations had to turn to the U.S. for manufacturing during the long rebuilding process. In Europe, this process carried on well into the 1950s. The U.S. had very little competition, so much so that the U.S. dollar’s reserve status increased to the point of complete dominance. If you wanted access to manufactured goods, you had to trade with the U.S. and to trade with the U.S., you had to have a stockpile of U.S. dollars.

What I see today is a change in the flow of global commerce – in the opposite direction from the post-war era. Yes, trillions of dollars in stimulus measures have created a short-term reversal of the pandemic collapse. In fact, there is much evidence to suggest the economy is overheating. Price inflation is becoming rampant in numerous sectors.

In the meantime, U.S. Treasuries are being dumped by foreign investors and the dollar is in decline. Central banks are now dumping the dollar, decreasing their reserves to the lowest level since 1995.

China is now the world’s largest manufacturing base, leaving very little major industry on U.S. soil. In the background, globalists are calling for a “Great Reset” of the world economy that would centralize monetary policy even further and create the foundation of a cashless society built on a digital reserve currency system.

What’s the massive infrastructure spending really about?

I believe, according to the evidence as well as past failures like the New Deal, that Biden’s infrastructure plans will accelerate the U.S. collapse instead of reversing it. The U.S. GDP might increase, but only because it is calculated to include almost every dime the government prints out of thin air and spends. Production of fiat money is not the same as real production within the economy.

Trillions of dollars in public works programs might create more jobs, but it will also inflate prices as the dollar goes into decline. So, unless wages are adjusted constantly according to price increases, people will have jobs, but still won’t be able to afford a comfortable standard of living. This leads to stagflation, in which prices continue to rise while wages and consumption stagnate.

Another Catch-22 to consider is that if inflation becomes rampant, the Federal Reserve may be compelled (or claim they are compelled) to raise interest rates significantly in a short span of time. This means an immediate slowdown in the flow of overnight loans to major banks, an immediate slowdown in loans to large and small businesses, an immediate crash in credit options for consumers, and an overall crash in consumer spending. You might recognize this as the recipe that created the 1981-1982 recession, the third-worst in the 20th century.

In other words, the choice is stagflation, or deflationary depression.

Finally, I would point out that there may also be an ulterior motive for the deluge of federal dollars into state economies through public works. Currently, Conservative states are increasingly willing to risk the consequences of returning to business as usual, regardless of federal mandates. Resistance is building against pandemic-related restrictions.

Red states are also seeing a far superior financial recovery when compared to blue states. Blue states have sabotaged themselves with lockdowns while red states have remained more open. However, the Biden Administration is hell bent on keeping pandemic restrictions in place nationwide

What if infrastructure spending plans are designed to trap red states into compliance with future covid mandates? What if the goal is to bribe these states with trillions in stimulus, but only if they submit to federal authority? I suspect that Biden’s public works bill is partially intended to be a blue state bailout, and money will be withheld from any conservative state that refuses to conform to lockdowns.

Only time will tell what the true agenda is, but this much is undeniable given the facts at hand: Biden’s plan is either an act of desperation, a deliberate attempt to pull the rug out from under the U.S. dollar and the economy to jump-start the globalist reset or a scheme to lock state governments into obedience over pandemic restrictions.

Whatever else Biden’s “New New Deal” is, it is certainly NOT a plan for economic recovery.

The post Infrastructure Bills Do Not Lead To Recovery, Only Increased Federal Control first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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The “Wait and See” Economy’s Moment of Truth

This article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds Blog.

The “wait and see” economy is about to face its moment of truth, and one truth is the $1.8 trillion being passed out like candy is already spent.

The defining phrase of the U.S. economy for the past year is “wait and see”: every enterprise impacted by the pandemic that didn’t close immediately has been in “wait and see” mode, clinging on to the hope that once the pandemic ends then everything will roar back to life, bigger and better than before.

With the promise of herd immunity fast approaching, the moment of truth for “wait and see” is also fast approaching. The conventional view is that the trillions of dollars in stimulus kept business as usual alive and ready to soar back to the good old days. The almost $2 trillion injection of financial smack currently in progress will ignite the afterburners and the economy will rocket higher than anyone can imagine.

The problem with this rosy view is the economy was on fumes before the pandemic, as Gordon Long and I highlighted in our 53-minute presentation, The Coming Deflationary Tsunami. Interest rates had been falling for 40 years and there was little leeway for more of the magic of falling rates. The spending of the upper-middle class had already rolled over as the awareness that the longest expansion in U.S. history was faltering seeped into financial decisions–and no wonder, since every trick in the book had been required to keep it alive: zero interest rates, quantitative easing galore, tax cuts, massive deficit spending and speculative bubbles in every asset class.

Then there was the spot of bother in the repo markets. Something had broken in the financial plumbing (a massive break in the sewers?) and the Federal Reserve rushed freshly printed billions to stop the sewage from seeping into the precarious economy.

Though nobody dared discuss it, the economy was creaking under the burden of overcapacity in just about everything: too many cafes, too many channels of this and that, too many office towers built for get-rich-quick techies planning to sell out to Big Tech and retire at 25, too many resorts, and so on.

One driver of the overcapacity was the rise of Zombie Corporations–companies that only remain among the living if they can borrow even more money at lower rates to fill the holes in their balance sheets and cash flow. The Fed’s implicit goal was to never let a single Zombie die because that might send the wrong signal, i.e. that creative destruction was allowed. Creative destruction is no longer allowed by the Fed, never ever ever. So the economic landscape is cluttered with Fed zombies.

Also ignored was the inconvenient fact that wages for the bottom 95% have stagnated for decades and so where was all this money being blown coming from? From debt, of course, and the phantom wealth generated by speculative bubbles.

Then there are the demographic headwinds illuminated by Chris Hamilton, most recently in The Narrative Of Inflation Amid Depopulation. The working-age population has leveled off, along with the expansion of employment, while the number of those with claims on future earnings– the elderly and those “permanently out of the workforce”–are rising.

As Chris points out, speculative asset bubbles are just peachy for those who already own the assets–the top 10% who own close to 90% of financial assets–but of little value to the bottom 90% who get a pathetic 3% of all capital income.

Those greatly enriched by the Fed’s bubble-blowing are mostly older, those who can’t afford homes and other inflated assets are mostly younger, burdened with stagnant wages, student loan debts, and an economy that’s rigged to favor the few at the expense of the many.

A great many young people are delaying or foregoing marriage and having children because they don’t have the means and security do so. So who’s going to be paying all the taxes needed to fund the enormous retirement and healthcare costs of 70 million retirees? No problem, we’ll just borrow another couple trillion a year forever. (Free fish for everyone forever!)

Nice, but the rest of the world has opted out of buying into our funny-money fantasies. So the Fed will have to buy all the trillions in bonds being issued, and that unleashes second-order effects that have the potential to go non-linear, i.e. actually have negative consequences in the real world.

Then there are the private changes in behaviors and risk assessment that add up to tidal changes in the economy. People are reassessing their exposure to risk, and letting go of activities and expenses they once took for granted. Maybe the $300 trips to the ballpark are no longer worth it; maybe the costs of eating out are recognized as unaffordable.

The majority of residents in over-touristed locales no longer want tourism at the same scale. Residents discovered that once the tourists were gone, life was good, even if the tourist-dependent businesses closed and unemployment rose.

Everyone is holding their breath waiting to surface, but many of the enterprises that have clung on in “wait and see” mode will find that things have changed, and time cannot be reversed to summer 2019. All those holding defaulted loans based on a full return to summer 2019 are also holding their breath, hoping that the back rent will be paid in full, the overdue mortgages paid in full, and so on.

