Tag: Republican Party (United States)

Trump’s economy: The state of growth, jobs and stocks

Trump’s economy: The state of growth, jobs and stocks

Former Virginia Gov.
From economic growth and job creation, to the surging stock market, business has boomed in America over the past year; spurred in large part by expectations – and the resulting fulfillment – of a longstanding promise to overhaul the U.S. tax code.
Here’s a look at what has changed since the president was inaugurated one year ago: Economic growth On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department said the economy grew at a rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, slightly below economists’ expectations of 3%.
For the year, the economy expanded at a rate of 2.3%, compared with 1.5% in 2016.
The Trump administration hopes its economic policies will fuel 4% economic growth in the coming years, once the full effects of its tax reform bill have been realized.
Job creation Another big promise the administration made to Americans was to spur job creation in the country.
In 2017, about 2.1 million new jobs were added to the economy, according to government statistics.
Sector-wise, the trends were quite different between 2016 and 2017.
During Trump’s first year in office, the Dow had its best year on record under a Republican president.
The day following Trump’s first address to the country last year, the S&P 500 surged 1.5%.

Trump and the GOP are making the Republican brand toxic for a generation

Trump and the GOP are making the Republican brand toxic for a generation

The only voice of real leadership came from former President Obama, the titular head of the Democratic Party, who reminded us that “we are not powerless” to curtail this violence.
In doing so, he is championing the anti-immigration wing of the party, which has been expanding in strength since the 1990s, resisting any effort, whether from a Republican President like George W. Bush or a Democratic President like Obama, to pass immigration reform that would include a path to citizenship.
President Trump has legitimated these anti-immigrant voices as being the face of Republican Party politics.
Given the strength of immigrant populations throughout the country and the way in which those immigrants are woven into the fabric of suburbs, exurbs, and cities all over America, the Republicans might really be paying the price at the ballot box in years to come.
As the #metoo movement put issues of gender rights front and center on the national landscape, President Trump’s general response has been hesitation or downright opposition.
Indeed, his tin-ear response about the news of White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s history of domestic abuse allegations, was to take a shot at the #metoo movement.
And on gun control, the clear political benefits that the GOP accrues from its 2nd Amendment stance makes it challenging to broaden the coalition into areas of the country, such as blue-state suburbs, where moderate voters are turned off by the idea of doing nothing in the face of mass shootings such as last week’s tragedy in a Florida high school.
Polls consistently show that voters back stricter gun control measures.
As the Republicans blow up the deficit so that they can have massive corporate tax cuts, the White House is helping enable Ryan’s ongoing mission to go after the social safety net.
There have been Republicans who have been consistently skeptical of law enforcement agencies.

It Won’t Be Easy For Blue States To Dodge The GOP Tax Law
Social Security Disability

It Won’t Be Easy For Blue States To Dodge The GOP Tax Law

The new law puts a $10,000 limit on the state-and-local tax deduction ― tax wonks call it the SALT deduction ― which primarily disadvantages high-income taxpayers in so-called “blue states” with higher taxes.
Cuomo’s main proposal would shift some of the burden of New York state’s income tax from individuals to their employers.
By essentially encouraging employers to reduce their workers’ pre-tax pay, however, Cuomo’s plan would also reduce the amount of wages subject to the federal payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare.
To pay the 5 percent tax on a worker earning $80,000, for instance, an employer might reduce wages by $2,000, meaning only $78,000 would be subject to federal payroll taxes.
On its current course, it will be unable to fund 100 percent of benefits beginning in 2029.
Teresa Ghilarducci, a retirement security expert at the New School, was not particularly concerned about the Cuomo proposal’s impact on Social Security’s finances.
Since people can still count charitable donations against their federal taxable income, this strategy would allow states to maintain their own revenue without their residents paying higher taxes overall.
On the question of payroll taxes, he said the IRS might want to classify something like the New York proposal as a disguised withholding of state income tax, which would need to be included in workers’ federal taxable wages.
If blue-state lawmakers are concerned that the reduced SALT deduction will turn influential, upper-middle-class taxpayers against generous state spending on schools and roads, they could simply reduce state taxes on those households and make up the difference with tax hikes on “even richer people,” Bruenig said.
In general, I think we need more payroll taxes to pay for more and more benefits.”