The reality is overcapacity, over-indebtedness, and stagnant earnings are all deflationary. The “wait and see” economy is about to face its moment of truth, and one truth is the $1.8 trillion being passed out like candy is already spent–as is the economy and the Fed’s bag of tricks.

The post The “Wait and See” Economy’s Moment of Truth first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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After passing ginormous $1.9 trillion ‘relief’ bill — with even bigger spending bills on the way — some Dems are now saying they need try to pay for the Biden agenda

Big-government Democrats have long been criticized for not caring about the national deficit or the ballooning national debt — unless they’re opposing tax relief. And during the Trump administration, Republicans also seemed to abandon fiscal restraint, approving trillions of dollars of new debt during Trump’s four years — even before the pandemic hit.

So when Democrats pushed the so-called COVID relief package loaded with pork and perks for non-pandemic priorities through on a party-line vote, few people were surprised.

But now some Democrats are actually admitting that the red ink-spilling spending spree can’t keep going: Congress has to find a way to pay for the Biden agenda.

What are they saying?

President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and their left-wing supporters in the media, government, and electorate celebrated the passage of the massive relief bill this week.

With this notch on their wallet, Democrats don’t plan to slow down. Party leaders intend to use this momentum to push through an infrastructure package with a price tag that’s likely to surpass the stimulus bill.

But, according to Politico, some Democratic lawmakers — the outlet called them “centrists” — are hoping to “pump the brakes.”

Though they’ve been willing to spend trillions of dollars to allegedly combat the COVID-19 crisis without bothering to ask where the money would come from, some Democrats on Capitol Hill are finally starting to ask who’s going to foot the bill as the pandemic seems to be winding down.

Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and keeps them in the majority, told Politico, “At some point we’ve got to start paying for things.”

The sudden interest in fiscal responsibility from the likes of King and others could make life much more difficult for Schumer and Pelosi.

Biden’s massive infrastructure bill and other giant spending priorities could move interest rates higher, King fears, and “become an albatross on the economy,” Politico said.

“It’s got to be paid for,” the Maine lawmaker said. “It’s just a question of who pays. Are we going to pay or our kids going to pay?”

Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester told the outlet, “Some of it needs to be paid for,” and wants an “all of the above” plan for paying for Biden’s infrastructure bill with spending cuts and tax and fee hikes.

“You’re going to remind me of this [later] when none of it’s paid for,” Tester told Politico, “but I do think some of it needs to be paid for.”

Other Democrats indicated to Politico that paying for spending bills needs to at least be considered:

  • House Budget Chairman John Yarmouth (Ky.) shared that his fellow Democrats are under the “assumption” that they’ll pay for at least some of the infrastructure bill, but called paying for the entire thing “unrealistic.”
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) said he will not support a bill without his party at least attempting to get Republicans on board. And he wants to “pay” for the bill — but by repealing the Trump tax cuts.
  • Rep. Dean Phillips (Minn.) stated, “I think it’s time for everybody in this body, in the country, to start injecting that term back into the vernacular — ‘paid for.'” He also said that his fellow centrists are in talks with party chiefs about how important it is that the the next package be paid for.
  • Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) quipped, “Well, I assume it’ll be paid for,” adding, “According to Democrat rules, the only thing we’re at liberty to put on our children’s credit card is Covid [relief] and climate change.”
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) said that, though she thinks addressing infrastructure is more important than the deficit and the debt, “there would need to be revenues paid for some portions of it. I don’t think there’s an appetite for all deficit spending.”

The Biden administration, though, wants to go big:

But key figures in Biden’s Cabinet are envisioning a different approach. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, for instance, has signaled that he prefers deficit spending, telling POLITICO in a recent interview that “the opportunity and the constraints are just different when you have historically low interest rates.”

Democrats are largely of the mind that going big is better than going small, trumpeting that they’ve learned their lessons from the Obama years about trimming their ambitions to cut a deal with Republicans. And they say there’s never been a crisis that warrants more spending than the pandemic, which has left 18 million Americans still out of work and as many as 10 million jobs permanently lost.

You read that right: They are not planning to let this “crisis” go to waste.

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Democrats stuck $86 billion no-strings-attached bailout into COVID relief bill to rescue union pension plans that were failing long before the pandemic

The massive COVID relief package Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) pushed through the Senate over the weekend has been repeatedly criticized for having more “pork” for lawmakers’ non-pandemic priorities than for actual COVID relief for families and businesses impacted by government-imposed restrictions during the last year of the coronavirus.

One of those non-COVID priorities, the New York Times detailed recently, is a nifty little $86 billion bailout for failing union pensions — pensions that were falling apart long before the pandemic hit.

And the bailout isn’t a loan to help the unions as they restructure or reform their plans — it’s just $86 billions in cash, with no strings attached.

What is happening?

The Times revealed recently that the relief bill making its way through Capitol Hill includes a massive bailout for 185 multi-employer pension plans “that are so close to collapse that without the rescue, more than a million retired truck drivers, retail clerks, builders and others could be forced to forgo retirement income.”

An “alarming number” of these plans, the Times said, are running out of funds — a problem that existed for years before the pandemic and “is a result of fading unions, serial bankruptcies and the misplaced hope that investment income would foot most of the bill so that employers and workers wouldn’t have to.”

According to the paper, the stimulus bill would give the weakest plans the funds to pay hundreds of thousands of union retirees their full pensions for the next three decades.

The great news for the unions is that they don’t have to do anything — don’t have to pay it back, freeze accruals, reform their system, or end their practices that led to the problem in the first place, which means, as the Times noted, their troubles could happen again. Also, the outlet reported, there is nothing in the bill that explains what happens when the tax money runs out in 30 years.

This type of no-strings-attached bailout is “almost unheard-of,” the Times reported. Previous efforts to rescue these types of dying pension plans were in the form of 30-year Treasury loans or at least required some sort of reforms or cuts to some benefits.

Not only is the free money a new tactic, it’s going to a growing group of more dangerous, shaky pension programs. From the Times:

The single-employer program is in good shape, but the multiemployer program is fragile. As of 2017, the country’s 1,400 or so multiemployer pension plans had a total shortfall of $673 billion.

One huge Teamster plan, in particular, is expected to go broke in 2025, and when the pension agency starts paying pensions to its nearly 200,000 retirees, its multiemployer insurance program will go broke, too, according to the agency itself. That would leave the roughly 80,000 other union retirees whose pensions the agency now pays without their payouts.

The new legislation changes that. It calls for the Treasury to set up an $86 billion fund at the pension agency, using general revenues. The agency would be required to keep the money separate from the funds it uses for normal operations. It would use the new money to make grants to qualifying pension plans, allowing them to pay their retirees. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 185 plans were likely to receive assistance, but as many as 336 might under certain circumstances.

The Democrats’ union pension bailout will also restore pensions that were trimmed in a 2014 attempt to revive troubled plans, the Times said. That’s six years before the pandemic that this relief package is supposed to address.

Critics have pointed out that the Democratic spending bill does nothing to change the mismanagement or poor structure of these pension plans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) attempted to get the pension bailout retooled during debate over the bill Friday, calling the Democrats’ measure “a blank check” that “does nothing to address the root cause of the problem” and criticizing it as “totally unrelated to the pandemic.” His efforts failed on the Senate floor, 49 to 50.

“Imagine that you have a college-aged kid who runs up $1,500 in credit card debt,” James P. Naughton, an actuary now teaching at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, told the Times. “If you give him $1,500 and you don’t do anything else, the odds that the problem is going to get fixed are pretty low.”

“These [multi-employer] plans are uniquely unable to raise their contributions,” Naughton added. “When things go well, the participants get the benefits. If things go badly, they turn to the government to make it work.”

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Gas Taxes May Soon Increase. Here’s Why That’s Especially Bad News for the Poor and Middle Class

This article was originally published by Hannah Cox at the Foundation for Economic Education. 