GOP lawmakers seek federal money for Gov. Scott Walker’s welfare limits that would cost nearly $90M a year

GOP lawmakers seek federal money for Gov. Scott Walker’s welfare limits that would cost nearly $90M a year

Scott Walker’s welfare limits even as GOP senators considered seeking federal help this week to cover more of the nearly $90 million in costs from the proposals.
In addition, Assembly Republicans will also vote separately Thursday on a five-year, $12 million pilot program to require food stamp recipients to use their benefits for healthy food.
Critics say the bills will be costly for state taxpayers to implement and less effective than using the money for programs like training for workers or public transportation to get them to jobs.
To offset some of the state costs, some Republican senators want to seek additional federal money for Food Share, the state’s food stamp program.
To respond to this, Republicans on the Senate Public Benefits Committee Wednesday amended the bill requiring parents on Food Share to work, including in it a request to the federal government to share some of the savings with the state of Wisconsin.
It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump’s administration would have the authority or willingness to do so.
An opponent of the bill said she believed that such a move would take an act of Congress.
Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee, said the proposal was “straight out of Dickens.”
The Assembly is voting on a companion bill to the Senate proposal that doesn’t include the request for additional federal money.
The existing Food Share work requirement — proposed by Walker in 2013 and implemented in 2015 — has led so far to about 3.5 recipients losing benefits for every one who secured a job through the program.

An unhealthy Happy Meal for Republicans

An unhealthy Happy Meal for Republicans

President Donald Trump is continuing his push to overhaul infrastructure in the US, telling reporters that “infrastructure repair is a priority shared by both parties.”
(Feb. 14) AP The Charlotte Observer (TNS) The $4.4 trillion budget Donald Trump proposed this week is, in many ways, a typical Republican budget.
It gives money to areas and agencies Republicans feel are important – most notably defense – while cutting money to safety net programs like housing, food stamps and health care.
Trump’s budget also is like any budget, Republican or Democrat.
It’s a political document more than a working one, a wish list that provides signals to the Republican base and suggestions to the Republican Congress about the president’s priorities.
Don’t expect that to change this year, especially with midterm elections approaching.
Budget director Mick Mulvaney called it a “Blue Apron-type program,” a meal delivery label that was met with quick backlash from critics who noted that Blue Apron offers both fresh food and choices, neither of which comes with Trump’s proposal.
The budget runs annual deficits, including $984 billion in the next year alone, that could add $7 trillion to the debt over the next decade.
But rarely have Republicans so explicitly dismissed the danger of deficits and debts as we’re seeing today, including with the tax cut bill they passed in December and a spending bill they and Democrats passed earlier this month.
It’s Donald Trump’s party now.

Trump’s high-spending budget reverses longtime GOP dogma
Social Security Disability

Trump’s high-spending budget reverses longtime GOP dogma

The president’s spending outline for the first time acknowledges that the Republican tax overhaul passed last year would add billions to the deficit and not “pay for itself” as Trump and his Republican allies asserted.
If enacted as proposed, though no presidential budget ever is, the plan would establish an era of $1 trillion-plus yearly deficits.
That deal, which includes large increases for domestic programs, rendered Monday’s Trump plan for 10-year, $1.7 trillion cuts to domestic agencies such as the departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development even more unrealistic.
The White House used Monday’s event to promote its long-awaited plan to increase funding for infrastructure.
Trump also is proposing work requirements for several federal programs, including housing subsidies, food stamps and Medicaid. “The Trump budget proposal makes clear his desire to enact massive cuts to health care, anti-poverty programs and investments in economic growth to blunt the deficit-exploding impact of his tax cuts for millionaires and corporations,” said Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
And that’s assuming Trump’s rosy economic predictions come true and Congress follows through — in an election year — with politically toxic cuts to social programs, farm subsidies and Medicare providers.
Last year Trump’s budget promised such ideas could generate a small budget surplus by 2027; now, his best-case scenario is for a $450 billion deficit that year, more than $300 billion of which can be traced to his December tax cut. “Not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt,” Mnuchin declared in September.
They went nowhere last year.

Donald Trump’s Nasty Budget

Donald Trump’s Nasty Budget

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump told the “forgotten men and women of our country” that he would champion them.
As evidence that he was a different kind of Republican, he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit poor and middle-class families.
On Monday, President Trump proposed a budget that would slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, transportation and other essential government services, all while increasing the federal deficit.
Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget, combined with the tax cuts Republicans passed last year, would amount to one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich in generations.
The proposal would raise military spending by 14.1 percent while cutting funding for the State Department — the agency that has a mandate to resolve problems without going to war — by 26.9 percent.
Medicare and Medicaid, which benefit one-third of Americans, are targeted for cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Over all, the administration wants to reduce the Department of Transportation’s budget by nearly a fifth.
The budget would also effectively cut the Highway Trust Fund by $122 billion over a decade.
The White House suggests that the federal government would put up only $200 billion, which would be enough to get state and local governments and the private sector to supply the rest of the money.
After all, Congress last week passed, and Mr. Trump signed, a two-year bipartisan budget that authorizes a significant increase in domestic, as well as military, spending.

To Get Medicaid in Kentucky, Many Will Have to Work. Advocates for the Poor Say They Will Sue.

To Get Medicaid in Kentucky, Many Will Have to Work. Advocates for the Poor Say They Will Sue.