Any gas tax hike will exacerbate inequality.

I sold my car when I went to New York City in 2019, so I’m one of the rare individuals not impacted by the prices at the gas tank. But for the average American, who drives over 16,000 miles per year, the cost per gallon can quickly make a dent in their take-home pay. To drive all those miles, most individuals consume 720 gallons of gasoline a year. What they may not know is they’re paying approximately $132.48 in federal gas taxes. And, according to Pete Buttigieg, that number may soon be increasing.

During a recent confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Buttigieg—who is President Biden’s nominee for Transportation Secretary—stated he was open to raising the federal gas tax to fund the Highway Trust Fund.

The topic was brought up by Republican Senator Rick Scott, who asked if Buttigieg might support such an increase. Buttigieg responded, “Well, I think all options need to be on the table…As you know, the gas tax has not been increased since 1993, and it’s never been pegged to inflation. And it’s one of the reasons why the current state of the Highway Trust Fund is that there’s more going out than coming in.”

The Highway Trust Fund is how the US pays for federal government spending on highways and mass transit. In recent years the fund has become insolvent.

Since 2008, Congress has propped the fund up by transferring $140 billion of general revenues to it, but shortfalls are still expected by 2021. And it is projected to get worse from there. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2030 projections show that the fund’s commitments will exceed its revenues by $134 billion for the highway fund and $54 billion for the mass transit side.

This could spell disaster for the numerous projects currently underway and be a significant roadblock in the administration’s infrastructure goals—which are ambitious. Biden is expected to unveil a $2 trillion package focused on clean energy provisions, expanding 5G, high-speed light rail, and bridge and road repairs.

Infrastructure is largely popular among Americans of all political persuasions, and America has fallen behind in development compared to other Western countries. Americans pay a large percentage of their income in taxes, and in exchange, they expect decent roads, accessible transportation options, reliable airports, and connectivity.

It is estimated that traffic congestion alone costs the US economy $120 billion per year. In New York City, 17,000 hours of lost worker time were incurred in 2017 alone due to mass transit delays. And as the nation looks to the implementation of autonomous vehicles, transportation experts say our roads are nowhere near prepared. All of that to say, there is a real and pressing need for infrastructure development.

The question is not whether we need better transportation infrastructure, it’s how to pay for it. And an increase to the federal gas tax should be out of the question.

Gas taxes (both those imposed federally or at the state level) are regressive. Regressive tax structures are those that, when applied uniformly, take a larger percentage of income from low earners than high earners. A progressive tax, in contrast, is one that takes a larger percentage of income from high earners than others.

The liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reports that gas taxes hit low and moderate-income earners the hardest, especially those who live in rural areas and may drive long-distances for basic supplies.

The impact of this tax on the poor and middle-income earners is not negligible. For the vast majority of Americans, transportation is an essential good that ensures they can get to work, take their kids to school, go to the doctor, or convene with their bodies of faith.

The average American spends roughly 13 percent of their income on transportation, but that cost is not consistent across income brackets. In fact, the lowest earners spend the largest portion of their wages on transportation, and that portion tends to decrease as a person moves up in earnings. A 2016 study found, for example, that the lowest-earning 20 percent of the population earned an average of $11,933 and spent an average of $3,497 (29 percent) on transportation costs.

It is undeniable that any gas tax hike would exacerbate inequality. Moreover, the surreptitious method of the tax is highly problematic.

Albert Camus, the French philosopher and journalist once said, “It is no more immoral to directly rob citizens than to slip indirect taxes into the price of goods that they cannot do without.”

The gas tax is a perfect example of such a case.

Fortunately, there are other options available to fund our infrastructure needs besides a gas tax hike. Buttigieg noted as much in his testimony. “In the long term, we need to bear in mind also that as vehicles become more efficient and as we pursue electrification, sooner or later there will be questions about whether the gas tax can be effective at all.”

One such option would be for the federal government to cut spending elsewhere, and boy are there plenty of places to do that. At the end of 2020, Senator Rand Paul released his annual “Festivus Report” where he found over $54 billion in government waste. And one need look no further than last year’s stimulus package, chock full of crony special favors and pork, for examples of how the federal government blows our resources.

It is undeniable that any gas tax hike would exacerbate inequality.

Another option would be to simply stop crowding out private enterprise’s capacity to improve our transportation infrastructure. Companies like Uber, Tesla, and The Boring Company are lightyears ahead of the federal government. As FEE contributor Matthew Boyer points out, “Those companies are made up of researchers, engineers, and tech titans – not bureaucrats. These folks are at the heart of the problems and it’s their job to find a solution. They’re the experts in their fields. If you wouldn’t trust a politician to be your doctor, why would you trust them to be your engineer?” There’s no question that the free market could deliver better, faster products, and usually at a cheaper price, than the federal government.

We know that when left to their own devices, politicians will always seek to enrich themselves and their friends. Throwing more money at a problem is not a solution. Instead, we need to look for ways to better appropriate the revenues our government collects to projects that ultimately serve the general public.

As Biden came into power, many on the left were overjoyed and felt assured that the new administration would dedicate itself to eradicating inequality, racial injustice, and poverty. But Buttigieg’s statements are proof that government policies will always exacerbate, rather than alleviate inequality unless those policies are focused on spreading free-market ideals that remove the brunt of government from the backs of Americans. Otherwise, some government policies will always harm some groups of people more than others, and quite frequently those groups are the very people the government purports to help.

The post Gas Taxes May Soon Increase. Here’s Why That’s Especially Bad News for the Poor and Middle Class first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Biden’s Treasury nominee: Congress should ‘act big’ on coronavirus relief package

Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for treasury secretary, urged Congress to “act big” on a coronavirus relief package, even if doing so would involve massive deficit spending.

Yellen, who served as chair of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Obama and Trump, is widely expected to be confirmed in the Senate. Confirmation hearings for Yellen have already begun in the Senate Finance Committee, and during the course of these hearings, Yellen testified, “Neither the president-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big. … I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.”

Yellen’s comments come as Congress is expected to take up President-elect Biden’s coronavirus aid package — which includes a price tag that may exceed $2 trillion — in the coming days. The package includes an additional $1,400 in direct payments to families, in addition to the $600 that was approved by Congress in the waning days of Trump’s presidency. The proposed Biden package also includes over $400 billion in funds to aid in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, which has thus far been frustrated by administrative delays, as well as over $400 billion in relief for small businesses.

The United States spent more than $2.5 trillion in coronavirus relief money in 2020, meaning that coronavirus relief spending more than doubled the entire federal discretionary budget from 2019.

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The Real Scandal of the Spending Bill

Last week Congress passed a massive coronavirus relief and omnibus spending bill. President Trump threatened to veto the bill, saying he wants an increase in the amount for “stimulus” checks authorized by the bill from 600 dollars to 2,000 dollars. The checks are designed to help those harmed by the lockdowns. President Trump also demanded a cut in some of the wasteful spending contained in the bill, such as the ten million dollars for gender programs in Pakistan.
At the 11th hour, however, President Trump signed the bill.

President Trump’s veto threat came after many people complained that a 600 dollars one-time payment was insufficient, and that the payment could be higher if Congress cut spending on militarism, foreign aid, and corporate handouts.

The text of the 5,593-page bill was made available hours before the votes in the House and Senate. Representatives and senators were told the bill had to pass immediately or else government would shut down around Christmas. This does not excuse voting for the bill. Congress should have refused to vote for this bill until members had time to read it. Those who voted “yes” should not get away with claiming the bill needed to be passed before members could read it.

While it is understandable that many are outraged over the way this bill was rushed through, the real outrage is that the rushed passage of omnibus bills has become a yearly Christmas tradition on Capitol Hill. These spending bills are always full of outrageous special interest giveaways. This practice denies the average member of Congress a meaningful role in carrying out one of Congress’ two most significant constitutional duties — funding the government. Congress long ago abandoned its other main constitutional responsibility — declaring war.

Whether 600 dollars or 2,000 dollars, a one-time stimulus payment is hardly adequate compensation for the suffering the government lockdowns have inflicted on the American people. Stimulus checks will not reopen closed small businesses or stop increases in domestic violence and substance abuse. A government check will not restore educational and development opportunities denied to children stuck at home struggling with “virtual education.” A one-time check will not compensate workers for the health problems developed due to having to wear a mask for eight hours a day. The only just solution is to end the lockdowns, and never again allow overblown fears to justify shutting down the economy.

Funding the government via massive omnibus bills drafted in secret and rushed into law concentrates power in the hands of a select few representatives and senators. It also gives the president excessive influence over the appropriations process. This is exactly the opposite of what the Framers intended when they gave Congress power over government spending.

This situation is the inevitable result of a government that tries to maintain the fiction that republican institutions are compatible with a welfare-warfare leviathan. Congress will continue to indulge this delusion until the system collapses. This collapse will likely be brought on by a collapse in the dollar’s value.

The combination of the high-profile coronavirus bill with this year’s omnibus spending bill has brought new attention to Congress’ practice of funding the government via massive, unread appropriations bills. Hopefully, the anger people are expressing, instead of just disappearing once people receive their checks, will strengthen the movement to return to free markets and limited constitutional government. Liberty is a far better option than descent into economic chaos and totalitarianism.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

The post The Real Scandal of the Spending Bill first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center.

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Rand Paul savages Republican colleagues who voted for COVID relief bill with fiery floor speech

In a blistering speech on the floor of the Senate, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul condemned his fellow Republican senators who voted for the multitrillion-dollar coronavirus relief package and omnibus spending bills, accusing them of abandoning their “soul” and their “fiscal integrity” for the sake of political expediency.

Paul condemned the bill as an example of “modern monetary theory” that suggests that “government can spend whatever it wants without the need to tax.” Paul said that his colleagues “rightly lampoon this quackery — that is, when they’re not practicing the quackery themselves.”


Senator Paul: Stop Piling Debt on Future Generations, Open the Economy, and Cut Waste in the Budget

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Continuing, Paul claimed, “To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better.”

Pointing out that the government had no plan to raise revenue to pay for the bill Congress was about to pass, Paul went on to argue, “If free money was the answer … if money really did grow on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000? Maybe these new Free-Money Republicans should join the Everybody-Gets-A-Guaranteed-Income Caucus? Why not $20,000 a year for everybody, why not $30,000? If we can print out money with impunity, why not do it?”

The spending bill ultimately passed the Senate by a vote of 91-6, with only five Republicans joining Paul to vote against the bill: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Ron Johnson (Wis.). The vote in the House was likewise overwhelming, with only 53 members — 50 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and 1 independent — voting “nay” on the final vote.

In addition to the sheer size of the spending bill, many Republicans strenuously objected to the fact that they were not even given the text of the bill with ample time to read it before voting on it. Reportedly due to delays with printers and technology, members of Congress were not provided with either a paper or a digital copy of the bill until almost literally the last minute. Among the “nay” votes in the Senate, Lee and Cruz specifically highlighted their inability to read the bill as a reason for voting against it.

After noting the absurdity of being asked to vote on a bill that he hasn’t been given time to read, Lee also noted that the process by which the bill was passed did not allow for any amendments or opportunities to improve the bill. In a thread on Twitter, Lee said, “This process, by which members of Congress are asked to defer blindly to legislation negotiated entirely in secret by four of their colleagues, must come to an end. It won’t come to an end until no longer works for those empowered by it. That can happen, but only when most members of both houses and both political parties stop voting for bills they haven’t read — and, by design, cannot read until after it’s too late.”

Cruz agreed, even specifically noting his agreement with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the issue:

“AOC is right. It’s ABSURD to have a $2.5 trillion spending bill negotiated in secret and then — hours later — demand an up-or-down vote on a bill nobody has had time to read. #CongressIsBroken,” Cruz tweeted.

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Congress rushes to pass $900B COVID-19 relief package as part of larger spending bill

Congressional leaders unveiled a long-awaited agreement for $900 billion in coronavirus relief as part of a huge spending bill on Monday, leaving members mere hours to review on the 5,593-page behemoth before casting their vote the same night.

The legislation passed 359-53 in the Democrat-led House, and was sent to the Republican-control Senate for expected passage Monday night.

What are the details?

Leaders from Congress and the White House have been negotiating for months to decide on a deal that was finally reached Sunday and released in text form the next day — just in time to pass the legislation ahead of a Christmas break.

The final product was rolled into “a $2.3 trillion package that included $1.4 trillion to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30,” The New York Times reported.

According to Fox Business:

The measure includes about $325 billion in small business relief, including $284 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program; an extension of boosted federal unemployment benefits at $300 a week through March 14, 2021, and a second $600 stimulus check for Americans earning less than $75,000. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he expects the federal government to begin issuing checks to millions of Americans as soon as next week.

Members from both sides of the aisle condemned the $600 stimulus checks as too paltry given the number of Americans pushed out of work and into poverty due to the pandemic and its effects on businesses and individuals. Some Republicans, however, voiced concern over the $1 trillion already added to the federal deficit from the bill as it stood.

Anything else?

Lawmakers from both parties and both chambers also expressed frustration at receiving the bill with such short time to review what it entails.

Several Republicans made the rare step of agreeing with far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), when she condemned the fact that members were not shown the legislation in enough time to review what they were expected to sign off on.

“Congress is expected to vote on the second largest bill in US history *today* – $2.5 trillion – and as of about 1pm, members don’t even have the legislative text of it yet,” she wrote. “It’s not good enough to hear about what’s in the bill. Members of Congress need to see & read the bills we are expected to vote on.”

She added, “I know it’s ‘controversial’ & I get in trouble for sharing things like this, but the people of this country deserve to know. They deserve better.”

The Hill reported that the White House has signaled that President Donald Trump “will sign the legislation into law when it reaches his desk.”

Meanwhile, the Senate was also on track to pass a one-week stopgap spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight and give Trump time to sign the sweeping legislation, the Associated Press reported.

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Debt doesn’t matter: Democrats promise unfathomable spending if they win — except for the military

As the United States’ budget deficits and national debt have reached post-World War II highs during President Donald Trump’s administration, thanks in part to the trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus, Democrats are openly telling voters ahead of the election they can’t stop and won’t stop the spending if they win.

For the first time in a decade, Congress next year will face no budget caps or automatic spending cuts as the limits on spending imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 are set to expire. Also, next year Congress is set to vote on another debt ceiling increase to allow the government room to borrow the trillions of dollars to cover its profligate spending. Knowing this, Democrats openly told Politico that if they win the election, controlling the House, the Senate, and the White House, the plan is to spend, spend, spend on anything and everything they want.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has proposed $5 trillion in new spending on universal pre-K child care, tuition-free community college, Green New Deal-lite policies, expanding Obamacare, and more. Though the national debt is over $27 trillion and a full 37% bigger than the size of the U.S. economy, Democrats believe there is no consequence to the amount of spending they envision.

“There’s really been no negative economic impact from a doubling of the national debt,” House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said in an interview with Politico. “I think economists are thinking differently about the national debt and how much room we have in the economy for fiscal stimulus. … We can afford to do almost anything we want to do.”

There’s always the chance that the U.S. Senate may block some of the most extreme spending dreamed up by progressives in the House, but Yarmuth and other Democrats have a plan for that. According to Politico, Democrats intend to use a legislative maneuver called budget reconciliation — the same tactic they used to pass Obamacare — to dodge a Senate filibuster and pass massive bills related to infrastructure and other Democratic priorities with a simple majority in the Senate.