WASHINGTON — Kentucky will be the first state to require many of its Medicaid recipients to work or face losing their benefits after the Trump administration approved its plan on Friday.
In addition to paid jobs, they could meet the requirement through volunteer work, job training, searching for a job, taking classes or caring for someone elderly or disabled.
According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, 60 percent of working-age Medicaid recipients who aren’t disabled already have full- or part-time jobs.
Under its plan, Kentucky will also require many adults who aren’t elderly or disabled to pay premiums of $1 to $15 a month, depending on their income.
The Bevin administration has estimated that the plan will result in 100,000 fewer Medicaid recipients after five years and save $2.4 billion, mostly in federal Medicaid funds.
But Mr. Bevin couched the policy change as a moral rather than a fiscal decision, saying he did not care about the savings and saw it as an opportunity for Kentucky’s poor “not to be put into a dead-end entitlement trap but rather to be given a path forward and upward so they can do for themselves.” Advocates for Medicaid beneficiaries said they disagreed with the Trump administration’s assertion, in approving Kentucky’s plan, that work requirements were consistent with the goals of Medicaid because work could improve people’s health.
“They’ll be looking to advocates and enrollment assisters and their providers for answers, and at this point we don’t have any.” She added, “The idea that we are encouraging work and independence, then taking away the health care that makes people more employable and better able to function — none of this adds up to something that’s going to be good for Kentuckians or our economy.” But Hal Heiner, Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development secretary, said during Mr. Bevin’s news conference that there was “an abundance of jobs” available to Medicaid recipients, as well as resources to prepare them.
“We have the jobs, we have the tuition resources, we have the job coaches in our career centers all across the state,” he said, “and now we’ll be able to connect the dots.” Other state officials said the state was building an IT system to track people’s compliance with the work and premium requirements and participation in activities, like taking the financial literacy course, that would earn them points toward dental and vision care.
Kentucky’s uninsured population has dropped more than almost any other state’s under the Affordable Care Act, and several studies have found significantly increased access to primary care, preventive screenings and care for chronic conditions there since the Medicaid expansion.
So I’m afraid the administration is not only going backward, but doing it for completely the wrong reasons.” Such opposing views were evident in comments people posted on Mr. Bevin’s Facebook page during his news conference, which was livestreamed there.

Kentucky Rushes to Remake Medicaid as Other States Prepare to Follow

Kentucky Rushes to Remake Medicaid as Other States Prepare to Follow

The 20 hours a week of work, job training or volunteering?
The monthly premiums of $1 to $15 that many will now owe?
After four years of signing up thousands of people for coverage under the health law’s expansion of the Medicaid program, Mr. Wagner told the room, “We’re shifting our focus from helping people gain coverage to helping people keep it.” The rationale of Gov.
Critics of the plan point to Indiana, which dropped about 25,000 adults from its Medicaid program from 2015 through 2017 for failing to pay premiums there.
Mark Lee Coleman, a diabetic who was visiting a busy clinic run by Family Health Centers, the nonprofit network that Mr. Wagner heads, one recent morning, had heard next to nothing about the new rules.
Once Kentucky’s new rules take effect this spring and summer, Mr. Coleman will also have to report a monthly tally of his work hours to keep his coverage.
Should he cut back his hours, he’d either have to try to get classified as “medically frail,” which would exempt him from the work rule, or lose his coverage.
She has worked as a package handler, a boat reservations manager and even a health insurance enrollment counselor, helping patients at Family Health Centers sign up for Medicaid back in 2014.
(She is poor enough under the new rules that if she fails to pay them, she will lose access to dental and vision coverage but not be dropped from coverage altogether.)
“If people like that need medical attention, just let them get it.”

Republicans weigh Social Security paid leave plan
Social Security Disability

Republicans weigh Social Security paid leave plan

GOP Sens.
Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa) expressed support for the idea, provided by the conservative Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), calling it “novel” and “creative.” But the lawmakers noted that a formal piece of legislation still needs to be crafted.
“Getting this right means asking the right questions and then figuring out how to answer them.” According to IWF’s six-page proposal, parents could take up to 12 weeks and receive on average 45 percent of their pay in a Social Security parental benefit that’s calculated using the same formula as Social Security disability benefits.
The IWF estimates the average wage worker would receive $1,175 per month.
Lee said lawmakers are trying to figure out how to structure benefits so they are delivered to families when they need them, how the federal law should interact with state paid leave laws and how to keep the law from hastening the Social Security Trust Fund’s 2034 insolvency date.
In statements, DeLauro called the plan “woefully insufficient,” while Scott expressed fears about shortchanging Social Security benefits for seniors.
“Legislation that reflects the Independent Women’s Forum plan to raid Social Security to pay for parental leave benefits would jeopardize workers’ future retirement security and would hurt women, low-wage workers and workers of color the most,” she added.
DeLauro has introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, a companion bill to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) legislation in the Senate.
The bill calls for a 0.2 percent employee payroll tax and a 0.2 percent employer tax to fund 12 weeks of paid leave during which workers would earn 66 percent of their monthly wages.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, which supports this proposal, the average worker would pay less than $1.50 per week in new taxes.