“I don’t think there’s any question of whether we’d use it, if we had to,” Yarmuth said. “The possibilities are endless. I think you’d want to do it for the biggest possible package you could.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) echoed Yarmuth and said now is the time for progressives to “use every tool” to pass their agenda.

“This is the time to do that,” she said. “We have to use every tool in our toolbox. … We have to be bold. This is not a time for meekness, this is not a time for incremental change.”

Democrats are emboldened by the end of the Budget Control Act. Without limits on overall total spending for defense and non-defense programs, progressives are eyeing major cuts to defense spending to make room for their expensive domestic agenda.

“This will be a top priority of the progressive caucus — to really get some meaningful budget cuts in Pentagon spending this next cycle,” Jayapal said. “It shouldn’t be considered patriotic to just sign up for more money for defense contractors.”

There is little reason, however, to think that Republicans will do much to cut spending if they win the election. Under President Trump, the budget deficit grew $3.9 trillion — and that was before the coronavirus pandemic. Though the White House claims reducing the budget deficit would be a second-term priority for Trump and Trump’s budgets have repeatedly called for reduced spending, the president has done little to signal to lawmakers he would veto the spending bills Congress sends him.

For now, the Congressional Budget Office projects the United States will experience trillion-dollar deficits indefinitely.

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House passes bipartisan spending deal by a landslide, averting government shutdown

The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan spending bill by a landslide late Tuesday night, which, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump, will continue funding the federal government through Dec. 11.

What are the details?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced in a statement ahead of the vote that she had reached a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republicans for a continuing resolution that would “add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families.”

“We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout,” she said.

The Washington Post reported that the stopgap measure passed “overwhelmingly” in a 358-to-57 vote, noting that Republicans had rejected an earlier “partisan bill” put forward by Democrats the day before.

Not one Democrat voted against the legislation, but 56 Republicans did along with former GOP member Libertarian Justin Amash (Mich.).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted Tuesday night, “Pelosi got caught trying to jam through a bill that ignored kids & hurt farmers. Republicans stopped her, & we just won a vote to keep the government operating for ALL Americans. It’s not perfect. But it’s a heck of a lot better than what Democrats tried to pull.”

According to The Hill, the Senate is expected to take up the CR as early as next week. The outlet noted, “Both parties are strongly incentivized to avoid a government shutdown, given the proximity to the November elections and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

CBS News reported that “The resolution funds the government until December 11, avoiding a possible shutdown at the end of September.”

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PIGS CAN FLY: BUFFETT BUYS GOLD!

This article was contributed by Tom Beck of Portfolio Wealth Global. 

Say what you want about Warren Buffett, but for a man worth $90bn, after donating $37bn worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock in his life, Buffett is VERY HUMBLE. He spends his time playing incognito card games online (usually Bridge) and lives in the same house as when he was just starting out.

Many hate him, while others adore him, but one thing everyone agrees on is that Buffett doesn’t appreciate the advantages of gold. Buffett admits that he doesn’t know a whole lot about technology, a WEAK SPOT, which has caused him to forego investing in Microsoft for the past 30 years, even though Bill Gates is a very close friend of his!

Buffett realized that his weaknesses could be OVERRIDEN if he hired other money managers to allocate the $130bn that Berkshire has at its disposal. One of these two managers purchased about $600M in Barrick Gold shares in June.

When the 13F filings were disclosed last week, this brought shockwaves, since Buffett isn’t crazy about the unpredictability of commodities and their price fluctuations.

It also shows you, though, that Buffett has let go of his need to MANAGE EVERYTHING that Berkshire owns, which is a great character trait.

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

It’s undeniable that DEFICITS MATTER.

Every country is different; for some, deficits can be enormous, since their GDP is huge as well, but all economies have an EXPIRATION DATE.

America is reaching its own breaking point and now everyday citizens will begin to experience THE DOWNSIDE of this, as the dollar will continue to LOSE SUPREMACY, while “on-shoring” will actually bring manufacturing to the states, resulting in a supply chain renaissance.

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

Buffett has significant ownership positions in American banks, but those HAVE PROVEN to be duds.

Personally, my instincts say that 12 months from now gold will trade at about $2,200, but that there will also be a COOLING-OFF period between now and then for the spot price.

What I’m going to say might sound CONTROVERSIAL, but stick with me: Since the spot price will be flat, the INVESTMENT ACTION will swing to the mining shares, which will be reporting record earnings!

Buffett, looks like this time you DID NOT leave at the bottom, like with the airlines, but entered at the right time… congrats to Warren!

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Bond Central Banks Debt digital dollar experts Federal Reserve Forecasting Gold Intelwars investors mining stocks Precious Metals Silver spending suppress rated The great reset United States

GOT BURIED: Silver Resurrected – RESET UNAVOIDABLE!

This article was contributed by James Davis with Future Money Trends. 

Over the past three days, after silver UNDERWENT CARNAGE, going down to -13.5% in ONE DAY, many made their peace with reality and ACCEPTED DEFEAT. The bulls remembered that silver is EXTREMELY VOLATILE, while the bears got to breathe a SIGH OF RELIEF after the month of July proved to be SILVER’S BEST-EVER on record.

We need to keep the bottom line IN MIND; as I write this, silver is up $1.16, and has a spot price of $26.93/ounce. It is, IN NO DOUBT, moving upwards and the mining stocks will have, in some cases, +100% margins, since many have an All-In Sustaining Cost of less than $13.5/ounce.

The big picture is MOST IMPORTANT and the visuals are clear: debt is growing MUCH FASTER than the ability to service it, UNLESS rates remain close to zero, UNTIL THE RESET:

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

With over $26tn, Washington’s spending can only be maintained, while the Federal Reserve and other central banks do everything UNDER THE SUN to suppress rates FOR GOOD.

Throughout the passing period of the 2010s, investors DID NOT have this kind of assurance that the U.S. central bank will keep rates at zero all the time. They kept broadcasting that the aim was to normalize rates, to GO BACK to historical norms, but the plan failed in DECEMBER 2018.

For the financial system – Corporate America, the average person, and the small business owner, from governments to the individual – rates have been ZERO for so long that it has become our WAY OF LIFE. Now we know it’s here to stay.

A good friend of mine, for many years, tried to quit a nasty habit he had. Every time he would stop COLD TURKEY, something would later draw him back to it. He went to see an associate of his who quit smoking after two decades and never relapsed. Their conversation revolved around how to achieve the same thing; the associate said that “You can’t just quit a habit – the secret is to find a replacement.” One can’t replace SOMETHING with NOTHING.

The global economy does not have a SUBSTITUTE for the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency; it won’t consider precious metals, nor will it entertain the notion of the Euro or any other singular fiat currency.

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

Washington knows it and, therefore, PERMITS ITSELF actions that no other government can afford; CHALLENGERS are non-existent.

This is the IDEAL WORLD for gold and, when the CYCLE IS RIGHT, can also be ideal for silver. Governments and central banks consider gold to be money, so they purchase it, COME RAIN OR SHINE. The result has been that gold has returned just about 6,000% since 1971. In periods when the dollar was in a bear market, like the 1970s or the 2000s, silver had A LOT going for it as well. We have again entered a dollar bear market, after nine years, so silver will NOT ONLY have that tailwind going for it, but also zero interest rates and record deficits.

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

In the short-term, rates are reversing and beginning to creep up, as they should, after MONTHS of one-way trading. They are GOING DOWN more and more, without ceasing.

This will have an impact on precious metals since REAL RATES are calculated by subtracting inflation (CPI) from the 10yr bond yield. Rising rates elevate real rates, but if inflation is RISING at the same time, it offsets this!

That’s what the gold bears AREN’T SEEING, but it is clear as day when looking at this:

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

THE GOLD AND SILVER BULL MARKETS ARE ON;
THEY WILL SEE PAUSES, PULLBACKS, AND CORRECTIONS!
OVERALL, THE TREND IS HIGHER,
SO LONG AS REAL RATES REMAIN NEGATIVE!

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Billie Jean King Coronavirus CORRUPTION COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness empire has fallen empty hospital face masks facilities Federal Reserve Flatten the curve Headline News hospitals Intelwars LIES money muzzles New York City offical narrative plandemic propaganda scamdemic spending United States USSA Vaccine wasting workers paid to do nothing

Corruption At All Levels: A $52 Million COVID-19 Hospital Treated 79 Patients

New York City spent $52 million on a hospital for patients with the coronavirus. The hospital treated only 79 patients and say unused even as nearby hospitals were overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

According to a report Tuesday by The New York Times, the temporary hospital set up at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center treated just 79 patients in the month it was in operation, while staff reported being paid to do nothing all day amid the height of the city’s coronavirus outbreak. “I basically got paid $2,000 a day to sit on my phone and look at Facebook,” Katie Capano, a nurse practitioner from Baltimore who worked at the center, told the Times. “We all felt guilty. I felt really ashamed, to be honest.”

While regular Americans were forced to give up their livelihoods, destroy their ability to provide for themselves and their families and be on house arrest for months, others got paid to do nothing just to push the coronavirus plandemic propaganda and official narrative. This is corruption and it’s at all levels of the government of the USSA.

Red tape and poor communication between city, state, and federal officials led to the field hospital as well as the Navy’s deployed hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, sitting largely empty while public hospitals in the city reported crowded conditions and overwhelmed staff. Workers at the Billie Jean King facility who spoke to the Times confirmed that they largely spent their time completing repetitive paperwork.

“The conditions in the emergency room during this crisis were unacceptable and dangerous,” Timothy Tan, director of clinical operations at Queens Hospital Center’s emergency department, told the Times. “Knowing what our patients had to endure in an overcrowded emergency department, it’s frustrating how few patients were treated at facilities such as Billie Jean King.” –The Hill

New York’s COVID-19 Field Hospital Dismantled After Treating ZERO Patients

Trump Pushes Mask Wearing Propaganda: It’s “Patriotic”

The constant pushing of the coronavirus narrative in spite of facts or any real evidence should be alarming to everyone.  Many people know something is wrong even if they can’t pinpoint what it is, and yet, we still have the mainstream media trying to panic the public into wearing the muzzle face mask and living in fear.

This is probably not going to stop until everyone agrees to get the vaccine. And if you don’t get the “non-mandatory” vaccine, those in power will make sure your life is inconvenient as possible (no going to the grocery store or traveling) unless you have it.

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America billionaires confidence consumers Corporations currency printing Economy Federal Reserve Headline News Intelwars lawful mandates Middle Class Money Creation more pain short stocks spending

SHORT SQUEEZE OF EPIC SCALE: MARKET TWILIGHT ZONE!

This article was contributed by Tom Beck of Portfolio Wealth Global. 

It is NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE to short stocks with the Federal Reserve adamant at making sure America’s largest corporations don’t go under if they can be salvaged or floated, USING NEW CURRENCY (which younger demographics will be enslaved to pay) until consumers start spending with confidence again.

America has been incredibly advantaged of having a SEEMINGLY ENDLESS capability to print currency, but it has made such misuse of it in dealing with COVID-19 that it has now become apparent to nations the world over that the Federal Reserve doesn’t know ANY LIMITS when it comes to utilizing its lawful mandate.

I tell you this because while the system has favored the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, the process is on a trajectory to ACCELERATE, so if you’re not part of the upper class, expect MORE PAIN ahead.

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com


Notice how liquidity has DRIED UP in the stock market. There’s a reason for it: markets ARE DEAD when it comes to organic trading.

The actions of the Federal Reserve have scared away the SMART MONEY and have invited speculators in.

That’s not the outcome that anyone anticipated, so what I see is that once these government programs expire in August, we will be back to SQUARE ONE and more stimulus will be unleashed.

When it comes to income inequality, the solution starts with education. The problem with America is that the majority has been sold on this dream that it’s the EASY LIFE, when it’s really not. Poverty is the norm for the majority, not wealth.

Forget comfort and luxury; there’s a reason why racehorses run with blinders on… it is so that they can focus solely on their footing and the track ahead, DISREGARDING all else.

The second they look to the left or to the right, they lose composure and accidents occur.

If there was an 11th commandment, it would be to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

I see a society full of people concerned with leisure and with knowing what others are up to (via social media) when they’re not GETTING AHEAD THEMSELVES.

When I was building my wealth, I couldn’t be bothered with anything. I must have read the same wealth books hundreds of times until I could recite the principles in them and implement them. Any progress was celebrated; any and all sacrifices were made. It’s definitely NOT FOR EVERYONE!

In 1953, an Italian-American from New York was born into a big Catholic family. When he was very young, on Easter Sunday, while his entire family was getting ready for their meal, he got a call from his boss at the recording studio to SHOW UP immediately for work. 99% of people would have said “NO,” but this person agreed. When he got there, John Lennon was in the booth and ready to work on his solo album.

The other employee had declined to come in that day and this was Jimmy’s moment to shine. He took on a task he’d never done before and he did it well. This was the beginning of his music career, which started because he said “YES” when most would not go the extra mile.

The Jimmy I’m referring to is Jimmy Iovine, the billionaire co-founder of Interscope Records and Beats headphones, later sold to Apple.

America is STILL the place to do business and it’s STILL a land of opportunity but you must FEEL THE BURN in order to drive forward and not ASSUME things will take care of themselves. Becoming wealthy from scratch requires ENORMOUS SACRIFICE; you have to be willing to limit time for friends, family, hobbies, entertainment and be willing to LEARN ON THE GO.

The billionaires and multimillionaires of this country have MOSTLY COME FROM NOTHING.

Poverty is a DRIVING FORCE, not a curse.

EXCLUSIVE REPORTS, Featured In This Article and in Others, Which Are Considered ESSENTIAL READING:
1. Gold Investing – DOWNLOAD HERE!
2. Trump’s War with Mainstream Media – DOWNLOAD HERE!
3. Covid-19 Round2 Sell-Off Playbook – DOWNLOAD HERE!
4. Why The Dollar Is Dead – DOWNLOAD HERE!
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Billionaire consume economic destruction Fear following orders great recession Headline News human beings human rights Intelwars jobs lives Mark Cuban massive government expnsion Microchipped Morality not animals not cattle Obey Programming scaring people spending traced tracked Tyrant

Tyrant Billionaire Wants Massive Government “Testing and Tracing” Program

It sure would be nice if the tyrants would just say what they mean.  The owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, who happens to be a billionaire, wants everyone tracked and traced before people are “allowed” to have even a semblance of their lives back.  But it’s all to help the economy, of course.

A massive government program to employ a large number of people to track and trace their fellow Americans sounds disturbingly like Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  But nothing that comes out of the mouths of power-hungry billionaires surprises me anymore. Cuban is calling for mass surveillance, and it appears that he would probably support H.R. 6666, the mass surveillance bill that would “allow” agents of the ruling class to come to your house if they think anyone might be sick.

“This is not like the recessions of the past, even the Great Recession, where we had time to allow entrepreneurs just to create enough businesses or create enough jobs,” Cuban said. “We’re down 30 million-plus jobs in two months.” Ignoring the fact that it was the government who destroyed the economy, the entrepreneur and host on ABC’s Shark Tank said he would support federal or state government work programs on an “intermediate basis,” noting that the creation of these temporary jobs “buys us time” while the country attempts to regain normalcy in the job market. He argued that consumer spending will be what revitalizes the economy but that people need to have income in order to spend, according to a report by The Washington Examiner. 

Americans Are Too “Idiotic To See How Enslaved They Are” Even As the Gates of Hell Open Up

“We may have to go to jobs programs like we did in the ‘30s, which would make perfect sense for like tracking, and tracing, and testing where we train healthcare workers to do that and create 2 or 3 million jobs,” Cuban said.

“Create jobs where people who can’t get out of the house for whatever reason … hiring people from AmeriCorps or Peace Corps and paying them and training them to work with those people, particularly the elderly,” he continued. “We need to create jobs that people have confidence in because we need them to spend that money. We need them to be consumers.” –The Washington Examiner

Does this sound familiar? This exactly what the mainstream media and most TV “programming” is doing already:

At least we can thank Cuban for showing his true colors.  He doesn’t want anyone helped.  He wants us to submit to totalitarian and authoritarian enslavement where we can do two things: consume and obey.

Don’t let any tyrants get away with any of this.  Remember who wants you to be controlled by others and remember those who blindly followed the orders to obey and track their fellow humans like they are cattle.  We need to stand up to this tyranny.  We are not dogs or sheep.  We are not cattle that need to be tracked and microchipped so the ruling class can do with us what they will.  We are human beings and until we demand to be treated as such, they will continue to stomp the boots down on our throats.

Mark Cuban On AI: ‘If You Don’t Think A Terminator Will Appear, You’re CRAZY!’

These people will push as far as we allow. So far, not enough Americans have stood up.  Most realize what’s going on, but most are content to follow orders and “not make any waves.”

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I JUST BOUGHT GOLD: Everyone Should – BELIEVE ME!

This article was contributed by Tom Beck for Portfolio Wealth Global.

It Looks Like Powell and Trump are Burying the Hatchet!

Ray Dalio is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, but he ought to make sure to put his predictions INTO PERSPECTIVE. When Mr. Dalio said that cash is trash” in Davos right before the COVID-19 panic, he didn’t mean that cash is to be avoided right away. His true intention was to say that as of 2020, the world is TRANSITIONING into a new age of quantitative easing and you need to understand it IMMEDIATELY!

As you can see below, new cases of reported COVID-19 cases ARE PLUMMETING around the world. There are likely around 100 million infected individuals, about 90 times the reported amount, and THAT’S GOOD.

We’re undergoing what’s known as “herd immunity.” Our body, in its INFINITE INTELLIGENCE having survived tens of thousands of years of ice ages, famines, droughts, and times when chasing calories was the ONLY WORRY of the average person, has a robust immune system and can FIGHT disease.

That isn’t the case with ALL INDIVIDUALS. Most people are suffering from overweight, a lack of sleep, too much stress, other diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and a multitude of Western illnesses, simply by mistreating their physical bodies for decades.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle of proper sleeping, breathing, drinking, eating, being outdoors, and moving (exercising) isn’t the regiment most people follow.

Therefore, we’re seeing COVID-19 mostly INFLICT DAMAGE to weaker immune systems.

We can all learn from this that we need to handle ourselves with respect, NOT SUCCUMB to the lust of tastes.

This virus shall pass, and when it does, governments and central banks have revealed their METHODS OF OPERATION to us.

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

We will begin RESUMING NORMALCY soon. I expect the U.S. to be RELAXING MEASURES by the end of April in most of the 50 states, and other countries will do the same thing.

At first, most will be cautious and will not want to spend more than they should (individuals and businesses), but the government and the stimulus from it will act AS A CATALYST to this process and SPEED-UP the recovery.

Hotel chains, casino operators, cruise ship lines, travel agencies, and other leisure providers will cut prices and offer flexible terms to entice the pioneers that will return first.

Slowly but SURELY, everyone will RETURN TO LIVING a full and vibrant existence, spending money and looking for ways to entertain themselves, educate themselves, and purchase products and services.

Human nature hasn’t changed; we all CREATE ways of ACHIEVING growth and development in our minds, but our habits may be altered in HOW to get there.

The genie is out of the bottle IN TERMS of spending, and this time IT IS DIFFERENT!

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

Interest rates are zero around the globe AND that’s not going to change WHATSOEVER because most countries can’t fund their budgets using ORGANIC LENDING.

What I mean by that is that sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and large asset managers AREN’T INTERESTED in lending governments money anymore.

The APPETITE is gone.

Taking the place of these lenders are the central banks themselves. This is called quantitative easing, and thus far it hasn’t caused INFLATIONARY PRESSURE in most developed countries.

The reason is that many assumed it WAS AN EXPERIMENT and that it will end soon.

The jig is up, though: everyone now knows that DEFICITS WILL ONLY INCREASE and that central banks will fund these by increasing the money supply no matter what tax revenues happen to be.

Therefore, as you can see below, DEFICITS ARE MOUNTING:

Courtesy: Zerohedge.com

In other words, now EVERYONE is on the INSIDE OF THIS JOKE.

All governments know now that their colleagues are debasing and they will OPENLY do the same.

Citizens will catch up to this, but not until it is WAY TOO LATE.

So Dalio is right: we are entering a 10-year period where COMPARED TO REAL ASSETS, currencies will fall by 30%-50%, and YOU have first dibs on this since you’ve STUDIED THE MATTER.

Instead of trying to convince your brainwashed friends, WORK to increase your net worth in your main career so that you can invest and COMPOUND at a fast rate!

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Report: House Dems’ coronavirus stimulus bill includes $35 million for Kennedy Center, $600 million for arts and humanities — and $278 million for IRS

TheBlaze previously noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was reportedly the reason why Democrats suddenly opposed an emergency coronavirus relief bill that had bipartisan support in the Senate over the weekend.

John Bresnahan, Politico’s Washington bureau chief, reported that Pelosi had a “laundry list” of new demands, including many items completely unrelated to COVID-19 relief, like election security funding, student loan debt forgiveness, and a “host of other issues.” Additionally, she said House Democrats would move forward with their own coronavirus relief package.

Not a good look

Well, among the line items Pelosi’s House Democrats plopped into their version of a coronavirus stimulus bill are critical expenditures such as $35 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Fox News reported.

“For an additional amount for ‘Operations and Maintenance,’ $35,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021, for operations and maintenance requirements related to the consequences of coronavirus: Provided, That notwithstanding the provisions of 20 U.S.C. 76th et seq., funds provided in this Act shall be made available to cover operating expenses required to ensure the continuity of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its affiliates, including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers, information technology and other administrative expenses,” the bill reads, according the cable network.

That’s not all, folks

Fox News added that the next page of the House Democrats’ bill allots $300 million to the National Endowment of the Arts, another $300 million to the National Endowment of the Humanities, $100 million for NASA — and the kicker: $278 million to the IRS.

How did observers react?

Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, tweeted: “$35 Mil for the Kennedy Center is essential for battling the Coronavirus, says Nancy Pelosi.” Commenters on Domenech’s tweet had other things to say:

  • “Mitch needs to go to the Senate and start reading all this out loud to the American people.”
  • “People are dying and the dems do this. It’s literally the definition of evil. We’ve never seen a crisis like this before and they are funneling millions to their friends while withholding funds to people that actually need the resources.”
  • “To fight the coronavirus let’s give extra funding to places that can pack in the biggest densest crowds to infect the most people in the shortest period of time.”
  • “These people should never be trusted with power again.”
  • “The queen of pork.”
  • “Not to worry. I’m sure some brave journalist will ask her about this and hold her to account.”

(H/T: BizPac Review)

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President Trump requests $2.5 billion in coronavirus emergency funding; Pelosi and Schumer complain it’s not enough

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the coronavirus is under control in the United States a day after the White House sent Congress a request for billions of dollars in taxpayer money to combat the virus’ spread.

On Monday evening, the White House formally asked the legislative branch to approve $2.5 billion in emergency funding to address the public health situation created by the deadly, fast-spreading virus, according to Fox News:

The request included $1.25 billion in new money, with the rest coming from unspent funds. The measure would help the federal government, as well as state and local agencies, potentially prepare to respond to an outbreak and allocate cash for vaccine development, a senior administration official told Fox Business.

One source familiar with the request told Fox News that the administration was careful “not to sound alarm bells” over the supplemental spending request, but added, “It is better to have, certainly with finite funds.”

The Department of Health and Human Services already has tapped into an emergency infectious disease rapid response fund and has been seeking to transfer more than $130 million from other HHS accounts to combat the virus but was pressing for more.

MarketWatch also pointed out that, in addition to the $1.25 billion in new funding, the request also asks for the administration to shift more than $500 million in federal funds from an Ebola virus account as well as redirect money from other accounts and agencies in order to get to the total request.

In response, some Congressional Democrats argued that the amount of funds requested by the White House was simply not enough to address the virus’ spread, with some criticizing the request to redirect federal funding.

“Americans need a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe. The President’s request for coronavirus response funding is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted in the wake of the request.

“Weeks after the #TrumpBudget called for slashing the CDC budget during this coronavirus epidemic, this undersized funding request shows an ongoing failure to understand urgent public health needs,” the speaker added in a later tweet.

“Too little too late,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote of the request, “That President Trump is trying to steal funds dedicated to fight Ebola is indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the Coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be.”

In a statement put out Tuesday, retiring House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said that House Democrats would work to pass more money than requested to address the coronavirus outbreak without giving Trump the ability to redirect funding.

“The Trump administration’s request for emergency funding is woefully insufficient to protect Americans from the deadly coronavirus outbreak,” the statement said. “Despite urgent warnings from Congress and the public health community, the Trump administration took weeks to request these emergency funds. It is profoundly disturbing that their answer now is to raid money Congress has designated for other critical public health priorities. Worse still, their overall request still falls short of what is needed for an effective, comprehensive government-wide response.”

During a Tuesday morning news conference in India, President Trump took a reassuring stance on the state of the outbreak in the United States, saying that the virus was “very well under control in our country.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Monday that there were 53 cases of coronavirus in the United States, the bulk of which came from Americans evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship, according to the New York Post.

CNBC reported Tuesday that the total confirmed number of global cases is now over 80,000 and there have been at least 2,704 deaths.

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Congress CURRENT EVENTS deficit Donald Trump Economy Intelwars National Debt spending

More Excuses While Feds Run Biggest Deficit in Seven Years

The Trump administration has outdone itself. After running up the biggest deficit in six years in fiscal 2018, the U.S. government managed to increase that massive budget shortfall by 26 percent in 2019.

The Treasury Department released the fiscal year 2019 budget numbers on Oct 25. The budget shortfall came in at $984 billion right on the CBO estimate.

So, when is a $984 billion budget deficit good news?

When you thought you might get a $1 trillion budget deficit.

A CNBC report said this would likely, “come as a relief to the Trump administration, which had previously forecast that the deficit would hit $1 trillion during the 2019 fiscal year.”

Never fear, the CBO estimates we could see trillion-dollar deficits again as early as 2020.

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought tried to put a positive spin on the numbers. “Americans from all walks of life are flourishing again thanks to pro-growth policies enacted by this administration,” he said in a statement accompanying the Treasury Department figures.

Nothing like borrowing yourself into prosperity.

Despite sneaking in at just under $1 trillion, the 2019 deficit still ranks as the largest budget shortfall since 2012. The federal deficit has only eclipsed $1 trillion four times, all in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

The $984 billion deficit amounts to 4.7 percent of GDP. That’s the highest percentage since 2012. It was the fourth consecutive year in which the deficit increased as a percentage of GDP. The debt-to-GDP ratio is estimated to have increased a hefty 26 percent over last year.

The pundits in the mainstream media tend to focus on the Trump tax cuts as the cause for the surging deficits, but revenues rose in FY2019. Spending is the real culprit.

Total government receipts increased by 4 percent to $3.46 trillion. Corporate tax revenues came in at $230 billion, a 12 percent increase over FY2018. Individual tax revenues rose 2 percent to $1.72 trillion. Customs duties rose 70 percent and hit a record high of $71 billion thanks to the trade war.

But spending rose by over 8 percent, totaling $4.45 trillion. There were significant increases in both military and domestic spending. Uncle Sam spent $376 billion just paying interest on the existing debt.

The spending will continue into the foreseeable future. The bipartisan budget deal signed by President Trump over the summer suspended the borrowing limit for two years and will increase discretionary spending from $1.32 trillion in the current fiscal year to $1.37 trillion in fiscal 2020 and then raises it again to $1.375 trillion the year after that. The deal will allow for an increase in both domestic and military spending.

Speaking of the national debt; it increased by $1.2 trillion in fiscal 2019, according to Treasury Department data. The gross national debt currently comes in at a staggering $22.84 trillion and climbing.

To put that into perspective, last February, the national debt topped $22 trillion. When President Trump took office in January 2017, the debt was at $19.95 trillion. That represented a $2.06 trillion increase in the debt in just over two years. The borrowing pace continues to accelerate. The Treasury borrowed $800 billion in just two months. (If you’re wondering how the debt can grow by a larger number than the annual deficit, economist Mark Brandly explains here.)

During the presidential campaign, Trump promised to deal with the skyrocketing national debt. In fact, he said he could take care of it “fairly quickly.”

A Lot of Excuses

Trump supporters continue to offer a lot of excuses for this reckless behavior.

One person told me, “The president didn’t realize just how big the spending problem was, but he’s working on it.”

I find this a little difficult to swallow given that an entire political movement (the Tea Party) blew up to address the profligate spending in the Obama years. I knew how bad the spending problem was and I wasn’t running for president. Trump knew. And yet he still claimed he could take care of it “fairly quickly.”

I’ve also heard Trump supporters offer a version of the 3-D chess excuse to justify the deficits. You have to increase spending before you can cut it, or something like that. They claim that economic growth once Trump’s policies really take hold will eventually eliminate the debt.  This is a pipe-dream. government debt and spending retard economic growth. Europe’s spending binge serves as a prime example.

The most frequent excuse advance by Trump supporters is that it’s unfair to blame the surging deficits and ever-increasing debt on the president. After all, Congress passes the spending bills – never-mind that these same people were perfectly happy to blame Obama for the massive deficits his administration ran during his first term. And given that administration officials like Vought insist on taking credit for the “pro-growth policies,” shouldn’t they also have to take responsibility for the negative impacts?

The truth is the president bears at least some responsibility for spending, budget shortfalls and debt.

While Congress does pass spending bills, the president signs these bills. He doesn’t have to sign them. If reining in debt and deficits was a priority, Trump would have vetoed these bills and insisted on spending cuts. Instead, he called for more spending, particularly for the military.

The executive branch also plays an integral role in the budgeting process. Executive branch departments submit spending requests that Congress uses to set spending levels. The president has complete control over how much money various departments request.

Finally, the president’s complete silence on deficits and debt indicates that it’s not a priority. Trump didn’t even mention the national debt during the last State of the Union address.

It’s also important to note that Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate when Congress passed the spending bills that authorized the last two years of massive deficit spending. If ever there was a time to cut spending, it was when the supposedly fiscally conservative GOP controlled the entire government.

Congress bears a great deal of responsibility for Uncle Sam’s fiscal malfeasance, but so does the president. His supporters need to quit making excuses, hold his feet to the fire and insist that he deal with the debt.

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